Category: Players

Brewers 30 Clubs/30 Days Video Clips

30Clubs30DaysLogo

These are the archived videos aired on MLB Network on March 4th as Greg Amsinger and Milwaukee’s all-time Saves leader Dan Plesac visited Brewers’ camp at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona as a part of the Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series previewing the 2016 season.

GM David Stearns sits down with Amsinger & Plesac

Ryan Braun talks about his bounce back 2015 and looking ahead to 2016

Jimmy Nelson with Dan Plesac

Domingo Santana talks about his fresh start

Will Smith on the bullpen

Ryan Braun demos base running/stealing with Plesac

Chris Carter talks to Greg Amsinger

Lucroy talks 2016 with Amsinger

Matt Garza talks youth and rotation with Plesac

Counsell with Plesac

Brewers Prospects with Jonathan Mayo

Brewers Fan Vote

Brewers Predictions

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #41 Jake Elmore

BBtJN Logo

The lack of Monday columns this year has been disturbing. Think about it. I normally shout Mondays from the rooftops once this series begins because not only are we another day closer but the week counter always ticks down to a whole number.

We got a 63 (Junior Guerra) but 56 and 49 are coaches this year and 42 is retired throughout baseball…but you already know that. Finally next week Monday we’ll get to 35 and Shane Peterson and I’ll be able to properly acknowledge the week ticker.

Regardless, we’re now inside of six weeks until Opening Day and since we just took a three day break due to retired numbers and a coach and tomorrow is also a coach, I wanted to make sure we talked about…

Jake Elmore.

JakeElmoreBBtJN

(First, let’s say how great it is that Elmore tweeted this on his BBtJN profile day.)

https://twitter.com/JElmo10/status/702142768378834944

This is normally the kind of profile I wouldn’t do for “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” for two major reasons. First, Jacob David Elmore isn’t exactly much of a prospect. He’s 28 years old and has spent parts of the last four seasons in the big leagues after debuting in August of 2012 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was a 34th round pick in 2008 by the D’backs so even reaching the big leagues is an unlikely accomplishment in and of itself, but what I mean in saying he’s not a prospect is that he likely doesn’t have a significantly better future ahead of him.

Does that make sense? He’s not some 20-year-old with tools coming out of his ears and unrealized potential. It doesn’t mean he can’t be useful. It doesn’t mean he’ll get cut and retire. It just means that people normally don’t like to read about guys in his situation.

Part of that situation is the second reason I normally wouldn’t write about him, that being that he doesn’t really have much of a chance — barring a significant rash of injuries — to break camp with the big league club.

So why bother writing this? First, for the people like you who clicked to read it. Second, it’s simply that when telling the story of Jake Elmore’s baseball career, there are some fun and interesting things to tell.

As I mentioned above, Elmore was originally a 34th round draft pick. How many other draft picks in the last decade have reached The Show having been taken that late or later? I’d wait why you look it up because it’s not an incredibly long list but the point is that for every Kenny Rogers, Junior Spivey, Keith Hernandez, Mark Buehrle, or even the holy grail that is Mike Piazza, there are hundreds of players who never get a sniff. So that’s cool that Elmore not only broke through but has remained in consideration over the past four years.

Here’s another thing. Elmore has been in the big leagues with four different teams in those four years but was a part of seven organizations. He debuted with Arizona (1) in 2012 but was waived after the season. Houston (2) claimed him and he got back to the big leagues as an Astro in 2013. He was waived again following that season but picked up by the Chicago White Sox (3), for who he never played. The Oakland Athletics (4) purchased Elmore’s contract from the White Sox three months and a week after Chicago claimed him. Elmore played in 47 games for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate before finding himself back on the waiver wire. This time it was Cincinnati (5) who was found claiming the well-traveled player. He played in 25 games for their Triple-A club before a September call-up brought him back to the dance.

That’s five teams. How do we get to the Brewers being number eight? Elmore was granted free agency on November 4, 2014 but signed back with Cincinnati the very next day…who promptly waived him. Two days after that the Pittsburgh Pirates (6) were awarded a claim but less then three months later Elmore was granted free agency again. A week blowing in the wind ended with a free agent contract on February 9, 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays (7). Elmore found his way into 51 games for the Rays, making a career-high 158 trips to the plate.

Now granted, Elmore only slashed .206/.263/.284 in the big leagues last year but this is where the most fun part of Elmore’s back story comes to light as it’s what has kept him relevant at times throughout his career. He’s versatile.

