Following Thursday’s loss to the San Diego Padres at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers optioned 1B/OF Sean Halton to the Class-AAA affiliate Nashville Sounds.
Halton had a relatively successful, if mostly innocuous, MLB debut. He posted a .200/.217/.311 slash line in 45 at-bats over parts of 19 games. He had three extra-base hits including his first career home run to go along with a pair of doubles. His K/BB ratio was a poor 13/1.
A hitter was sent down because the Brewers wanted an extra bullpen arm as they continue in a stretch of 14 games in 13 days.
Getting the call was a player who will be making his Major League debut: Rob Wooten.
Wooten, who just turned 28 years old five days ago, is listed at 6’1″ tall and 210 lbs. He was also listed daily as Nashville Sounds manager Mike Guerrero’s closer.
With a 2.94 ERA and 20 Saves across 52.0 innings pitched in 40 appearances this season, Wooten was selected as a Pacific Coast League All-Star this year. It’s a well-deserved bit of recognition. Wooten has posted some good supporting numbers in 2013 as well, with a 6.9 H/9, a 7.8 K/9, a 3.75 K/BB and a 1.000 WHIP.
Wooten should work in middle relief with a chance to assume 7th inning duties if he performs well. He’d have to overtake Brandon Kintzler for that job but with Kintzler’s ability to work multiple innings on occasion and his propensity for escaping inherited jams, Ron Roenicke could decide to keep Kintzler in reserve some nights as his bail out fireman.
A 13th round draft pick back in 2008, Wooten has been steadily progressing through the Brewers system. And unlike some college relievers whom the Brewers have drafted lately, he’s never started a game at the professional level. What he has done in 212 combined MiLB appearances is post a 2.88 ERA in 278.1 IP, allowing 98 runs (89 earned) while posting a 1.132 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, 3.65 K/BB, and a 0.5 HR/9. Yup, since 2008, Wooten has allowed just 15 total home runs. He’s also compiled 78 career MiLB Saves.
A decision was coming this December anyway on Wooten who would have been eligible for the Rule V Draft had he not been added to the 40-man roster. So with a desire for a bullpen arm and a really available spot, why not give the kid a chance to see what he can do against some MLB hitters?
Catching up on a couple of news items from yesterday in advance of tonight’s game in Pittsburgh.
Perhaps his musical counterpart of the same name would never do it, but the Brewers Corey Hart was forced to surrender the rest of the season. While furiously rehabbing his surgically-repaired right knee, Hart’s left knee began swelling and giving him problems during and after workouts. It finally became bad enough that he sought a second opinion from renowned surgeon Dr. Neal El Attrache.
Surgery was the recommended option and Hart will undergo such soon. It’s the same surgery that he needed on his right knee so the obviously Hart has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Hopefully everything goes cleanly for him after this.
The biggest question for Hart now is where his career goes from here. While he should be healthy before spring training next year the fact is that he’s a free agent after this one. And with multiple knee surgeries (both in terms of surgeries and knees), the 31-year-old veteran faces an uncertain future at a time when he should be preparing to cash in on a free agent contract.
The Brewers could extend a qualifying offer to him in an attempt to get draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, but the risk there is that if he accepts and the knee injuries limit his effectiveness in 2014, then they’d be paying him somewhere north of $13.5 million to sit. That’s probably not a risk that they can take unless Hart can prove himself 100% healthy before the deadline to decide this off-season.
Gindl Optioned, Thornburg Returns
This feels like deja vu all over again.
The last time the Brewers started a long stretch of consecutive games, the team dealt with a number of short starts out of its rotation members at the beginning of the run. The bullpen was worked hard and an extra arm was brought up to help alleviate some of the strain. It’s happened again and Caleb Gindl was the victim of the numbers game this time. He hit okay while he was here, tallying both his first hit and first RBI in his first turn in the Major Leagues, but his defense in an unfamiliar left field was shaky. With Carlos Gomez back after his scary wall collision just a few days ago, Logan Schafer can shift back to starting every day in left with the usual starters of Gomez and Norichika Aoki in center and right. The back up outfielder on the roster though is one who has only played it extensively this season for the first time in Sean Halton. They’d never put him in center and would prefer to keep him out of right. In fact, Ron Roenicke specifically mentioned that with how big the Pittsburgh left field is, he’d question putting Halton in there defensively at all in this series. Hopefully it doesn’t come to a spot where Roenicke’s hand is forced in any direction.
Returning as that extra bullpen arm is Tyler Thornburg who has seen time up with the parent club already this year after making his MLB debut last season. Thornburg had been struggling in the Nashville rotation but pitched very well in relief with Milwaukee during his previous stay. The Brewers will be looking for Thornburg to provide them length after both Tom Gorzelanny and Burke Badenhop went multiple innings in relief of Johnny Hellweg’s short outing in his debut on Friday night.
After a night which saw Yuniesky Betancourt have to play left field, the Brewers purchased the contract of 1B/OF Sean Halton from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He fills the available spot on the 40-man roster which opened up when LHP Chris Narveson was designated for assignment a few days ago.
