MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – Injuries are starting to pile up for the Milwaukee Brewers with Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Hunter Renfroe, and Willy Adames all hitting the injured list.
Throughout the season, several prospects and players get called up to the big leagues or sent down to the minors. Ethan Small made his MLB debut on Monday where he started off solid but got into some trouble in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs.
The Brewers sent Small back down to Triple-A Nashville but there is speculation that won’t be his last start in the majors with Woodruff and Peralta on the IL.
Here are five players in the Brewers’ minor league system that could hear their names called to the big leagues in the 2022 season:
SS/2B Brice Turang, AAA Nashville Sound
The 22-year-old was Milwaukee’s first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft because of his defense and his ability to put the bat on the ball. The lefty batter hasn’t found much of his power yet in the minor leagues, hitting only 13 home runs through 331 games. Turang is seeing the ball well this year, averaging .283 with the Nashville Sound. His .333 on-base percentage shows he’s patient at the plate and has the ability to draw walks.
He’d offer some support in the middle infield. With Willy Adames sidelined, albeit not for much longer, Turang could play shortstop which could slide Luis Urias over to third base. Third base has been split between Mike Brosseau and Jace Peterson for much of the year.
Brosseau and Jace Peterson have swung the bat well thus far, but if either of the two gets injured throughout the season, Turang could be the next man up for Milwaukee.
OF Joey Wiemer, AA Biloxi Shuckers
Joey Wiemer has exploded as a prospect since being taken by Milwaukee in the fourth round during the 2020 MLB Draft. Everything the 23-year-old from the University of Cincinnati star does is loud on the baseball diamond. His swing is as powerful as a tornado and the ball can soar out of any ballpark with ease.
The right-handed batter does swing through a few pitches, but that is something the Brewers would love to gamble on in the big leagues as the team lacks at times can lack offense. His 22.2% K rate is something the free swinger will have to fix, especially at the major league level. The 6’5″ outfielder has one of the purest arms in the minors which can help the Brewers get out of sticky situations.
Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have had tough seasons thus far. With Hunter Renfroe being injured, Wiemer could provide The Crew with depth in the outfield, giving Cain, Yelich, and Tyrone Taylor a day off if needed.
LHP Ethan Small, AAA Nashville Sound
I have no doubt that Ethan Small will return to the Brewers at some point this season. Probably sooner rather than later with the injuries to Woodruff and Peralta. The southpaw from Mississippi State has a funky, deceptive delivery that not many have faced before in the MLB. He looked good against the Cubs for the first two innings but ran into location troubles in the third.
That is one area that Small will have to get better at, as he walked 4 batters through 2.2 innings. In 2021, the lefty issued walks to 13.3% of the batters he faced. Small doesn’t impress you with velocity, rather, the ability to get guys out.
He’d be a back-end-of-the-rotation kind of guy, rocking out in the 4th or 5th spot. His changeup has a lot of potential to fool hitters and if Small can get that working in the big leagues, we could see him until Milwaukee has a fully healthy starting rotation.
RHP Alec Bettinger, AAA Nashville Sound
Another pitcher that could spend time at the end of the rotation, Bettinger made his MLB debut in 2021 when he started against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The start was less than ideal, as the right-hander failed to get out of the second inning. He took the loss after allowing 11 earned runs, which tied a major league record for the most in a debut.
However, it’s a new year for Bettinger and despite the 13.50 ERA in 2021, he could be recalled to eat some innings for Milwaukee. Whether it’s from the bullpen or as a starter, Bettinger could be the second or third best available when it comes to recalling a pitcher. I think most would rather take Ethan Small over Bettinger, but he’s still another option.
C Mario Feliciano, AAA Nashville Sound
The catcher made his MLB Debut in 2021, earning a walk and scoring a run in the only game he appeared in. However, should a catcher such as Omar Narvaez or Victor Caratini go down with an injury, Feliciano will be the next man up.
Although not the highest catcher on Milwaukee’s top prospects, Feliciano is hitting the ball well and is more MLB-ready than 5th overall prospect Jeferson Quero, who’s only 19. Feliciano is in his sixth season in the minors, hitting .306 for AAA Nashville. Although he hasn’t found a longball this season, Feliciano did hit 19 in his 2019 campaign.
With Pedro Severino suspended for PEDs, that leaves Narvaez and Caratini at the catcher position. Narvaez has hit the ball well the last few games and Caratini’s average is almost below the Mendoza Line so should Victor continue his struggles through the year, we could see Feliciano make the jump to Milwaukee.
Injuries are a part of every sport and most of the time, whoever stays the healthiest usually has the best chance at a post-season run. The Brewers have several prospects that can make an impact at the next level, but only time will tell what The Crew will decide to do.
For a complete list of the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospects, click here.