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.

One week in…

We are a week into minor league games and plenty to cover among the 4 levels of baseball in the Brewers’ system that are currently playing…

At AAA Colorado Springs, outfielder Michael Reed is off to a very strong start. Reed is hitting .346 with a .818 OPS through the first week. He’s 9-26 at the plate. Other notable names for the Sky Sox at the plate have been Garin Cecchini and Orlando Arcia. Cecchini is 6-19 at the plate while Arcia is 8-28. Surprisingly, only 2 home runs have been hit by the Sky Sox so far.

On the mound Zach Davies has made 2 starts, throwing 9 innings and allowing 6 hits and 2 ER while Junior Guerra has tossed 13 innings of 5 hit, 3 ER baseball. The Sky Sox are just 3-4 on the season.

AA Biloxi is enjoying a good start to the year. They are off to a 5-2 start and have been led by Brewers’ #2 prospect Brett Phillips. Phillips is 8-26 at the plate with 3 DBLs, 1 HR and 6 RBI. Nate Orf and Tyrone Taylor both have 7 hits for the Shuckers in the first week, while Jacob Nottingham leads the team with 2 home runs.

LHP Josh Hader has allowed just 1 earned run in 9 innings pitched so far in 2 starts. He’s certainly a special talent.

High A Brevard County is 2-5 in the Florida State League. While Clint Coulter is only hitting .143 at the plate, the former catcher turned outfielder showed off his strong arm this week in the video below:

RHP Bubba Derby has turned heads at Brevard County also as he threw 5.2 scoreless innings in his first start.
Class A Wisconsin has had challenges getting games in but still sits at 2-5 in the Midwest League. Isan Diaz has been the highlight for the Timber Rattlers as he’s hitting .381 with 4 DBLs, 1 HR and 5 RBI. The shortstop is slugging .714 on the season.

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Isan Diaz is making noise at Class A Wisconsin

 

With one week in the books plenty of the Brewers’ top prospects have picked up where they left off in the spring. Keep your eye right here as we continue to update their progress throughout the season.

Minor League Rosters set…

Always exciting to glimpse at the future and this week has provided us with Minor League assignments in the Brewers system. The system is full of premium talent and some of that talent is knocking on the Brewers’ door. Let’s start with AAA Colorado Springs and work our way down:

Sky Sox (AAA) – The headliner on the Sky Sox roster is definitely Orlando Arcia (Brewers #1 prospect and the #3 SS prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline). Also in Colorado will be “almost ready” arms like RHPs Zach Davies (#19 Brewers’ prospect) and Jorge Lopez (#3 Brewers’ prospect). Outfielder Michael Reed figures to be a factor in the outfield. Reed was called up in September last year after a fantastic season in Biloxi (.278/.379/.422) and is the Brewers’ #18 prospect. Also keep an eye on Damien Magnifico, the RHP has a plus fastball (perhaps the best in the system) and could really develop as a nice relief option down the road for the Crew. The roster is listed below.

Sky Sox Opening Roster – 2016

davies

Sky Sox RHP Zach Davies may be up in Milwaukee sooner than later.

With the injury to Matt Garza, Davies may be headed for Milwaukee soon.

In AA Biloxi, the prospect pool could be incredible again in 2016. Seven (7) of the Brewers’ top 30 prospects will begin the year in Biloxi.

The top names figure to be OF Brett Phillips (#8 outfield prospect in MiLB), LHP Josh Hader (#6 LHP prospect in MiLB) and Jacob Nottingham (#8 catching prospect in MiLB), all three were acquired in trades within the last year. Biloxi is a great example of why the Brewers’ system and talent pool has risen so much over this past off-season.

Shuckers Opening Roster – 2016

In High A Brevard County, the top names will be on the mound in the forms of LHP Kodi Medeiros and RHP Cody Ponce. Medeiros and Ponce are the 7th and 8th ranked Brewers’ prospects. Also in Brevard County is new RHP Bubba Derby. He’s been impressive since being acquired in February.

