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
Here are how the Brewers prospects fared who were participating in the now-completed Arizona Fall League season.
- Shawn Zarraga – Catcher – 9 G, .355/.444/.355, 31 AB, 3 R, 11 H (all singles), 5 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, 0 errors
- Tyrone Taylor – CF – 21 G, .271/.315/.306, 85 AB, 12 R, 23 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 0 errors
- Nick Ramirez – 1B – 19 G, .214/.286/.371, 70 AB, 7 R, 15 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 BB, 20 K, 1 CS, 4 errors
- Hector Gomez – IF – 13 G, .255/.308/.404, 47 AB, 7 R, 12 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K, 1 SB, 2 errors
- Clint Coulter – OF – 7 G, .174/.269/.304, 23 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 CS, 1 error
- Kyle Wren* – CF – 12 G, .238/.273/.286, 42 AB, 2 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 2 BB, 11 K, 4 SB, 1 error
- Wei-Chung Wang – 6 GS, 2-0 W-L, 23.0 IP, 2.74 ERA, 22 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 2 BB, 12 K, 1.04 WHIP, .253 BAA
- Brooks Hall – 8 G (2 GS), 1-0 W-L, 18.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 11 H, 7 ER, 1 HR, 2 HB, 3 BB, 13 K, 0.75 WHIP, 2 holds, .175 BAA
- Michael Strong – 11 G, 1-0 W-L, 13.2 IP, 1.98 ERA, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 14 K, 0.80 WHIP, 2 saves, 1 hold, .178 BAA
- Tyler Wagner – 9 G, 0-1 W-L, 13.1 IP, 7.43 ERA**, 13 H, 14 R, 11 ER, 1 HB, 7 BB, 7 K, 1.50 WHIP, 3 holds, .245 BAA
*Kyle Wren was just acquired by the Brewers via trade. He did not play for the Glendale Desert Dogs during this AFL season, but as he is now a Brewers farmhand, I’ve included what he accomplished there this fall.
**It should be noted that Tyler Wagner had one blow up appearance that skewed his ERA, BAA, WHIP, etc. For the most part, Wagner pitched well. Without his October 28th appearance (0.1 IP, 8 ER) on the fall Wagner would have posted a 2.08 ERA.
30 groups of prospects, six teams, ~5.5 weeks. This is the Arizona Fall League.
As a premier showcase for talent on the cusp of breaking through to the upper levels of the minors and ultimately The Show, the Arizona Fall League plays host to some of baseball’s best and brightest of who you’ve likely never heard. This year the AFL runs from October 7 through the league championship game on November 15. The annual All-Star Game, appropriately dubbed the “Fall Stars Game” will be held on November 1.
Brewers prospects will be a part of a different, yet somewhat familiar, team this year. After competing last year as a part of the Saguaros of Surprise, the Brewers will be returning to the monicker under which they played in 2012, that of the Desert Dogs. In 2012, the Desert Dogs were referred to as the Phoenix Desert Dogs. In 2014, however, they’re known as the Glendale Desert Dogs. They play their home games at Camelback Ranch, which is the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.
Farmhands from the Dodgers, White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers will work alongside those of the Brewers as members of the Desert Dogs.
The Brewers originally were set to send six players to Surprise in 2013. They were pitchers David Goforth, Taylor Jungmann, and Kevin Shackelford, infielder Jason Rogers, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and catcher Adam Weisenburger. For 2014, Milwaukee will be sending ### players (and pitching coach Chris Hook) to Glendale. By position, here are those players and some supplemental information:
- Brooks Hall – RHP – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Double-A)
Ariel Peña – RHP – (Triple-A)(***9/3 UPDATE*** Peña was announced as no longer participating on September 3.)
- Mike Strong – LHP – Twitter: @Strong_Mike1188 (***9/7 UPDATE*** Strong was announced as a participant.)
- Tyler Wagner – RHP – Twitter: @_TylerWagner_ (Class-A Advanced)
- Wei-Chung Wang – LHP – Twitter: @LeftyWang51 (MLB – As a Rule 5 pick)
- Nick Ramirez – 1B – Twitter: @N_Ramirez33 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Double-A)
- Hector Gomez – SS – (Triple-A)
Outfielders (Brewers’ Priority Position)
- Tyrone Taylor – Twitter: @Ty_roneTaylor – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Class A-Advanced)
- Taylor is currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Brewers’ Top Prospect
- Shawn Zarraga – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2014: Triple-A)
As you all know, I like to interview players shortly after they’re drafted in an effort to help the fan base get to know them as well and learning more about them than just the numbers from college or high school say or what’s in a scouting report. I interviewed the Brewers’ 2013 11th round draft pick Andy Hillis back in June this year, for example.
