Brewers Announce New Class A-Advanced Affiliation

OFFICIAL RELEASE


The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a two-year player development contract with the Carolina Mudcats of the Class-A Carolina League. The new contract will run through the 2018 season. The announcement was made jointly by Brewers General Manager David Stearns and Mudcats President and Majority Owner Steve Bryant.

 
“The Brewers are excited to announce a partnership with Steve Bryant and the Carolina Mudcats,” said Stearns. “The organization is committed to developing young talent and we strongly believe that the Mudcats will help us achieve that goal. We look forward to working with our new partner in the Carolina League.”
 
The Mudcats are a member of the Carolina League’s Southern division. The team plays their home games at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina.
 
“Having met with the Brewers, and in looking at their system, we are confident that we are getting an organization that is loaded with young, talented prospects that we feel will enhance our program” said Bryant. “We are very impressed with the Brewers in that they share with us a desire to develop young talent at the Minor League level.”
 
This is the first time that the Brewers will have an affiliate in the Carolina League.

Brewers Announce Changes in Scouting Department

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced several changes related to their amateur and professional scouting departments.
Tod Johnson, who is currently in his ninth year with the Brewers, has been promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting. Johnson’s new role will include oversight of all amateur scouting operations, including preparations for the annual June Draft. Johnson, 43, previously served as Brewers Assistant Director – Amateur Scouting for six years. Prior to that, he spent three years (2007-2009) as Director of Application Development for the organization and one season with the San Diego Padres as a Baseball Systems Architect. Johnson’s recent experience also included working with the Brewers Baseball Research and Development Department to set the direction for the application of data and technology for the Brewers baseball operations.
 
Ray Montgomery, 46, who is in his second term with the Brewers, has been named Vice President – Scouting. Montgomery first worked for the Brewers in various scouting roles from 2002-2010 before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks. He returned to Milwaukee and has spent the last two years as Vice President – Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager. In his new role, Montgomery will serve as a lead evaluator across the entire spectrum of baseball operations including professional, international, and amateur scouting.
 
Zack Minasian, 32, will assume a new position with the Brewers as Special Advisor – Scouting. Minasian has been with the organization for 12 years, including the last six as Director – Professional Scouting. Minasian also worked for the Brewers organization as Manager of Minor League Scouting Personnel/Coordinator of Pro Scouting and as Baseball Operations Assistant.
 
“Scouting will always be an integral aspect of our focus on acquiring and developing young talent, and we are confident that today’s moves will enhance those efforts to be among the best in the industry,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Tod, Ray, and Zack have all contributed a great deal to this organization during parts of the past decade, and I am excited about their continued impact as they assume new positions.”

Brewers Announce MiLB Player, Pitcher of Year

Official Release

Brandon Woodruff and Isan Diaz Named Recipients of the Robin Yount Performance Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards, Respectively

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2016 Robin Yount Performance Awards, presented annually to the organization’s top Minor League performers. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and infielder Isan Diaz was named Brewers Minor League Player of the Year. Woodruff began the season with Class-A Brevard County and finished with Double-A Biloxi. Diaz spent the entire year with Class-A Wisconsin.
 
“Brandon and Isan have made significant strides this season which resulted in outstanding results on the field, and we’re very pleased to recognize their hard work with this honor,” said Brewers Farm Director Tom Flanagan. “Their success is not only a credit to their efforts and dedication, but to the coaches and peers who helped them along the way. We congratulate both Brandon and Isan and look forward to their continued growth and development.”
 
Woodruff went 14-9 with a 2.68 ERA (158ip, 47er) in 28 starts combined between Class-A Brevard County of the Florida State League and Double-A Biloxi of the Southern League. The 23-year-old struck out 173 batters, which not only led the Brewers farm system, but all of Minor League Baseball. Joining the Shuckers on May 16, Woodruff led the Southern League in WHIP (1.04), opposing batting average (.211), highest strikeout rate per nine innings pitched (9.82), fewest base runners per nine innings pitched (9.66) and was among the leaders in ERA (3rd, 3.01) and strikeouts (4th, 124). He led the organization in starts and innings pitched, which were career-highs as well.
 
The Brewers 11th-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University, Woodruff was a midseason All-Star in the Florida State League and was named Southern League Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks during the 2016 season (July 11-17 and July 18-24). In addition, Woodruff was awarded Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors after going 3-1 with a 0.29 ERA (30.2ip, 1er), 5 walks and 42 strikeouts in July. Woodruff was signed by scout Scott Nichols. 
 
Diaz finished his first season in the Brewers organization batting .264/.358/.469 with 34 doubles, 5 triples, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, 72 walks and 11 steals. The 20-year-old led the organization in games (135), doubles, home runs, and RBI and was second in hits (134) and walks. Diaz hit .232/.309/.370 in 67 games in the first half, before batting .296/.404/.569 in the second half. He led the Midwest League in games, home runs, extra-base hits (59), total bases (238) and was among the leaders in walks (2nd), slugging percentage (4th) and RBI (T4th). The middle-infielder set new career-highs in almost every hitting category.
 
