Tough news coming down yesterday on 2016 1st round pick Corey Ray. Ray, who was taking part in fall instructs. Ray, tore his meniscus in his left knee while sliding into 3rd base. Ray has already undergone surgery and will stay in Arizona to rehab.
The Arizona Fall League is underway and the Brewers prospects have been competing at a high level already for the Salt River Rafters. Brett Phillips is 1-5 with a triple and 4 walks while scoring 4 times and driving in a run in 2 games. Jacob Nottingham is also 1-5 with an RBI. Javier Salas threw 3 scoreless innings last night while allowing just 1 hit. The Rafters are currently playing against Mesa as I type this: If you want to watch, here you go:
The 2016 MiLBYs are upon us and the Brewers have a few candidates to get out and vote for!
HR of the Year: Isan Diaz
Starting Pitcher of the Year: LHP Josh Hader and RHP Brandon Woodruff
Best Performance: RHP Brandon Woodruff for his 6 IP, 1 H, 9 SO performance just days after his brother tragically died in an ATV accident.
You can go and watch all of the performances and vote here: 2016 MiLBYs
We’ve officially known for over a week now that the Brewers will have the #9 pick in the 2017 June MLB Draft. The Brewers have done a nice job, through the past two drafts specifically, and also through trades and other means of stockpiling talent in their organization. That won’t stop. David Stearns, Matt Arnold, Ray Montgomery and the rest of the people in charge of personnel will continue to try and cast as wide of a net as possible to build organizational depth. The goal is to have waves of talent coming through the system from year to year.
So while the first round pick grabs a lot of the headlines, there will be plenty of other opportunities throughout the draft to improve the talent. So what can you get at #9?
Just taking a quick glance through the past few years, there are plenty of big names that have been taken at #9.
2015 – Ian Happ, 2B – Cubs (Happ is the top prospect in the Cubs system)
2014 – Jeff Hoffman, RHP – Blue Jays (Hoffman was traded to Colorado in the Troy Tulowitzki deal in 2015 and has already made his debut. He’s the #2 prospect in the Rockies organization)
2013 – Austin Meadows, OF – Pirates (Meadows is the #2 prospect for the Pirates)
2012 – Andrew Heaney, LHP – Marlins (He’s since been traded to the Angels and had Tommy John this past summer)
2011 – Javier Baez, INF – Cubs (He’s become a very versatile and important piece for Joe Maddon and the Cubs)
How about who was available after #9? Obviously, we could list a book of great players taken after the 9th pick, however, here’s just a small sample from the 2012 draft: David Dahl, Tyler Naquin, Addison Russell, Lucas Giolito, Marcus Stroman, Stephen Piscotty, Joey Gallo, Lance McCullers and Travis Jankowski just to name a few)
Goodbye Florida State League, hello Carolina League. The Brewers announced a new affiliation at the Class A Advanced level with a move to the Carolina League and the Carolina Mudcats. The franchise is located in Zebulon, North Carolina and is a nice landing spot for the Brewers. Once the Brevard County franchise moved to Kissimmee and formed a partnership with the Atlanta Braves, it was essentially between Carolina or Lancaster (in the California League) for the Brewers potential landing spots. The Houston Astros had previously been in affiliation with Lancaster and they had not had a team ERA of less than 4.60 since 2008. It is not a conducive environment to develop pitchers in. Thus, landing with Carolina was a big coup for the Brewers.
Also of importance is that the High A level should be filled with talented young arms in 2017. Names like Marcos Diplan, Cody Ponce, Kodi Medeiros, Devin Williams, Freddy Peralta, Zack Brown, Corbin Burnes and Jordan Yamamoto could all find their way through the Carolina League next summer.
The Mudcats play their games at Five Country Stadium, which hold 6,500 and was built in 1991. There was also a renovation to the stadium in 1999. Zebulon is located just east of Raleigh.
- The Brewers and Colorado Springs renewed their affiliation with a new Player Development Contract that runs through 2018. The 2017 season will mark the 3rd year of the affiliation between the Brewers and the Sky Sox.
