Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #66 Juan Centeno

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On a day when the Brewers signed a veteran left-handed relief pitcher to balance their bullpen, we take a look at someone who will likely catch some of his Spring Training work this year. He is a newcomer to the Brewers organization, claimed this winter off of waivers from the New York Mets…

Juan Centeno.


Juan C. Centeno is 25 years old, Puerto Rican (from Arecibo), and the first minor league 40-man rostered catcher that the team has carried in a few years outside of September. As mentioned the Brewers were awarded the waiver claims from the Mets this off-season, which came on October 31.

Originally drafted in the 32nd round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft by the Mets, Centeno was a September call up for New York each of the last two seasons. His Major League debut came on September 18, 2013. He also had a stint with the parent club in May of 2014 when he made six starts over two weeks.

Never one to display any kind of power, in eight minor league seasons Centeno has combined for three (3) home runs. His career minor league slash line is .277/.329/.336 with only 178 strikeouts and just 93 walks in 1423 plate appearances. To say that he tends to swing at the first pitch he likes feels like an understatement. To his credit, Centeno has improved offensively as he’s matured. He hit just .183 in rookie ball over a season and a half (ages 17 & 18, for the record) but as a 24-year-old at Triple-A Las Vegas posted a .291 batting average with an acceptable .343 on-base percentage.

All that said, Centeno’s arm behind the plate has been his calling card as a minor leaguer. Everything I find about his online touts his throwing arm and defensive skills. His career minor league caught stealing percentage is 40%. That’s a quality number.

The Brewers haven’t carried a legitimate 40-man-worthy third catcher in some time, but given the scouting reports and the digital reputation, it’s easy to see why they felt Centeno was worth the claim and spot he’s currently holding.

Barring injury, Centeno should be the starting catcher at Colorado Springs once camp breaks. It’ll be nice to have a plus defender with at least some bat-to-ball skills at the ready should his services be required in Milwaukee. And at just 25, he could find himself in position to take over for the backup job in Milwaukee one day. After all, arbitration can be a dangerous thing for a guy like Martin Maldonado (who is cost-controlled through 2016, for the record). Age, skills (did I mention he bats lefty?), and availability could dictate what comes down the road. Centeno, if I’m doing my math correctly, should have two options remaining. One will be used in each of the next two seasons, but maybe there will be a job ready for him in 2017…?

For 2015, however, it’ll be some Colorado Springs cooking with an eye on September 1.

Catch up on the countdown!

Broken News: Cotts Contracts With Crew


The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent left-handed reliever Neal Cotts to a one-year contract. The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

To make room for Cotts on the 40-man roster, the team designated infielder/outfielder Elian Herrera for assignment.

Cotts, 34, went 2-9 with a 4.32 ERA and 2 saves in a career-high 73 relief appearances last season with the Texas Rangers. He owns a career record of 20-24 with a 4.05 ERA and 4 saves in 415 games (5 starts) with the White Sox (2003-06), Cubs (2007-09) and Rangers (2013-14).

Over the past two seasons, he is holding opponents to a .223 batting average with 128 strikeouts in just 123.2 innings pitched.

Cotts enjoyed his best Major League season just two years ago as he went 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA and 1 save in 58 relief appearances with Texas. His ERA in 2013 was the second lowest in the Major Leagues among relievers and marked the lowest by a reliever in Rangers franchise history. His win total that season tied for the most among Major League relievers, and opponents batted just .180.

A member of the 2005 world champion Chicago White Sox, Cotts appeared in each game of the 2005 World Series (4 games), earning the
victory Game 2 against Houston.

Rumor: Brewers In Agreement With Free Agent Left-Hander


Not one to break many free agent signings, Tom Haudricourt just tweeted the following…

Neal Cotts is a left-handed reliever, and has pitched parts of nine seasons in the big leagues for both Chicago teams and, most recently, the Texas Rangers. He missed significant time following Tommy John surgery in 2009 and four hip surgeries which started in 2010.

Cotts will be 35 by Opening Day. As recently as 2013, he pitched to a 1.11 ERA in 57.0 IP. He struck out 65 that year. Last year was harder for Cotts. In 66.2 IP, Cotts wound up with a 4.32 ERA in 73 (!) appearances. He struck out 63 but tripled his home runs allowed from two to six.

Cotts reportedly made $2.2 million in 2014. If he signs a major league deal, you’d have to think he would come in right around there, hopefully lighter given his most recent campaign.

Notably, Cotts struggled against left-handed hitters in 2014, allowing a slash of .270/.337/.438, but he’s carried a reverse platoon split overall in his career anyway.


Haudricourt and Ken Rosenthal are now concurring that Cotts has passed his physical with the Brewers and that a deal is done.