The 20-year-old Diaz was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Chase Anderson and INF Aaron Hill in exchange for SS Jean Segura and RHP Tyler Wagner on January 30. He was named a midseason and postseason Midwest League All-Star at shortstop and was honored with the League’s Player of the Week award for July 18-24. In addition, Diaz was selected as the Brewers June Minor League Player of the Month after batting .316/.393/.579 with 14 runs, 10 doubles, 5 homers, 20 RBI, 14 walks and 3 steals in that span. Diaz was signed by scout Mike Serbalik of the Diamondbacks, who has since joined the Brewers organization
 
The Brewers farm system was recently named the top-ranked system among all 30 Major League clubs by Jim Callis of MLB.com.

2017 Milwaukee Brewers Regular Season Schedule

Here is the official press release that accompanied the reveal of the 2017 regular season schedule. I’ve also included an image off of the PDF included with the release for your downloading and wallpapering pleasure.

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers announced the team’s 2017 schedule today, which begins with Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Colorado Rockies on Monday, April 3 at Miller Park (1:10 p.m. start) as part of a four-game series. The season-opening homestand also includes a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs from April 7-9.

The interleague schedule features games against each team in the American League East Division, as well as four games in the border battle against the Minnesota Twins. The Brewers will host the Red Sox from May 9-11, marking Boston’s first trip to Milwaukee since June 6-8, 2003. The Blue Jays (May 23-24) and Orioles (July 3-5) will also travel to Milwaukee and the Twins will make their annual visit from August 9-10.

The Brewers will travel to Toronto to play the Blue Jays for their home opener (April 11-12) during Milwaukee’s first road trip. The Brewers will visit Yankee Stadium from July 7-9 for a weekend series against the Yankees directly before the All-Star break. Additional road interleague games will be played at Tampa Bay (August 4-6) and Minnesota (August 7-8).

The team’s longest homestand is a 10-game, 11-day stretch against the Cardinals (April 20-23), Reds (April 24-26) and Braves (April 28-30). The longest trip of the season is a 10-game, 11-day trip to Pittsburgh (July 17-20), Philadelphia (July 21-23) and Washington (July 25-27). The Brewers will take a nine-game, 10-day road trip in August, traveling to Colorado (August 18-20), San Francisco (August 21-23) and Los Angeles-NL (August 25-27).

The Brewers will play at home on Mother’s Day, May 14 vs. the Mets and Father’s Day,June 18 against the Padres. The Fourth of July features a home tilt against the Orioles, beginning at 3:10 p.m.

New this year, Monday and Tuesday evening home games will begin at 6:40 p.m.Weekday night games at Miller Park from Wednesday through Friday will start at 7:10 p.m. Most Saturday games will begin at 6:10 p.m. (except May 27, June 3, June 17 and July 1, which begin at 3:10 p.m.). All Sunday home games are scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. The majority of weekday day games will begin at 1:10 p.m.

All game dates and times are subject to change, and road game times will be announced at a later date.

2017schedule

Jungmann Amongmann September Call-Ups

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(Yeah, I went there.)

The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced their group of September call-ups on Tuesday afternoon.

As I reported Monday evening, Taylor Jungmann is among those called up. Jungmann has worked hard to regain his form in the minors this season following his demotion on April 29.

“It was a process going through that, ” Jungmann told me. “It was a struggle. It was frustrating at times.”

He needed to rein in his mechanics to get himself through those frustrations, but the high altitudes in Colorado Springs were not exactly conducive. “I’m not even talking about that place, ” Jungmann said with a smile.

It got to the point with the Sky Sox where Jungmann was mentally beaten down. He was given some time off from the struggle to reset mentally by being sent to Maryvale and working with the group in extended Spring Training.

“I really think that was a turning point. I was glad that they allowed me to do that. It was a situation where I was struggling pretty bad, ” Jungmann admitted. “It was some time to really work on my mechanics and throw a couple of live [batting practices] where I could get in a situation where I wasn’t trying to compete too hard or overdo it or have to worry about results.”

When it was time to begin worrying again, the Brewers transferred Jungmann to Double-A Biloxi

“No. I wasn’t taking [the transfer] as a demotion, ” recalled Jungmann. “We kind of talked about it. We just wanted to get me…in a situation and environment where I could succeed. I think it was good for me.”

The overarching theme to Jungmann’s response are that he needed to get back to being himself. Being himself was good enough to compete in the big leagues once, after all.

“Really just trying to get back to who I am, not trying to be somebody else. Really just sticking with my mechanics and trusting them and just getting back to where I was and trusting it is the biggest thing.”

