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).

Brewers Trade with AZ; Segura headed to D-Backs

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, infielder Aaron Hill, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Chase Anderson and Aaron Hill, we are adding two proven Major League contributors who will impact our team this year,” said Stearns. “Chase is a young starting pitcher who has already enjoyed success at the Major League level. Aaron has a long history of production and positional versatility. In addition, we are excited to be able to add Isan Diaz to our growing supply of high upside minor-league talent.”

Anderson, 28, owns a career Major League record of 15-13 with a 4.18 ERA in 48 starts, including 6-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 starts for the Diamondbacks last season. He was selected by Arizona in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and tied the Mets’ Jacob deGrom for the most wins by a National League rookie in 2014 (21 starts, 9-7, 4.01 ERA).

Hill, 33, is a veteran of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with Toronto (2005-11) and Arizona (2011-15). The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2009, 2012) and former American League All-Star (2009) is a career .268 hitter with 151 HR, 650 RBI and 70 stolen bases in 1,400 games (116 games, .230, 6 HR, 39 RBI in 2015). Throughout his career, the versatile Hill has started games at second base (1,148), third base (72), shortstop (61) and designated hitter (39).

Some of Hill’s best work at the plate has come at Miller Park, where he owns a batting average of .429 (18-for-42) with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 10 career games. Hill hit for the cycle against the Brewers on June 29, 2012 at Miller Park, his first game at this venue.

Diaz, 19, completed his second professional season in 2015 as he batted .360 with 13 HR, 51 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 68 games at Rookie Missoula. He earned Pioneer League Most Valuable Player honors as he led the league in doubles (25), slugging percentage (.640), total bases (174) and extra-base hits (44) while ranking among the top five in the circuit in hits (2nd, 98), runs (2nd, 58), home runs (T2nd), batting average (3rd), RBI (3rd), on-base percentage (3rd, .436) and triples (T-5th, 6).

Segura, 25, batted .266 with 23 HR, 144 RBI and 96 stolen bases in four seasons with the Brewers (2012-15). A National League All-Star in 2013, he batted .257 with 6 HR, 50 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 142 games last season.

Wagner, 25, was selected by Milwaukee in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut last season as he started three games for the Brewers (his first coming on May 31 vs. Arizona), going 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA. Wagner owns a career record in the minor leagues of 35-23 with a 2.95 ERA in 91 games, including 88 starts.

David Stearns and Prospect Rankings

48 hours ahead of Brewers On Deck, General Manager David Stearns jumped on the MLB Trade Rumors podcast to chat about the busy offseason in Milwaukee, the first in the “Stearns Era”.

You can hear that full conversation below:

We mentioned a “busy offseason”. That has not changed even with just a couple weeks to do until pitchers/catchers report to Maryvale.

Yesterday, the Brewers made yet another trade acquiring OF Rymer Liriano, who had been DFA’d by San Diego last week. The Padres received left-handed reliever Trevor Seidenberger Friday for the 24-year-old Liriano, who ranked among MLB.com’s top 60 prospects three years ago and is now out of options. He is strikeout-prone (752 whiffs in 738 career Minor League games) but is a career .277 hitter in seven pro seasons while manning all three outfield positions. He made his big league debut in 2014.

Stearns said of Liriano, “We believe [Liriano] is someone who adds to our outfield depth. He is out of options, so he will come to Spring Training and compete for a spot on the team. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions, so that versatility will help him.”

At Triple-A El Paso last season, Liriano batted .292 with a .383 on-base percentage, 14 home runs and 18 stolen bases.

Seidenberger was a 12th-round pick in 2013. He was 5-2 with 4.07 ERA in 30 games out of the bullpen in Brevard County and Biloxi with 5 saves. Opponents hit just .203 with 48 strike outs in 48.2 innings.

