(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.”
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.
- 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
- Signed as a minor league free agent in July.
- 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
- 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
- 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
A handful of roster moves were made by the Brewers in advance of their Friday night series opener in Seattle against the Mariners.
Outfielder Domingo Santana — limited by injuries most of the year and officially injured since June 9 — was reinstated from the 15-day Disabled List. Santana is coming off of his second rehab assignment after his first attempt was cut short upon a recurrence of elbow soreness.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell had said that Santana required between 20 and 30 plate appearances to really gauge where Santana was physically and to get him used to seeing live pitching again. Santana accomplished that between Class-A and Class-AAA, finishing his rehab assignment with a three-hit, two-walk night at the plate which included two doubles, two runs scored, and five runs batted in.
To clear space on the 25-man roster for Santana’s return, right-handed pitcher Damien Magnifico was down optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The hard-throwing reliever was a bit erratic during his first big league call-up but fell victim to injuries to others as much as anything else. The Brewers played in a doubleheader on Tuesday in Chicago, the second game of which saw starting pitcher Chase Anderson leave early after being struck by his eleventh pitch when Kris Bryant returned it to sender at 107 miles per hour off the bat. The bullpen, having already covered a short start in the day game of the split card, were nearly maxed out. Anderson evaded serious injury and should be available out of the bullpen this weekend on his throw day as he looks to avoid the DL altogether.
That doubleheader necessitated a spot starter Friday night in Seattle. With the injured Junior Guerra not quite ready to return from his own DL stint, the Brewers decided to purchase the contract of left-handed pitcher Brent Suter.
Suter, who turns 27 in 10 days, has pitched for Colorado Springs all season. He has posted a 3.50 ERA in 110.2 innings pitched across 26 total appearances, 15 of which have been starts. Suter is a zone pounder who allows his defense to work. This is evidenced by his modest strikeout total (75) but even more so by his miniscule 14 walks allowed.
In order to purchase Suter’s contract, a spot on the 40-man roster was needed. With the return of Santana, the spot was freed up by designating the no-longer-needed and ultimately ineffective Ramon Flores. Flores, coincidentally, acquired over this past off-season from the Seattle Mariners, was given plenty of opportunities in the wake of injuries to Santana and Ryan Braun but ultimately couldn’t seize the chance and establish himself as a part of the future. It was a failed experiment but a worthwhile one by a transitioning team which the Brewers certainly are.
Santana joins Suter by starting tonight’s game, with Santana reclaiming his familiar right field defensive assignment.
When the game officially begins, Suter will end a run of 474 consecutive games wherein the Brewers would send a right-handed pitcher to take the ball first. That’s the second-longest streak in Major League Baseball history behind only a stretch by the Dodgers from September 25, 1992 through July 12, 1997.
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.
First, here’s how the official press release announcing the trade of Aaron Hill was written, in case you haven’t seen it.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson and second baseman Wendell Rijo from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for infielder Aaron Hill and cash. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
“In Aaron Wilkerson, we are adding a starting pitcher who has had tremendous success in the minor leagues and could be an asset to the Major League team in the near future,” said Stearns. “Wendell Rijo adds even more young talent and strength up the middle to our organization.”
Wilkerson, 27, had been pitching this season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 9 games (8 starts). He was holding International League opponents to a .223 batting average (41-for-184, 5hr) with 54 strikeouts in just 48.0 innings pitched. He also pitched at Double-A Portland this season, going 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 8 starts. While at Portland, he held Eastern League opponents to a .175 batting average (28-for-160, 2hr) with 48 strikeouts in just 44.1 innings pitched.
Wilkerson, who was signed by Boston as a non-drafted free agent on July 18, 2014, owns an impressive career minor-league record of 22-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 54 games (44 starts). He has produced 293 strikeouts in just 279.0 innings pitched.
Prior to joining the Red Sox organization, the product of Cumberland University (TN), pitched the 2013 season for three independent league teams: Fort Worth – United League Baseball; Florence – Frontier League and Grand Prairie – American Association.
Rijo, 20, began the 2016 season at Double-A Portland, where he appeared in 51 games. He was transferred to Class-A Salem in late June and appeared in 11 games there prior to today’s trade.
