As we get closer to opening day, we get a better sense of what will need to happen for the Brewers to succeed this year. Please share your three keys to the Brewers season below.
Of course, you can go with the obvious options like Burnes can't have his arm all off. But it would be more enlightening to hear your underappreciated items that could be key to success this year. These are individual or team performances which could be massively important and turn the almost playoff bound 2022 Brewers team into a division winning team in 2023.
Here are my three keys to Brewers success in 2023:
1. Someone new to the team becomes Brad Boxberger. In 2022, Brad Boxberger had a 2.95 ERA while throwing 64 innings -- tied for the most innings of any relief pitcher. He also pitched in the third most high leverage situations behind Hader and Williams. Assuming other pitchers maintain last year's production (Strzelecki, Milner and Williams) and Bush regains his form while with Texas the Brewers still need a good relief pitcher to be the sixth or seventh inning guy that can come in and pitch out of a situation and then throw the next inning. They need someone to step up into that Brad Boxberger role.
2. William Contreras is a decent major league catcher. If Contreras can function adequately as the Brewers catcher for 80% of the innings, then the Brewers line up becomes deep. There is a significant difference between the offensive output of Contreras and Caratini. One is a middle of the order bat, the other is a black hole reducing the team to eight functional hitters in a game. Also, Contreras playing catcher provides the opportunity for Winker and Yelich to get DH at bats. This also provides more flexibility for getting the rookies playing time.
3. The Brewers are among the top ten MLB teams in OBP and are not one of the top ten teams in strike outs. With roster adjustments, the Brewers will likely make strides in these two areas. This is good because this team likely won't hit as many homeruns as last year. In 2022, the Brewers were fourth worse in strike outs but still were 13th in on base percentage. Winker and Contreras bring fewer strike outs as will Turang and Frelick once they come up. It will be interesting to see if other players, with the banning of shifts, larger bases and the implementation of the pitch clock will focus more on contact. If the Brewers can maintain their patience that produced the fourth best walk rate while also limiting strike outs this team will stress starting pitching more and provide better on base percentage and overall run production.
Those are my three keys to the Brewers success in 2023. What are yours?