You sometimes hear of a player’s defensive versatility and you think of a guy who can play second, third, and short. Or a corner infielder. Or someone who can line up in each outfield position. Or maybe even someone like Jonathan Lucroy or Buster Posey who spend some time at first base when they aren’t catching. Or how about Brewers cult favorite Brooks Kieschnick who played corner outfield, pinch-hit, and pitched in relief?

Jake Elmore is all of those people.

Seriously. He’s played all nine defensive positions, and designated hitter. And not just in the minors like Brewers prospect Nate Orf did for Brevard County (in one game, no less), but at the Major League level. He doesn’t hit as well as the guys who moonlight at a secondary position or keep their bats in the lineup by spelling everyone in the infield in a rotating manner, but Elmore truly does it all defensively.

Check out this breakdown of just his MLB fielding statistics.

jakeelmoredbreakdown

I’m counting and that’s 10. Which is where his value lies for this club. I don’t expect Elmore — in big league camp on a minor-league contract — to head north to Milwaukee on April 4, but what I’m thinking he offers is absolute emergency coverage should something happen as well a good approach at the plate if not always good result.

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said about him last year, “Jake is an interesting player. He gives you a good at bat and he can play everywhere.”

While “everywhere” will almost certainly mean “Colorado Springs” to begin the season, don’t be shocked to see Elmore find his way into a Brewers uniform at some point.

But also don’t be shocked to see him waived at the end of the season only to catch on with another new club. He’s already played all the positions. Maybe he can get to a majority of the teams.

Follow Jake on Twitter: @JElmo10

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Brewers Release Spring Training Roster

2 Scooter Gennett ……………………………………………….2B
5 Jonathan Villar ………………………………………………..INF
6 Ed Sedar ………………………………….. Third Base Coach
7 Alex Presley* ………………………………………………….. OF
8 Ryan Braun ……………………………………………………. OF
9 Aaron Hill ……………………………………………………….INF
10 Kirk Nieuwenhuis ……………………………………………. OF
11 Darnell Coles ……………………………………Hitting Coach
12 Martin Maldonado ………………………………………………C
13 Will Smith …………………………………………………….. LHP
14 Hernan Perez* ………………………………………………..INF
15 Will Middlebrooks*…………………………………………….3B
16 Domingo Santana …………………………………………… OF
20 Jonathan Lucroy ………………………………………………..C
21 Jeremy Jeffress ……………………………………………..RHP
22 Matt Garza ……………………………………………………RHP
24 Eric Young Jr.* ……………………………………………….. OF
25 Michael Reed …………………………………………………. OF
26 Taylor Jungmann …………………………………………..RHP
27 Zach Davies ………………………………………………….RHP
28 Jorge Lopez ………………………………………………….RHP
29 Yadiel Rivera …………………………………………………..INF
30 Craig Counsell ……………………………………….. Manager
31 Carlos Subero ……………………First Base/Infield Coach
32 David Goforth ………………………………………………..RHP
33 Chris Carter ……………………………………………………..1B
35 Shane Peterson* …………………………………………….. OF
36 Derek Johnson ………………………………. Pitching Coach
37 Tyler Thornburg …………………………………………….RHP
38 Wily Peralta …………………………………………………..RHP
39 Chris Capuano* …………………………………………….. LHP
40 Jason Lane ………………………………………………..Coach
41 Jake Elmore* …………………………………………………..INF
43 Lee Tunnell …………………………………….Bullpen Coach
45 Tyler Cravy ……………………………………………………RHP
46 Corey Knebel ………………………………………………..RHP
47 Adrian Houser ……………………………………………….RHP
48 Blaine Boyer* ………………………………………………..RHP
49 Pat Murphy ……………………………………….Bench Coach
50 Yhonathan Barrios …………………………………………RHP
51 Cesar Jimenez* …………………………………………….. LHP
52 Jimmy Nelson ……………………………………………….RHP
54 Michael Blazek ………………………………………………RHP
55 Marcus Hanel ………………………………..Bullpen Catcher
56 Joe Crawford …………………………….Coaching Assistant
57 Chase Anderson ……………………………………………RHP
58 Ariel Peña …………………………………………………….RHP
60 Keon Broxton …………………………………………………. OF
61 Ramon Flores ………………………………………………… OF
62 Garin Cecchini …………………………………………..INF/OF
63 Junior Guerra ………………………………………………..RHP
64 Andy Wilkins ……………………………………………………1B
65 Josmil Pinto* ……………………………………………………..C
66 Hiram Burgos* ……………………………………………….RHP
67 Manny Piña* ………………………………………………………C
68 Adam Weisenburger* ………………………………………….C
70 Jacob Barnes ………………………………………………..RHP
71 Josh Hader* …………………………………………………. LHP
72 Orlando Arcia …………………………………………………..SS
73 Colin Walsh ……………………………………………….INF/OF
74 Daniel Tillman* ………………………………………………RHP
75 Zack Jones ……………………………………………………RHP
76 Rene Garcia* …………………………………………………….C
77 Brett Phillips* ………………………………………………….. OF
78 Damien Magnifico ………………………………………….RHP
79 Rymer Liriano …………………………………………………. OF
80 Rick Sweet ……………………………………………. Instructor
81 Tony Diggs ……………………………………………. Instructor
82 Charlie Greene ………………………………………. Instructor
83 Bob Skube ……………………………………………. Instructor
84 Bob Miscik …………………………………………….. Instructor
85 Rick Tomlin …………………………………………… Instructor
86 Jeremy Reed …………………………………………. Instructor
87 Fred Dabney …………………………………………. Instructor
88 Matt Erickson ………………………………………… Instructor
89 Chris Hook ……………………………………………. Instructor
90 Joe Ayrault ……………………………………………. Instructor
91 Sandy Guerrero …………………………………….. Instructor
92 Jacob Nottingham* ……………………………………………..C