Born in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Rijo was signed by Boston as an international free agent on July 6, 2012. He owns a career batting average of .250 with 16 HR, 129 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 333 minor-league games (2012-2016). Following last season, he was ranked as the 15th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization and 19th-best prospect in the Carolina League by Baseball America.
Hill, 34, was acquired by Milwaukee last January 30 from Arizona, along with right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash, in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. He batted .283 (72-for-254) with 8 HR and 29 RBI in 78 games with the Brewers, making 71 starts (55g at 3B, 16g at 2B).
“Along with his statistical contributions, we thank Aaron for his veteran leadership and versatility during his time as a Brewer,” said Stearns.
For my thoughts on the trade both from the viewpoint of the Red Sox as well as the Brewers, check out my article over at Today’s Knuckleball by clicking here.
What I didn’t say there because it really didn’t fit is how this move is just the first salvo in what should be an incredibly busy month for David Stearns and company.
They have a plethora of movable assets and of those many that teams should desire to varying degrees. He even has assets that he’ll get calls on but shouldn’t move as they have a chance to be key parts of the future contender.
Here’s a quick list (alphabetical by last name) with a blurb as to why each could be moved. Oh, and let me say here that I’m not including Braun because I don’t believe he’ll be moved and I don’t feel like writing up a section about why Stearns would move him.
- Blaine Boyer
- Why you would move him: Really playing well (outside of San Francisco) and has shown the ability handle higher-leverage innings. Wasn’t expected to give you much when signing as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training so anything you could get in trade is a bonus from that aspect. All relief pitchers, middle relievers chief among them, are volatile meaning capitalizing on their value when you can should be considered. Plus, Boyer turns 35 next week so you can’t count on him as a part of the future here in Milwaukee.
- Why you wouldn’t: I guess you wouldn’t if no one asked you to. Really, in Boyer’s case where he was a flier on a team looking for roleplayer bullpen arms Boyer has positioned himself to potentially be of value to a contender who isn’t getting enough mileage out of their current group (like the Cubs, for instance). There are a bunch of teams who could use an arm like Boyer’s.
- Chris Carter
- Why you would move him: Having a good bounce-back year as he desired when signing here, has shown he can play everyday defense at 1B. Would be more expensive next year (though under team control for a time yet) and could cool off limiting trade value in the off-season or next year.
- Why you wouldn’t: He’s still quite inexpensive for the level of production he’s giving even with the 2nd year of arbitration eligibility looming (using this year’s one-year price as the starting point should temper the bottom line) and while there are some intriguing first basemen in the system, no one is exactly busting down the door to take the job in 2017. Carter could be move next July the same as this July plus most contenders who would covet the kind of power Carter would add to a lineup have solutions at first base already so the return might not enough during the year when the trade partner pool is limited.
- Matt Garza
- Why you would move him: He hasn’t performed particularly well over the last year and a half when healthy enough to pitch. He still has talent though and a change of scenery and pitching philosophy (despite there being a new pitching coach with Milwaukee this year) could benefit him. Garza is a competitor in the truest sense of the word and might subconsciously lock in if pitching in games that mean more. The main reason though is that despite his veteran leadership, the Brewers have been amassing a handful of knocking-on-the-door starting pitchers would need to be given big league chances (in some cases second chances) before 2018. Moving Garza frees up a spot for that to happen. The pool of available starting pitching isn’t exactly a robust one this year either so that could lead someone to giving Garza a shot like James Shields to the White Sox.
- Why you wouldn’t: If Stearns couldn’t get what he considers to be fair value, then you can give Garza more time this season to prove what he still has left in the tank. He’s a guy who is tradeable come August so you don’t have to force the issue this month.
- Junior Guerra
- Why you would: He’s come out of seemingly nowhere to be the most consistently good starting pitcher the Brewers have run out there this season and, again in a down market for starting pitching, that could translate to serious value if someone is willing to strike while the iron is hot.
