Category: Minor Leagues

Brewers Announce Changes in Scouting Department

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced several changes related to their amateur and professional scouting departments.
Tod Johnson, who is currently in his ninth year with the Brewers, has been promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting. Johnson’s new role will include oversight of all amateur scouting operations, including preparations for the annual June Draft. Johnson, 43, previously served as Brewers Assistant Director – Amateur Scouting for six years. Prior to that, he spent three years (2007-2009) as Director of Application Development for the organization and one season with the San Diego Padres as a Baseball Systems Architect. Johnson’s recent experience also included working with the Brewers Baseball Research and Development Department to set the direction for the application of data and technology for the Brewers baseball operations.
 
Ray Montgomery, 46, who is in his second term with the Brewers, has been named Vice President – Scouting. Montgomery first worked for the Brewers in various scouting roles from 2002-2010 before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks. He returned to Milwaukee and has spent the last two years as Vice President – Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager. In his new role, Montgomery will serve as a lead evaluator across the entire spectrum of baseball operations including professional, international, and amateur scouting.
 
Zack Minasian, 32, will assume a new position with the Brewers as Special Advisor – Scouting. Minasian has been with the organization for 12 years, including the last six as Director – Professional Scouting. Minasian also worked for the Brewers organization as Manager of Minor League Scouting Personnel/Coordinator of Pro Scouting and as Baseball Operations Assistant.
 
“Scouting will always be an integral aspect of our focus on acquiring and developing young talent, and we are confident that today’s moves will enhance those efforts to be among the best in the industry,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Tod, Ray, and Zack have all contributed a great deal to this organization during parts of the past decade, and I am excited about their continued impact as they assume new positions.”

Jungmann Amongmann September Call-Ups

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(Yeah, I went there.)

The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their group of September call-ups on Tuesday afternoon.

As I reported Monday evening, Taylor Jungmann is among those called up. Jungmann has worked hard to regain his form in the minors this season following his demotion on April 29.

“It was a process going through that, ” Jungmann told me. “It was a struggle. It was frustrating at times.”

He needed to rein in his mechanics to get himself through those frustrations, but the high altitudes in Colorado Springs were not exactly conducive. “I’m not even talking about that place, ” Jungmann said with a smile.

It got to the point with the Sky Sox where Jungmann was mentally beaten down. He was given some time off from the struggle to reset mentally by being sent to Maryvale and working with the group in extended Spring Training.

“I really think that was a turning point. I was glad that they allowed me to do that. It was a situation where I was struggling pretty bad, ” Jungmann admitted. “It was some time to really work on my mechanics and throw a couple of live [batting practices] where I could get in a situation where I wasn’t trying to compete too hard or overdo it or have to worry about results.”

When it was time to begin worrying again, the Brewers transferred Jungmann to Double-A Biloxi

“No. I wasn’t taking [the transfer] as a demotion, ” recalled Jungmann. “We kind of talked about it. We just wanted to get me…in a situation and environment where I could succeed. I think it was good for me.”

The overarching theme to Jungmann’s response are that he needed to get back to being himself. Being himself was good enough to compete in the big leagues once, after all.

“Really just trying to get back to who I am, not trying to be somebody else. Really just sticking with my mechanics and trusting them and just getting back to where I was and trusting it is the biggest thing.”

Jungmann admitted that he hadn’t yet had the conversations about what role he would play in September. Asked later, manager Craig Counsell said that at least over the next nine days, Jungmann’s role would be out of the bullpen but that he hadn’t made any decisions about the rotation beyond that. There is a chance some guys might reach innings limits and there would be a chance for Jungmann to possibly start.

The big Texan is worried about that just yet though.

“I’m just glad to be here, glad to get another opportunity to show that I can throw and get back to where I was.”

2016 Arizona Fall League Participants Announced

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The Milwaukee Brewers have announced six player who will be participating in the 2016 edition of the Arizona Fall League — the annual showcase and proving grounds for many an up and coming prospect. (There will be a seventh player participating on their behalf as well but the Brewers are taking more time to determine who that will be before making an announcement.)

The Arizona Fall League (“AFL”) is a six-team league wherein prospects from five different MLB organizations combine forces to fill out each roster. The teams in the AFL are the Glendale Desert Dogs, Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Javelinas, Salt River Rafters, Scottsdale Scorpions, and Surprise Saguaros.

This year the Brewers contingent will join forces with players from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, and Detroit Tigers. And after spending the last four years bouncing back and forth between Desert Dogs and Saguaros, the Brewers will play this season for the Salt River Rafters. That team plays their home games at the much-lauded Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick which the Diamondbacks and Rockies share during Cactus League play in Spring Training.

Here are the players the Brewers will be sending to the AFL along with some information (statistical and otherwise) from their individual 2016 regular seasons.

