Predicting the Brewers' Opening Day roster

February 10th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- There are few guarantees in baseball, but here's one we have been making with confidence since beginning our too-early roster predictions a couple of years ago: What follows will prove wrong. There will be medical surprises, performance surprises, pitchers bouncing between the rotation and bullpen, perhaps even a spring pick-up or two that no one sees coming. But that's not stopped us from taking a crack at the 25-man Opening Day roster.
Catcher (2):,
was an October hero for the Brewers and an inspiration to fans, but the addition of switch-hitting Grandal, the top free-agent catcher on the market, clouded Kratz's role.
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First base (2): ,
Last year, Aguilar was one of the last players to make the cut. Now he's coming off an All-Star season in which he claimed primary duties and Thames is the one on the bubble.
Second base (2): ,
For now, it looks like a platoon, but that could change if the Brewers sign or trade for another infielder. Perez's strength is that he can play all over the diamond, and Spangenberg is the same type of player, but a left-handed hitter. He'll see action in the outfield in camp.

Third base (1):
The "default," president of baseball operations David Stearns has said, is to play Shaw at third. The Brewers' potential reunion with would move Shaw to second base.
Shortstop (1):
An up-and-down season ended on a high for Arcia, who posted a .959 OPS in the postseason.
Outfield (4): , , ,
The Brewers traded for Gamel, a left-handed hitter with an option remaining. Other backup outfield options include Perez, Spangenberg and Thames. The Brewers really like Perez's work in the outfield.
Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
This list actually goes seven deep, with and also likely to make a significant number of starts for the Brewers again this year. We'll go with Woodruff in the fifth spot to start because he's slightly more experienced than those two. Nelson's inclusion depends on his health after a year lost to shoulder rehab. The Brewers reportedly remain in the mix to bring back veteran lefty .
Relief pitchers (8): , , (L), (L), , , ,
After the first five, it's picking names out of a hat. Albers was solid through June last year, then got hurt and struggled badly the rest of the way. Guerra and Houser are out of options and the Brewers may want to break camp with them to preserve organizational depth. Williams, and newcomers and all have options and figure to log innings along the way. Burnes and Peralta could pitch out of the 'pen, too. In other words, don't fret too much about who makes the Opening Day cut; the Brewers actively manage their roster and are certain to shuffle players back and forth between the Majors and Minors as needs arise.

Just like last year, there are a lot of moving parts. So here's our best guess for now.
Yasmani Grandal
Manny Pina

Jesus Aguilar
Orlando Arcia
Hernan Perez
Travis Shaw
Cory Spangenberg
Eric Thames
Ryan Braun
Lorenzo Cain
Ben Gamel
Christian Yelich
Jhoulys Chacin
Chase Anderson
Zach Davies
Jimmy Nelson
Brandon Woodruff
Jeremy Jeffress
Corey Knebel
Josh Hader 
Alex Claudio
Matt Albers
Junior Guerra
Taylor Williams
Adrian Houser