*Non-Roster Invitee

Official Release: Brewers Trade With 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 By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #54 Michael Blazek

BBtJN Logo

We are 54 days away from Opening Day. That’s less than two months, less than 8 weeks. As was once infamously said about Paris practically being a suburb of Berlin, “It’s a nothing commute.” In other words, it’ll be here before you know it.

Just think about the milestones we’ve already left in our collective rear-views this winter.

No, wait, don’t think about that. Think about my guy who wears #54 for the Milwaukee Brewers, my favorite baseball team…

Michael Blazek.

BlazekBBtJN16

Last winter I took a particular interest in Michael Robert Blazek, being the only person to bend his ear for a time at the annual On Deck fan fest event. We talked about his off-season program and the things he was focusing on in order to get better and have the best season of his career.

Well, I’d say it paid off.

I say that for a number of reasons. It was Blazek’s first full season in the big leagues for starters…er…to start with. He pitched exclusively in relief and, get this, posted his best full-season ERA (2.43) of his professional career. That’s at any level. He prevented runs better in 2015 against MLB competition than he had at any point along his winding ascent to the big leagues following his being selected in the 35th(!) round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. His previous best was a combined 3.00 in 2013 which was compiled between two minor league levels for St. Louis, and big league time in both St. Louis and Milwaukee that year.

It goes beyond ERA though. Blazek’s FIP was a career-best 3.17, his WHIP a career-best 1.042. He allowed just 6.5 H/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Both figures are, you guessed it, career-bests.

Blazek appeared in 45 games, 32 of which were scoreless appearances. He also inherited runners nine times (13 total inherited) in 2015 (once with the bases loaded) and only allowed any of them to score twice. Those days were the Opening Day team-wide disaster against Colorado and a 10-1 loss to the Braves on May 21st.

About the only thing that went wrong for the 6’0″ right-handed Las Vegas native was a signifcant one. Blazek suffered a broken hand at some point. I say “at some point” because no one is really certain when it happened. One day, while throwing long toss, Blazek’s right hand just started to swell. There wasn’t any pain involved which is why it could have been undetected for some time.

The bone eventually would heal and Blazek worked hard to return before the end of the year. That would end up not being in the cards as the team moved Blazek to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for one of the Biloxi troop which was called up late in the year. Blazek told me that he was disappointed by the move as he was near a clean bill of health and really didn’t want his season to end on the sour note of injury.

As for the injury itself, it certainly would help explain his rough patch leading up to the diagnosis. Beginning on July 30, Blazek allowed runs in four of five appearances including allowing all three of his home runs for the season, the last of which resulted in a walk-off win for the Chicago Cubs on August 12th.

This led to speculation that Blazek injured his hand nefariously striking something out of frustration because everything’s a conspiracy, apparently. That wasn’t the case here and a bone in Blazek’s hand broke.

I spoke to Blazek about it again at Brewers On Deck last month and he told me that he’s doing some exercises to make sure his grip strength is where is needs to be but he’s healthy and ready to go when Pitchers & Catchers report on February 19.