Rosenthal checks back in with the money.

More than I would have liked to commit given the specifics, but not outlandish given the marketplace.

It us a major league deal which means that the Brewers will have to make a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #67 Nevin Ashley

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Today is Thursday, January 29, 2015. It’s almost February, that wonderfully depressing month to everyone except for baseball fans. Football is over, pro basketball hasn’t yet hit its true playoff stride and nobody is dancing yet in college.

But alas we aren’t there quite yet.

Instead, here on January 29, we sit 67 days away from Brewers Opening Day on April 6 at Miller Park. In continuing my countdown series, it’s time to take a look at someone brand new to the organization…

Nevin Ashley.


Nevin Robert Ashley is a 6’1″, 215 lb catcher from Indiana by way of Indiana State University. Originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Early scouting reports said that Ashley is an average hitter though good defender. He was named as the “Best Defensive Catcher” in Tampa Bay’s system on more than one occasion by Baseball America.

The Brewers have long valued defense (receiving/throwing/game-management) in their would-be back up catchers. Guys like Adam Weisenburger are defense first, and it’s been well-covered just how good behind the plate current MLB-level backstop Martin Maldonado is. Even the offensively plus Jonathan Lucroy is a top notch receiver, though his throwing arm is a hole in his game.

With Ashley, the Brewers get another in a recent spate of MiLB free agents who sign on to catch at a Brewers’ affiliate in hopes of getting a September call-up and making something out of their opportunity. Matt Treanor, Blake Lalli, Lucas May, etc.

Ashley has been doing the same over the past couple of seasons. Following seven professional seasons with Tampa Bay, the now 30-year-old Ashley spent 2013 with Cincinnati’s top affiliate in Durham and was in Triple-A again all season but with the Pirates’ affiliate in 2014.

Still a defensive-minded backstop, Ashley owns a career .235/.322/.365 slash line in 224 games at the Triple-A level. He hasn’t slugged over .379 since his 2007 A-ball campaign in the Sally League with the Columbus Catfish. Ironically, Ashley’s team bested Milwaukee’s Class-A affiliate (the West Virginia Power) in that league’s playoff championship in 2007.

Ashley is behind, of course, Lucroy and Maldonado organizationally but with fellow newcomer (and tomorrow’s profile subject) Juan Centeno likely starting at Class-AAA Colorado Springs this year, Ashley could either back him up or possibly start in Biloxi dependent on what the club wants to do with a guy like Weisenburger.

At this point, Ashley is a guy to be aware of in spring. For the casual fan, that’s probably enough.

You can follow Nevin Ashley on Twitter: @nevin_ashley

Catch up on the countdown!

2015 Cactus League Broadcast Schedule

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the Club’s 2015 Spring Training broadcast schedule that will include 16 radio broadcasts on 620 WTMJ and the Brewers Radio Network, 13 additional audio webcasts, and 12 games televised by FOX Sports Wisconsin.

All games played in the Cactus League are scheduled for 1:05 pm Arizona Time (except for March 13, March 23 and March 24, which will start at 7:05 p.m., 1:05 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. Arizona Time, respectively).

The only games that will not be broadcast on either radio, TV or webcast are the Wednesday, March 4 exhibition against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a road split-squad game on Sunday, March 15 at the Rangers (NOTE: The Brewers home game against the A’s that day will be broadcast on radio and TV).

Hall of Fame announcer Bob Uecker and his partner Joe Block will call the games on the Brewers Radio Network, and Jeff Levering will fill in on select games. Television announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder will call the games on FOX Sports Wisconsin. Anderson, Block, Schroeder and Levering will team up on the webcasts. (NOTE: FOX Sports Wisconsin will simulcast the March 5 game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from FOX Sports West and the March 17 game against the San Diego Padres from FOX Sports San Diego.)

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training on Friday, February 20. All position players have a report date of Wednesday, February 25. The first full workout is scheduled for Thursday, February 26.

Tickets for the Milwaukee Brewers home Spring Training games are on sale now via the internet at and by phone at 1-800-933-7890. Normal business hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST. Sales at the Maryvale Baseball Park Box Office will begin on Monday, February 9, 2015. Tickets are available in four seating areas: Field Box ($23), Infield Reserved ($17), Outfield Reserved ($13) and Lawn Seating ($8) In addition, there will also be a limited number of advanced parking passes available for $5. Information on Spring Training Season Tickets can be obtained by calling the Milwaukee Brewers Ticket Office at 414-902-4000.

Please note that games and times are subject to change.