Manatees Opening Roster – 2016

The other incredibly intriguing club in 2016 will be just up the road in Appleton. The Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are chalk full of high-ceiling prospects that had strong springs. In total 5 of the top 30 Brewers’ prospects will begin in Appleton. The infield boasts #11 Brewers’ prospect Isan Diaz at SS and 3B Jake Gatewood (#24 prospect). The outfield is highlighted by #15 prospect Monte Harrison while on the mound, #20 prospect RHP Marcus Diplan is among the brightest stars.

Timber Rattlers Opening Roster – 2016

Other names, some of the youngest of the bunch, are not yet assigned. OF Trent Clark,  SS Gilbert Lara (#5 & #6 respectively) and OF Demi Orimoyole (#14) all are under 20 years of age and figure to be a big part of the future also.

Games will get underway starting tomorrow for most of the MiLB teams.

Strong spring for young hitters in system.

Monte Harrison has had two at bats in Major League Spring Training games this spring. He’s struck out both times. However, in yesterday’s contest against the Cleveland Indians, he hit a foul ball about 420 feet. He has power to go with that elite speed and it’s showing up.

Some of his highlights while playing primarily in the Class A games are:

3/19 – Solo HR

3/20 – 2 hits (1 DBL)

3/22 – 3 hits (1 DBL)

3/25 – HR, 3 runs scored

He’s been very good at the plate. Which is huge, considering that’s usually the last part to come along for young prospects like Harrison. He’s big, he can run and you don’t have to look at him twice to understand why he had almost every football program in America knocking down his door a couple of years ago. The best news? He looks to be just fine in his return from last year’s nasty ankle injury. His ceiling is very high and while he’s still a few years away – he’s going to be fun to follow as he works his way through the Brewers’ system. Harrison is currently the Brewers’ #15 prospect but if he can have a breakout year in 2016, I see him climbing not only the Brewers’ list, but the overall prospect list as well.

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Phillips has returned from an oblique injury

By the way Brewers’ #2 prospect Brett Phillips is finally getting some game action after dealing with an oblique issue earlier in camp. He has made his presence felt. On 3/27 Phillips homered and drove in 3 runs for the Biloxi Shuckers while he went 2-2 on 3/24. His arm strength is a major plus too. He’s much more than a unique laugh and he’ll prove it this year in my opinion.

Other bats that continue to impress are Jake Gatewood, Trent Clark, Demi Orimoyole and Isan Diaz. While Josh Hader (8 strikeouts in 4 perfect innings on 3/27), Cody Ponce and Bubba Derby have all been impressive on the mound.

 

Another day…more games!

The first day of minor league games is in the books and the Brewers organization enjoyed a great deal of success. Squaring off against the Reds farm system, the Brewers saw Colorado Springs tie Louisville 6-6, Biloxi defeat Pensacola 7-4, Brevard Country beat Dayton 10-9 and Wisconsin walk-off on Dayton 8-7.

Some of the Brewers’ top prospects played big roles in it as well:

AAA: #3 prospect Jorge Lopez tossed three scoreless frames.

AA: #10 prospect Jacob Nottingham proved he can do more than shatter his windshield with two doubles, two RBI and two walks.

jacob-nottingham-broken-windshield

Jacob Nottingham poses next to his car’s windshield, which he shattered himself during batting practice last week.

High A: #24 Jake Gatewood legged out two triples and #8 Cody Ponce threw four innings of one hit, shutout baseball.

Today is a match up with the White Sox and you can see the roster assignments here:Image-1 (002)

As you can see, there are some new names that have come across the parking lot at Maryvale. That’s because the Brewers announced some transactions earlier today:

RHP Zach Davies, RHP Junior Guerra, INF Garin Cecchini and 1B Andy Wilkins were all optioned to minor league camp while non-roster invitees RHP Hiram Burgos, RHP Daniel Tillman and C Adam Weisenburger were reassigned to minor league camp.

Burgos is starting for Colorado Springs today on the mound while Wilkins and Cecchini are at the corners.

