Brewers outfielder Tyrone Taylor will miss at least the first month of the season, manager Craig Counsell announced to reporters this morning (Twitter link via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). Taylor underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sprained right elbow and will be shut down from all baseball activity for at least the next three weeks. That’ll wipe out the majority, if not all of the remainder of spring training for the 29-year-old, and he’ll need to build back up to game readiness whenever he’s cleared.
Heading into camp, Taylor looked assured of a roster spot on the heels of last season’s .233/.286/.442 batting line. While the batting average and OBP marks left plenty to be desired, Taylor connected on 17 home runs in just 405 plate appearances, adding in 21 doubles, three triples and three steals as well. Defensively, he was excellent, logging time at all three slots and turning in collectively positive grades in Defensive Runs Saved (6), Ultimate Zone Rating (2.0) and Outs Above Average (6).
Taylor was also slated to be perhaps the lone right-handed bat in the Brewers’ outfield mix. Left fielder Christian Yelich, center fielder Garrett Mitchell and corner outfielder/designated hitter Jesse Winker all bat from the left side of the dish, as does top prospect Sal Frelick, who tore through three minor league levels in 2022 and now sits on the cusp of the big leagues.
With Taylor sidelined, the Brewers have several options they can explore. Third baseman Brian Anderson could wind up logging more time in right field than initially planned, with Luis Urias manning third base on a regular basis as prospect Brice Turang steps up as the primary option at second base. Milwaukee could also run Winker and Yelich in the corners more regularly, freeing up some extra DH at-bats that would perhaps allow non-roster invitee Luke Voit to make the club. Switch-hitting Blake Perkins, who signed a Major League deal over the winter despite never having appeared in the big leagues, could get a longer look as a possible outfield option, too, given that he’s on the 40-man roster.
Others in camp who stand an increased chance of making the club with Taylor sidelined for at least a month include Tyler Naquin, prospect Joey Wiemer and minor league veterans Skye Bolt and Monte Harrison. All four of Naquin, Wiemer, Bolt and Harrison are non-roster invitees this spring, and all but the lefty-swinging Naquin would give the Brewers another right-handed bat to balance the outfield. (Bolt is a switch-hitter.)
If the Brewers want to look outside the organization, the eventual trade and waiver markets will surely offer some options. It seems unlikely that a month-plus without Taylor would prompt the Brewers to make a relatively large splash for Jurickson Profar, the top remaining free agent. Albert Almora also remains unsigned, and he could be an alternative to add to camp on a potential non-roster deal. Like Taylor, he’s a 29-year-old righty bat capable of playing all three outfield spots.
It’s been a tough start to camp for the Brewers from a health vantage point. Milwaukee will be without left-hander Aaron Ashby until at least mid-May as he works his way through shoulder fatigue, and right-hander Jason Alexander — one of their depth options in the rotation — will also be out for at least a month with shoulder troubles.