Pitchers

  • Josh Uhen – RHP – Twitter: @joshuhen (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
    • Wisconsin native (Oshkosh)
    • Drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 MLB draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    • Only recently promoted to Double-A (only 5.2 IP late this season, but scoreless)
  • Tyler Spurlin – RHP – (Double-A)
    • Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Rice University on June 25, 2013
    • Split 2016 between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi.
    • 1.69 ERA in 10.2 IP in High-A | 2.95 ERA in 39.2 Double-A innings
  • Tayler Scott – RHP – Twitter: @taylerscottSA (Double-A)
    • Signed as a minor league free agent in July.
      • Had been pitching for the Indy League Sioux City Explorers (1.88 ERA, 28.2 IP, 32/6 K/BB
    • Pitched to a 5.01 ERA in 23.1 IP for the Biloxi Shuckers

Infielders

  • Isan Diaz – SS – Twitter: @diaz_isan – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Low-A)
    • Former 2nd round draft pick (2014) by Arizona
    • Acquired via trade with Arizona this last offseason as part of a package of players in return for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner
    • Slashing .273/.367/.486 at the time of his AFL announcement including
    • Leads the Midwest League (Timber Rattlers) in several offensive categories
    • Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #10 Prospect

Outfielders

  • Brett Phillips – Twitter: @Brett_Phillips8 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
    • Acquired last July from Houston as part of a four-player package in return for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers
    • Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #8 Prospect, and the 69th best prospect in all of baseball

Catchers

  • Jacob Nottingham – Twitter: @JayNott – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2016: Double-A)
    • Acquired via trade with Oakland last off-season (along with RHP Bubba Derby) for OF Khris Davis
    • Currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ #15 Prospect

Official Trade Deadline Press Releases

Chronologically, in case you missed them, here are the official press releases sent out today by the Brewers regarding the two trades they made involving Will Smith, Jonathan Lucroy, and Jeremy Jeffress.

First, the trade that sent Smith to the San Francisco Giants.


BREWERS ACQUIRE PITCHING PROSPECT PHIL BICKFORD AND CATCHER ANDREW SUSAC FROM GIANTS

Left-Handed Pitcher Will Smith Headed to San Francisco

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for left-handed pitcher Will Smith. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

Bickford, 21, was selected by San Francisco in the first round (18th overall) of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. He entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Giants organization. He is currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the top prospect in their organization (65th overall in baseball), and appeared in this year’s All-Star Futures Game in San Diego.

Bickford this season went a combined 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts between Class-A Augusta (11 GS, 3-4, 2.70 ERA) and Class-A San Jose (6 GS, 2-2, 2.73 ERA). He has held opponents to a .208 batting average (70-for-336, 5 HR) with 105 strikeouts in 93.0 innings pitched. He made his professional debut last season, going 0-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts with the Rookie Arizona Giants. He produced 32 strikeouts in just 22.1 innings pitched as he held opponents to a .169 batting average (13-for-77, 0 HR).

Susac, 26, was batting .273 (57-for-209) with 8 HR and 36 RBI in 58 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season. He has Major League experience with the Giants, batting .240 (53-for-221) with 6 HR and 33 RBI in 87 games from 2014-15. Selected by San Francisco in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Susac was a member of the 2014 world champion Giants.

Smith, 27, was acquired by Milwaukee from Kansas City on December 5, 2013 in exchange for outfielder Norichika Aoki. He went 9-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 1 save in 181 relief appearances as a Brewer, including 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 27 outings this season.


 

And the trade with Texas…

BREWERS ACQUIRE TWO HIGHLY-TOUTED PROSPECTS FROM THE RANGERS

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Right-Handed Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress Headed to Texas

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired outfielder Lewis Brinson, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz and a player to be named from the Texas Rangers in exchange for catcherJonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“While it is extremely difficult to part with players the caliber of Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress, we are excited to add more young and talented players to the organization as we continue to build toward future winning seasons in Milwaukee,” said Stearns.

Stearns added, “We would like to thank Jonathan for his seven years of not only All-Star play on the field, but for the leadership and dedication that he and his wife, Sarah, displayed throughout the community. We also would like to thank Jeremy for his contributions to the Brewers, particularly his admirable work as a first-time closer this season.”

Brinson, 22, entered the 2016 season ranked by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com as the second-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He is currently ranked 30th and 21st, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Brinson was selected by Texas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .237 (72-for-304) with 11 HR, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 77 games at Double-A Frisco this season.

Ortiz, 20, entered the 2016 season ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best prospect in the Rangers organization. He entered this season ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the fifth-best prospect in their organization and currently ranks third. He is currently ranked 74th and 63rd, respectively, in all of baseball by those outlets.

Ortiz was selected by Texas in the first round (30th overall) of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 4-6 with 3.48 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) between Class-A High Desert (7g, 6gs, 3-2, 2.60era) and Double-A Frisco (9g, 8gs, 1-4, 4.08era).

Lucroy, 30, batted .284 with 79 HR and 387 RBI in 805 games during seven seasons with the Brewers (2010-16), including .299 (101-for-338) with 13 HR and 50 RBI in 95 games this season. The two-time All-Star (2014 and 2016) was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Jeffress, 28, returned to the Brewers in 2014 and has gone 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 27 saves (all this season) in 148 relief appearances during that stretch. He was originally selected by Milwaukee in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Top 30 MLB Pipeline Brewers Prospects Pre- And Post-Refresh

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For the sake of comparison, here are the side-by-side pre- and post-refresh Top 30 Brewers prospect rankings as rated by MLBPipeline.com.

