As happened last year, the Milwaukee Brewers only recently announced the rest of their Spring Training jersey number updates for 2015. There are six players to catch up on who missed their own dates as a result.
The reason for this bonus article is that, as mentioned above, these players were announced after the day on which they would have otherwise had their individual article written and posted.
As in 2014, these won’t be in-depth profiles of these players but I wanted to make sure you knew a little something about them before camp opens and you see their names popping up in box scores.
Tyler Jay Cravy, 25, is a 6’3″ right-handed pitcher from California who the Brewers drafted out of Napa Valley College in the 17th round of the 2009 draft. He’s been a 40-man roster consideration each of the last couple of years, especially the most recent one where Cravy posted a combined 1.64 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) for three different spots in the Brewers system. In 82.1 innings, Cravy struck out 76 batters, walking just 20.
It may not have done the trick to get him on someone’s Rule 5 Draft board, but it was enough to garner him an invitation to big league camp this year. He’s likely to break camp with the new Class-AAA affiliate Colorado Springs, and it would seem as though he’s ticketed for their rotation after 2014. Cravy was primarily a bullpen arm for the three years prior.
In contrast to how long it’s taken Cravy to reach big league camp, Jeffrey Hobbs Johnson will join the big leaguers in what is just his second spring training. Drafted in the 14th round out of North Carolina, the 23-year-old Rocky Mount native has performed very well as a professional. He had limited reps after signing in 2013 (11 games, no starts) between Helena (R) and Wisconsin (A) but posted very good numbers. Last year in his first full professional season, Johnson compiled a 12-8 record in 25 games (24 starts). He pitched to a 2.93 ERA in 147.1 innings for Class-A Advanced Brevard County.
At 5’11”, the left-handed Johnson being a starter is something in which the Brewers are not exactly flush throughout their minor league system. The invite to big league camp should be viewed as the honor it is, a reward for a great season, but don’t take it to mean that Johnson has any shot at breaking camp on the 25-man roster. He’s still got a ways to go, especially when considering the standard Brewers development plan.
Another smaller pitcher than the Brewers have targeted in recent years, Taylor G. Williams at 5’11” still has managed to turn heads in the organization and out. He’s got a quality profile and pitch arsenal, and has been putting things together nicely to this point in his young pro career. 2014 saw Williams post a combined 2.72 ERA between Class-A Wisconsin and Class-A Advanced Brevard County. He appeared in 27 games, making 17 starts. Williams pitched to a FIP and SIERA both until 3.00 as well, showing that the peripherals are supportive of his strong season as opposed to being red flags of regression. Williams kept his WHIP at 1.02 on the year as well, along with striking out 137 hitters in 132.1 innings pitched.
At times, shorter pitchers have trouble keeping the ball down effectively. While it’s hardly an exact illustration of his ability, Williams allowed just eight home runs all of last year. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.89 is high quality as well.
The bottom line is that Williams is jumping up Top Prospects lists around the industry. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on over the next year or two. He could force his way onto the 40-man roster by way of call up before he needs its protection.
Last year in this same “Bonus” article, I told you that Cameron Garfield is not simply “organizational catcher guy” who comes to big league camp for a couple of weeks while extra pitchers are in camp too.
Garfield, now 23, played in 95 games a year after appearing in 109. He repeated Class-A Advanced Brevard County and did see his offensive numbers slip a bit year over year. It can’t ever be forgotten that the Gulf Coast League is tough on hitters though Garfield certainly has room to grow at the plate as he continues to improve behind it.
A second round draft pick in 2009, Garfield is a bit behind where he’d normally be because of some significant injuries early in his professional career. But he is a guy to which the Brewers will give plenty of opportunities to realize his potential. Catching is always a premium.
Another catcher who repeats in this bonus column all the way down to his uniform numbers, Adam Robert Weisenburger continues to carry the reputation as a very good receiver. Weisenburger caught most of 2014 as Double-A Huntsville before moving up to Triple-A in August after their top backstop (Matt Pagnozzi, now with the Diamondbacks) got a September call up.
Weisenburger posted offensive numbers roughly in line with where you’d hope a quality receiver/second catcher could consistently put up. As a 34th round draft pick, if he’s able to get there one day, that would be a big win for the Brewers development staff.