- The Brewers did some promoting and reorganizing of their scouting department in regard to both amateur and professional scouting.
Tod Johnson has been promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting. In this new role, Johnson will oversee the preparations for the amateur draft in June and will oversee all amateur scouting operations. Johnson is 43 and his been with the Brewers organization for the past 9 years. He’s been the Assistant Director – Amateur Scouting for the past 6 years. Ray Montgomery, 46, was promoted to Vice President – Scouting. He will now be the lead evaluator across the entire spectrum of baseball operations including professional, international and amateur scouting. Montgomery has been widely praised across the industry for his work overseeing the last two Brewers drafts. Zack Minasian, 32, now has the title of Special Advisor – Scouting. He’s been with the Brewers for the past 12 years and has focused on the pro scouting side. His previous title was Director – Professional Scouting.
- The Brewers also have a star studded cast of prospects currently partaking in Arizona at Instructional League. Names like Corey Ray, Phil Bickford and Trent Clark are just a few of the names. Here’s more on that from Mike Rosenbaum: Brewers Instructs
On Tuesday the Brewers announced their 2016 Robin Yount Performance Awards to RHP Brandon Woodruff and SS Isan Diaz.
Diaz claimed the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year Award after erasing a rough start in Class A Wisconsin. On May 24th, just 3 days before Diaz turned 20, his batting average was sitting at .199 and he had just 3 HRs. Diaz would quickly thereafter go on a hot streak that essentially extended through the rest of the season. He’d end up hitting .264 with 20 HRs (lead the Brewers’ Minor League Affiliates) and drive in 75 runs. His 34 doubles were also impressive as Diaz slugged at a .469 clip. He lead the Midwest League in HRs and extra base hits (59). Diaz played SS in Appleton but can definitely move to 2B in the future.
Brandon Woodruff began 2016 in Class A Advanced Brevard County. He was downright dominant over his first 8 starts going 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA. That earned him a promotion to Biloxi where he struggled to find his footing in the initial few weeks and starts. Woodruff would settle in however and put together the best July in MiLB as he only allowed 1 earned run during the month over 5 starts. From July 3rd – August 8th (a span of 8 starts) he allowed just 2 earned runs. Woodruff lead all of MiLB pitchers with 173 strikeouts. He had a combined ERA of 2.68 between the two levels during his 28 starts.
The 2016 Brewers MiLB season is officially complete and it was definitely filled with a lot of positives. The biggest accomplishment for a team was the 2nd half run made by the Wisconsin TimberRattlers.
The T-Rats took their second half surge all the way into the Midwest League playoffs before falling in two games to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. There were many talented and very young players on this roster and Matt Erickson did a tremendous job managing this bunch. There was also plenty of roster movement as guys graduated up to Brevard County and the roster was backfilled by less experienced players from Helena. Think about this: RHP Jon Perrin began the year in Wisconsin and finished the season in AA Biloxi. Guys like Marcos Diplan, Devin Williams and Freddy Peralta were also moved up to Brevard County near the end of the season. Trent Clark and Monte Harrison dealt with injuries that sidelined them for extended periods of time. All the while, the T-Rats kept moving forward and ended up setting a Midwest League record for strikeouts as a pitching staff.
A top candidate for Brewers MiLB Player of the Year is Wisconsin SS Isan Diaz. His 20 HRs lead the organization and he hit for average over the 2nd half of the season too.
AA Biloxi twice just missed the playoff in 2016. Just missing the first half crown in the South Division of the Southern League. Then again just narrowly missing the wildcard berth at the conclusion of the season. The headlining act in Biloxi was Josh Hader at the beginning of the season and Brandon Woodruff over the 2nd half. The LHP Hader and RHP Woodruff were among the elite arms in MiLB this year. Woodruff lead MiLB in strikeouts with Hader not far behind. Hader earned a promotion to AAA Colorado Springs and figures to contend for a spot with the Brewers in the near future.