In a more “away from the spotlight” move, the Brewers inked a pair of lefties in Chris Capuano and Cesar Jimenez. Both signed minor league deals and will be non-roster invites to major league spring training. They could provide left handed depth in the bullpen behind Will Smith. Capuano more of a long reliever (spot starter) and Jimenez a situational and long relief candidate.

Prospect Rankings

‘Tis the season for baseball prognosticators to come up with more prospect rankings. And, with all the wheeling and dealing by former GM Doug Melvin and now Stearns, the Brewers system is one of the most highly rated in the game.

Baseball Prospectus came up with their top 101. The Brewers have four players listed in the top 101:

SS Orlando Arcia (#12 overall, #3 shortstop) – 21 years old
OF Brett Philips (#61 overall, #17 Outfielder) – 22 years old
RHP Jorge Lopez (#71 overall, #22 righty) – 23 years old
OF Trent Clark (#99 overall, #28 outfielder) – 19 years old

MLB Pipeline will unveil its own Top 100 Friday, but has already featured positional rankings. Similar players (Arcia #3 SS, Phillips #9 OF) are among the top 10’s with LHP Josh Hader (#6 LHP) joining the talented Arcia/Phillips Duo.

Prospect rankings are always fun to haggle over, kind of like Oscar nominations and subsequent snubs (touchy subject these days, I’m told).

That’s it for me for today. If you’re coming to Brewers on Deck this weekend, please feel free to come by and say hello! A new Brewers On Tap Podcast will be coming next week after this weekend’s festivities as well.

Get ready, Opening Day is only 66 days away!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Brewers Announce Minor League Coaching Staffs

The Milwaukee Brewers announced their Minor League coaching staffs for the 2016 season. In addition, the team announced several changes to the team’s Player Development department.

Eduardo Brizuela has been promoted to assistant farm director after spending the previous three years as director of Latin America scouting and operations. In his new role, Brizuela will be based out of the Brewers Maryvale, Arizona complex year-round. Tom Flanagan was named the Brewers’ new Farm Director back in November.

In addition to his duties as Assistant to Director, Player Development, Tony Diggs will add the title of roving outfield coordinator. Diggs will continue his role as manager as well, but will move from Rookie Helena to Rookie Arizona. This marks his return to the team that he managed from 2008-12, which included an Arizona League championship in 2010.

The entire coaching staff at Triple-A Colorado Springs will return for a second straight season. The team will be managed by Rick Sweet and will be joined by Pitching Coach Fred Dabney, Coach Bob Skube, Athletic Trainer Aaron Hoback and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Andrew Emmick.

The Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, who advanced to the Southern League Championship Series in their first year of play, will have a new manager. Former Brewers First Base Coach Mike Guerrero will lead the Shuckers in 2016. This marks his return to the Double-A level, where he served as manager of the Huntsville Stars from 2010-11. Pitching Coach Chris Hook, Coach Sandy Guerrero, Athletic Trainer Steve Patera and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Nate Dine will all return to the staff.

Joe Ayrault returns for his fifth season as manager of the Class-A Brevard County Manatees. He is joined by Pitching Coach David Chavarria, Coach Ned Yost IV, Athletic Trainer Tommy Craig and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jonah Mergen, who are all returning. Edwin Maysonet joins the staff as the newest coach. He retired from playing at the end of last season after spending 12 seasons in the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers systems. Maysonet reached the Major Leagues in 2008 and 2009 with the Astros and played 30 games for the Brewers in 2012.

There will be three new members on the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers staff next season. Manager Matt Erickson will return for his sixth season along with Pitching Coach Gary Lucas, Coach Chuckie Caufield and Athletic Trainer Jeff Paxson. Coach Al Leboeuf moves from the Rookie Arizona Brewers to take the same position with the Timber Rattlers. Ben Mendelson joins the T-Rats as the strength & conditioning specialist. He previously served in the same role with the Arizona League Brewers last year.

