The deadline for protecting players from Rule 5 Draft eligibility by way of adding them to the 40-man roster is Friday, November 20. Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters on Thursday that he was still considering who to protect. This post is to call out the list of those who require protection and to give my opinions on who they need to add.
After acquiring Jonathan Villar from the Houston Astros via trade on Thursday, the 40-man roster stood at 35 and therefore has five open spots.
This is a slimmed down list as upkept by Jim Goulart over at Brewerfan.net. (View his original and the discussion thread here.)
Current AAA Players —
Current AA Players —
SS Orlando Arcia
RHP Jacob Barnes
C Parker Berberet
LHP Jed Bradley
RHP Drew Gagnon
RHP Brooks Hall
3B Brandon Macias
RHP Damien Magnifico
RHP Jorge Ortega
1B Nick Ramirez
OF Victor Roache
2B Nick Shaw
RHP Martin Viramontes
C Adam Weisenburger
Current A-Level (or below) players —
RHP Yomelbin Almonte
3B Taylor Brennan
UT Francisco Castillo
RHP Zach Cooper
C Paul Eshleman
RHP Preston Gainey
RHP Milton Gomez
C Dustin Houle
OF Anderson Jesus
3B/OF Sthervin Matos
2B Chris McFarland
C Natanael Mejia
C Rafael Neda
LHP Luis Ortega
1B Juan Ortiz
OF Jose Pena
IF/OF Yerison Pena
LHP Stephen Peterson
RHP Junior Rincon
RHP Gian Rizzo
OF Elvis Rubio
RHP Orlando Torrez
RHP Angel Ventura
*italics indicates players who are Rule 5 eligible for the first time
First and foremost, there is no easier choice for Rule 5 protection this year than SS Orlando Arcia. Widely considered the Brewers best prospect, it would be foolish to not protect the young man. That gives us four spots to play with.
The Brewers don’t announce at which level they protect players, but there is a 38-man Triple-A reserve roster for any unprotected players. The names on that list are the ones eligible for selection in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Any player selected during the MLB portion of the draft must be kept on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for minimum time constraints the next MLB season or be offered back to said player’s original ballclub.
A recent example of how that works is Wei-Chung Wang back in 2014. The Pirates protected Wang on the Triple-A reserve roster despite his never having pitched above High-A ball. The Brewers dealt with his obvious lack of experience that season for the ability to continue his development in the minor leagues the following year. Now, most players taken are much closer to MLB-ready and can somewhat hold their own. Wang was an exception to that side of the coin.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand though and discuss which players I think the Brewers need to protect for fear of losing their talents.
I’ve already mentioned Arcia. I look next to the Arizona Fall League, a sort of finishing school for prospects on the cusp. Damien Magnifico has flourished in that league and needs protection, in my opinion. Relief pitchers tend to be the most easily plucked since it’s easier to “hide” them if they are struggling to adjust. I think what he’s shown this entire regular season as a reliever for Double-A Biloxi coupled with his strong AFL play has garnered him attention to the point where he’d end up elsewhere if the Brewers left him unprotected.
Next, despite his early career struggles making consistent contact, I think that power is such a premium skill these days that outfielder Victor Roache could get protected. The Brewers invested highly in him following a broken wrist suffered in college and I think they owe it to themselves to see if Roache’s gains at the plate in 2015 are long-term gains. Granted, Stearns wasn’t around back then so he may evaluate Roache differently, and the Brewers do have a lot of outfield prospects coming, but there is at least room for Roache now. That said, a jump from Double-A to MLB, even as a bench bat with pop — might be analyzed as too great to think that anyone would take the risk. I’d rather not take the chance, but I’m not a part of Stearns’ front office.
Back to the pitching side of things, there are a quartet of names that I think warrant consideration. That said, given my earlier choices I’m limited to picking just two more if all things remain the same. The players are Jacob Barnes, Jorge Ortega, Brent Suter, and Wei-Chung Wang.