Among other names that are knocking on the big league door, OF Lewis Brinson. Brinson is a 5-tool player that had a huge final month of the season in AAA. While he may not be on the opening day roster for the Brewers, you never say never. He will be added to the 40-man roster this fall and figures to be in the conversation this coming spring.
2017 will be a big year for a few other prospects. RHP Jorge Lopez will look to rebound from a disappointing 2016. Lopez is a high-character guy and performed better once he was sent back down to Biloxi. If he can iron out some command issues, the high ceiling is still there. Also, while Brett Phillips smacked 16 home runs, you’d like to see him hit for a little more average. He has a big arm and has a chance to be a very good defender. Also, Jacob Nottingham figures to take a step forward at the plate. He’s an exciting young catcher that definitely figures into the Brewers plans right now.
It also looks like the Brewers found a couple of gems beyond Corey Ray in the 2016 draft class. People are excited about the high ceiling of Chad McLanahan. However, Lucas Erceg and Ronnie Gideon really turned some heads during July & August. Erceg had a huge start at Helena and earned a promotion to Wisconsin while Gideon smashed 17 home runs to lead the Pioneer League. All in all, this is concerned among the top farm systems in baseball, if not the very best. The future looks very good for the Crew.
The Brewers and Rangers have completed their trade from August 1st involving Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. The initial return was OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Luis Ortiz and a player to be named. That player is OF Ryan Cordell.
Cordell is 24 years old and went to Liberty to play his college ball. He’s a speedy guy with big power. He’s been injured for the past month of the season at AA Frisco but still managed to hit 19 home runs and drive in 70 runs. This adds to an already talent-rich outfield across the Brewers’ system. Cordell does come with some versatility, he’s played around the infield a bit also, but does project as an outfielder primarily.
Exciting times for the Brewers’ Class A affiliate, Wisconsin. The T-Rats clinched a playoff berth in the Midwest League yesterday. The T-Rats will open up a best of 3 series on Wednesday night in Appleton at 6:35 against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The series will then move to Cedar Rapids for the 2nd game and also the 3rd game, if necessary. Those games would be on Thursday and Friday.
Matt Erickson’s bunch has had a big 2nd half of the season, going 37-32 to lock down a spot. Corey Ray has also been transferred to Wisconsin so the 2016 1st round pick can be a part of the playoffs.
This has been a highly regarded team all year, and the emergence of Isan Diaz in the 2nd half of the season was a big reason for them realizing their potential.
There’s no doubt, this will be a great experience for a young core of players in the Brewers system.
It’s also an end of an era as the Manatees played their final game at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday. The Class A Advanced affiliate is moving to Kissimmee starting next year. Here’s a story on the changes: Final Game for Brevard County
Most of the Brewers affiliates will wrap up their regular seasons today as Wisconsin plays this afternoon against Beloit, Biloxi sends Jorge Lopez to the mound against Mississippi, Colorado Springs sends Hiram Burgos to the mound against Iowa. Helena still has 4 games left with Billings including today in the Pioneer League. The seasons for the Arizona League and Dominican Summer League Brewers have completed.
Today we learned of the Brewers prospects that will be participating in the Arizona Fall League, which runs from October 11 – November 19. This year, the Brewers prospects will be playing on the Salt River Rafters team which will also feature prospects from the D-Backs, Braves, Rockies and Tigers.
The Brewers are sending three pitchers and three position players. The arms headed to the Valley of the Sun are RHPs Josh Uhen, Tyler Spurlin and Tayler Scott. All three are currently in AA with Biloxi and all three have pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. Uhen and Scott are both 24 years old while Spurlin is 25.
The position players are OF Brett Phillips, C Jacob Nottingham and INF Isan Diaz. Both Phillips and Nottingham have spent the entire year in Biloxi while Diaz has had a tremendous season at Class A Wisconsin.
It’s going to be fun to watch Diaz, just 20 years old, get the opportunity to play against some of the best young players in the world. He’s a very dynamic and complete player and he’s skills will be tested. Phillips has shown good power this year and has a very big arm in the outfield. Nottingham has a chance to be an offensive player that can get it done behind the plate as well.
You can check out the other rosters and information from the Arizona Fall League.