The only new-to-the-organization guy in this column, Matthew Eugene Long is a primary outfielder who has played some second base as well. Drafted by the Angels in the 30th round back in 2009, the California native has played as high as Class-AAA each of the last three seasons. His career Triple-A slash line is .279/.358/.442 over 1102 plate appearances across 262 games.
Long has played the majority of his games in the outfield the last two seasons, after playing mostly at second base in 2012. It’s been a return to familiar ground for Long who spent all of his time in the outfield from 2009-2011. Long even found a handful of games at the hot corner last year at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Versatility is the key for many minor leaguers, and if Long is to one day make his major league debut, being able to fill in at multiple positions is one way he might be able to get there. For now, he looks ticketed to the thin aired outfield in Colorado Springs to start the season.
You can follow all of the players profiled in this article on Twitter.
- #75 – Tyler Cravy: @TylerJayCravy
- #74 – Hobbs Johnson: @hojo31
- #73 – Taylor Williams: @twillyflash
- #72 – Cameron Garfield: @CAMgGARFIELD
- #71 – Adam Weisenburger: @aweisenburger
- #70 – Matt Long: @MattELong
So there you have it. We’re caught up to today with #68 Ariel Peña coming later.
This is a list I’m parking here, basically for my own reference, because the Brewers.com website isn’t updated yet.
Here is list, broken down by position, of the announced non-roster invitees that will be initially assigned to the big league side at Spring Training 2015. I’ll update the list as players are added and do my best to remember to do the same when they are reassigned.
- Tyler Cravy
- Hobbs Johnson (L)
- Brent Leach (L)
- Ariel Peña
- Taylor Williams
- Dontrelle Willis (L)
- Nevin Ashley
- Parker Berberet
- Cameron Garfield
- Adam Weisenburger
- Pete Orr
- Matt Long
- Bryan Petersen
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)
Despite my pleas for expediency, the Milwaukee Brewers just announced their jersey number updates for 2014 on Wednesday, January 22nd. That’s 66 days away from Opening Day already.
Veteran readers know how this works. As we count down to Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers, I preview a different player on certain days along the way. Those days are determined by the jersey number that the player will be wearing while in big league camp.
The reason for this bonus article is that, as mentioned above, a lot of players were announced after the day on which they would have otherwise had their individual article written and posted.
These won’t be in-depth profiles of these players but I wanted to make sure you knew a little something about them before camp opens and you see their names popping up in box scores.
David P. Goforth was a 7th round draft pick out of the University of Mississippi back in 2011. He’s a full-term college guy and enters 2014 as a 25-year-old who has seen time at four different levels of the minor leagues. He has started more than he has relieved, but that was by design in part so he could develop his pitching arsenal. It was finally at Double-A Huntsville this past season when he began he transition to the bullpen. The Brewers had him targeted for that move anyway, and it should definitely assist him in his possible ascent to the MLB roster.
Goforth’s statistical measurements have shown that the move looks like a wise one. His K/9, HR/9, H/9, WHIP, and more have taken moves in a positive direction as Goforth has performed in shorter outings. Goforth has increased his profile through his production and he’s earned this NRI designation heading to camp in 2014. He won’t break camp with the Brewers, not that anyone is expecting him to, but the experience will be valuable as he could very well start the regular season as Nashville’s closer.
For the purposes of Spring Training, Triple-A phase Rule V Draft Pick Kevin Robert Mattison will be just a “camp body” insofar as he doesn’t have any non-catastrophic injuries chance of making the 25-man roster. That shouldn’t lend itself to your disliking the acquisition of Mattison by Brewers GM Doug Melvin back at the end of the Winter Meetings.
Mattison, 6’1″, 195lbs, is already 28 years old and has a total of five big league plate appearances (all in 2012 for Miami) and last year for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs he only hit .216/.293/.662 but he wasn’t grabbed for his offensive potential anyway. Mattison is a veteran of 606 minor league games over six season, including 563 in centerfield and 21 each in the corner spots. Basically, he’ll be the new Logan Schafer for Nashville in 2014 and someone who could hold his own defensively at the MLB level in a pinch.
