Archive for the ‘ Players ’ Category

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #60 Keon Broxton

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Six years ago I decided to embark on a series of blog posts which I felt would be a fun way for me to not only remind myself of what happened the previous season but also to help you wonderful readers and me alike to get to know some things about members of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 40-man roster who were new to franchise.

We began on February 4, 2010 with a look at Todd “Hot” Coffey and his role as a key member of a bullpen with some issues. Coffey wore #60 as a Brewer and Opening Day 2010 (April 5th) was 60 days away. Today, six years later, Opening day is once again 60 days away from February 4th. While Opening Day is April 4th this year, it’s also a leap year which adds in the difference. And though Coffey is no longer sprinting in from the bullpen to the late Ultimate Warrior’s entrance music, someone younger was assigned the same #60 to wear for Spring Training. That someone is…

Keon Broxton.

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Keon Darell Broxton is a 6’3″ outfielder out of Lakeland, Florida. Listed as 195 lbs, the lanky but strong Broxton was first drafted out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft but decided to increase his stock by spending a year at Santa Fe Community College in relatively nearby Gainesville.

After leading that team to the JUCO World Series (played in Grand Junction, Colorado), the Arizona Diamondbacks would draft Broxton in the 3rd round in 2009. Broxton signed very quickly and was assigned to rookie ball at Missoula of the Pioneer League.

It’s been a steady, if somewhat slow, rise through the minor leagues for Broxton. He played the full 2010 season at Low-A South Bend and started there again in 2011 for 20 games before finishing the year with High-A Visalia for 110 games. Broxton repeated High-A in 2012, spending the entire season there.

With 240 High-A games under his belt, he finally got the chance to start at Double-A in 2013 which he did in Mobile. After missing the first month of the 2013 season, and finished with just 101 games played, Broxton went to winter ball in the Australian Baseball League for the Sydney Blue Sox.

Following the 2013 season, Broxton had a career minor league batting average of .241 and had seemingly regressed from 2012 to 2013. There was enough doubt about his future that the Diamondbacks sold his rights to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates would give Broxton a second full season of Double-A development and he would respond with a solid season in 2014 (.275/.369/.484) despite a still somewhat disconcerting strikeout rate (122 K in 407 AB). He also worked 66 walks in 571 plate appearances, demonstrating his patience and mature approach.

After a 45-game Double-A stint to begin 2015 in which Broxton slashed .302/.365/.464, he was finally promoted to Triple-A where he would play 88 games in the final stop before the big leagues. Broxton would get a late September call-up and appear in seven games (no starts) for the Pirates as the season wound down. He only got two at-bats and perhaps fittingly struck out in one of them, but he scored three times and stole a base. Hey, it’s more than many ballplayers ever get to do in the big leagues.

BroxtonHeadshotBroxton was acquired by the Brewers (along with Trey Supak) on December 17, 2015 in exchange for Jason Rogers who was viewed as a valuable piece to the Pirates puzzle entering 2016. For the Brewers it was a chance to get a high-ceiling if volatile arm in Supak and an outfielder who could handle what was more or less still a vacancy in centerfield. Broxton can, after all, play all three outfield spots.

I had the chance to talk to Broxton at Brewers On Deck and asked him to about seizing the centerfield job for himself.

“I have a job everyday that’s just to get better regardless of where I am. That’s all I’m going to do in Spring is just get better, work on every aspect of my game and see whatever happens. If they need me in the outfield or not, either way I still gotta get better so I’ll be ready.”

Finally, while Broxton told me he had a little bit of experience playing in the altitude of Colorado from that previously mentioned JUCO World Series experience (in which he slashed .520/.600/1.320 in 25 at-bats over six games, by the way), he said that playing in Triple-A Colorado Springs “would be a lot of fun too, but that’s not exactly where I want to be — you know?”

Would that maybe be playing in Milwaukee instead? With a warm smile and laugh, “Yeah.”

I think Broxton has a solid chance to break camp with the Brewers, though working against him are his minor league options. He has some and others he’s in direct competition with for a job do not. If everyone performs on par, Broxton is likely to be sent down to maintain depth. Still just 25 years old, Broxton is a valuable asset that Brewers General Manager David Stearns won’t readily risk losing.

It’s going to be one of a couple of fun competitions in the Cactus League for the Brewers. Regardless of whether Broxton comes out on top what can we expect from him as a player in the Brewers organization? In his own words:

“Good speed, a little bit of power, good defense.”

Not bad things to have, to be sure.

Follow Keon on Twitter: @KeonDDBroxton

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Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #61 Ramón Flores

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Another day, another post. As we arrive Wednesday, February 3 and sit 61 days away from Opening Day, I am forced to remind myself that the milestones along the way to our destination are much closer.

  • Truck Day is in six days.
  • Pitchers & Catchers report in 16.
  • First full squad workout is in 22 days.
  • First Cactus League games (it’s split-squad) are in one month.

