Day 2 Draft Update…

The Brewers finished up the 2nd day of the draft and added a handful of college pitchers to their stable.

After wrapping up the first day with Puerto Rico product Mario Feliciano, a catcher that is very highly regarded as a hitter at the plate and has good athleticism according to scouting reports, the Brewers made 8 selections on Friday.

The organization opened Friday with three straight college arms. RHPs Braden Webb of South Carolina in the 3rd round, Corbin Burnes of St. Mary’s in the 4th round, and Zack Brown of Kentucky in the 5th round.

VP of Amateur Scouting Ray Montgomery seemed to be very excited that all three were available when the Brewers were selecting. Brown is an intriguing arm, a big fastball and the potential to have a plus breaking ball, but really struggled this season in the SEC pitching to an ERA of 6.08. He had a strong sophomore campaign in 2015 though, when he pitched to a 3.48 on Friday nights for the Wildcats.

The 6th round saw the Brewers take a high school catcher from Utah in Payton Henry. He has very good power potential. Henry will be blessed with, just like Feliciano, the ability to work with Brewers catching instructor Charlie Greene. Jonathan Lucroy told me today that Greene is the best there is and both of these young guys will have a great chance to develop in the system.

The Brewers went back to a college arm in the 7th with LHP Daniel Brown from Mississippi State. Brown has good stuff from the left side with low-to-mid 90s fastball and good natural movement on his pitches. He’s under 6 foot, so he may eventually end up in the bullpen. But it’s quality arm, no doubt.

The Brewers then added to their already deep pool of prospects in the middle infield with HS short stop Francisco Thomas and East Tennessee State 2B Trey York.

With the final pick of day 2, the Brewers selected another college LHP in Rice’s Blake Fox. If anything, he has the coolest pick off move in history.

Fox is a big guy at 6-4, 225. That frame says starting pitcher, at least to begin for Fox. He pitched to a 2.72 this past season in 16 starts. Fox played for one of the all-time greats in Wayne Graham at Rice, so you know his baseball IQ is high.

Day 3 tomorrow will conclude the draft. The Brewers seem to be getting high marks for their selections so far.

Brewers select 3B Lucas Erceg with #46

The Brewers have made their 2nd selection of the MLB amateur draft tonight and it’s 3B Lucas Erceg from Menlo College. Erceg had good power numbers in college and began his career playing for Dave Esquer at Cal. He transferred to NAIA Menlo College for his 3rd season.

Erceg’s power and arm make him a nice piece as a corner infielder.

Brewers select Corey Ray at #5

The Milwaukee Brewers selected Louisville outfielder Corey Ray with the 5th pick of the MLB amateur draft. Ray is a centerfielder that has plus speed and hit for power (15 home runs) while playing in the always tough ACC. He is a Chicago kid that has struck up a close relationship with Mets’ right fielder Curtis Granderson, whom he says has helped mentor him on and off the field. The Brewers’ really like his overall makeup and have continued a trend of acquiring “up the middle” talent. Ray will play center field in the Brewers’ system. Ray is also very determined to be a great defender, “I’m guaranteeing that I will work as hard as I possible can to become an elite defender,” he said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday night. All in all, this is a very exciting pick and adds to a now very talented crop of prospects in the outfield within the Brewers’ organization (Brett Phillips, Trent Clark, Monte Harrison, David Denson, Michael Reed and others). Two more picks for the Brewers yet tonight. Stay tuned.

 

Draft Day.

Today is the first day of the Amateur Draft and it is always an exciting time around ever organization. The Brewers have 3 picks today, #5, #46 & #75. Hard to tell which direction the Brewers will go with the #5 pick as plenty can happen in the first 4 ahead of them. I talked with GM David Stearns earlier this week and he told me that the top priority is and will be to acquire the best overall talent available. Forecasting need is very challenging when you are drafting for 3-5 years down the road.

This is Stearns’ first draft at the top of the baseball operations for the Brewers. He’s very excited about it and will have plenty of help in the room. Assistant GM Matt Arnold and VP of Amateur Scouting Ray Montgomery & his staff have all been preparing for these next few days for a LONG time.

Last year’s first round pick, Trent Clark, hit his first home run last night for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Clark just came back from injury and wasted little time to make his presence felt. 2014’s 1st round pick Kodi Medeiros has battled some back issues for much of this season at Class A Advanced Brevard County. I had a chance to visit with him at Space Coast Stadium last month and his spirits were high and he is very confident that he is on the right track.

Here’s a primer from MLB.com on the draft:

MLB Draft Projections

 

All-Stars.

All-Star teams have been announced in the Southern League (AA), Florida State League (A Advanced) and the Midwest League (A). The Brewers are well represented at all levels.

Southern League selections from Biloxi were:

1B Garrett Cooper, LHP Josh Hader (recently promoted to AAA Colorado Springs), C  Jacob Nottingham, LHP Stephen Peterson, OF Brett Phillips and OF Kyle Wren.

Florida State League selections from Brevard County were:

OF Johnny Davis, C Dustin Houle, SS Angel Ortega and RHP Brandon Woodruff (recently promoted to AA Biloxi)

Midwest League selections from Wisconsin were:

RHP David Burkhalter, OF David Denson, SS Isan Diaz, RHP Marcos Diplan, 3B Jake Gatewood, C Mitch Ghelfi, C Max McDowell and RHP Freddy Peralta.

Additional Notes:

In AA, Jacob Nottingham has a 6-game hitting streak. He’s 9-23 going into Wednesday night’s games during that streak. He’s also hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games and sports a batting average of .315 since May.

In A, Blake Allemand has reached base in 19 consecutive games. He’s hitting .458 during this stretch that at one time included going 8-8 at the plate.