A plethora of other prospects will be on the field today as well like #12 Tyrone Taylor in center field for Colorado Springs and #14 Demi Orimoloye in right field for Brevard County.

If you’re wondering why Brewers’ #2 prospect Brett Phillips hasn’t appeared yet? It’s due to that oblique injury that kept him from playing on the Major League side earlier in camp. The Brewers are mainly concerned with getting guys ready for the regular season right now and do not want to rush Phillips back.

Also if you want to follow the Brewers’ minor leaguers’ progress – I’d highly recommend following the official twitter feed of the Milwaukee Brewers Player Development Department (@BrewersPD).

 

Minor League Games Begin Today…

Welcome to a new era of the Minor Details blog! Thanks to Jeff Levering for his outstanding work on Minor Details over the past year plus. I only hope we can live up to the standard he’s set!

Today is the first day of Minor League games and the Brewers will be in action against the Cincinnati Reds farm system. Although the attached rosters are not “official” assignments for the upcoming season, you can get a good feel for where certain prospects will start on the minor league side. Today we’ll see RHP Jorge Lopez on the mound in the AAA game. Lopez opened camp with the big league squad, as he’s currently a member of the 40-man roster, but was optioned to minor league camp on Monday morning. Lopez went 12-5 with a 2.26 ERA last season at AA Biloxi while making 24 starts. He made two starts in September for the Brewers, notching his first victory at San Diego. He’s considered the Brewers #3 prospect. Also featured in the AAA game will be SS Orlando Arcia, the Brewers top prospect and the organization’s minor league player of the year in 2015. The rosters are featured below:

March 18th Minor League Rosters

March 18th Minor League Rosters

The AA game will feature catcher Jacob Nottingham who was reassigned from big league camp on Monday. The #10 Brewers’ prospect showed the ability to hit at the highest level during his time on the Major League side and the organization has said that his position will be behind the plate. No position change for the former Astros and Athletics farmhand that the Brewers acquired in the Khris Davis deal with Oakland. Another name to keep your eye on in the AA game will be Brewers’ #13 prospect Clint Coulter who is getting the start in RF.

The High A and A games also feature some intriguing prospects. High A will likely use #8 Brewers’ prospect RHP Cody Ponce, out of the bullpen, while also getting #21 RHP Bubba Derby onto the hill. The A squad will lead off Brewers’ #5 prospect Trent Clark in center field. Clark hit .310 for Helena in the Pioneer League last summer. The other names to watch in the A game are SS Isan Diaz and OF Monte Harrison. Diaz is currently the Brewers’ #11 prospect and has generated a big early buzz within the organization. Diaz was acquired in the deal that sent Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to Arizona which also returned to the Brewers Aaron Hill and Chase Anderson. Harrison is one of the best overall athletes in the Brewers’ system and is just getting healthy again. He’ll need to develop offensively but has the ability to be a difference maker as his approach continues to improve.

New Brewers Top 30 Revealed

A little under 48 hours before the Brewers first official Cactus League pitch, MLB.com unveiled an updated Top 30 prospects as well as its Top 10 Farm systems in all of baseball.

For this first time in a long time, the Brewers find themselves with the 9th best farm system in baseball according to a trio of baseball scribes, Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum.

With the flurry of moves by David Stearns and Co. in the offseason, Milwaukee has jumped up 20 spots in the rankings over the last two years, and 12 spots in the last 10 months alone.

The Brewers’ Top 30 Prospects list for 2016 features 20 homegrown players, including 11 in the top 15. Shortstop Orlando Arcia, MLBPipeline’s No. 6 overall prospect, headlines the club’s deep system this year, and he’s joined in the Top 100 by 2011 second-rounder Jorge Lopez (No. 57) and 2015 first-rounder Trent Clark (83).