But we don’t countdown to those days with “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, do we?

With that, here is the individual profile of…

Ramon Flores.

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Back in late November when it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers had acquired Flores from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Luis Sardiñas, it was widely assumed that Flores would end up playing the role of reserve outfielder for Craig Counsell’s 25.

That was in part because of Flores’ lack of minor league options but also because of the changes in the makeup of the 40-man roster. Michael Reed and Shane Peterson (since DFA’d) were around to back up Khris Davis, Domingo Santana, and Ryan Braun, but it could be argued that Reed wouldn’t be hurt by some Triple-A time.

Flores brings a solid approach at the plate and a solid defensive profile with him to work every day. Still just 23 (he’ll turn 24 before Opening Day), Flores could continue in his development and offer even more than he currently does, but some talent evaluators maintain that his ceiling is a fourth OF type, and that may be what he already is. Still, Flores remains inexpensive with three full seasons before he would first be arbitration eligible.

Sounds perfect for a rebuilding team — right?

Well the problems for Flores come in that it’s been nearly 11 weeks since the Brewers traded for him and General Manager David Stearns hasn’t exactly been resting on his laurels since then. Stearns has claimed veteran Kirk Nieuwenhuis off of waivers, traded for Keon Broxton and a DFA’d former top prospect Rymer Liriano, and signed Alex Presley and Eric Young Jr. to minor league contracts with invites to big league camp. By the accounts I’ve read, every one of those added players can handle all three defensive positions in the outfield.

ramonfloreheadshotSo, quick math, that’s six added players with only one possible subtraction (we don’t yet know whether Shane Peterson will remain with the organization) along with the incumbent Reed all competing for what will, at this point, be two bench jobs. And even that is assuming the Brewers carry five outfielders which isn’t a guarantee (though I think they will). Yes, Ryan Braun could start the season on the DL if he suffers any setbacks with his recovery from off-season surgery on a herniated disc, but that’s still too many players for too few spots.

I suppose Flores will have somewhat of an advantage due to his lack of the aforementioned options, but that’s hardly a guarantee especially when you consider that neither Nieuwenhuis or Liriano have options remaining either.

Regardless of how it shakes out, Flores should get plenty of opportunities in the spring to show Counsell and his new coaching staff what he can do.

If a trade happens between now and decision day (Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com apparently said on the radio recently that the Chicago White Sox showed interest in Davis for example) then the logjam eases a bit. And if there’s one thing we know already about David Stearns it is that the 60 days between today and Opening Day are a long time for him to continue to manipulate what today seems to be an overcrowded situation.

And you probably thought rebuilds weren’t intriguing.

Follow Ramón on Twitter: @ramonflores16

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Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #63 Junior Guerra

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After an unplanned but ultimately brief hiatus due to slight fatigue after the 2,500 “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” Kickoff Column, a weekend with day job work spillover and the allure of Brewers On Deck, I return after a long Monday work day to deliver the piece devoted to the man who wears the jersey aligning with our current position of nine weeks away from Opening Day…

Junior Guerra.

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Junior J. Guerra is a 31-year-old native of Venezuela who has been in professional baseball since 2001 (though not always with MLB-affliated teams) but who just made his Major League Debut last season, a three-game cup of coffee stretching from June 12th through June 22nd. That debut came with the Chicago White Sox, Guerra’s third MLB organization, and the one who signed him after six years out of affiliated baseball. Here’s that timeline.

Signed by the Braves as an international amateur free agent in ’01 (at just 16 years of age), Guerra came stateside with the Braves in 2003. He was signed as a catcher but converted to the mound after not making much progress at the plate — he hit .223 in 269 at-bats over his first three seasons in rookie ball. He got one season with Atlanta after he first toed the rubber to unspectacular results at best (6.59 ERA in 18 games).

Following a 2007 about which I couldn’t find any records of pro ball participation, Guerra caught on with the New York Mets. Now a full-time pitcher — maybe he spent 2007 at home in Venezuela truly learning how to pitch? — Guerra ended up pitching for four different Mets affiilates working to a 2.12 ERA in 18 games. He seemed to be on the right track and, at still only 23 years old, he could very well have been considered a prospect to some degree. Then a reported PED-related 50-game suspension ended his time with the Mets.

Between 2009 and 2014, Guerra kept his dream alive. He pitched wherever he could with stops in Hawaii, Venezuela, Mexico, and even a pair of runs with the Independent League Wichita Wingnuts. He pitched well enough in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2014 to grab the attention of the White Sox.

Guerra started at Double-A Birmingham but only needed five appearances to make his way to Triple-A Charlotte. After seven games as a Knight, Guerra got the call to The Show for the previously mentioned 11 day call-up. Despite a capable showing over the course of the whole season, the White Sox designated Guerra for assignment to open up a spot on their 40-man roster. The brand new Brewers regime which was only officially turned over to David Stearns two days earlier was awarded a waiver claim on Guerra.