 

 

Every day on Arcia…

Seems like we could provide an update daily on Brewers’ top prospect Orlando Arcia. Here’s a great piece by Josh Jackson of MiLB.com on the short stop’s season and development so far:

MiLB article on Orlando Arcia

By the way, Arcia collected a double last night to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

Catching up…

It’s been a big last week for the Brewers’ farm system. So big, that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the hardware.

Orlando Arcia collected his Rawlings Gold Glove a few days ago for his stellar defense last season at AA Biloxi.

Arcia

Arcia displays his hardware

Defensively, he’s as good of a prospect as there is out there. The short stop has great natural instincts, a strong arm and outstanding range. What’s more though, is that Arcia has made great strides offensively this season and has handled the jump to AAA with relative ease. That was probably one of the remaining questions in regard to the super prospect. Could he handle pitches that were “in” and could he lay off some of the off-speed and secondary pitches that are more prevalent, even in hitter’s counts, in AAA and eventually at the Major League level. I’ve been able to talk with Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet about this and he feels Arcia has done well with it. Brewers’ GM David Stearns agrees and seems very pleased with the 21-year old, who’s currently sporting a 9-game hitting streak with an average hovering around .300.

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Gatewood was the Midwest League Player of the Week

Last week, Jake Gatewood was awarded the Midwest League Player of the Week for Wisconsin. He’s been on quite a roll. He hadn’t hit a home run through the first month of the season, but the weather has improved and along with it, so has Gatewood’s power. He has 5 HRs since May 4th. The 3B prospect has raised his average to the .270 range and is also doing some things defensively. This is an encouraging development.

Also in Appleton, 2015 First Round Pick Trent Clark has started his season and has reached in all 7 contests he’s played in so far. He’s drawn 11 walks in 7 games and also has collected 4 doubles in that time frame. Clark looks to be as advertised so far.

On the mound in Colorado Springs, Jorge Lopez has had better results in his last two starts. He’s combined for 11 innings, 6 hits and 2 earned runs. He’s lowered his ERA by almost 3.

I’m currently in Brevard County and had a chance to talk with many prospects yesterday. One of the names that came up the most though was recently promoted Brandon Woodruff (AA Biloxi) – everyone raved about Woodruff’s stuff and the belief that he has a chance to be special. Woodruff was 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA before being called up.

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LHP Zach Hirsch pitched 3 hitless/scoreless frames on Monday night for the Manatees

The Manatees sports some impressive arms even without Woodruff. Recently promoted Jon Perrin, Kodi Medeiros, Cody Ponce & Bubba Derby all figure to be risers through the Brewers organization over the next few years. I also talked with outfielder Johnny Davis and he’s one of the most interesting stories for the Brewers’ affiliates. He’s 26 and hadn’t really played much baseball until a few years ago. Davis has elite speed and is doing really good things at the plate. His age will work against him in the eyes of publications and prospect rankings. However, he’s a confident guy that still has a high ceiling. He should be an interesting one to watch.

Hader continues to rise.

Great story on MiLB.com today on Brewers’ LHP prospect Josh Hader. He’s off to a tremendous start at AA Biloxi and his development continues. You’ll learn a lot about what makes him so difficult for hitters to square up and get an idea of just how big his upside is. Good stuff from Sam Dykstra here:

MiLB’s Toolshed on Josh Hader

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Keep in mind, Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun mentioned in Spring Training that Hader’s overall makeup reminded him of Chris Sale. Pretty high praise. If Hader can get his pitch count down and learn how to work longer into games and eat more innings, he could be a rapid riser though the Brewers’ system.

They call him Maverick.

Brett Phillips is an exciting prospect with a great laugh. That much has been established. However, he’s also proving to have that infectious personality that will play well with fans when he makes it to the big leagues. It seems wherever he goes, he does something that is “vine-worthy” or “gif-able.” He made news again this week.

Yes, although Phillips went 0-5 in the game, he made news. He goes by the nickname “Maverick” and it seems to fit. He’s a character.

Oh by the way, he’s a pretty special player too. He has one of, if not the best, outfield arms in the Brewers’ system. He’s got some pop in his bat and good speed. He’s currently hitting .254 at AA Biloxi as he’s cooled down a bit in the last few weeks after a very hot start. His .354 OBP and his .720 OPS are solid and it’s a good bet that he’ll continue to push for his numbers up over the summer. He’ll definitely have a story to tell though. This was his 2nd run in with an opossum in his career.

The Rest of the Story

By the way, Biloxi continues to be one of the top teams in MiLB this year sitting at 15-6 currently. It’s a team full of prospects and a handful of them could be with the Brewers in the next 2-3 years. Should be a fun group to follow for the on-field play and personalities.

 

 

Arcia Shows Why He’s Highly Regarded.

Orlando Arcia is continuing to show why he’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His 3-run walk off home run on Wednesday for Colorado Springs was his first home run at the Triple A level. Remember, Arcia is the 2nd youngest position player in the PCL and is more regarded for his ability to defend and hit for average than his ability to hit for power.

The shortstop won’t turn 22 until August but is well beyond his years defensively as evidenced by a leaping catch in the video below.

He has tremendous range, reflexes and instincts.
And while Arcia has yet to steal a base this season, he has stolen 56 bases in the last two seasons at High A Brevard County and AA Biloxi. He can run.
He’s currently slashing .265/.309/.367 with an OPS of .676 – which isn’t earth shattering from a numbers standpoint. However, it’s very early and he only has 49 at bats so far. Those numbers could change significantly over the next few weeks with just a couple of big games. He’s certainly shown that AAA has not been an overwhelming jump for him. It will be fun to watch his progress over the course of the spring & summer. Arcia is a gem in the Brewers’ very healthy farm system.
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