Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!
What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.
Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)
Manager: Rick Sweet
28 Total Players
- Michael Blazek (Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34)
- Hiram Burgos (Twitter: @Burgos196)
- Jose De La Torre
- Mike Fiers (Twitter: @Fiers64)
- Alfredo Figaro
- Donovan Hand (@DonovanHand)
- Kyle Heckathorn (@KyleHeckathorn)
- Johnny Hellweg
- Brad Mills
- Dustin Molleken
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Ariel Peña
- Rob Wooten (@RobWooten35)
- Irving Falu (@irvingfalu)
- Hector Gomez
- Taylor Green
- Sean Halton (@SeanHalton11)
- Elian Herrera
- Hunter Morris (@HunterMorris15)
- Pete Orr
- Stephen Parker
- Eugenio Velez
- Caleb Gindl
- Jeremy Hermida
- Kevin Mattison (@stachemaster4)
Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)
Manager: Carlos Subero
28 Total Players
- Tyler Cravy (@TylerJayCravy)
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- David Goforth (@DavidGoforth7)
- Brooks Hall
- Greg Holle (@GHolle44)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brent Leach (@brentle24)
- Arcenio Leon
- Johnnie Lowe (@jlowe390)
- Eric Marzec (@MarzMLB)
- Casey Medlen (@cmeds13)
- Andy Moye (@AMoye22)
- Kevin Shackelford (@Shackeldaddy)
- Brent Suter (@bruter24)
- Joey Paciorek
- Adam Weisenburger (@aweisenburger)
- Shawn Zarraga
- Greg Hopkins (@StJonnyHopkins)
- Josh Prince (@JoshPrince17)
- Nick Ramirez (@N_Ramirez33)
- Jason Rogers (@jasonrogers2003)
- Nick Shaw (@NShaw3)
- Hainley Statia (@HStatia4)
- Shea Vucinich
- Kentrail Davis
- Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
- Brock Kjeldgaard
- D’Vontrey Richardson
Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)
Manager: Joe Ayrault
26 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes (@j_barnes30)
- Jed Bradley (@Jed_Bradley)
- Hobbs Johnson (@hojo31)
- Jorge Lopez (@yabiee18)
- Damien Magnifico (@D_Magno32)
- Stephen Peterson (@SPetey22)
- Chad Pierce (@pierce_chad)
- Tanner Poppe (@TannerPoppe)
- Austin Ross
- Michael Strong (@Strong_Mike1188)
- Tommy Toledo (@TommyToledo13)
- Martin Viramontes (@martilious19)
- Tyler Wagner (@_TylerWagner_)
- Orlando Arcia
- Garrett Cooper (@CoopaLoop1)
- Michael Garza (@Miguelito_G_21)
- Brandon Macias (@Cias12)
- Nathan Orf (@NateOrf4)
- Yadiel Rivera (@YADIELRIVERA13)
- Alfredo Rodriguez (@Arodss2)
- Jose Sermo (@j_weesy21)
Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)
Manager: Matt Erickson
27 Total Players
- Tyler Alexander (@LilLefty12)
- Tristan Archer (@TRISTAN_archer)
- Barrett Astin (@BarrettAstin17)
- Victor Diaz
- Rodolfo Fernandez (@cuba900321)
- Preston Gainey (@friendpresto)
- Tyler Linehan (@tylinny39)
- Harvey Martin (@Martin_Time15)
- Zach Quintana (@Slummdog)
- Chris Razo (@RazBerry02)
- Trevor Seidenberger (@trev15berger)
- Tyler Spurlin (@TyroneG4)
- Taylor Williams (@TWilly_KSU)
- Francisco Castillo
- David Denson (@_DavidD_41)
- Steven Halcomb
- Chris McFarland (@cmcfarland116)
- Angel Ortega
- Taylor Smith-Brennan (@TaylorBrennan88)
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.
The Milwaukee Brewers today acquired infielder Jean Segura and right-handed pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena
from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. All three players will be added to the 40-man roster
and assigned to Double-A Huntsville. To make room on the 40-man roster for these additions, the team designated infielder Edwin Maysonet and
outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard for assignment. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“We greatly appreciate Zack’s contibutions to the Brewers,” said Melvin. He will be greatly missed on the field and in the clubhouse. We
wish him nothing but the very best. We are also very excited about acquiring three good young players who are already on the 40-man roster. We
look forward to them joining organization and their future contributions to the Brewers.”
Segura, 22, entered the season as the Angels’ second-best prospect according to Baseball America. He began the 2012 season at
Double-A Arkansas, where he batted .294 with 7 HR, 40 RBI and 33 stolen bases in 94 games before earning a promotion to the Angels earlier this
week. Segura, who particpated in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City and was a Texas League All-Star, made his Major League debut on
Tuesday vs. Kansas City, starting at shortstop. His first name is pronounced JEAN (like blue “jean”).