GuerraHeadShotForever the answer to a trivia question, Guerra has a good chance to break camp with the Brewers following the departure of a couple of long-time Brewers relievers (Brandon Kintzler and Rob Wooten) who while never elite were certainly useful over their terms with the Brewers.

According to FanGraphs.com, Guerra works with a three-pitch mix. He throws a four-seam fastball averging 94.1 MPH, an 82.2 MPH slider, and a splitter that clocks in 85.7 MPH. With those pitches he was able to handle Triple-A to the tune of a 3.39 ERA with 79 K in 63.2 IP. That’ll play if it converts well enough to the big league level over a significant sample size (which 2015’s three games certainly aren’t).

All in all, Guerra could prove effective in Craig Counsell’s bullpen under the watching eyes of Derek Johnson and Lee Tunnell. Either way, he adds to the inexpensive options at the skipper’s disposal for 2016.

You can follow Junior Guerra on Twitter: @juni1685

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Kickoff Column – #68-#78

Broken News: Segura, Wagner Traded To Arizona

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson, infielder Aaron Hill, shortstop Isan Diaz and cash from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and right-handed pitcher Tyler Wagner. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Chase Anderson and Aaron Hill, we are adding two proven Major League contributors who will impact our team this year,” said Stearns.

“Chase is a young starting pitcher who has already enjoyed success at the Major League level. Aaron has a long history of production and positional versatility. In addition, we are excited to be able to add Isan Diaz to our growing supply of high upside minor-league talent.”

Anderson, 28, owns a career Major League record of 15-13 with a 4.18 ERA in 48 starts, including 6-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 starts for the Diamondbacks last season. He was selected by Arizona in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and tied the Mets’ Jacob deGrom for the most wins by a National League rookie in 2014 (21gs, 9-7, 4.01era).

Hill, 33, is a veteran of 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with Toronto (2005-11) and Arizona (2011-15). The two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2009, 2012) and former American League All-Star (2009) is a career .268 hitter with 151 HR, 650 RBI and 70 stolen bases in 1,400 games (116g, .230, 6hr, 39rbi in 2015). Throughout his career, the versatile Hill has started games at second base (1,148), third base (72), shortstop (61) and designated hitter (39).

Some of Hill’s best work at the plate has come at Miller Park, where he owns a batting average of .429 (18-for-42) with 4 HR and 11 RBI in 10 career games. Hill hit for the cycle against the Brewers on June 29, 2012 at Miller Park, his first game at this venue.

Diaz, 19, completed his second professional season in 2015 as he batted .360 with 13 HR, 51 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 68 games at Rookie Missoula. He earned Pioneer League Most Valuable Player honors as he led the league in doubles (25), slugging percentage (.640), total bases (174) and extra-base hits (44) while ranking among the top five in the circuit in hits (2nd, 98), runs (2nd, 58), home runs (T2nd), batting average (3rd), RBI (3rd), on-base percentage (3rd, .436) and triples (T5th, 6).

Segura, 25, batted .266 with 23 HR, 144 RBI and 96 stolen bases in four seasons with the Brewers (2012-15). A National League All-Star in 2013, he batted .257 with 6 HR, 50 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 142 games last season.

Wagner, 25, was selected by Milwaukee in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut last season as he started three games for the Brewers (his first coming on May 31 vs. Arizona), going 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA. Wagner owns a career record in the minor leagues of 35-23 with a 2.95 ERA in 91 games, including 88 starts.

Brewers Uniform Number Changes

Today is an exciting day for a uniform number nerd like me.

The roster of uniform numbers on Brewers.com was finally updated today as we trudge toward the start of Spring Training.

Here are the updated numbers for the rostered players:

  • Jonathan Villar will wear #5
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis will wear #10
  • Taylor Jungmann has switched to #26
  • Chris Carter will wear #33
  • Keon Broxton will wear #60
  • Ramon Flores will wear #61
  • Garin Cecchini will wear #62
  • Junior Guerra will wear #63
  • Andy Wilkins will wear #64
  • Jacob Barnes will wear #70
  • Orlando Arcia will wear #72
  • Colin Walsh will wear #73
  • Zack Jones will wear #75
  • Damien Magnifico will wear #78

Here are the assigned numbers for non-roster invitees:

  • Alex Presley will wear #7
  • Hernan Perez retains his #14
  • Will Middlebrooks will wear #15
  • Eric Young, Jr. will wear #24
  • Chris Capuano will once again wear #39
  • Jake Elmore will wear #41
  • Pat Misch will wear #48
  • Cesar Jimenez retains his #51 from last year
  • Josmil Pinto will wear #65
  • Hiram Burgos will wear #66
  • Manny Pina will wear #67
  • Adam Weisenburger will wear #68
  • Josh Hader will wear #71
  • Daniel Tillman will wear #74
  • Rene Garcia will wear #76
  • Brett Phillips will wear #77

Here are the new numbers for the coaching staff:

  • Carlos Subero – First Base Coach – #31
  • Derek Johnson – Pitching Coach – #36
  • Pat Murphy – Bench Coach – #49
  • Jason Lane – Coach – #57

My “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” countdown to Opening Day will begin forthwith!