(Sidebar: His hair is also most definitely ready.)

BlazekHawk.png

And to follow up on the question I asked him a year ago, I wondered what his goals were for 2016. After getting through the baseball stuff (BOR-ING!, right??) he said he desires to become the greatest FIFA player of all time on PS4. Any challengers feel up to letting Blazek hone his skills?

Seriously though, on the baseball stuff Blazek said he’s on track with his preparations which are strikingly similar to last season. You know, that season when he was the best he’s ever been.

Works for me. Good answer.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #60 Keon Broxton

BBtJN Logo

Six years ago I decided to embark on a series of blog posts which I felt would be a fun way for me to not only remind myself of what happened the previous season but also to help you wonderful readers and me alike to get to know some things about members of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 40-man roster who were new to franchise.

We began on February 4, 2010 with a look at Todd “Hot” Coffey and his role as a key member of a bullpen with some issues. Coffey wore #60 as a Brewer and Opening Day 2010 (April 5th) was 60 days away. Today, six years later, Opening day is once again 60 days away from February 4th. While Opening Day is April 4th this year, it’s also a leap year which adds in the difference. And though Coffey is no longer sprinting in from the bullpen to the late Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music, someone younger was assigned the same #60 to wear for Spring Training. That someone is…

Keon Broxton.

BroxtonBBtJN

Keon Darell Broxton is a 6’3″ outfielder out of Lakeland, Florida. Listed as 195 lbs, the lanky but strong Broxton was first drafted out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft but decided to increase his stock by spending a year at Santa Fe Community College in relatively nearby Gainesville.

After leading that team to the JUCO World Series (played in Grand Junction, Colorado), the Arizona Diamondbacks would draft Broxton in the 3rd round in 2009. Broxton signed very quickly and was assigned to rookie ball at Missoula of the Pioneer League.

It’s been a steady, if somewhat slow, rise through the minor leagues for Broxton. He played the full 2010 season at Low-A South Bend and started there again in 2011 for 20 games before finishing the year with High-A Visalia for 110 games. Broxton repeated High-A in 2012, spending the entire season there.

With 240 High-A games under his belt, he finally got the chance to start at Double-A in 2013 which he did in Mobile. After missing the first month of the 2013 season, and finished with just 101 games played, Broxton went to winter ball in the Australian Baseball League for the Sydney Blue Sox.

Following the 2013 season, Broxton had a career minor league batting average of .241 and had seemingly regressed from 2012 to 2013. There was enough doubt about his future that the Diamondbacks sold his rights to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates would give Broxton a second full season of Double-A development and he would respond with a solid season in 2014 (.275/.369/.484) despite a still somewhat disconcerting strikeout rate (122 K in 407 AB). He also worked 66 walks in 571 plate appearances, demonstrating his patience and mature approach.

After a 45-game Double-A stint to begin 2015 in which Broxton slashed .302/.365/.464, he was finally promoted to Triple-A where he would play 88 games in the final stop before the big leagues. Broxton would get a late September call-up and appear in seven games (no starts) for the Pirates as the season wound down. He only got two at-bats and perhaps fittingly struck out in one of them, but he scored three times and stole a base. Hey, it’s more than many ballplayers ever get to do in the big leagues.

BroxtonHeadshotBroxton was acquired by the Brewers (along with Trey Supak) on December 17, 2015 in exchange for Jason Rogers who was viewed as a valuable piece to the Pirates puzzle entering 2016. For the Brewers it was a chance to get a high-ceiling if volatile arm in Supak and an outfielder who could handle what was more or less still a vacancy in centerfield. Broxton can, after all, play all three outfield spots.

I had the chance to talk to Broxton at Brewers On Deck and asked him to about seizing the centerfield job for himself.

“I have a job everyday that’s just to get better regardless of where I am. That’s all I’m going to do in Spring is just get better, work on every aspect of my game and see whatever happens. If they need me in the outfield or not, either way I still gotta get better so I’ll be ready.”

Finally, while Broxton told me he had a little bit of experience playing in the altitude of Colorado from that previously mentioned JUCO World Series experience (in which he slashed .520/.600/1.320 in 25 at-bats over six games, by the way), he said that playing in Triple-A Colorado Springs “would be a lot of fun too, but that’s not exactly where I want to be — you know?”

Would that maybe be playing in Milwaukee instead? With a warm smile and laugh, “Yeah.”