The Brewers’ other two Top 100 representatives, outfielder Brett Phillips (No. 32) and left-hander Josh Hader (61), were both acquired from Houston in the trade of Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers in July, and the club also received right-hander Adrian Houser in the same swap. Milwaukee added a solid backend starter last July in Zach Davies, who came over from Baltimore in the Gerardo Parra trade, and then used the offseason to add high-ceiling talents such as catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-hander Bubba Derby (Khris Davis trade), shortstop Isan Diaz (Jean Segura trade) and right-hander Freddy Peralta (Adam Lind trade).

Over one-third (11) of the Brewers’ Top 30 could see time in the big leagues in 2016, and more impact prospects should debut in the subsequent years. It’s the type of system that should produce a steady influx of talent in Milwaukee, one that could have the Brewers back in contention ahead of schedule with not only one wave nearing the big leagues, but another in Low or High-A right behind (estimated to reach the Brewers by/in 2018).

The poll also graded out each prospects’ best tools (on a scale from 20-80):

Hit: Orlando Arica (60)
Power: Jacob Nottingham (55)
Run: Monte Harrison (60)
Arm: Brett Phillips (70)
Defense: Arcia (65)
Fastball: Damien Magnifico (70)
Curveball: Jorge Lopez (60)
Slider: Josh Hader (60)
Changeup: Zach Davies (65)
Control: Zach Davies (55)

The plan is in place and the future is VERY bright in the Brewers system. The Minor Details of today will be Major Factors tomorrow.

Baseball season is here again.

Enjoy!

Jeff
@JLevering4

Tuesday Tips

If you see one thing on the internet today, other than this post, watch this: The Rules of Wiffle Ball. Courtesy of Brewers pitcher Tim Dillard and a cameo from Cubs utility player, Ben Zobrist.

Enjoy, and be safe!

Oh, and position players report to Maryvale Wednesday, exactly one week away from the Brewers scrimmage with UW-Milwaukee. Cactus League play begins, for real, March 3rd with a split squad against the Cubs (at Maryavle) and Giants (in Scottsdale).

Jeff
@JLevering4

Khris Davis Dealt to Oakland

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Bubba Derby from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Khris Davis. Following this trade, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 39. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Jacob Nottingham, we are acquiring one of the premier catching prospects in baseball,” said Stearns. “Jacob has an advanced feel for hitting and has demonstrated consistent power throughout his minor-league career.”

Nottingham, who turns 21 on April 3, has been invited to Major League camp as a non-roster player. He is a career .284 hitter with 23 HR and 130 RBI in 211 games at the Rookie and Class-A levels (2013-15).

Originally selected by Houston in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Nottingham was dealt to Oakland this past July 23 as part of a trade for left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir. In 2015, he batted a combined .316 with 33 doubles, 17 HR and 82 RBI in 119 games between Class-A Quad Cities (Houston), Class-A Lancaster (Houston) and Class-A Stockton (Oakland). He was named to both the Midwest League’s midseason and postseason All-Star teams while at Quad Cities.

“In acquiring Bubba Derby, we continue to add to our prospect pitching depth,” said Stearns. “In his first professional season, Bubba had one of the best performances of any lower-level pitcher. We are excited to add him and Jacob to our organization.”

Bowdien “Bubba” Derby, who turns 22 on February 24, went 1-1 with a sterling 1.21 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) during his first professional season between the Rookie Arizona Athletics (2gs) and Class-A Vermont (12g/8gs). He held opponents to a .183 batting average with 47 strikeouts in just 37.1 innings.

Davis, 28, batted .250 with 60 HR and 162 RBI in 321 career games with the Brewers (2013-15), including .247 with 27 HR and 66 RBI in 121 games last season. He was selected by Milwaukee in the seventh round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Prior to today’s trade, David Stearns already acquired a number of highly-regarded prospects during his first offseason as general manager of the Brewers, including 2015 Pioneer League Most Valuable Player – shortstop Isan Diaz (Jean Segura trade), infielder Javier Betancourt (Francisco Rodriguez trade), right-handed pitcher Trey Supak (Jason Rogers trade) and right-handed pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta (Adam Lind trade).

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