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6 Milwaukee Brewers who will win or lose this season

To Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

of MLB The trade deadline presents a strange dynamic within major league clubhouses.

Above all, players want to win. If the front office adds to the roster to help the team win, players generally appreciate it. It could be read as a vote of confidence in people. is.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ performance over the next two months will come under further scrutiny, as one big move the organization made at the deadline was the big downside of its decision to keep Josh Hader closer to the Padres.

Now, Hader hasn’t looked perfect so far in San Diego.The package Milwaukee received includes another left-handed closer in Taylor Rodgers, plus outfielder Estaly Lewis and left-handed pitcher Robert Gasser. It contains two promising prospects who may eventually ‘win’.They will make a deal at some point. But Hader’s departure has clearly rocked the clubhouse, reshaping the bullpen hierarchy that has been so solid for manager Craig Counsell in recent years.

Additionally, GM David Stearns made no significant additions to the lineup. The offense is performing much better than it did a year ago, but when a serious lack of depth rears its head in the playoffs, the Brewers still lack the star power of nearly every opponent in the National League . The Padres made a significant addition at the deadline.

It’s not that the players aren’t playing their part. Milwaukee is one of four teams (alongside Atlanta, Houston and New York) with three guys to hit 19 or more home runs. Hunter Renfro (19). These names aren’t Juan Soto or Josh Bell, but they’re strong contributors and we generally know what to expect from them.

Then there’s former MVP Christian Jerich. He’s still trying to discover superstar form, but he’s more than just a good hitter now. Veteran players like Yelich and Andrew McCutchen are credible contributors at this stage, but they don’t seem to be impact hitters on the level of division rivals Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, for example.

As for the bullpen, the only certainty in Hader’s absence is that All-Star airbender Devin Williams will play a more prominent role at the end of the game.

Who else has to step up? Who are the players on the roster that GM David Stearns must trust enough not to make other major additions?

Think of these as the X Factor — players whose performances could tip Milwaukee’s season in one direction or another. As the postseason approaches, we’ll focus on the most volatile parts of the team: the offense and bullpen.

Hiura Keston

Hiura’s growth as a hitter has completely captivated me. This is a man who was widely praised in college for his ultra-advanced hitting tools, which is why he was the 9th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. was trying to meet those lofty predictions.

Since then, however, Hiura seems to have become a pure slugger.His strikeout rate soared for his fourth straight season, reaching a staggering 43.1% of his — highest Among all players with 150 or more at-bats.

Yet… Hiura still smashes the ball outright on a decent regular basis.His average escape velocity of 93.1 mph 8th in MLB Among players playing at least 50 pitches, he has a .489 batting average with 10 dingers in just 131 plate appearances. He still walks a lot, so he remains in the lineup more often than any other one-sided slugger we’ve seen.

Still, Hiura’s at-bats are the most erratic in the league, which is virtually the definition of the X Factor. You can see him whiffing enough to not make the postseason roster in September as easily as you can see him hitting five home runs in the postseason series. is! And scary!

Mike Brosseau

Brosseau’s career is already something of a fairy tale, and in 2020 he went from undrafted to one of the most epic home runs in postseason history. where he settled into a platoon role.

Much like he mashed Aroldis Chapman’s fastball, Brosseau continued to mash lefties this year, batting .323/.389/.523 in 72 at-bats against southpaws. With Jace Peterson still on the injured reserve list, Brosseau spent a good amount of time at third base, but Luis Urias has recently started getting a larger portion of the rep.

Urias looks like a more reliable everyday player, but as we know Brosseau is more than capable of rising to the occasion in the big venues.

Tyrone Taylor

Taylor’s rise to the Brewers’ starting center field after being selected as a second-round high school pick in 2012 was a slow, decade-long burndown on his way to the major leagues. His job now looks pretty solid, with his DFA for Lorenzo Cain early in the season paving the way for the 28-year-old to play every day.

Taylor has already, in some ways, effectively succeeded Kane, playing phenomenally in the outfield.

But the bigger question is how much he can contribute at bat. While his .224/.276/.422 overall line remains mediocre, he shows flashes of game-changing power. If Milwaukee’s lineup doesn’t have him a 1,000 OPS megastar, the more players he has at bat that can change the game with one swing, the better.

Taylor certainly meets that criteria.

Brent Suter

It’s easy to just look at Rogers and focus on how he’ll be directly replacing Hader, but I’m more interested in seeing Suter’s role moving forward. Suter has been a go-to lefty out of Milwaukee’s bullpen (over Hader) with excellent results.

That said, his strikeout and ground ball rates are both down, his walks are up slightly, and his earned run average (4.22) isn’t as good as it has been in the past three seasons (2.70).

Hobie Milner’s appearance has already cut some of Suter’s regular duties this season, with Rodgers in the mix for left-handed matchups from five to eight innings. I’ve watched Suter do his thing in limited speed for years, but the slight dip in his performance in 2022 is a reflection of how Milwaukee’s left-handed reliever pecking order is in October. I’m curious if it will shake me.

Trevor Rosenthal

Rosenthal, a former All-Star Cardinals closer who hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since 2020, only signed with San Francisco in July. Traded to Milwaukee Before appearing for the Giants (he was on injured reserve due to a strained hamstring).

For some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosenthal, 32, is still throwing as hard as he did two seasons ago when he was regularly touching triple figures. 871 OPS in -A) for a player who hadn’t thrown a big league pitch in two years, he must have looked good in the Giants’ backfield. .

Another thing to remember is that while Rosenthal was a dynamite in the regular season, he was a mess in four games in San Diego in the 2020 postseason. My big question here is how much do the Brewers believe in this guy? Are you watching the innings go?

If Rosenthal can get healthy, we’ll find out soon enough.

Hobby Harris

If this name is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. Harris said he is a 29-year-old right-handed pitcher who has never pitched in the MLB. But I’m going to put his name into the mix as something to watch. Steady if unremarkable as a bridge officer, Rosenthal and Bush appear to have been brought in to strengthen that unit.

Bush has already suffered and Rosenthal’s return from injury remains in question. Harris – who has a 1.93 ERA on 37.1 IPs in Triple-A Nashville – could be an interesting replacement. I’m curious if there is.

Admittedly, Harris’ elite run prevention is somewhat misleading. His very high walk rate (17.1%) and his (.226) against BABIP suggest that he was a little lucky to keep his runs off the board. His FIP is his 4.91. However, he seems to have turned a corner in terms of control recently, and has only walked one batter in his last nine appearances while continuing to hit batters every inning.

Most importantly, Harris has had no problems. That’s his late ’90s fastball with a sneaky splitter. If he actually finds a way to limit his walk, it turns out he’s one of the first guys out of the current bullpen group to be called up in the event of further injuries or poor performance.

What’s more, Harris’ eventual reaching the big leagues would be a satisfying culmination of a wild baseball journey. , transferred to the University of Pittsburgh for the last two years. At that point, his fastball was only 90-94 mph.

A 31st round pick by the Yankees in the 2015 draft, Harris has spent the past seven years slowly climbing the minor league and velocity ladders. He’s been in Triple-A for the past two seasons and it took him one phone call, but so far that call has eluded him.

The road to the majors may still be a little cloudy, but it’ll be cool to see Harris get his callup and pitch some key innings for this Brewers team.

Jordan Shusterman is @Cespedes BBQ Baseball writer for FOX Sports. He lives in his DC but Seattle He is a huge Mariners fan and loves watching KBO. You can follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

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