After being drafted (for the third time) in the 13th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, Halton has followed a fairly steady climb through the Brewers’ system. He played in rookie ball in 2009, split 2010 between Low-A Wisconsin and High-A Brevard County, spent 2011 with the Double-A Huntsville Stars, and debuted with Nashville to begin the 2012 season. He’s been repeating the PCL circuit in 2013 until he got the call.
Halton, 26, is a first baseman by trade but was converted into an outfielder this season with the arrival of 1B Hunter Morris to Nashville. It was a move not only to accommodate the more highly-touted Morris, but also to give some versatility to Halton in an effort to increase his worth to the parent club. Much the same way that learning the outfield helped Josh Prince make his MLB debut this year, the work has paid off for Halton as well.
It wasn’t just the defensive flexibility though for the 6’4″, 255 lb Halton that earned him his call up. In the month of June, Halton has slashed .378/.435/.622 in 82 at-bats, with 15 runs scored, 15 RBI, and 11 extra-base hits (6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR). Those numbers have raised his season slash line to .288/.338/.492.
Of note to Halton’s game though is that he has a bit of a reverse platoon in terms of batting average and slugging percentage. Also notable is Halton’s 40/3 K/BB ratio against righties. Halton is a right-handed hitter. Here are this season splits by pitcher handedness:
vs. RHP: .304/.321/.541, 148 AB, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs, 29 RBI, 3 BB, 40 K
vs. LHP: .261/.364/.413, 92 AB, 8 doubles, 0 triples, 2 home runs, 11 RBI, 14 BB, 22 K
Halton will be making his Major League debut (wearing this jersey number), but whether Halton will see much time at first base as a platoon partner for Juan Francisco remains to be seen.
One thing we do know is who will be feeding Halton the ball on throws from the second base position. That’s because in order to make room for Halton on the 25-man roster, second baseman Scooter Gennett was optioned to Nashville.
Gennett will benefit playing every day with the Sounds as the Brewers continue his development, but he also didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his audition. Gennett hit just .214 in 42 at-bats. He’ll be back, but regular playing time makes sense for him at this time.
But through all of this, Yuni B remains. Zombies, cockroaches, Yuni.
Shortly after the morning team meeting today at Brewers Spring Training, Ron Roenicke addressed the media and told them that Mat Gamel is “probably going to miss the season” due to a re-tear of his surgically-repaired right knee ACL.
There will be no “matomic bombs” hit at Miller Park this year, Tiny Tim.
This comes as a bit of shock in a couple of ways. First and foremost, Gamel had good checkups on the knee both when he was in Milwaukee for “Brewers On Deck” last month, the team’s annual winter fan fest, and again just last week at down at Maryvale. Secondly, the failure of the repair occurred in the middle of the ligament. Repairs fail around 10% of the time, but if they do happen it is usually at one end of the ligament or the other. The Brewers head physician, Dr. William Raasch, explained the failure scenario to team officials and then assistant GM Gord Ash relayed that assessment to the media.
From here, Roenicke told the media that Doug Melvin’s plan is to review internal options first. That means a longer look for Taylor Green, perhaps more looks for Alex Gonzalez and Martín Maldonado, an a more significant look at Brewers 2012 Minor League Player of the Year and Southern League MVP Hunter Morris. Another name you’ll see in the box score on the big league side now is Sean Halton who started at 1B for the Nashville Sounds last year. To that end, Gord Ash told Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy that Hunter Morris “will be a strong candidate” to play first base at the start of the season.
There are a couple of unsigned free agents with first base experience in Carlos Lee and Aubrey Huff, but there is doubt that either would want to come to a situation where they’re basically guaranteed to lose the job as soon as Corey Hart is healthy enough to return. Other externals options include recently DFA’d players. Mike Carp and Daric Barton fit that description.
What would you do, Brewer Nation?
Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?
The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.
John Kennedy (’70)
Davey May (’70-’74, ’78)
Sixto Lezcano (’75)
Kurt Bevacqua (’75-’76)
Jim Rosario (’76)
Jim Gantner (’76)
Steve Brye (’77)
Jeff Yurak (’78)
Vic Harris (’80)
Ed Romero (’81-’85)
Rick Cerone (’86)
Charlie O’Brien (’87-’88)
Mike Young (’88)
LaVel Freeman (’89)
Greg Vaughn (’89)
Gary Sheffield (’90-’91)
Dave Nilsson (’93-’95)
Derrick May (’95)
Kelly Stinnett (’96)
Antone Williamson (’97)
Ronnie Belliard (’98)
Hideo Nomo (’99)
Richie Sexson (’00-’03)
Lyle Overbay (’04-’05)
Mike Rivera (’06-’09, ’11)
Adam Stern (’10)
Chris Dickerson (’10)
Alex Gonzalez (’12-’13)
Sean Halton (’13)
Matt Pagnozzi (’14)