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.”
Earlier today the Milwaukee Brewers confirmed a report by Evan Grant that they had picked the Player To Be Named Later to complete their August 1 trade with the Texas Rangers which sent catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to the American League West division leader.
The now-named player is outfielder Ryan Cordell, a 24-year-old right-handed hitter who opened the season among the Rangers’ Top 10 prospects (according to Baseball America) and who was sixth-best in the up-to-date rankings published by MLB Pipeline.
Brewers General Manager David Stearns said of Cordell that he “is a very athletic, right-handed hitting centerfielder with the ability to play all three outfield positions.” Stearns went on to say that Cordell “has displayed above-average raw power. He’s displayed above-average speed. When you put that combination together he gives himself the chance to be an above average Major League player.”
Cordell joins fellow outfielder Lewis Brinson (current #2 prospect in the Milwaukee’s farm system according to MLB Pipeline) and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz (current #5 prospect) as three additions to a system widely considered among the best in baseball if not the best.
For an idea as to just how deep the Brewers system has become, look no further than Cordell’s initial ranking therein by the aforementioned MLB Pipeline. They initially slot Cordell in at #18 in the Brewers system. Cordell was eighth for the Rangers before Brinson and Ortiz left, and their system is also highly regarded.
Cordell has not yet played above Double-A, which is where he spent the entirety of 2016 prior to his injury, but he’s among the bevvy of prospects which require 40-man roster protection this winter lest they be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. You can rest assured they Cordell will find his way onto the roster.
For the Class-AA Frisco Roughriders, Cordell played in 107 games slashing .264/.319/.484 in 405 ABs. He totaled 22 doubles, 5 triples, 19 home runs and 12 stolen bases across 107 games.
Cordell played primarily outfield in college at Liberty following a freshman year that saw him bounce around. One person I talked to after the trade said that Cordell is “a freak athlete, for sure. Great speed and outfield instincts. Hits better than his numbers may show.”
Time will of course tell on every player, but Cordell seems to be yet another valuable piece to the Brewers’ puzzle to put together a consistent pipeline of talent.
While I didn’t actually sit down in person with this individual, I’m guessing we both were sitting down while the interview was conducted and the alliteration works so deal.
Anyway, I had the opportunity to finally sit down with left-handed pitcher and top pitching prospect in the organization Josh Hader for a little while on Tuesday, August 30th.
We discuss a handful of topics including the trade that brought him to the Brewers organization, the 2015 Arizona Fall League, 2016 Brewers On Deck, the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend back in July, how hard it really is to pitch to Colorado Springs, and just how much fun Tim Dillard is to have as a teammate.
I didn’t pad the interview with any fluff in part because I didn’t want to wait to post it much longer and in part because I didn’t have time to record anything else of substance. As such, we get right into the interview and the clip ends right as Josh and I hang up.
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.
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.
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.
|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.