I think Broxton has a solid chance to break camp with the Brewers, though working against him are his minor league options. He has some and others he’s in direct competition with for a job do not. If everyone performs on par, Broxton is likely to be sent down to maintain depth. Still just 25 years old, Broxton is a valuable asset that Brewers General Manager David Stearns won’t readily risk losing.

It’s going to be one of a couple of fun competitions in the Cactus League for the Brewers. Regardless of whether Broxton comes out on top what can we expect from him as a player in the Brewers organization? In his own words:

“Good speed, a little bit of power, good defense.”

Not bad things to have, to be sure.

Follow Keon on Twitter: @KeonDDBroxton

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

 

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #61 Ramón Flores

BBtJN Logo

Another day, another post. As we arrive Wednesday, February 3 and sit 61 days away from Opening Day, I am forced to remind myself that the milestones along the way to our destination are much closer.

  • Truck Day is in six days.
  • Pitchers & Catchers report in 16.
  • First full squad workout is in 22 days.
  • First Cactus League games (it’s split-squad) are in one month.

But we don’t countdown to those days with “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, do we?

With that, here is the individual profile of…

Ramon Flores.

ramonflorebbtjn

Back in late November when it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers had acquired Flores from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Luis Sardiñas, it was widely assumed that Flores would end up playing the role of reserve outfielder for Craig Counsell’s 25.

That was in part because of Flores’ lack of minor league options but also because of the changes in the makeup of the 40-man roster. Michael Reed and Shane Peterson (since DFA’d) were around to back up Khris Davis, Domingo Santana, and Ryan Braun, but it could be argued that Reed wouldn’t be hurt by some Triple-A time.

Flores brings a solid approach at the plate and a solid defensive profile with him to work every day. Still just 23 (he’ll turn 24 before Opening Day), Flores could continue in his development and offer even more than he currently does, but some talent evaluators maintain that his ceiling is a fourth OF type, and that may be what he already is. Still, Flores remains inexpensive with three full seasons before he would first be arbitration eligible.

Sounds perfect for a rebuilding team — right?

Well the problems for Flores come in that it’s been nearly 11 weeks since the Brewers traded for him and General Manager David Stearns hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels since then. Stearns has claimed veteran Kirk Nieuwenhuis off of waivers, traded for Keon Broxton and a DFA’d former top prospect Rymer Liriano, and signed Alex Presley and Eric Young Jr. to minor league contracts with invites to big league camp. By the accounts I’ve read, every one of those added players can handle all three defensive positions in the outfield.

ramonfloreheadshotSo, quick math, that’s six added players with only one possible subtraction (we don’t yet know whether Shane Peterson will remain with the organization) along with the incumbent Reed all competing for what will, at this point, be two bench jobs. And even that is assuming the Brewers carry five outfielders which isn’t a guarantee (though I think they will). Yes, Ryan Braun could start the season on the DL if he suffers any setbacks with his recovery from off-season surgery on a herniated disc, but that’s still too many players for too few spots.

I suppose Flores will have somewhat of an advantage due to his lack of the aforementioned options, but that’s hardly a guarantee especially when you consider that neither Nieuwenhuis or Liriano have options remaining either.

Regardless of how it shakes out, Flores should get plenty of opportunities in the spring to show Counsell and his new coaching staff what he can do.

If a trade happens between now and decision day (Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com apparently said on the radio recently that the Chicago White Sox showed interest in Davis for example) then the logjam eases a bit. And if there’s one thing we know already about David Stearns it is that the 60 days between today and Opening Day are a long time for him to continue to manipulate what today seems to be an overcrowded situation.

And you probably thought rebuilds weren’t intriguing.

Follow Ramón on Twitter: @ramonflores16

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #63 Junior Guerra

BBtJN Logo

After an unplanned but ultimately brief hiatus due to slight fatigue after the 2,500 “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” Kickoff Column, a weekend with day job work spillover and the allure of Brewers On Deck, I return after a long Monday work day to deliver the piece devoted to the man who wears the jersey aligning with our current position of nine weeks away from Opening Day…

Junior Guerra.

GuerraBBtJN

Junior J. Guerra is a 31-year-old native of Venezuela who has been in professional baseball since 2001 (though not always with MLB-affliated teams) but who just made his Major League Debut last season, a three-game cup of coffee stretching from June 12th through June 22nd. That debut came with the Chicago White Sox, Guerra’s third MLB organization, and the one who signed him after six years out of affiliated baseball. Here’s that timeline.

