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Brew Crew Ball Mailbag #6: Trade deadline shopping lists and the 2024 roster

Answering this week’s questions for the weekly mailbag

Milwaukee Brewers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Brew Crew Ball mailbag!

The All-Star break and the trade deadline are quickly approaching. The Brewers are wrapping up their first half with a six-game road trip and are currently squaring off with the Giants after splitting a two-game series against the Twins.

Let’s get into this week’s questions.

Dow Jones asks:

2024 Opening Day, the following eight players will be what? On the Brewers 26 man roster, in the minors for the Brewers OR on another team:
Josh Hader
Corbin Burnes
Brandon Woodruff
Brice Turang
Garrett Mitchell
Sal Frelick
Joey Wiemer
Jackson Chourio

These questions are always tricky because so much can (and will) happen in the next year and a half. It’s even trickier because many of these players have plenty of development ahead of them. I’ll take my best guesses with the caveat that making accurate roster predictions for future seasons is borderline impossible.

Hader will be a free agent after the 2023 season, after which he’ll sign a lucrative deal with another club.

2024 is the team’s final year of club control over Burnes and Woodruff. There is a non-zero chance that one of them gets traded, but only if the Brewers underperform next season and the franchise’s long-term status suddenly looks uncertain. For now, I’m going to say that both will be on the 2024 Opening Day roster.

Out of the five prospects you listed, I think Turang is most likely to no longer be in the organization by then. He has not developed the power that the Brewers were hoping to see, and he is looking more like a utility player than an everyday big-league shortstop. Unless he somehow starts challenging guys like Willy Adames and Luis Urias for playing time, I think he’ll find himself traded to a rebuilding team that can give him an extended opportunity to play every day.

Frelick, on the other hand, is advancing quickly through the minor leagues and is already playing in Double-A after Milwaukee took him with their first-round pick last year. He’s held his own offensively at every stop and continued to display strong plate discipline, although he has been walking less this year. There’s a strong chance he gets a cup of coffee with the Brewers next year and opens 2024 with the big-league club.

Mitchell has also made it to Double-A, but his development has stalled, posting just a 92 wRC+ this year with a troublesome 31.3% strikeout rate. Barring a breakout 2023 season, he could get flipped or find himself still trying to break out of the upper minors for good in 2024.

Wiemer’s strikeouts concern me, but his power is for real. I’m going to say that in 2024, he will be riding the shuttle between Triple-A and the big leagues throughout the year, showing glimpses of his power but struggling to put it together against MLB pitching.

Chourio has put himself on the map with a breakout season as an 18-year-old with the Single-A Carolina Mudcats. While the Brewers probably do not label any of their players as “untouchable” in trade talks, I doubt anyone will meet the high asking price for Chourio. He’ll still be in the organization in 2024, and if he progresses through the minor leagues quickly, we could see him debut at some point during that season.

PZP asks:

Seeing Phil Bickford pitching for the Dodgers got me thinking. Have the Brewers lost anyone on waivers in the last 10 years that went on to make us regret jettisoning them? I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head that really sting.

The Brewers claimed reliever Blake Parker off waivers in November 2016 and designated him for assignment a month later. He went on to have a strong season with the Angels as a high-leverage reliever, posting a 2.54 ERA, 2.71 FIP, and 34% strikeout rate in 67 innings. While he never quite matched that production again, he settled in as an effective middle reliever for the next four seasons.

The Brewers have given up some players in trades who have turned into valuable big-leaguers, such as Mitch Haniger and Garrett Cooper. However, I cannot remember any notable talent lost on waivers in recent seasons besides a couple of relievers.

metalmilitia844 asks:

Should Hader still be used in non save situations? This is getting ridiculous

If you are referring to Hader allowing runs in each of the three tie games he has appeared in this month, I highly doubt that it has anything to do with those outings not taking place in a save situation.

For one thing, Hader allowed a run in a save a week ago against the Pirates and was bailed out by a play at the plate to end the game.

More importantly, all of Hader’s outings this season have come in the ninth inning, so it’s not as if he’s been put in a position that throws off his usual warmup routine. A tie game is still a high-leverage situation, so you can’t argue that those non-save situations are missing the usual adrenaline rush from which many closers thrive.

Hader has struggled with his command all of July, which is not unusual for him. Last season, he allowed six of his eight earned runs in July, blowing a save and getting tagged with two losses. In 2019, he allowed five runs in 11 13 July innings.

For whatever reason, Hader seems to hit a wall halfway through the season, but everything clicks again after the All-Star break. I expect this year to be no different.

davhar asks:

What is your rank of priority for the Brewers to add at the trade deadline? Do you see them solidifying multiple areas? Which player would you like them most to trade for?
1) Starter Depth
2) Reliever Depth
3) Center Field
4) Infield Depth
5) Bat (Regardless of Position)

They need a bat more than anything else. The Brewers are over halfway through their season, and their best semi-regular bat has been Jace Peterson, who has a 113 wRC+. While Peterson is quietly having a very strong season, that’s not acceptable for a contending team, even one built on run-prevention. After that, I think some added depth in the bullpen would go a long way.

In a perfect world, the Brewers would find a way to acquire Bryan Reynolds, but it would take a huge prospect package, and it seems Pittsburgh is not especially motivated to move him. I would also love to see them acquire Michael Fulmer from the Tigers for relief help. The former Rookie of the Year has revived his career as a reliever, and I think he has the potential to turn into a monster out of the bullpen with a couple of tweaks to his arsenal.

However, the more likely scenario is that the Brewers acquire another okay bat who does not push the needle a ton but lengthens their lineup. They’ll also scoop up a middle reliever or two, similar to last year’s acquisitions of Daniel Norris and John Curtiss.

Thanks for your questions this week! There will be no mailbag during All-Star week because the Brewers will not resume play after the break until next Friday night. We’ll be back the following week.