Jungmann admitted that he hadn’t yet had the conversations about what role he would play in September. Asked later, manager Craig Counsell said that at least over the next nine days, Jungmann’s role would be out of the bullpen but that he hadn’t made any decisions about the rotation beyond that. There is a chance some guys might reach innings limits and there would be a chance for Jungmann to possibly start.

The big Texan is worried about that just yet though.

“I’m just glad to be here, glad to get another opportunity to show that I can throw and get back to where I was.”

Brewers Pick Cordell to Complete Texas Trade

RyanCordell

Earlier today the Milwaukee Brewers confirmed a report by Evan Grant that they had picked the Player To Be Named Later to complete their August 1 trade with the Texas Rangers which sent catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to the American League West division leader.

The now-named player is outfielder Ryan Cordell, a 24-year-old right-handed hitter who opened the season among the Rangers’ Top 10 prospects (according to Baseball America) and who was sixth-best in the up-to-date rankings published by MLB Pipeline.

Brewers General Manager David Stearns said of Cordell that he “is a very athletic, right-handed hitting centerfielder with the ability to play all three outfield positions.” Stearns went on to say that Cordell “has displayed above-average raw power. He’s displayed above-average speed. When you put that combination together he gives himself the chance to be an above average Major League player.”

Cordell joins fellow outfielder Lewis Brinson (current #2 prospect in the Milwaukee’s farm system according to MLB Pipeline) and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz (current #5 prospect) as three additions to a system widely considered among the best in baseball if not the best.

For an idea as to just how deep the Brewers system has become, look no further than Cordell’s initial ranking therein by the aforementioned MLB Pipeline. They initially slot Cordell in at #18 in the Brewers system. Cordell was eighth for the Rangers before Brinson and Ortiz left, and their system is also highly regarded.

Cordell has not yet played above Double-A, which is where he spent the entirety of 2016 prior to his injury, but he’s among the bevvy of prospects which require 40-man roster protection this winter lest they be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. You can rest assured they Cordell will find his way onto the roster.

For the Class-AA Frisco Roughriders, Cordell played in 107 games slashing .264/.319/.484 in 405 ABs. He totaled 22 doubles, 5 triples, 19 home runs and 12 stolen bases across 107 games.

Cordell played primarily outfield in college at Liberty following a freshman year that saw him bounce around. One person I talked to after the trade said that Cordell is “a freak athlete, for sure. Great speed and outfield instincts. Hits better than his numbers may show.”

Time will of course tell on every player, but Cordell seems to be yet another valuable piece to the Brewers’ puzzle to put together a consistent pipeline of talent.

Brewer Nation Podcast: Southpaw Sitdown

MLB: All Star Game-All Star Futures Gae

USA pitcher Josh Hader throws during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park.

While I didn’t actually sit down in person with this individual, I’m guessing we both were sitting down while the interview was conducted and the alliteration works so deal.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to finally sit down with left-handed pitcher and top pitching prospect in the organization Josh Hader for a little while on Tuesday, August 30th.

We discuss a handful of topics including the trade that brought him to the Brewers organization, the 2015 Arizona Fall League, 2016 Brewers On Deck, the Futures Game during All-Star Weekend back in July, how hard it really is to pitch to Colorado Springs, and just how much fun Tim Dillard is to have as a teammate.

I didn’t pad the interview with any fluff in part because I didn’t want to wait to post it much longer and in part because I didn’t have time to record anything else of substance. As such, we get right into the interview and the clip ends right as Josh and I hang up.

2016 Arizona Fall League Participants Announced

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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.

Pitchers

  • 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

Infielders

  • 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

Outfielders

  • 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

Catchers

  • 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

Brewers Unveil “Give Back Game”

OFFICIAL RELEASE

At a press conference held at Miller Park this morning, the Milwaukee Brewers announced plans for the “Give Back Game,” an event that is a major philanthropic endeavor to raise proceeds for great causes. With the Give Back Game, nearly all proceeds from ticket sales from the Brewers final home game on Sunday, September 25 against the Cincinnati Reds will be donated to charity.

Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger along with members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, The MACC Fund and the Wisconsin Humane Society were on hand to announce the details.
 
“Dating back to his first year of ownership of the Brewers, Mark Attanasio has always done something special for the final home game each year, an initiative to show his appreciation to our fans and the community,” Schlesinger said. “We wanted to do something at another level this year, and out of that came the idea of the Give Back Game. It’s not just a gift to the fans, it’s an opportunity to raise significant funding for these four great partners.”
 
Here’s how it works…
 
Starting immediately, fans can purchase tickets in person at the Miller Park box office, via phone (414-902-4000) or online by going to brewers.com/giveback. At the time of purchase, fans will be asked to choose between one of four charities for their donation to benefit:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Make-A-Wish Wisconsin
  • The MACC Fund
  • Wisconsin Humane Society.