Signed by the Braves as an international amateur free agent in ’01 (at just 16 years of age), Guerra came stateside with the Braves in 2003. He was signed as a catcher but converted to the mound after not making much progress at the plate — he hit .223 in 269 at-bats over his first three seasons in rookie ball. He got one season with Atlanta after he first toed the rubber to unspectacular results at best (6.59 ERA in 18 games).

Following a 2007 about which I couldn’t find any records of pro ball participation, Guerra caught on with the New York Mets. Now a full-time pitcher — maybe he spent 2007 at home in Venezuela truly learning how to pitch? — Guerra ended up pitching for four different Mets affiilates working to a 2.12 ERA in 18 games. He seemed to be on the right track and, at still only 23 years old, he could very well have been considered a prospect to some degree. Then a reported PED-related 50-game suspension ended his time with the Mets.

Between 2009 and 2014, Guerra kept his dream alive. He pitched wherever he could with stops in Hawaii, Venezuela, Mexico, and even a pair of runs with the Independent League Wichita Wingnuts. He pitched well enough in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2014 to grab the attention of the White Sox.

Guerra started at Double-A Birmingham but only needed five appearances to make his way to Triple-A Charlotte. After seven games as a Knight, Guerra got the call to The Show for the previously mentioned 11 day call-up. Despite a capable showing over the course of the whole season, the White Sox designated Guerra for assignment to open up a spot on their 40-man roster. The brand new Brewers regime which was only officially turned over to David Stearns two days earlier was awarded a waiver claim on Guerra.

GuerraHeadShotForever the answer to a trivia question, Guerra has a good chance to break camp with the Brewers following the departure of a couple of long-time Brewers relievers (Brandon Kintzler and Rob Wooten) who while never elite were certainly useful over their terms with the Brewers.

According to FanGraphs.com, Guerra works with a three-pitch mix. He throws a four-seam fastball averging 94.1 MPH, an 82.2 MPH slider, and a splitter that clocks in 85.7 MPH. With those pitches he was able to handle Triple-A to the tune of a 3.39 ERA with 79 K in 63.2 IP. That’ll play if it converts well enough to the big league level over a significant sample size (which 2015’s three games certainly aren’t).

All in all, Guerra could prove effective in Craig Counsell’s bullpen under the watching eyes of Derek Johnson and Lee Tunnell. Either way, he adds to the inexpensive options at the skipper’s disposal for 2016.

You can follow Junior Guerra on Twitter: @juni1685

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Kickoff Column – #68-#78

Broken News: Segura, Wagner Traded To Arizona

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 (21gs, 9-7, 4.01era).

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 (116g, .230, 6hr, 39rbi 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 (T5th, 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.

Brewers Uniform Number Changes

Today is an exciting day for a uniform number nerd like me.

The roster of uniform numbers on Brewers.com was finally updated today as we trudge toward the start of Spring Training.

Here are the updated numbers for the rostered players:

  • Jonathan Villar will wear #5
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis will wear #10
  • Taylor Jungmann has switched to #26
  • Chris Carter will wear #33
  • Keon Broxton will wear #60
  • Ramon Flores will wear #61
  • Garin Cecchini will wear #62
  • Junior Guerra will wear #63
  • Andy Wilkins will wear #64
  • Jacob Barnes will wear #70
  • Orlando Arcia will wear #72
  • Colin Walsh will wear #73
  • Zack Jones will wear #75
  • Damien Magnifico will wear #78

Here are the assigned numbers for non-roster invitees:

  • Alex Presley will wear #7
  • Hernan Perez retains his #14
  • Will Middlebrooks will wear #15
  • Eric Young, Jr. will wear #24
  • Chris Capuano will once again wear #39
  • Jake Elmore will wear #41
  • Pat Misch will wear #48
  • Cesar Jimenez retains his #51 from last year
  • Josmil Pinto will wear #65
  • Hiram Burgos will wear #66
  • Manny Pina will wear #67
  • Adam Weisenburger will wear #68
  • Josh Hader will wear #71
  • Daniel Tillman will wear #74
  • Rene Garcia will wear #76
  • Brett Phillips will wear #77

Here are the new numbers for the coaching staff:

  • Carlos Subero – First Base Coach – #31
  • Derek Johnson – Pitching Coach – #36
  • Pat Murphy – Bench Coach – #49
  • Jason Lane – Coach – #57

My “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” countdown to Opening Day will begin forthwith!