Pitchers and catchers reported today for the Milwaukee Brewers, so it feels like an appropriate time to drop my spring training preview.
Before I start I would like to just hand out some advice, if you ever have the opportunity to go down to Maryvale and watch the brew-crew in action over February and March you should. I went last year, and I am currently working on another trip down there, and I can confidently say it is one of the best environments to watch baseball in.
Anyway, moving on, there are some very intriguing story lines to watch out for this spring training season when it comes to Milwaukee.
The progression of Khris Davis: Last spring Khris Davis exploded onto the scene with a huge spring training. In fact, his performance in Arizona was one of the main reasons why he was on the opening day roster. This year he comes into spring in a completely different situation. He is no longer an unknown rookie. With the departure of Aoki during the offseason Davis should be an everyday starter in the outfield. I’ve written before that I think Davis over Aoki is actually an upgrade, but the sample size on Davis has been relatively small thus far and how he plays this spring should give us a good preview of how he will play during the season.
Farm league players: The national media is very fond of describing the Brewers farm system as “the worst in baseball.” It is going to be very interesting to me to see how the assorted minor leaguers with spring training invites play in Arizona.
A big name to watch out for is Hunter Morris, the probable first baseman of the future for the Brewers. Morris probably (hopefully) won’t have be put into the major league roster for long periods of time this year, but if Sean Halton and the rest of the Brewers first baseman struggle early and Morris is having a good season in the minor leagues it is possible that Morris could get the call up.
Also be on the look out for a trio of pitchers, Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, and Johnny Hellweg. The Brewers pitching staff received a major upgrade when the organization signed Matt Garza over the offseason, but the Brewers will still have to consistently develop young talent for them to succeed in the long run. Nelson, Jungmann, and Hellweg are widely considered to be the best pitching prospects for the Brewers and they have to have good springs to inspire confidence in the farm system moving forward.
The reception of Ryan Braun: As everyone knows by now, Ryan Braun was suspended for the last 65 games of the season last year after being implicated in the Biogenesis scandal. I know a lot of people in the national media aren’t fans of Braun by any means, but the only opinion that really matters is that of the Brewers fan base. Say what you want about the man’s personality, but there’s no denying the fact that Braun is the best player on the Brewers right now. If I were at the stadium I would cheer on Braun just like I would cheer on the rest of the team. I expect the reception of Braun to be positive, but only time will tell.