 
Fans will be able to choose a ticket for $10, and can elect to contribute more in increments of $5 up to $50. (For donations of greater than $50, fans may call 414-902-4000.)
 
Tickets will be made available by level and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning with Field Level, then on to Loge Level, Club Level and finally the Terrace Level. Fans can get the best seats in the house for a great price, all while helping local causes.
 
A portion of every presold ticket will also be donated to a general fund that will be split between the four participating charities. Season Seat Holders may contact their representative to specify which charity they would like their donation to go to.
 
After all of the fan donations have been made, the Brewers will contribute an additional $50,000 to the charity that generates the most donations. Regardless of the results, each charity will automatically receive a donation of $20,000 from the Brewers. Every ticket sold after today will result in those additional proceeds being added on top of that $20,000.
 
To help the cause, several Milwaukee Brewers players have teamed up with the four charities to help promote the game. Each player will use their social media platforms tweeting with the hashtag #GiveBackGame to promote not just the entire initiative, but also their specific charity’s involvement. Keon Broxton/Boys & Girls Clubs, Corey Knebel/Make-A-Wish, Tyler Thornburg/MACC Fund and Scooter Gennett/Wisconsin Humane Society.
 
In addition, media partners in the community have stepped up to help promote the effort, with each cause backed by a different media group. “Teammates” include The MACC Fund/620 WTMJ, 94-5 KTI Country and TODAY’S TMJ4; Make-A-Wish Wisconsin/FM106.1, V100.7, 97.3 NOW, 95.7 Big FM, News/Talk 1130 WISN and Big 920 Sports; Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee/FOX Sports Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Humane Society/WKLH, WHQG, WJMR and WNRG.

What’s In a Name?

“Hey, what about Braun?”

If you’re a fan of movies, music, or even sports talk radio, chances are you like someone whose given name you don’t know. People use names publicly that aren’t on their tax forms, in part to maintain a shred of privacy (however fleeting) but also because a name chosen can be just plain cooler for the industry they’re in.

Some stage names are chosen simply. (Tom Cruise? Cruise is his middle name. His legal last name is Mapother.)

Some have little if anything to do with their real name. (Jay-Z is Shawn Carter, for instance.)

For those of you in the Milwaukee market as I am, well let’s just say that Michaels is as much Bill’s last name as it is Shawn’s.

Ah yes. Shawn Michaels — given name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom — is a retired professional wrestler who flipped his first and middle name (and added an s) to get something a bit better. Also there happened to be a pretty famous Michael already and individuality in that game is important as well.

Professional wrestling, or rather “sports entertainment” if you prefer, has a long history of athletes using fake names. Back in the 1960s though it was important that fans not be able to find your home when you were a loathed “bad guy” who would receive death threats and have everything from insults to beer cans hurled at you.

“Adam…isn’t this the Brewer Nation blog? Why are you talking about this?”

If that’s running through your head, let me cut to the chase.

Friday night at Miller Park the Brewers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost but that’s beside this point. During the game a celebrity guest was in the house. He was visiting family in Wisconsin for a couple of days and decided to catch a game at Miller Park. As a Brewers fan, it just made sense.

But there was another reason for his visit, and that was to meet his namesake. The WWE Superstar’s name is Adam Scherr, but you’ve probably never heard that name before. It’s his stage name that you’ll know if you’ve watched any WWE programming over the last few months. That stage name comes, in part, courtesy of a certain former NL MVP.

Seriously. As the man tells it, it was late in the day where a hard deadline existed. They had to pick a stage name by the end of that day. No exceptions. All the options they were given to discuss fell flat. Nothing had the right hook to it. As he and those helping him decide were sitting around, they had SportsCenter on in the background. Baseball highlights were happening and Ryan Braun was on the TV.

“Hey, what about Braun?”

That simple question, along with a slight modification to the character’s last name, is how WWE Superstar Braun Strowman came to be.

If you don’t know Strowman, he’s significantly larger than Ryan. Listed at 6’8″ and 385 pounds, Braun Strowman is a real monster in the ring as a member of the Wyatt Family.

“I’ll take the over, ” said Ryan Braun when asked about his meeting with his namesake. “That’s one of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Strowman’s physical stature matches that of Braun’s play on the field. Both are doing big things at age 32 (Strowman is Ryan’s senior by about two months) and while Ryan is long established as elite in his sport at this age, Strowman is still an up and comer in his.

So, “What’s in a name?” A tie that binds perhaps as Ryan thought it was very cool that Strowman found inspiration in him.

After all, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy like Braun Strowman in your corner. I mean, just look at him.

BraunMeetsBraun

Braun Strowman meets his namesake Ryan Braun after a game at Miller Park on August 26, 2016. – Credit: Mike Vassallo