2016 Brewers On Deck Schedule

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What follows is the official information regarding the schedule of events for the upcoming “Brewers On Deck” fan fest scheduled for Sunday, January 31, 2016, running from 10a – 5p that day.

If you missed the list of announced attendees (which I will continually update as names are added/removed), click here.

The Klement’s Main Stage will include various Q&A sessions with top Brewers baseball executives, the coaching staff and game shows.

The Brewers Interactive Stage will feature Kids Only Question and Answer sessions, where youngsters interview players, and a roundtable discussion with members of the Milwaukee media who cover the team on a regular basis.   Brewers Community Foundation will host a Treasure Hunt, featuring some hard-to-find Brewers items on sale as well as a live auction at 12:00 p.m. on the Interactive Stage.  Additionally, BCF will hold a 50/50 Raffle.  The winner will be announced at the Interactive Stage following the coaching staff autograph session.

Photo sessions with players are also scheduled throughout the day in designated photo areas.  The Brewers Team Store by Majestic will have a full set up with the latest Brewers merchandise for sale and a Brewers Museum will feature memorable artifacts from throughout the history of the team.

Details on the autograph and programming schedules are listed below. The schedules are subject to change, with the latest version and more information available at Brewers.com/ondeck. Autographs this year will be either free, $10, or $25 with proceeds benefitting Brewers Community Foundation.

Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Rollie Fingers, and Bob Uecker will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry card which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center.  The Premier Entry card will be exchanged for a numbered coupon and entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.

There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $25 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session. A schedule is listed below:

PREMIER AUTOGRAPH SCHEDULE
Player                                   Signing Time       Stage
Ryan Braun                          11:00 – 11:45      2
Rollie Fingers                        12:00 – 12:45      1
Bob Uecker                           1:30 – 2:15          4

Players and staff not included in the above autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of those players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10.

The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player (BOLD ITALICS – Premier Autograph).

Autograph Schedule
Stage 1
10:30 – 11:15      Tyler Thornburg ($10)
12:00 – 12:45      Rollie Fingers ($25)

Stage 2
11:00 – 11:45 | Ryan Braun ($25)

Stage 3
11:30 – 12:15 | Jeff Cirillo (free) & Greg Vaughn (free)
1:00 – 1:45 | Corey Knebel ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 | Matt Garza ($10)

Stage 4
10:30 – 11:15 | Martin Maldonado ($10)
1:30 – 2:15 | Bob Uecker ($25) & Mark Attanasio (free)
3:00 – 3:45 | Jeremy Jeffress ($10)

Stage 5
12:30 – 1:15 | Michael Blazek ($10)
2:00 – 2:45 | Chris Carter ($10)
3:30 – 4:45 | Will Smith ($10)

Stage 6
11:30 – 12:15 | Jimmy Nelson ($10)
1:00 – 1:45 | Taylor Jungmann ($10)
3:45 – 4:30 | Jonathan Villar ($10)

Players who are not listed above will sign free autographs on the Bonus Stage all day long.

Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs.

Fans are also invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games.  Fans can post their photos from the event to Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #BrewersOnDeck for a chance to win prizes such as a trip down Bernie Brewer’s slide, game tickets and more. For contest rules, visit brewers.com/ondeck.

Children are invited to visit the Farm Teams Infield for free batting and hitting clinics scheduled throughout the day. Brewers alumni and players will be on hand for the instructional sessions.  In addition, kids can run around the field or play games with Brewers players in the Fan Cave.

Klement’s Main Stage Schedule

10:15 a.m. – Welcome and Meet the Coaches – Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced.  Fans will also enjoy a question and answer session with Brewers Manager Craig Counsell and his coaching staff.

11:30 a.m. – The Brewlywed Game – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show to see which pair really knows each other the best. It’s the Brewers version of The Newlywed Game.

1:00 p.m. – Meet the Management – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, General Manager David Stearns, and Vice President – Assistant General Manager Matt Arnold will participate in a question and answer session with Brewers fans.

2:00 p.m. – Brewers Jeopardy – A Brewers player, prospect and alumnus will participate in a game show, similar to the popular Jeopardy television show.

3:30 p.m. – Brewers Face Off – Brewers players and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Family Feud.

Brewers On Deck Attendees Announced

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List is subject to change but here’s the original list as released by the Brewers.