2015 2016
1. Orlando Arcia 1. Orlando Arcia
2. Brett Phillips 2. Corey Ray
3. Jorge Lopez 3. Josh Hader
4. Josh Hader 4. Trent Clark
5. Trent Clark 5. Brett Phillips
6. Gilbert Lara 6. Gilbert Lara
7. Kodi Medeiros 7. Isan Diaz
8. Cody Ponce 8. Cody Ponce
9. Devin Williams 9. Marcos Diplan
10. Jacob Nottingham 10. Kodi Medeiros
11. Isan Diaz 11. Jorge Lopez
12. Tyrone Taylor 12. Jacob Nottingham
13. Clint Coulter 13. Monte Harrison
14. Demi Orimoloye 14. Lucas Erceg
15. Monte Harrison 15. Devin Williams
16. Nathan Kirby 16. Corbin Burnes
17. Adrian Houser 17. Miguel Diaz
18. Michael Reed 18. Freddy Peralta
19. Marcos Diplan 19. Nathan Kirby
20. Wendell Rijo 20. Demi Orimoloye
21. Bubby Derby 21. Jake Gatewood
22. Taylor Williams 22. Brandon Woodruff
23. Jake Gatewood 23. Tyrone Taylor
24. Rymer Liriano 24. Michael Reed
25. Victor Roache 25. Mario Feliciano
26. Freddy Peralta 26. Chad McClanahan
27. Miguel Diaz 27. Braden Webb
28. Damien Magnifico 28. Wendell Rijo
29. Brandon Woodruff 29. Clint Coulter
30. Trey Supak 30. Taylor Williams

Five Milwaukee Brewers prospects also made the refreshed Top 100 prospects over all.

  • Orlando Arcia (#13)
  • Corey Ray (#37)
  • Josh Hader (#45)
  • Trent Clark (#76)
  • Brett Phillips (#78)

The names who fell off the Top 30: Adrian Houser, Bubba Derby, Rymer Liriano, Victor Roache, Damien Magnifico, Trey Supak.

There was some shuffling of the other 24 names, but six members of the 2016 draft class made the Top 30 so six guys had to be dropped below #30.

Brewers Claim Scahill

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The Milwaukee Brewers just announced that they have been awarded a waiver claim on right-handed relief pitcher Rob Scahill, late of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Scahill, 29, has made 28 combined appearances during the 2016 regular seasons of the Pirates (15 games) and their Triple-A affiliate the Indianapolis Indians (13). He’s combined to post a 4.19 ERA in 34.1 IP. (That’s a 4.00 ERA in 18.0 Triple-A innings and a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 IP in MLB this year, for the record.)

Following a 147 ERA+ (100 is league average) in 2015 where Scahill allowed just nine earned runs in 30.2 MLB innings across 28 games, the Illinois-native is somewhat ironically producing some better peripherals but with a much higher resultant ERA his ERA+ in 2016 is just 95. Not bad but certainly not as good.

One could likely assume that the Brewers’ pro scouting department sees some rebound capability in Scahill based on these statistical comparisons.

  • 2015: 4.50 FIP | 2016: 3.85 FIP
  • ’15: 4.7 BB/9 | ’16: 3.3 BB/9
  • ’15: 7.0 K/9 | ’16: 7.2 K/9
  • ’15: 1.50 K/BB | ’16: 2.17 K/9
  • ’15: .309 BAbip | ’16: .347 BAbip

So like I said, good peripherals, better than 2015, but lesser results to this point. About the only thing working against Scahill is line drive percentage (up to 32% from 24%) which does explain some of the other results, but that could be correctable.

Along with the announcement of the claim — which once again fills the Brewers’ 40-man roster — is the news that Scahill was immediately optioned down to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Scahill is also no stranger to that rare air having pitches in the Rockies organization for six seasons after being drafted by them in the 8th round in 2009. Scahill pitched parts of three minor-league seasons for the Sky Sox.

Brewers Announce Extension of Double-A PDC

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OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a two-year player development contract extension with the Biloxi Shuckers. The new agreement ensures that the team’s Double-A affiliate will remain in Biloxi through the 2020 season.

“The Brewers and Shuckers have a great partnership and we are excited about this extension,” said Brewers Farm Director Tom Flanagan. “MGM Park is one of the premier ballparks in all of Minor League Baseball and we look forward to playing there for years to come.”

“We are extremely proud to announce the continuation of this partnership between the Brewers and Shuckers,” said Shuckers President Ken Young. “We have developed a great relationship with the Brewers over the past two years and the impact of the players and coaches on the field and in the community has been tremendous.”

Biloxi has been the home of the Brewers Double-A affiliate since the start of the 2015 season. The Shuckers have seen 19 members of the organization be named All-Stars in just two years. Last season, the team clinched a spot in the playoffs when they were crowned the Southern League South Division First-Half Champions. Biloxi made it to the Southern League Championship, but ultimately fell in the final game of a five-game series.