I also like to follow up with the players every now and then, and that’s what I had the pleasure of doing yesterday with 2012 1st Round draft pick Mitch Haniger.
(If you missed my original interview with Haniger in 2012, you can find a link to it here.)
In the conversation we talk about his 2013 season which was split between Class-A Wisconsin and Class-A Advanced Brevard County, his being selected as the Brewers priority exception to the 2013 edition of the Arizona Fall League, and what his off-season plans are.
Please take a listen, learn a little bit more about an up and coming outfield prospect in the Brewers system, and get to know Mitch Haniger a bit better.
Thanks again to Mitch for his time. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @M_Hanny19
Each year, for quite some time now, prospects from every MLB organization come together to form six teams which compete over the course of about 5.5 weeks in the Arizona Fall League.
This year the AFL runs from October 8 through the league championship game on November 16. The annual All-Star Game, appropriately dubbed the “Fall Stars Game” will be held on November 2.
Brewers prospects will be a part of a new team this year. After a few years as a part of the Peoria Javelinas and competing last year with the Phoenix Desert Dogs, Milwaukee’s contributions to roster composition will play their home games at Surprise Stadium as members of the Surprise Saguaros.
(For the record, a “Saguaro” is a large, tree-sized cactus which can grow to 66 feet in height and whose branches are shaped like candelabra.)
Brewers prospects will join prospects from the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and Boston Red Sox.
The Brewers will be sending six players (and one Athletic Trainer, Steve Patera) to Surprise this fall. Here are the participants, broken down by position:
- David Goforth – RHP – Twitter: @DavidGoforth7 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2013: Double-A)
- Taylor Jungmann – RHP – (Double-A)
- Kevin Shackelford – RHP – Twitter: @Shackeldaddy (Double-A)
- Jason Rogers – 1B – Twitter: @jasonrogers2003 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2013: Double-A)
- Mitch Haniger – Twitter: @M_Hanny19 – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2013: Class A-Advanced)
- Adam Weisenburger – Twitter: @aweisenburger – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2013: Double-A)
The initial rosters have been announced for the 2012 Arizona Fall League. Prospects from all over baseball are assigned to affiliates to compete as teams for the league championship but also to continue their development. Sometimes players that missed chunks of the regular season are sent so that they get more baseball played, other times top prospects are sent simply to continue their grooming and advancement.
In recent past, the Brewers prospects sent there played for the Peoria Javelinas. Things have been mixed up this year however and this year’s group of Milwaukee Brewers prospects will instead be suiting up for the Phoenix Desert Dogs this fall along with prospects from the systems of the Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins, and Tampa Bay Rays.
Here is a list of the players assigned from the various Brewer minor-league affiliates:
- Nick Bucci – RHP – Twitter: @nickbooch – (Highest Minor League level played at in 2012: Class A-Advanced)
- Kyle Heckathorn – RHP – Twitter: @KyleHeckathorn – (Double-A)
- Johnny Hellweg – RHP – (Double-A)
- Santo Manzanillo – RHP – Twitter: @Santo_37 (Double-A)
- Jimmy Nelson – RHP – Twitter: @Jimmy_J_Nelson – (Double-A)
Despite starting this year, Heckathorn and Hellweg will pitch in relief for the Desert Dogs. Hellweg is still viewed as a starring pitching prospect by the organization, however Heckathorn will pitch in relief going forward.
- Hunter Morris – 1B/3B – Twitter: @HunterMorris15 – (Double-A)
- Josh Prince – SS – Twitter: @JoshPrince17 – (Double-A)
- Khris Davis – (Triple-A)
- Brock Kjeldgaard – (Double-A)
***Note: Manzanillo and Kjeldgaard are on the team’s “taxi squad” which limits their availability throughout the short season.***
Over the course of the AFL season, I’ll profile each player for you. That will include looking at their 2012 regular season of affiliated ball as well as scouting reports, etc.