CHICAGO — The day began with a Wrigley Field tradition. The Brewers rookies, dressed in full uniform, crossed the street for coffee and returned with enough caffeine to kill a billy goat.
“He has lived for this moment since he was little. Since I could lift a bat,” said Nicole Wiemer, Joey’s mother, who braved the cold and rain before the game so she could see her son throw the first pitch she’s seen in the majors for a double in the game’s win. the Brewers 3-1. about the Cubs.
“For him,” said Joe Wiemer Sr., “there are definitely no butterflies. That kid is ready for this.”
In truth, the Brewers weren’t so sure when spring training began if Wiemer was ready for this. The 24-year-old is the No. 3 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, the No. 90 prospect in baseball, but he wasn’t supposed to compete for the Opening Day roster. That changed because of Tyrone Taylor’s elbow injury and fellow prospect Sal Frelick’s participation in the World Baseball Classic, which created a mountain of Cactus League at-bats for Wiemer. He impressed with strong contact, speed on the bases and proficiency at all three outfield positions, and remained in major league contention until the day before the Brewers called camp.
Ultimately, the club assigned him to Triple-A Nashville, but Wiemer never played there. Brewers infielder Luis Urías suffered a severe left hamstring strain on Opening Day that was diagnosed Friday afternoon, around the same time Wiemer was stopped by Sounds manager Rick Sweet. , en route to the batting cage in Nashville.
“Where are you going?” Sweet asked.
Wiemer replied that he was going to bat.
“Don’t do that,” Sweet said. “You’re headed to Chicago.”
Wiemer immediately called his father, who was driving from the family home in Michigan to Nashville. It was a short conversation.
“Stop,” Joey told his dad. “I’m going to Chicago.”
“Click,” Joe Sr. said, grinning. “That was it.”
Your son has always been a little unorthodox. Wiemer’s favorite player growing up was also the player he would be compared to coming out of the University of Cincinnati in 2020: gangly outfielder Hunter Pence. The Brewers took Wiemer in the fourth round that year and he hit 48 home runs and posted an .872 OPS in his first two professional seasons.
Wiemer’s uniqueness is one of Brewers manager Craig Counsell’s favorite things about the guy.
“It just looks different,” Counsell said. “It’s not quiet, clean and smooth, it’s just the way it does it. But he’s still a hitter and I think he has a good foundation to be a good offensive player. He’s entertaining to watch, really, because he looks different. And you celebrate it.”
Wiemer had little to say Saturday morning as he made his way to the clubhouse. When asked how he dealt with the temporary disappointment of not making the major league team after spring training, he said: “Just stay where my feet are. I thought there was a chance, it didn’t end up happening, life goes on. It happened pretty fast.”
And when asked what was going through his mind now that he achieved it, he said: “A lot. Just emotion. Ready to go.”
To hear from his family and friends, Wiemer’s rise comes as no surprise. Joe Sr. had expected his son to make it to the big leagues since he was five, playing with kids twice his age on a 10U team that won a city championship.
“To give you an idea of Joey’s mentality,” Nicole said, “when he went to the Cape (Cod League) in college, it was as a substitute. When I found out, I said, ‘Well, what if you’re not on the team and you have to come home?’ He was like, ‘Mom, I’ll be fine.’ And he made the team of the stars ”.
“He doesn’t lack confidence,” said Joe Sr.
The younger Wiemer says he learned his work ethic from his father, an electrician, and his mother, a respiratory technician. That followed him into college, where he played alongside Dondrae Bremner, Paul Komistek, Beau Keathley and Sean McLaughlin, all of whom were in the stands Saturday.
“We knew it was going to happen sooner or later,” said Komistek, Wiemer’s college roommate and also a gardener.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for the last two years,” Bremner said. “That the day is finally here, it’s incredible. … We’re more surprised by the timing of it, two days ago it was Opening Day and he said he was going to start in Nashville. Now we are here in Chicago. It’s unreal.”