Players:

  • Orlando Arcia (canceled 1/30 due to illness)
  • Jacob Barnes
  • Yhonathan Barrios
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Keon Broxton
  • Chris Carter
  • Garin Cecchini
  • Trent Clark
  • Clint Coulter
  • Tyler Cravy (canceled 1/30 due to illness)
  • Zach Davies
  • Ramon Flores
  • Matt Garza (added 1/20)
  • Scooter Gennett (removed 1/26 due a conflict)
  • David Goforth
  • Junior Guerra
  • Josh Hader
  • Adrian Houser
  • Jeremy Jeffress
  • Taylor Jungmann
  • Corey Knebel
  • Jorge Lopez
  • Damien Magnifico (canceled on 1/29 due to illness)
  • Martin Maldonado
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Shane Peterson
  • Brett Phillips
  • Michael Reed
  • Domingo Santana
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Jonathan Villar (added 1/20)
  • Tyler Wagner (traded to ARI 1/30)
  • Colin Walsh

Coaches/Manager

  • Craig Counsell
  • Darnell Coles
  • Joe Crawford
  • Derek Johnson
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Jason Lane
  • Pat Murphy
  • Ed Sedar
  • Carlos Subero
  • Lee Tunnell
  • Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers manager)

Alumni

  • Don August
  • Jerry Augustine
  • Jeff Cirillo (added 1/21)
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Davey Nelson
  • Ken Sanders (added 1/20)
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Greg Vaughn
  • Paul Wagner (added 1/20)
  • Robin Yount (canceled 1/22 due to personal conflict)

*UPDATE*

Here is some additional information from the official release about Brewers On Deck:

Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 14 and under.  Tickets on the day of the event are $20 for adults and $15 for children 14 and under.  On the day event, cash is the only accepted form of payment for admittance. A portion of the proceeds from Brewers On Deck will benefit Brewers Community Foundation. Tickets may be purchased at the Miller Park ticket office by calling the Brewers ticket office at (414) 902-4000 or online at Brewers.com/ondeck through Friday, January 29.

Once again, food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task Force.  Donations can be dropped off at two main entrances to the Wisconsin Center, located at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, and 4th Street and Wells Street.

Brewers On Deck will feature a number of activities for the entire family.  Autographs and photos from Brewers players, coaches and alumni; interactive games in the Kids Area; Q&A sessions and Klement’s Main Stage game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

During the event, the Brewers will unveil a new book – Explore MKE: Your Neighborhood Our City. The Book is published by SHARP Literacy, Inc. and is sponsored by Brewers Community Foundation and Ryan Braun.  It tells the story of two children who share their differing experiences of Milwaukee and are attempting to figure out how they fit in.  It also features informational sections that weave together iconic Milwaukee institutions and neighborhood-based landmarks with important themes in common.

SHARP Literacy, Inc. is a non-profit organization that enhances future life success by energizing urban children and motivating them to identify themselves as confident, capable scholars and lifelong learners by inspiring engagement in reading, writing and research through hands on interaction and visual arts.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced at a later date) will be chosen through a random selection process. Each fan in attendance will receive one Premier Entry sheet which may be redeemed at the Random Selection area outside the Main Exhibit Hall of the Wisconsin Center.  The Premier Entry sheet will be exchanged for a numbered coupon to be entered into the random selection process for any one of the select Brewers players.  Coupon distribution will be available at 8 a.m. the day of the event and will continue up to an hour before each designated autograph session.   There is no cost for coupons to enter the random selection process; however, those holding winning coupons must pay $25 at the respective autograph stage to collect their player signature.  There will be 250 winners for each of the autograph sessions.  The winning ticket numbers will be posted at the designated autograph stage no less than 30 minutes prior to each player’s session.

Players and staff not included in the PREMIER autograph list will not use the random selection process. Each of these players will sign 250 autographs at prices ranging from free to $10. A schedule of players, their session times, and distribution info will be posted later.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team.  For additional information, visit Brewers.com/ondeck.

Autograph proceeds benefit Brewers Community Foundation.  Please note that cash is the only acceptable form of payment for autographs. The Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia, and personalization of items is solely up to the discretion of each player.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” Rankings Entering 2016

Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.

Beginning in 2014, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well. I continued that last year with the 2015 rankings.

I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. With January 21st came First Basemen and Starting Pitchers. On January 28th we’ll get Third Basemen and Left Fielders. February 4th and February 11th will reveal the remaining positions of Second Baseman, Right Fielders, Catchers, and Relief Pitchers.


