Tyler Naquin and Luke Voit Head to the Milwaukee Brewers on Minor League Deals

Now that Spring Training in underway, time is running short for some of the leftover free agents to find homes. The Milwaukee Brewers took two of those off the market, as outfielder Tyler Naquin and first baseman Luke Voit inked Minor League deals with the team. Both are looking to make it on to a Major League roster in 2023 after rough campaigns a year ago.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Which teams have the best lineups?

A Look at Naquin

The 2022 campaign was not too kind for outfielder Tyler Naquin, who spent last season between the Reds and Mets. Naquin did get off to a decent start in Cincinnati, as the 31-year-old hit .255/.315/.460 over the first two months of the regular season. From there, though, things went south for the new Brewers outfielder. The ex-Red went down to a left quad strain in June, and failed to get back on track from there.

In total, Naquin hit .229/.282/.423 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs over 105 games. Naquin’s .282 OBP in 2022 was the lowest of his career in a single season.

Even though Naquin has been an aggressive hitter throughout his career, the 31-year-old has displayed good bat-to-ball skills in his career outside of 2022. A career. 264 hitter, Naquin saw his strikeout numbers jump last season, somewhat curious given how pitchers decided to attack him last year. Naquin saw more breaking balls in 2022 than in the past, but it actually was the fastball that threw him off. Naquin hit just .199 off the fastball last season, and saw his Whiff% on heaters go in the wrong direction by eight points.

A left-handed hitter with good pop and fielding ability in left field, Naquin could very provide some value for a team like the Brewers.

A Look at Voit

If Luke Voit hit the open market in 2020, one has to wonder what kind of contract the 32-year-old would have received. Voit cracked 22 home runs across 56 games for the Yankees in 2020, a total that led all of baseball that year.

Voit proved to be a highly valuable hitter for the Yankees from 2018-20, thanks to plus power and a penchant for working counts. Across his first three seasons in the Majors, the first baseman hit .278/.371/.541 with 58 home runs, 90 extra base hits, and 150 RBIs. Among players (307) with at least 600 PA between 2018-20, Voit owned the 12th-best OPS (.913) in baseball.

The last two seasons, though, have not been friendly to Voit. Voit deal with injuries in 2021, and lost the first base job when the Yankees acquired left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo in the summer of 2021. Voit started 2022 with the Padres, before being moved in the megadeal that sent Juan Soto to San Diego.

Between San Diego and Washington, Voit did tie his career-high in home runs (22), but only hit .226/.308/.402 over 135 games. Among qualified hitters, the first baseman recorded the ninth-worst Whiff% (37.6%) rate in MLB in 2022.

The 32-year-old still possesses very good power, but has become much more prone to swings-and-misses over the past two seasons. That’s to be somewhat expected for a power hitter with great bat speed, but it’s been too much of an issue in 2021 and 2022. Part of that could be attributed to the fact that Voit, traditionally a hitter with a disciplined approach at the plate, recorded below-average Chase% rates over the last two seasons.

What it Means

Both Naquin and Voit have proven to be valuable Major Leaguers over their careers, but both hit a rough patch last season. Given what each has shown at the MLB level, the Brewers have to think there’s a chance of a rebound for the two veterans. However, it won’t be easy for either to make it on the Brewers roster.

Let’s start off with Voit, who at his best can be a solid 1B/DH option that can pound on mistakes on work counts. That, however, has not been what the veteran first baseman has done in each of the last two seasons. With Rowdy Tellez and first and Jesse Winker likely starting the season at DH, Voit could slot in as a right-handed platoon hitter on days where either of those two need a day off.

Naquin, meanwhile, will look to crack an outfielder that already includes the aforementioned Winker, Christian Yelich, Tyrone Taylor, and new Brewers INF/OF Brian Anderson. Naquin is a solid fielder and possesses good arm strength, and has played all three outfield positions in his career. The 31-year-old could be a platoon option in right should the Brewers opt to carry Naquin and send Garrett Mitchell back down to the Minors to start 2023.

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