2023 Milwaulkee Brewers Season End Review

What can I say. The wordthat comes to mind is … disappointment. There was the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good:

  • Tim Hankins had himself another extraordinary season and appears to be the National League CY Young front runner. Although Hankins lead the league in ERA, WAR, K/BB, WHIP, and FIP, he still only ended up with 12 wins on the season. This is highly due to the Bad (we will highlight this later on). This was the first year of the sophomore pitchers 8 year contract with the Brewers. 
  • Tim Campbell and Kevin Thompson both earned their opportunity to play at the major league levels. Campbell saw substancially more time than Thompson and Campbell ended the year with a 1.4 WAR while only playing in 83 games. The 23 year old is slotted to be the opening day centerfielder and the organiztion believes he had plenty of space to blosum at the major league level after bringing in Doug Dascenzo (more on this to come). The other rookie, Kevin Thompson, found his way to Milwaulkee as a September call up. During the 11 games he took part of, he started in all 11 while slugging a .324/.486/.852 line. Its unsure if Thompson will make the opening day lineup come April, but it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to the the next Ben Zobrist for the Brewers. 
  • Jeff Neal was brought in at the trade deadline from the Rockies and very much was a positive factor to counter act our struggles offense this season. Although was only slotted into the Brewers lineup 60 times, he was able to raise his OPS by almost 50 points, had a positive OPS+ of 127, and carried a 1.6 WAR in that time. The front office thus far has been very happy with this acquisition and what was given up for him. The 27 year old still has team control until 2025.
  • The fan support this season was extraordinary! Attendance only saw a small bump up compared to last season but season ticket revenue and fan interest rose in a way that the front office takes it as a WIN. Let’s Go Brewers!

The Bad:

  •  Kyle Schwaber was a player that was brought in to boost the offensive play. With that in mind, he did not. After having a 4.0 WAR in 2022, he put up a -0.7 WAR as the teams designated hitter. His bat was brought in to strictly provide run production, lineup protection, and to slug some balls out of the park. He did none of that and put up a measly .622 OPS+. Its is unlikely that Schwarber will be moved this offseason in hopes of a bounceback performance in 2024. 
  • Stats … Stats … Stats … Stats were a major disappointment this season. In hopes of increasing our offensive production this year we ended up reducing it. The owner gave us a goal to increase our OBP since in 2022 we were 14th in that category. We were able to increase this to 6th but we lost in every other category from 2022 to 2023. Take a look below. 
2022 Milwaukee Brewers4.16571390.2560.3070.3910.698
2023 Milwaukee Brewers3.96331310.2480.3130.3840.696

How ugly! We had lower numbers while aquiring proven offensive pieces while really not changing the core of our lineup from 2022. To call this a disappointment is not doing justice. In the end, its 1 year and should not be considered in the “ugly” category just yet. 

  • As stated before, the core players we brought in to start the year absolutely crapped the bed. Players like Jim Smith (1B), Josh Marshania (3B), Dylan Cozens (RF), Todd McDonald (LF), Andriu Martin (SP), Jeremiah MacCregor (SP), and even closer Ed Gaines. All, in my eyes, saw a down year. Not exactly sure the true source of this but I think it all is contributed to the next point.
  • The staffing at the Major League level had a overhaul of assistance from the 2022 season. We went with a more team friendly hiring by promoting Tino Martinez (2022 AAA affiliate HC), bringing in Brad Mills (hadn’t coached since 2015 for the former Cleveland Indians), and Doug Meintkiewcz (2022 Appy league manager for the Red Sox). All showed to have a positive relationship with the players but what we didn’t take into account was that it had a direct impact on staff cohesion. Not only that, but we continued to move forward with manager Rob Leary (managed the Brewers from 2021 to 2023 with a record of 229 – 257) who appeared to have internal clashes with staff and players during the 2023 year. His managing style and decisions with the personnel that the organization gave him left the front office very discouraged to move forward with him. Leary was fired following the season. To take over the manager duties, the Brewers tapped on Doug Dascenzo (2023 hitting coach for the Rangers and personnel that GM Zach Jadofsky had as a roving instructor during his time with the Braves organization) to take over the reigns. Dascenzo shows to have great skills when it comes to handling development, handling aging, and overall has a strategy that aligns with the current direction of the organization. 

The Ugly:

There are two points and only two that matter enough to make it into this list. They are our current budget moving forward and our timeframe for success.

  • From 2022 to 2023 our payroll increased by 63%; thats 63% for only 1 more win than the year before. And that isn’t the worst of it. If we compare 2022 to 2024 we will see a 129% increase.This is not good for a small market team like the Brewers. There are plans in place to reduce the spending for the next few season, but it is going to highly handcuff the front office to make certain moves. The good news of this is that the 129% increase should be the absolute max and we have plenty of players under organizational control. So while that number does go up, we can currently retain all players and the front office optimistic about the organization we have put together to move forward with. 
  • We had hoped that our timeframe for success would be the 2024 to 2025 season. We have brought in plenty of big name talent to make this push to be playoff contenders. Yes, we won the 2023 NL pennant for the first time since 2016 and only the 8th time in club history, but we are always looking to the future and not to be content with the present. With how we have drafted, developed, and traded, our future is NOW. If we do not see a rise in the product at Milwaulkee next season, we will be in a world of hurt for the future. Our top tier talent is at the major league level or right below it in AAA or AA. It’s now or never! (Not really!)

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