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”

  1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  2. A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
  4. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Jason Heyward – Chicago Cubs
  6. Adam Eaton – Chicago White Sox
  7. Kevin Kiermaier – Tampa Bay Rays
  8. Randal Grichuk – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Carlos Gomez – Houston Astros
  10. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders is Eric Byrnes. On the CF show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of two of the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Cain, Pollock, Jones, Heyward, Gomez, Joc Pederson (LAD), Kiermaier, Eaton

Byrnes: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Cain, Jones, Jackie Bradley, Jr. (BOS), Heyward, Kiermaier, Kevin Pillar (TOR), Eaton

James: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Jones, Heyward, Cain, Kiermaier, Eaton, Charlie Blackmon (COL), Gomez

Gennaro: Trout, McCutchen, Pollock, Cain, Eaton, Heyward, Bradley Jr., Kiermaier, Jones, Grichuk


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”

  1. Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
  2. Troy Tulowitzki – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
  4. Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
  5. Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
  7. Addison Russell – Chicago Cubs
  8. Marcus Semien – Oakland Athletics
  9. Andrelton Simmons – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  10. Didi Gregorius – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops is Bill Ripken. On the SS show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Correa, Crawford, Tulowitzki, Bogaerts, Simmons, Peralta, Corey Seager (LAD), Lindor, Erick Aybar (ATL), Gregorius

Ripken: Crawford,  Correa, Tulowitzki, Lindor, Russell, Bogaerts, Ian Desmond (free agent), Seager, Peralta, Simmons

James: Correa, Bogaerts, Tulowitzki, Lindor, Simmons, Andrus, Desmond, Crawford, Cabrera, Jose Reyes (COL)

Gennaro: Correa, Lindor, Crawford, Bogaerts, Simmons, Tulowitzki, Seager, Adienny Hechavarria (MIA), Russell, Peralta

Petriello: Correa, Crawford, Bogaerts, Lindor, Tulowitzki, Simmons, Seager, Russell, Peralta, Gregorius


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”

  1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  3. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  4. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
  5. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
  6. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
  7. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  8. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  9. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen is Carlos Peña. On the 1B show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Goldschmidt, Votto, Cabrera, Rizzo, Abreu, Encarnacion, Freeman, Gonzalez, Davis, Belt

Peña: Goldschmidt, Cabrera, Abreu, Rizzo, Encarnacion, Votto, Eric Hosmer (KC), Gonzalez, Davis, Albert Pujols (LAA)

James: Goldschmidt, Cabrera, Rizzo, Votto, Encarnacion, Davis, Freeman, Hosmer, Gonzalez, Abreu

Gennaro: Goldschmidt, Votto, Rizzo, Cabrera, Encarnacion, Davis, Freeman, Hosmer, Belt, Abreu

Petriello: Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Votto, Cabrera, Encarnacion, Davis, Abreu, Freeman, Gonzalez, Hosmer


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs
  3. Zack Greinke – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. David Price – Boston Red Sox
  5. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
  6. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
  7. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
  8. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
  9. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  10. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
**Note: Jose Fernandez does not have enough innings pitched over the last two seasons to qualify for the Shredder’s list.

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers is John Smoltz. On the SP show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kershaw, Arrieta, Greinke, Sale, Scherzer, Keuchel, Jose Fernandez (MIA), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Wainwright, Matt Harvey (NYM)

Smoltz: Kershaw, Arrieta, Scherzer, Keuchel, Greinke, Price, Madison Bumgarner (SF), deGrom, Sale, Harvey

James: Kershaw, Greinke, Scherzer, Arrieta, Bumgarner, Price, Sale, Kluber, Jon Lester (CHC), Cole Hamels (TEX)

Gennaro: Kershaw, Greinke, Arrieta, Sale, Bumgarner, Fernandez, Gerrit Cole (PIT), Keuchel, Carlos Carrasco (CLE), Scherzer

Petriello: Kershaw, Greinke, Arrieta, Sale, Keuchel, Scherzer, deGrom, Price, Cole, Fernandez


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
  3. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  4. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
  5. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
  7. Jung Ho Kang – Pittsburgh Pirates
  8. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
  10. Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen is Mike Lowell. On the 3B show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Donaldson, Bryant, Machado, Beltre, Arenado, Carpenter, Seager, Matt Duffy (SF), David Wright (NYM), Frazier

Lowell: Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Frazier, Beltre, Seager, Mike Moustakas (KC), Evan Longoria (TB)

Vince Gennaro (President of SABR): Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Frazier, Beltre, Duffy, Moustakas, Kang

Bill James: Donaldson, Arenado, Machado, Bryant, Carpenter, Seager, Longoria, Beltre, Frazier, Duffy

Mike Petriello: Donaldson, Machado, Arenado, Bryant, Carpenter, Beltre, Seager, Moustakas, Duffy, Longoria

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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”

  1. Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians
  2. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Justin Upton – Detroit Tigers
  4. Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets
  5. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  6. David Peralta – Arizona Diamondbacks
  7. Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins
  8. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Corey Dickerson – Tampa Bay Rays (traded from COL 1/28)
  10. Brett Gardner – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders is Cliff Floyd. On the LF show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Marte, Gordon, Upton, Cespedes, Brantley, Holliday, Gardner, Peralta, Kyle Schwarber (CHC), Yelich

Floyd: Cespedes, Upton, Brantley, Marte, Gordon, Peralta, Schwarber, Khris Davis (MIL), Yelich, Gardner

James: Upton, Brantley, Cespedes, Marte, Peralta, Melky Cabrera (CHW), Gardner, Yelich, Gordon, Colby Rasmus (HOU)

Gennaro: Brantley, Gordon, Cespedes, Holliday, Peralta, Upton, Schwarber, Yelich, Marte, Gardner

Petriello: Cespedes, Gordon, Marte, Upton, Michael Conforto (NYM), Schwarber, Yelich, Brantley, Holliday, Peralta

Also, for what it’s worth, Brian Kenny said that Khris Davis “just, just missed” his Top 10.



