I like others, have been unimpressed with the Brewers unwillingness to invest resources (cash) into the 2023 team. Compared to previous years, they seem to be taking some huge risks relying on younger players. But with those risks comes some opportunities and excitement that frankly wasn't there in 2022. We knew what we were getting last year -- a team with great starting pitching and bullpen talent -- but realistically we should have expected some regression. And an offense that was very heavy on the three true outcomes, lacked star power and line up depth so it couldn't be relied upon to carry this team for any length of time.
The upcoming year is different. This team could really suck. Or it could be really good. Three things that make it more exciting:
1. Position player prospects: The Brewers will be younger in 2023 with the likelihood that, if they perform, at least three rookies will have over 400 at bats. (Mitchel, Turang and Frelick) All three come to the Brewers with below league average strike out rates in the minors and very good speed. These things make for exciting baseball. As prospects, they also provide something else... a hope for all star level offensive production. The crop of veterans holding over from last year, doesn't really provide much hope for that level of production and the Brewers aren't going to be favored to beat the super teams out there without someone being able to take this offense to a different level.
2. A deeper line up: The addition of William Contreras and Jesse Winker hopefully change things. The catching position was a blackhole in the line up last year for the Brewers. Contreras and Winker could be true middle of the order bats providing both power and on base ability that the Brewers didn't have last year. This will lengthen the line up providing for pressure on the opposing pitcher and more scoring opportunities.
3. A bullpen stopper develops: This is where the Brewers have the biggest risk and greatest potential reward. Unlike the position players, that have strong minor league counting stats coming into 2023, the Brewers have a bevy of great potential arms that have either flamed out as starters in the minors, have demonstrated control issues or have had significant injury concerns. Anyone of four or five players (Topa, Guera. Uribe, Payamps...) could end up being that shut down reliever, a quality bullpen arm or a total bust this season. It will be exciting to see if this works out.
Although there is still off season left, it feels as if the Brewers have already chosen a theme for 2023, That is to rely on the potentially great starting pitching while engaging in a youth movement built around better on base percentages, defense and a whole lot of flexible options for the bullpen. I like the direction but wonder if they have gone too far with out an exit if they need one. It should be an exciting ride.