Friend of Brewer Nation, outfielder Mitch Haniger has had his share of publicity around these parts. He’s definitely turning heads on the field as well. Signed as a college junior in 2012, Haniger was taken with the 38th overall pick. He signed and hit the field, being assigned directly to the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers but an injury cost him some games in 2012. As a result, Haniger began 2013 again in Wisconsin. After 41 games of very strong offensive production, Haniger made the jump up to Class-A Advanced.
As a Manatee, Haniger’s numbers took an mostly expected dip. After all, the Florida Gulf Coast League is notoriously difficult for hitters. Still, given his numbers to begin the year and his continued gains in development throughout 2013, the Brewers tapped the prospect as their “preferred” designee to the Arizona Fall League. While there, Haniger rebounded as one would expect. He posted .280/.354/.480 in 100 at-bats over 25 games.
Haniger does profile defensively as more of a corner outfielder, so his ability to reach the Majors will likely hinge on how much more his bat advances over the course of the next couple of seasons.
Suffice it to say, the Brewers are confident in the current trend.
Back in big league camp again this year, Michael Olmsted was the last player “cut” in 2013 as the Brewers opted to bring Alfredo Figaro north as the long reliever. The reasons Olmsted was acquired last off-season are chronicled on last year’s post so I won’t rehash them, but his 2013 campaign wasn’t ultimately what either side hoped for.
Olmsted made 49 appearances at Class-AAA Nashville. Across 52.1 innings pitched, he allowed 39 earned runs and posted a 1.796 WHIP. He did strike out 52 hitters and allowed only six home runs but he walked 40 on top of the 54 hits he allowed. All told, his 6.71 ERA got him demoted finally in mid-August. He finished the year at Class-AA Huntsville.
To his credit, his small sample size as a Star was a very strong one. That, with his natural ability and potential, has garnered him an encore appearance on the big league fields.
Olmsted was outrighted off of the 40-man roster this off-season though. Add in the other options and a Rule V pick and making the 25-man roster this spring will prove harder than last year.
Speaking of players on a second consecutive go ’round, Kentrail Latron Davis is back to fill some outfield innings for Ron Roenicke early on in Cactus League play.
Davis is 5’9″ tall and weighs 200 pounds, but just continues to swing the bat as he’s moved up the organizational ladder. He hits left-handed and enters 2014 as a 25-year-old fringe prospect.
After beginning the 2013 season in the Huntsville Stars’ outfield, Davis hit well enough (.266/.372/.405 over 88 games) to get promoted to Class-AAA Nashville on July 11th. You may recognize that day as the one where Khris Davis was promoted to the big leagues for the balance of last year. That left an open spot in Nashville’s outfield and Kentrail Davis got the call.
With Nashville, Kentrail post a slash line of .270/.353/.367 and his rates took a hit as he began to adjust to the increased level of competition.
The outlook for 2014 is starting in Nashville and being available should the need arise. He’ll obviously continue to develop his game as well, but he could be the next Caleb Gindl in terms of waiting for his shot with Milwaukee.
Look, here’s the deal with non-roster invites for catchers. Early on in camp, every team needs a lot of catchers. There is a plethora of pitchers throwing and they need guys to receive those throws. However, unlike some, Cameron Garfield is not simply “organizational catcher guy” coming to big league camp for a couple of weeks.
On the contrary, Garfield (6’1″, 195lb) is just 22 years old and appears poised to take a big developmental step after staying mostly healthy in 2013. He played in 109 games, all for Class-A Advanced Brevard County. As noted above under the Mitch Haniger mini-profile, the GCL is awful to hitters and Garfield’s posted .250/.280/.379 should improve a bit as he gains more experience and possibly moves up a level.
Garfield has long been a higher profile prospect. That will happen when you’re a second round draft pick. He’s a name to know eventually though as he still projects for a major league career down the road.
Speaking of catchers, Adam Robert Weisenburger also is above the line of “just another receiver”. Weisenburger was listed as the Brewers’ best defensive catcher in the system entering 2013. If he is to reach the majors one day, it’ll be as a defensive-minded backup, but for a 34th round draft pick, that’s not a bad place to end up.