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
  2. Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
  3. Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
  4. Andrew Miller – New York Yankees
  5. Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
  6. Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Ken Giles – Houston Astros
  8. Tony Watson – Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers is Dan Plesac. On the RP show, they also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Davis, Betances, Chapman, Giles, Miller, Kimbrel, Melancon, Britton, Watson, O’Day

Plesac: Davis, Chapman, Betances, Miller, Jeurys Familia (NYM), Britton, Kimbrel, Melancon, Kenley Jansen (LAD), Trevor Rosenthal (STL)

James: Davis, Kimbrel, Chapman, Rosenthal, Melancon, Betances, Giles, Miller, Familia, Allen

Gennaro: Britton, Jansen, Miller, Chapman, Allen, Betances, O’Day, Giles, Davis, Familia

Petriello: Chapman, Davis, Jansen, Kimbrel, Britton, Miller, Betances, Allen, Familia, Melancon


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”

  1. Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
  2. Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners
  3. Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants
  4. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
  5. Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates
  6. Ben Zobrist – Chicago Cubs
  7. Neil Walker – New York Mets
  8. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  9. Dee Gordon – Miami Marlins
  10. Logan Forsythe – Tampa Bay Rays

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide at least two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen is Harold Reynolds. They also revealed the Top 10 lists of all the members of what they call the “SABR Super Panel” which includes sabermetric pioneer Bill James, Vince Gennaro (President of SABR), and Mike Petriello.

Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cano, Altuve, Zobrist, Jason Kipnis (CLE), Kinsler, Walker, Gordon, Pedroia, Brian Dozier (MIN), Howie Kendrick (LAD)

Reynolds: Cano, Altuve, Kinsler, Pedroia, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Gordon, Dozier, Zobrist,  Rougned Odor (TEX), Walker

James: Altuve, Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Forsythe, Dozier, Gordon, Kipnis, Walker, Zobrist

Gennaro: Kipnis, Altuve, Panik, Kinsler, Gordon, Pedroia, Zobrist, D.J. LeMahieu (COL), Cano, Kolten Wong (STL)

Petriello: Altuve, Cano, Kipnis, Gordon, Zobrist, Kinsler, Pedroia, Panik, Walker, Odor



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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”

  1. TBA
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  10. TBA

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will also provide two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers is TBA. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny:

ANALYST:


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides two additional lists: One from Brian Kenny and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders is TBA. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

  1. TBA
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  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
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  8. TBA
  9. TBA
  10. TBA

Kenny:

ANALYST:

So What of First Base in Milwaukee?

Chris-Carter

In case you missed the news yesterday, there was a free agent signing reported and quickly announced following the reveal of the 2016 MLB Hall of Fame class.

What follows is the official press release:

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent first baseman Chris Carter to a one-year contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated catcher Josmil Pinto for assignment. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“We are pleased to be able to add Chris to our organization,” said Stearns. “Over the past three seasons, Chris has proven to be one of the most consistent power threats in the game. We believe that his skills and experiences will complement our team well and provide additional production to our lineup.”

Carter, 29, has hit 90 home runs over the last three seasons (29, 37, 24), which ranks eighth in Major League Baseball. He started 112 games for the Astros this past season (105 G at 1B, 7 G at DH) and led the team in walks (57).

Carter was a key component in the Astros capturing an American League Wild Card spot in 2015 as he batted .353 (12-for-34) with 6 HR and 10 RBI over the team’s final 15 games, beginning September 18. Of anyone with at least 35 plate appearances during this stretch, Carter led the Major Leagues in OPS (1.376) and slugging percentage (.971) as the Astros edged the Angels by one game to earn a postseason berth.

Carter continued his hot hitting into the playoffs as he batted .294 (5-for-17, 3 BB) with 1 HR and 1 RBI. He started at first base in all six of Houston’s postseason games and fell a triple shy of the cycle in Game 3 of the American League Division Series vs. Kansas City (3-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI).

Originally selected by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Carter is a career .217 hitter in the Major Leagues with 109 HR and 280 RBI in 528 games with Oakland (2010-12) and Houston (2013-15).

Now for my own commentary:

After trading both incumbent Adam Lind and his primary backup Jason Rogers in the month of December, the Brewers had a sizable hole at first base. Enter the large-framed Carter.