Hellweg, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21
starts with Arkansas this season.
Pena, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ ninth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 19 starts at
Arkansas this season. He also participated in the All-Star Futures Game. Pena held Texas League opponents to a .222 batting average this season
and recorded 111 strikeouts in 114.1 innings.
Welcome back to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, my season preview series which profiles players as their assigned jersey number for 2012 Spring Training match up to the number of days that remain until Opening Day.
Today, Tuesday, January 31st is exactly 66 days away from Opening Day of the 2012 Major League Baseball season which, for the Milwaukee Brewers, is Friday, April 6th.
Who, you ask, was assigned jersey number 66? None other than 6’5″, 235 lb first base and outfield prospect Brock Kjeldgaard.
Kjeldgaard (pronounced “KILL-guard”) was born January 26, 1986, and bats and throws right-handed. He was a 34th-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Kjeldgaard signed as a draft-and-follow a year later and spent his first two years in pro ball as a pitcher. These were not very effective years as he compiled a 1-3 record with a 5.53 ERA in 33 appearances. Due to the lack of results on the bump, the Brewers changed Kjeldgaard’s focus and he became just a hitter in 2008.
His focus helped him harness his one tool: power. He’s hit 75 homers in 1,702 minor league ABs. So despite the lack of an apparent second tool, that kind of power can result in big league service time. The thing working against Kjeldgaard is the fact that he is already 26 years old. Granted he’s basically two seasons behind in the refining of his hitting, but the game is littered with athletic prospects that weren’t ready at the time they got their shot, if they got one at all.
Kjeldgaard was ready this season to display his powerful swing and did so to the tune of 18 home runs in just 231 ABs in High-A ball with the Brevard County Manatees. However after a promotion to Double-A Huntsville, he saw his power drop quite a bit. He only hit six long balls in 203 at-bats. Naturally part of that drop is due to better pitching, but it is a player’s ability to adjust to his environment and succeed as a result that dictates his advancement.
Assuming the big Canadian-born ballplayer begins the 2012 season with the Stars where he ended it, we should all keep an eye on how his off-season work has aided him in his adjusting. But it’s truly not all about the bat for Kjeldgaard as far as making an impact at the big league level. As the Milwaukee Brewers are a National League club, it takes more than just a powerful bat to stick. No doubt working in his favor, however, are experiences gained by Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin during Melvin’s tenure. Melvin failed to recognize a late-bloomer in Nelson Cruz, of course in Melvin’s defense so did every other GM in the game at least once, but by protecting Kjeldgaard from the Rule V Draft this past December it showed the Melvin is willing to give an “older” prospect a little more time to realize whatever potential he has.
Off-season leagues and competitions can bolster a player’s development as well, and as evidenced by the picture in this article, Brock Kjeldgaard played on for Team Canada on more than one occasion. He played right field and even some center field for the national team in October, hitting safely 13 times in 52 ABs (.250) with a pair of dingers to help Team Canada win the Pan American Games, and also tie for third in the World Cup.
Let’s sum it up in these words taken from Baseball America’s website: “Kjeldgaard is big and freakishly strong.” When he makes contact, he can hit for quite a bit of power but his swing can get too long at times. If you couple that with a tendency to get overly aggressive, it makes it unlikely that he’ll ever hit for average and should also lead to high strikeout totals. He’s below-average on the basepaths. He has decent arm strength but is a mediocre defender at best on the outfield corners. And despite the fact that he logged time in center field for Team Canada, the mistake should never be made that he can play there at the Major League level. Fortunately for Kjeldgaard, he has been able to see time at 1B. It’s simply a better fit.
On a personal note, I had a chance to meet Brock ever so briefly at the Brewers winter fan fast called “Brewers On Deck”. I shook his hand, welcomed him to the 40-man roster, and accepted an autograph from him. I truly hope that it wasn’t the last time I’ll have the opportunity to interact with the slugger. He just feels like the kind of player that could provide prodigious pop off the bench and contribute positively to a ball club, assuming his plate discipline improves.
After all, in a city where Russell Branyan still elicits an emotional response from fans who dig scoreboard-denting shots, Brock Kjeldgaard could truly attain cult hero status with the fan base. And if power is king, Kjeldgaard certainly seems like a blood relative of the royal Sexson/Branyan family.
In summary, Kjeldgaard may or may not ever make an impact at the Major League level. It is the case with any prospect. It is the curse of anyone with unrealized potential. It’s a crapshoot. Bottom line, though, is the GMs (like chicks) dig the long ball. Like left-handed pitchers, if you can establish that you’re capable of doing your one thing very well, you’ll almost always be able to find a job. For the good of the Brewers, let’s hope that Kjeldgaard does enough to warrant that that job be based in Milwaukee.