The Helena Brewers will feature an entirely new staff in 2016. The team will be led by Manager Nestor Corredor, who served as the Arizona Brewers Manager last season. He is joined by Pitching Coach Mark Dewey, who also serves as the Brewers assistant pitching coordinator, and Coach Liu Rodriguez, who served as coach for Wisconsin in 2015. Reggie Williams joins the staff as a coach after serving in the same role for Brevard County last year. Jeff Bodenhamer will become the team’s athletic trainer. This will be his first season with the Brewers after spending the previous 11 seasons in the Texas Rangers organization. Alistair Matthews rounds out the staff as the strength and conditioning specialist. He served in the same role with the DSL Brewers in 2015.

Rolando Valles and Steve Cline will join Tony Diggs’ staff as pitching coaches at Rookie Arizona. Valles joins the Arizona crew in Maryvale as pitching coach after serving in the same position with Helena last season, while Cline will return for his 16th season with the team. The team will feature Coach Hainley Statia, who joins the team after retiring from playing following last season. Statia played 10 seasons professionally with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Brewers. Matt Deal has been named the Arizona Brewers athletic trainer. Deal spent the 2015 season with the DSL Brewers and was an athletic training intern with the Major League club in 2014.

Victor Estevez moves from coach to manager and will lead the DSL Brewers in 2016. He is flanked by Pitching Coach Geraldo Obispo and returning Coaches Luis de los Santos and Joan Abreu. Jose Pena will move from manager to coach. Alex Mena returns as the team’s athletic trainer for the second straight season and will be joined by new Strength and Conditioning Specialist Sam Hoffman.

Rule 5 Draft Results; Garin Cecchini coming to Milwaukee

Big day in the Brewers system as the Winter Meetings close in Nashville.

We’ll start with the Rule 5 Draft:

Second baseman Colin Walsh was selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Nashville roster of the Oakland Athletics. Walsh, 26, batted .302 with 39 doubles, 13 HR, 49 RBI and 124 walks in 134 games at Double-A Midland in 2015. The switch hitter played at Stanford University and was originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round of the 2010 First-Year Draft. Walsh also has nearly 100 games played in the outfield and another 50 at third base.

Right-handed pitcher Zach Jones was selected in the second round of the Major League phase off the Triple-A Rochester of the Minnesota Twins. Jones, 25, went 5-4 with a 4.18 ERA and 12 saves in 45 relief appearances between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga this past season. He struck out 68 batters over 51.2 innings, but also issued 28 walks (18 in 27 Double-A innings). Opponents have hit just .182 against Jones over his minor league career. Jones played at San Jose State and was originally drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Left-handed pitcher Mitch Lambson was selected in the first round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Mississippi roster of the Atlanta Braves. Lambson, 25, appeared with four teams between the Houston Astros organization and the Braves organization in 2015. He was 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 40 relief appearances between Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Fresno, Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi last year. He was traded from the Astros to the Braves organization on July 6, 2015. In five minor-league seasons, Lambson owns a 20-14 record with a 2.72 ERA in 166 relief appearances. He was originally selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft (a direct link to Brewers GM David Stearns).

Right-handed pitcher Kender Villegas was selected in the second round of the Triple-A phase off the Double-A Springfield roster of the St. Louis Cardinals. Villegas, 22, appeared in 30 games (1 start) and went 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA across three levels in the Cardinals organization (Class-A Palm Beach, Class-A Peoria and Class-A State College in 2015). He was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free-agent on May 13, 2010 out of Venezuela.

Milwaukee also pulled off a trade with the Red Sox for third baseman Garin Cecchini in exchange for cash considerations. The former top prospect in the Boston system was recently designated for assignment.

Cecchini, 25 next April, will provide the Brewers with an option at third base or first base (just began playing the position last season), where they’re quite thin on MLB-ready talent after the Adam Lind trade Wednesday. The 2010 fourth-rounder has received 40 plate appearances in Boston over the past two seasons and batted .229, but his bat never really came around in two seasons at the Triple-A level. Viewed as a consensus top 100 prospect heading into the 2014 season, Cecchini has batted just .238/.314/.333 in two seasons at the top minor league level.