Carter packs a punch at the plate with his prodigious power potential. There exists no doubt to his ability to clear Major League fences…when he makes contact. What they didn’t, and shouldn’t, tell you in the press release is that Carter finished with a .199 batting average in 2015, even with that final two-week flurry. He also struck out 151 times in 391 AB. Carter once led the league with 212 strikeouts back in 2013.

It’s not all negative though. His on-base skills are existent as he still walked 57 times last year to finish with an on-base percentage over .300. It’s not great, but let me frame it for you. Despite a batting average between 50 and 60 points lower, over the last two seasons he still got on base at a better clip than, for example, Jean Segura (OBPs of .289 and .281, respectively, over those years) and Scooter Gennett (.294 OBP in 2015). But they don’t exactly have the power that Carter does.

And oh, that power!

90 home runs over the last three years (including a high of 37 in 2014) is what keeps Chris Carter in the big leagues. Sure, Minute Maid Park in Houston has the Crawford Boxes which help right-handed hitters, but as we all know Miller Park isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise.

He’s not considered a good defender, but neither was Adam Lind who turned in a good year with the glove in 2015. Perhaps there’s something to coaching up a bit on defense. At the very least Carter’s 6’5″ frame (and resultant wingspan) offers a big target for the other Brewers infielders to target on their assists.

Finally, it must be mentioned that Carter left the Astros by way of non-tender as this is his first off-season of arbitration eligibility. There obviously won’t be a hearing as he is signed to a $2.5 million deal for 2016 (with an additional $500 thousand in incentives), but he’s under team control for longer than just 2016. If he proves capable but not quite flippable, the Brewers could continue to hold onto him for the next couple of years. Then again if Carter has the bounce-back season he envisions, perhaps he’ll be under some other team’s control after a mid-season trade.

That’s the other benefit too many people are overlooking. Call it the “Billy Beane” if you want to. The Brewers’ chances of winning the World Series in 2016 are admittedly between slim and none. That said, if you get a short-term asset like a Carter to realize his full power potential before the July 31st trading deadline, he could prove a desirable asset to a contender at which point you could flip him for additional young talent to continue feeding the timeline of future contention.

As for the worst-case scenario? Carter’s batting average drops even lower, he strikes out even more, he still hits some #dingerz, and the Brewers non-tender him next off-season after spending a paltry sum for his services.

This is pretty much a can’t lose signing because even the worst-case scenario isn’t the end of the world. That’s part of the beauty of one-year deals.

I think the team will benefit from the presence of Chris Carter being on the field in Brewers blue this year. Where it goes from there remains to be seen but as fans let’s enjoy the power while we can and let GM David Stearns worry about the fallout down the road.

Breaking News: Brewers Trade Lind

Lind

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired right-handed pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns at Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN.

“We are excited to add three young starting pitchers, all under 20 years old, to our minor-league system,” said Stearns. “All three possess quality arms with an advanced feel for the strike zone. We wish Adam well and appreciate his contributions to the 2015 Brewers.”

Missaki, 19, went 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts at Class-A Clinton in 2015. He walked only five batters in 34.1 innings pitched while producing 34 strikeouts. Opponents batted .244. His season was cut short as he underwent “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow in May. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on May 6, 2013, Missaki owns a career record of 7-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 24 games, including 20 starts, with opponents batting .236. He has recorded 111 strikeouts in just 106.0 innings pitched while issuing only 26 walks over his three seasons in the minor leagues.

Missaki, who was born in Japan before moving to Brazil as a young child, participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for Team Brazil, appearing in
one game (0.1ip on March 5 vs. China). At 16 years old, he was the youngest player in the tournament that year.

Herrera, 18, spent his first professional season in the Dominican Summer League and went 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 14 starts. He limited opponents to a .228 batting average with 13 walks and 73 strikeouts in 80.0 innings pitched. He posted a 1.85 ERA over his final five starts of the season, going 2-1. Herrera was signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2014.

Peralta, 19, went 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 11 games (9 starts) with the Rookie Arizona Mariners in 2015. He walked only eight batters in 57.0 innings pitched while producing 67 strikeouts (second in the Arizona League). Opponents batted .242. Originally signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent on April 18, 2013, Peralta has gone 6-12 with a 3.58 ERA in 36 games (31 starts) over three minor-league seasons. He has held opponents to a .239 batting average with 47 walks and 158 strikeouts in 163.1 innings pitched.

Lind, 32, batted .277 with 20 HR and 87 RBI in 149 games during his only season with the Brewers. He made 135 starts (134g at 1B, 1g at DH). Lind was acquired by Milwaukee on November 1, 2014 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada. He is a career .274 hitter with 166 HR and 606 RBI in 1,102 games with Toronto (2006-14) and Milwaukee (2015).

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