As for camp, he’ll share time with Garfield, Robinzon Diaz, and Matt Pagnozzi. Unlike last year, however, Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado won’t be leaving camp for the World Baseball Classic so he may end up seeing less game time in the end.
Dustin Scott Molleken is a 6’4″, 230 lb right-handed pitcher. He’s 29 years old and spent parts of the last two seasons pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League before returning stateside to finish last year with the Nashville Sounds.
Nashville got 14.1 innings and a 3.14 ERA out of Molleken in 10 games, even picking up a Save along the way.
This is the first chance that the big league staff will have to look at him, so while he won’t make the team out of Spring Training he certainly has plenty of incentive to perform well.
Finally, to the man who should have received a full write-up on January 23 before my time was consumed with all things Matt Garza this morning and getting all of these mini-previews written up this evening, around my other real life commitments.
Eugenio (eh-u-HEN-ee-oh) Velez was signed to a minor league deal by the Brewers in late July of last year after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Velez is now 31 years old and comes to big league camp by way of an official invite as part of his new contract with Milwaukee.
Velez had hit .270/.372/.437 for the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto’s AAA affiliate) before his release, but he got to Nashville and was red hot. He posted a .377/.437/.523 and scored 23 runs in just 38 games. He stole bases at a 75% clip for Nashville, which was a slight drop from his 80.8% rate in Buffalo.
Still, after being touted as simple “organizational depth” when signed last year, Velez certainly did enough to earn himself the camp invite this year. He’s not exactly a player oozing with potential anymore, but in a pinch he could fill a void as a backup utility man.
And “utility” is certainly applicable. Listed as an outfielder on Milwaukee’s depth chart, Velez has seen time defensively at every position except for catcher and first base during his 11 minor league seasons. Velez has 520 games in the infield (with 336 of those at second base) and 311 games in the outfield (of which 117 are in centerfield).
Again, barring a slew of injuries, he won’t break camp with Milwaukee but as a potential short-term fill in during the 2014 regular season, he could have value.
You can follow many of the players profiled in this article on Twitter.
- David Goforth: @DavidGoforth7
- Kevin Mattison: @stachemaster4
- Mitch Haniger: @M_Hanny19
- Michael Olmsted: @mikeolmsted52
- Cameron Garfield: @CAMgGARFIELD
- Adam Weisenburger: @aweisenburger
So there you have it. We’re caught up to current with #66 Robinzon Diaz on tap by himself for Friday, January 24th.
Earlier today, the Brewers finally announced the jersey numbers that the players coming to big league camp will be wearing whilst at Maryvale.
The majority of the players who saw time at the MLB level in 2013 have not changed numbers, though two did. One coach gave up his number for a player. And of course the newest acquisitions and non-roster invitees all need number assignments as well.
Here are all the changes. (Keep in mind that my uniform number repository only counts players wearing a specific number while on the big league roster. I’ll update those pages after camp breaks.)
New Players on 40-Man Roster:
- #50 – Jose De La Torre
- #63 – Brooks Hall
- #60 – Kevin Shackelford
- #13 – Will Smith
- #51 – Wei-Chung Wang
- #25 – Hunter Morris
- #61 – Jason Rogers
- #3 – Elian Herrera
Players on 40-Man Roster Last Year With New Numbers:
- #30 – Tyler Thornburg (switched from #63)
- #38 – Wily Peralta (switched from #60)
- #58 – Ariel Pena (switched from #73)
Both New Non-Roster Invitees (Players on MiLB contracts invited to big league camp) and Repeat Invitees w/New Numbers:
- #59 – Zach Duke
- #77 – David Goforth
- #70 – Dustin Molleken
- #66 – Robinzon Diaz
- #72 – Cameron Garfield
- #68 – Matt Pagnozzi
- #71 – Adam Weisenburger (switched from #91)
- #65 – Irving Falu
- #24 – Lyle Overbay
- #7 – Mark Reynolds
- #67 – Eugenio Velez
- #73 – Kentrail Davis (switched from #93)
- #75 – Mitch Haniger
- #76 – Kevin Mattison