I was the broadcaster in Pawtucket during the 2014 season, Cecchini’s first in Triple-A. He came into that season lauded as one of the best players, not only in the Red Sox system, but in all of baseball. And why not, he was coming off a year where he led ALL OF BASEBALL with a .443 OBP, had 47 extra base hits and combined to hit .322 splitting the season between High-A and Double-A.

His swing, like in the clips you saw in the above, is what you’ll see a lot of. A smooth, inside-out, line drive swing that goes from line to line. He had 33 doubles in 2013, but has only 35 over his last two seasons combined.

He will run into a few homers (7 in each of last 3 years), but his swing is better suited to spray liners down the lines in into gaps.


And he has some sneaky speed only being caught 18 times in 124 career attempts.

2015 was a tough year, and he’d be the first to tell you that. He hit just .213 and struck out 100 times for the first time in his career. To be fair, the Red Sox shifted him to the outfield midway through the 2014 season maybe taking his focus away from his offense. In 2015, Boston added a first baseman’s mitt to his bag; not an easy transition mid-season for a second straight year.

But, even before the Sox tried to make Cecchini more versatile, he was never going to win a gold glove. He’s an average third baseman with above average range, a decent arm and a throwing motion that has a little hitch in it.

Infield work:



And a look at his outfield play:

No matter where he is on the field, he works tirelessly at his craft. Cecchini was the first one in the door, and the last to leave. The Pawtucket infield coach in 2014 went through two fungo bats because of all the ground balls “Cheech” took at third.

Despite his defensive deficiencies, deemed by some industry sources, he can still swing the bat. But, more importantly, he is genuinely a good person. One that Milwaukee would embrace in a heart beat should he have the opportunity to play at Miller Park.

Finally, he’s got a great story about how he became so accomplished in the game he loves, not only because his dad was his high school coach….but so was his mom.

Welcome to the Brewers, Garin. Looking forward to catching up in the spring!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Adam Lind Traded to Seattle for Three Prospects

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns at Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN.

“We are excited to add three young starting pitchers, all under 20 years old, to our minor-league system,” said Stearns. “All three possess quality arms with an advanced feel for the strike zone. We wish Adam well and appreciate his contributions to the 2015 Brewers.”

Missaki, 19, went 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts at Class-A Clinton in 2015. He walked only five batters in 34.1 innings pitched while producing 34 strikeouts. Opponents batted .244. His season was cut short as he underwent “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow in May. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on May 6, 2013, Missaki owns a career record of 7-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 24 games, including 20 starts, with opponents batting .236. He has recorded 111 strikeouts in just 106.0 innings pitched while issuing only 26 walks over his three seasons in the minor leagues.

Missaki, who was born in Japan before moving to Brazil as a young child, participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for Team Brazil, appearing in one game (0.1ip on March 5 vs. China). At 16 years old, he was the youngest player in the tournament that year.

Herrera, 18, spent his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League and went 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 14 starts. He limited opponents to a .228 batting average with 13 walks and 73 strikeouts in 80.0 innings pitched. He posted a 1.85 ERA over his final five starts of the season, going 2-1. Herrera was signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2014.

Peralta, 19, went 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 11 games (9 starts) with the Rookie Arizona Mariners in 2015. He walked only eight batters in 57.0 innings pitched while producing 67 strikeouts (second in the Arizona League). Opponents batted .242. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on April 18, 2013, Peralta has gone 6-12 with a 3.58 ERA in 36 games (31 starts) over three minor-league seasons. He has held opponents to a .239 batting average with 47 walks and 158 strikeouts in 163.1 innings pitched.

Lind, 32, batted .277 with 20 HR and 87 RBI in 149 games during his only season with the Brewers. He made 135 starts (134g at 1B, 1g at DH). Lind was acquired by Milwaukee on November 1, 2014 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada. He is a career .274 hitter with 166 HR and 606 RBI in 1,102 games with Toronto (2006-14) and Milwaukee (2015).