Date – Time (CT) – Opponent – Place – Broadcast
Wed, March 4 – 2:05pm vs UW-Milwaukee – Maryvale – N/A
Thu, March 5 – 2:05pm at LA Angels of Anaheim – Tempe – TV/Radio
Fri, March 6 – 2:05pm vs Los Angeles Dodgers – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Sat, March 7 – 2:05pm vs Texas Rangers – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Sun, March 8 – 3:05pm at Los Angeles Dodgers – Camelback Ranch – Radio
Mon, March 9 – 3:05pm vs Kansas City Royals – Maryvale –
Tue, March 10 – 3:05pm vs Cincinnati Reds – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Wed, March 11 – 3:05pm at San Francisco Giants – Scottsdale – Radio
Thu, March 12 – 3:05pm vs Colorado Rockies – Maryvale –
Fri, March 13 – 9:05pm at Seattle Mariners – Peoria –
Sat, March 14 – 3:05pm vs Chicago Cubs – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Sun, March 15 – 3:05pm vs Oakland Athletics – Maryvale – TV/Radio
– 3:05pm at Texas Rangers – Surprise – N/A
Mon, March 16 OFF DAY
Tue, March 17 – 3:05pm at San Diego Padres – Peoria – TV/
Wed, March 18 – 3:05pm at Kansas City Royals – Surprise –
Thu, March 19 – 3:05pm vs San Francisco Giants – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Fri, March 20 – 3:05pm vs Arizona Diamondbacks – Maryvale –
Sat, March 21 – 3:05pm at Texas Rangers – Surprise – Radio
Sun, March 22 – 3:05pm vs Chicago White Sox – Maryvale –
Mon, March 23 – 3:10pm at Colorado Rockies – Talking Stick – Radio
Tue, March 24 – 8:40pm at Arizona Diamondbacks – Talking Stick –
Wed, March 25 – 3:05pm vs Oakland Athletics – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Thu, March 26 – 3:05pm vs Seattle Mariners – Maryvale –
Fri, March 27 – 9:05pm at Cincinnati Reds – Goodyear –
Sat, March 28 – 3:05pm vs Cleveland Indians – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Sun, March 29 – 3:05pm at Oakland Athletics – Mesa – Radio
Mon, March 30 OFF DAY
Tue, March 31 – 3:05pm vs Cincinnati Reds – Maryvale – TV/Radio
Wed, April 1 – 3:05pm at Chicago Cubs – Mesa –
Thu, April 2 – 2:05pm at San Diego Padres – Peoria –
Fri, April 3 – 3:05pm at Cleveland Indians – Goodyear –
Sat, April 4 – 2:05pm vs Cleveland Indians – Maryvale – TV/Radio

• Home games in bold
• Note: Daylight-Savings Time begins on March 8
• All Games/Times subject to change
• Television games aired on FOX Sports Wisconsin
• Radio games aired on WTMJ-AM 620 and the Brewers Radio Network

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #68 Ariel Peña

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After having to write my bonus column today, you’ll forgive me if I end up cutting this one a bit shorter than I otherwise would.

That said, time is of the essence so let’s get right to the man who dons number 68…

Ariel Peña.


Ariel Peña was the third piece of the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Dodgers. A big (6’3″, 240 lb) right-hander from the Dominican Republic, Peña carried with him a reputation of command problems. Just before the trade, he participated in the Rising Stars game on All-Star weekend. He got shellacked. The rest of his 2010 seemed to reflect some confidence issues.

The next year, Peña rebounded as he pitched a full season with Class-AA Huntsville. 2014 wasn’t as kind though.

Peña pitched to a 4.56 ERA in 128.1 innings across 25 games (24 starts). His FIP was 4.10 though his SIERA was 3.90. He wasn’t particularly unlucky as his opponent batting average on balls in play was .269 and he even returned to a great strikeout form tallying 140 on the year.

His biggest problems were a 5.3 BB/9 — which is painfully high — and a 20.4% line drive percentage, his career-worst by more than 4 percent.

Peña was outrighted to Triple-A in November of last year, which took him off of the 40-man roster and exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft. Perhaps it was his rough season that led to no one selecting him, but it also likely had something to do with the elbow injury that ended his season early.

Still just 25, the Brewers have experience with pitchers needing a while to “get it”. Peña still has a big fastball, but until he knows where it and his other pitches are going more often that he seems to now, he’ll never realize the potential he showed when he signed as an 18-year-old.

For now, the erratic Peña will be in big league camp as he’s still someone the organization would very much like to see succeed. Time isn’t infinite in the cases of baseball prospects, even prospects with Peña’s kind of heat.

Catch up on the countdown!

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – BONUS ARTICLE

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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.

TylerCravyBBtJN#75 – Tyler Cravy

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.