- Why you wouldn’t: If the Brewers think he’s really for real then three years of league minimum-ish salaries and up to six years of team control mean you could conceivably control all of Guerra’s remaining effectiveness. Even if he’s never more than a mid-rotation guy, this season is proof positive that even that role can be a challenging one to fill.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Why you would: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and could fetch the club a drool-worthy return in prospects.
- Why not: He’s cheap, plays a premium position at a very high level, and you could still trade him in the off-season if you aren’t going to extend him.
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis
- Why you would: He’s not exactly a long-term solution, especially when you have guys like Maverick Phillips on the way. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this coming off-season.
- Why not: He knows how to succeed at the big league level, especially defensively, and his role in mentoring a guy like Phillips (and to a lesser degree guys like Ramon Flores and Domingo Santana) is a valuable job. Plus he’s still under team control for three seasons if you want him
- Carlos Torres
- Why you would: See many of the reasons listed for Boyer. Torres is a quality enough arm to be valuable, quality enough to have played for the NL Champion Mets last year.
- Why not: Again, no real reason not to if you can get something of value. Let Torres play for a contender if there’s one who wants him and get something back that can help the future.
For another group of players, the write-ups would look extremely similar. You would trade them because they have value and performing well right now but you wouldn’t because they’re young enough with some ceiling still to reach (to varying degrees), and controllable/cost-effective that they could still be a part of the next contending roster. This group includes: Jacob Barnes, Michael Blazek, Jeremy Jeffress, Jimmy Nelson, Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg, and Jonathan Villar. That said, the return on packages containing those players or even straight-up on some of them would be intriguing.
I know I’ve only been going through names on the 25-man roster right now, but let me make one other point.
Anybody can be had for the right price and that’s what makes Stearns a good General Manager. He’s willing to listen — even on someone he 99% would never move. Look, I want Orlando Arcia to be the shortstop here in Milwaukee for the next decade-plus. That said, if the Angels were to extend Mike Trout for the next decade and offer him to Milwaukee straight up for Arcia (while paying 90% of Trout’s contract themselves), you shouldn’t and wouldn’t say no.
That example is wildly inequitable but I use it to illustrate that yes, even Orlando Arcia is tradeable under the right circumstances.
All this said, I expect a handful of players to probably be wearing other uniforms by August 1st. I also expect that anyone who leaves will do so to the betterment of the long-term goal which is to bring sustainable success to the home clubhouse at Miller Park.
It’s here! With the draft come and gone I have once again put together a podcast for your listening pleasure.
I talk to two of the Brewers draft picks this year, a tradition I started several years ago at this point, as I had the chance to interview top pick Corey Ray and 6th rounder Payton Henry. You’ll also hear some audio from the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Brewers, Ray Montgomery, as well as MLB veteran Curtis Granderson who has been a mentor for Corey over the last couple of years.
I might post a follow-up interview that I wanted to conduct but haven’t yet had a chance to complete due to scheduling conflicts but I wanted to get this up for now without it just in case it never happens.
But for now, listen to this and let me know what you think.
Team Selects OF Corey Ray, 3B Lucas Erceg and C Mario Feliciano
MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers made three selections during day one of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. The team selected outfielder Corey Ray (University of Louisville), third baseman Lucas Erceg (Menlo College) and catcher Mario Feliciano (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy) with the fifth, 46th and 75th picks, respectively. The announcements were made by Vice President of Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager Ray Montgomery.
Ray, a junior at the University of Louisville, batted .319 with 55 runs, 16 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 44 stolen bases, a .396 OBP and a .562 slugging percentage this season. He was previously drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Simeon Career Academy, but chose to enroll in college instead. The left-handed hitter is majoring in exercise science. He was scouted by area scout Jeff Simpson and regional supervisor Tim McIlvaine.
Erceg, 21, is a junior at Menlo College. He hit .308 (70-for-227) with 47 runs, 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 56 RBI with a .351 on-base percentage and a .639 slugging percentage in 56 games this season. He was scouted by area scout Joe Graham and regional supervisor Corey Rodriguez.
Feliciano, 17, is a senior at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. He was a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American and was scouted by area scout Charlie Sullivan and national supervisor Doug Reynolds.
The Draft will resume tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT with rounds 3-10. Day three of the Draft will begin at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday with rounds 11-40.