More Accolades for Brewers Farmhands

Yes, the Winter Meetings in Nashville are underway and the Brewers are surrounded by a flurry of rumors.

BUT, before anything official happens, the Arizona Fall League announced its 2015 Top Prospects Team earlier today. Selected by Fall League managers and coaches, the Top Prospects Team recognized players who distinguished themselves throughout the league’s six-week schedule against other top prospects from every organization in Major League Baseball. Voters were asked to consider Fall League performance and major-league projectability. Two Brewers farmhands highlighted the list.

SS Yadiel Rivera, who won the Fall League’s prestigious Stenson Award , had a number of key contributions to the Surprise Saguaros, but here are just a few of his highlights:

– Key player in Surprise’s West Division title and appearance in the league championship game
– Ranked fourth in the AFL in stolen bases (7-tie) and fifth in on-base percentage (.405)
– Hit .315 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 11 RBI, 31 total bases, 10 walks, and 7 stolen bases
– Starting West Division shortstop in the November 7 Fall Stars Game
– Hit an inside-the-park homer on October 23
– Currently ranked as MLB.com’s No. 18 Brewers’ prospect

Also on the list was LHP Josh Hader. One of the AFL’s Breakout Players, was flat out dominant and has put himself squarely in the cross-hairs of the Brewers front office.

AFL Highlights:

-Part of strong Surprise pitching staff that reached AFL championship game
– Seven appearances (two starts)
– AFL ERA leader (0.56)
– Ranked fourth in WHIP (0.94) and opponent batting average (.154)
– As a reliever, ranked fourth in opponent batting average (.118) and strikeout ratio/nine innings (13.50)
– Pitched the ninth inning in the league title game
– Week four AFL Pitcher of the Week
– Currently ranked MLB.com’s No. 14 Brewers’ prospect.

Want some more Brewers’ news? Craig Counsell’s coaching staff was finalized by adding Carlos Subero as the 1st base/infield coach and Jason Lane.

Subero, who served as the manager at Double-A Biloxi (Southern League Manager of the Year), has never played or coached in the Major Leagues, aside from a brief call-up in September. Lane is in the unique position of having appeared in the big leagues as both as a hitter and a pitcher. His official title is simply “Major League coach,” but the position essentially translates to assistant hitting coach. Lane pitched last season for the Padres Triple-A Affiliate in El Paso, a team managed by current Brewers Bench Coach, Pat Murphy.

“It means a lot, especially after 25 years of grinding,” Subero said. “Twelve years of winter ball and 17 years of player development, sometimes you wonder. There’s many qualified people in this game that leave the game without having this opportunity. I definitely feel good about all the time I have invested in accumulating experience. I’m excited about it.”

More to come from (what could be) a very busy session at the Winter Meetings.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff
@jlevering4

Brewers Trade Sardinas to Mariners

Three days, three deals for Brewers GM David Stearns.

Wednesday, K-Rod to Detroit…Thursday, Jonathan Villar acquired for Cy Sneed…Today, INF Luis Sardinas traded to Seattle for OF Ramon Flores.

Sardiñas, 22, batted .196 with 0 HR and 4 RBI in 36 games during two stints with Milwaukee this season (May 15 – June 8 and Sept. 8 til the end of the year). He was acquired by the Brewers from Texas, along with RHP Corey Knebel and RHP Marcos Diplan, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo and cash considerations on last January 19. Twice traded in 11 months.

Flores, 23, made his Major League debut this season, appearing in 12 games during three stints with the Yankees (5/30-6/10, 6/21-6/23 and 7/3-7/8). He was traded to Seattle on July 30, along with RHP Jose Ramirez, in exchange for infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley. Following the trade, Flores was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, where he batted .423 (22-for-52) with 2 HR and 7 RBI in 14 games before a right leg injury ended his season on August 14. He also batted .286 with 7 HR and 34 RBI in 73 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) in 2015. Flores may not be ready for spring training as he continues to rehab his broken leg, so a DL stint to begin the season is not out of the question. He was limited to only 68 games in 2014 because of injury.