HobbsJohnsonBBtJN#74 – Hobbs Johnson

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.

TaylorWilliamsBBtJN#73 – Taylor Williams

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.

CameronGarfield#72 – Cameron Garfield

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.

AdamWeisenburger#71 – Adam Weisenburger

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.

MattLongBBtJN#70 – Matt Long

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.

So there you have it. We’re caught up to today with #68 Ariel Peña coming later.

Opening Day Ticket Lottery Registration Details


The Milwaukee Brewers today announced specifics of an Opening Day Ticket Opportunity that will allow fans the chance to purchase tickets to Opening Day and weekend games at Miller Park prior to the sale of individual tickets.

Beginning tomorrow, January 27 at 9 a.m. and continuing through Monday, February 16 at 11:59pm, fans can go to and register for the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to Opening Day on Monday, April 6 against the Colorado Rockies. Due to limited availability, the Opening Day Ticket Opportunity includes single seats, standing room only and some obstructed view seats. In addition, fans can register for a maximum of eight tickets to each of the weekend games (Friday-Sunday) at Miller Park.

Following registration, a pool of randomly selected winners will be chosen and provided access to an online pre-sale opportunity, based on available inventory. The winners will be notified on Friday, February 20. Fans who win the chance to purchase tickets for Opening Day will be able to purchase tickets starting on Tuesday, February 24 at 9 a.m., while fans who win the chance to purchase tickets for weekend games will be able to do so starting on Wednesday, February 25 at 9 a.m.

There is no charge to register. This will be the only opportunity for fans to purchase single game tickets for Opening Day, other than a very small number set aside for fans lining up at the Box Office on the first day of individual game sales at Miller Park. Single game ticket sales will go on sale at a later date (exact date TBD).

Meanwhile, there are still options available for fans to guarantee their place at Miller Park for Opening Day and other popular games with 10-Packs starting as low as $160.  Each 10-Pack includes 10 Brewers home games, plus a bonus of Opening Day or any other game of the fan’s choice absolutely FREE. Fans interested in purchasing 10-Packs are encouraged to call 414-902-HITS (4487) or visit for more information.

Please note: A very limited amount of individual tickets will be available for Opening Day.

Brewers On Deck 2015 – The Interviews

Here is a boatload of audio recorded on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Brewers On Deck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Right fielder Ryan Braun

Relief pitcher Jim Henderson

Manager Ron Roenicke

New Brewers first baseman Adam Lind

Starting pitcher Wily Peralta

Newest member of the starting rotation Jimmy Nelson

All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez

Second baseman Scooter Gennett

All-Star starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy

General Manager Doug Melvin met with the assembled media

EXCLUSIVE with 40-man pitcher Michael Blazek

Prinicpal Owner Mark Attanasio addressed the media

This is the full audio from one of the Main Stage events, a panel discussion (with fan questions!) featuring Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash, Adam Lind, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas

Rumor: Brewers In Trade Talks to Acquire Papelbon?


According to a tweet that came in just after midnight CT on Friday morning, the Brewers are in “serious discussions” to acquire Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies have been selling off several of their high-priced veterans, and Papelbon fits that M.O. The 6’4″ veteran closer is set to make $13 million in 2015 and has a vesting option for 2016 as a part of his contract as well. The Brewers did just save ~$9 million when they traded Yovani Gallardo, so conventional logic would seem to infer that the Phillies might be paying a portion of Papelbon’s contract in any deal.

The now 34-year-old Papelbon saved 39 games for a Phillies team that only won 79 all season. He pitched to a 2.04 ERA in 66.1 IP. He struck out 63 batters and walked just 15. In stark contrast to the outgoing Brewers closer of 2014, Francisco Rodriguez, Papelbon gave up only two (2) home runs last year. His FIP (2.53) and WHIP (0.905) are encouraging peripherals as well.

Papelbon does have a 17-team no-trade list, but it’s unknown whether the Brewers are on the list.

An acquisition of Papelbon would certainly satisfy Doug Melvin’s oft-stated desire to have multiple guys in the his bullpen who have experience closing games. In fact, Papelbon was a rumored target for the Brewers last season before they ultimately acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, the idea of Papelbon in Milwaukee was panned due to the financial commitment due him. For the record, his 2016 option (also at $13 million) vests if Papelbon finishes 48 games in 2015 as that would bring his two-year total up to 100.


As often happens when one baseball writer breaks news, others react to it by checking in with their own sources and then share what they’ve learned. So far today, that role has been filled by’s Ken Rosenthal and’s Jayson Stark.

So all that seems to counter, to a degree, what Jeff Passan originally reported. However, Jayson Stark then chimed in.

Stay tuned.


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