Flores, a native of Barinas, Venezuela, was originally signed by the Yankees at the age of 16 as a non-drafted free agent on July 4, 2008. He is a career .275 hitter in the minor leagues with 45 HR and 267 RBI in 675 games (2009-15). He also boasts a career .403 slugging percentage and a .363 OBP. He’s not a home run hitter, by any stretch, but peppers line drives to all fields. Flores has experience at all three outfield positions.

Stay tuned…more moves to come as players need to be protected from the upcoming Rule-5 Draft at the Winter Meetings.

Jeff
@jlevering4

Brewers Acquire Villar from Astros

On the heels of trading closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Tigers yesterday, the Brewers have acquired infielder Jonathan Villar (added to the 40-man roster) from the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cy Sneed. The 40-man roster stands at 35. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

Villar, 24, has had Major League stints with Houston over each of the last three seasons (2013-15), batting .236 with 10 HR, 46 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 198 games. He started 163 games for the Astros (153g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF). Villar posted his highest career batting average in 2015 as he hit .284 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 53 games. He started 28 games for the A.L. Wild Card winners (18g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF).

Villar, a native of La Vega in the Dominican Republic, was originally signed by Philadelphia as a non-drafted free agent on May 20, 2008. He was traded to Houston, along with outfielder Anthony Gose and left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt and cash on July 29, 2010. He made his Major League debut on July 22, 2013 with the Astros and was the team’s Opening Day starting shortstop in 2014.

Sneed, 23, was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 6-13 with a 3.30 ERA in 37 games (30 starts) over two seasons in the Brewers organization (2014-15). Sneed was 0-2 with a 5.92 ERA in 11 games (6 starts) at Rookie Helena in 2014 and split the 2015 season at Class-A Wisconsin (15g/13gs) and Class-A Brevard County (11gs), going 6-11 with a 2.58 ERA in 26 games (24 starts).

Hader Awarded; More Prospect Rankings

Josh Hader has made quite the name for himself down in Arizona this fall and, yesterday, was named the Arizona League Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.

MLB.com’s No. 14 Milwaukee prospect struck out seven and yielded only four hits without allowing a run or walk in two relief appearances last week that covered four innings.

The 6’3′ native of Millersville, MD completed the fourth week of AFL play ranked second in the league in opponent batting average (.118), third in ERA (0.90) and fourth in WHIP (0.80).

You can hear more from Hader on a new edition of the official podcast of the Brewers, Brewers On Tap.

Adrian Houser was also a candidate for AFl Pitcher of the Week after his five scoreless innings last Thursday. He starts, again, this afternoon.

Baseball America’s Top-10

Arguably, one of the top baseball publications around, Baseball America, named its Top-10 prospects in the Brewers system headed into 2016.

With the haul acquired in July trades, the impressive draft class from 2015 and the breakout of SS Orlando Arcia, there are some fresh names to this talented crop of players.

Here’s your new top-10:

1. Orlando Arcia, ss
2. Jorge Lopez, rhp
3. Trent Clark, of
4. Brett Phillips, of
5. Gilbert Lara, ss
6. Kodi Medeiros, lhp
7. Tyrone Taylor, of
8. Clint Coulter, of
9. Cody Ponce, rhp
10. Devin Williams, rhp

The Brewers have been near the bottom in the development rankings among baseball’s scribes for a number of years due to a lack of depth. But, with the system overhaul in the last six months (and more to come probably), the Milwaukee minor league program is now among one of baseball’s strongest.

You can read more on the Brewers new approach here, an article written by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Brewers beat writer, Tom Haudricourt.

And the GM Meetings are underway in Florida and David Stearns is well into his off-season plan.

More updates to come,

Jeff
@JLevering4

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