Wang and Suter are left-handed and it’s been quite some time since the Brewers developed a southpaw, especially into the rotation. Wang has already been invested in, but again that’s by the previous regime. That said, he absolutely took off mid-season following being designated for assignment. If the Brewers feel the turnaround is permanent, they’d need to protect him.
Suter worked his way from Double-A into the Triple-A rotation by season’s end, really putting together a nice season. He’s getting older as far as prospects go, and he isn’t a fireballer by any means, but we’ve seen how long it can take some left-handers to really realize their potential. Suter appears to be getting there.
Barnes is another Arizona Fall League participant this year and he’s put together a nice short season there to follow up a solid campaign with Double-A Biloxi in 2015. In eight AFL games (as of this writing) Barnes hasn’t allowed a run on just six hits and three walks (against 17 strikeouts) in 11.2 innings pitched, all in relief. It’s exactly the type of stint that makes the minor league talent evaluators happy but potentially nervous with the Rule 5 Draft coming up.
Finally, with Ortega you have a pitcher who shot from High-A Brevard County all the way up to a spot start at Triple-A Colorado Springs during the season. He was great in both spots and pitching so well that he was officially added to Biloxi’s playoff roster. He made all those moves based in large part on his command and control. Get this stat: Ortega has pitched 439.0 professional innings in the regular season over five years. He has walked just 55 batters, one intentionally. That’s outstanding. A jump all the way from, virtually, High-A ball to the majors might seem too daunting for a team to risk a Rule 5 pick, but there is certainly precedent and if you don’t walk batters then you might be able to find quick success at any level. There are enough rebuilding teams that one of them might be quite happy to pluck Ortega for their system.
There are a couple of other names (Nick Ramirez, Brooks Hall are examples) that I could see Stearns wanting to protect if he evaluates them highly enough, but it feels like the six guys I listed are the core pool this year.
Let me begin my synopsis by saying that I have a feeling Stearns is going to take advantage of all his currently open spots. It feels like he’s got other moves in the works that will free up additional 40-man roster space yet this winter so there’s little reason not to protect as many worthy assets as possible right now.
Without the knowledge of anything coming in the future, I think protecting Arcia and Magnifico happen in every scenario. Of the five players I mentioned outside of them for the three remaining spots I think I’d roll the dice by not protecting Roache and not protecting Suter (I guess?). I think Wang should be protected given his rebound. I think Barnes is going to be a big-league reliever and would rather that be in Milwaukee. I think Ortega is intriguing enough that someonen would pop him if unprotected.
I like Suter and even though he’s left-handed, I think the Brewers would be taking a calculated risk that pays off. With Roache, it’s partially about his strikeout rate (which many teams seem to mind less and less) and his contact rate in general, and partially that they really do have several outfielders in the pipeline who they also believe in who will warrant protection soon too.
I could easily see them protecting Suter and Roache and exposing Barnes (again) and Ortega too. I really don’t know with those four. All of them could go either way and I think there’s justification. Stearns could also have evaluated Wang and not think he’s worth protecting at this time.
We’ll find out on Friday.
The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired infielder Jonathan Villar (added to the 40-man roster) from the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cy Sneed.The 40-man roster stands at 35. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Villar, 24, has had Major League stints with Houston over each of the last three seasons (2013-15), batting .236 with 10 HR, 46 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 198 games. He started 163 games for the Astros (153g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF). Villar posted his highest career batting average in 2015 as he hit .284 with 2 HR and 11 RBI in 53 games. He started 28 games for the A.L. Wild Card winners (18g at SS, 8g at 3B, 2g in LF).
Villar, a native of La Vega in the Dominican Republic, was originally signed by Philadelphia as a non-drafted free agent on May 20, 2008. He was traded to Houston, along with outfielder Anthony Gose and left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt and cash on July 29, 2010. He made his Major League debut on July 22, 2013 with the Astros and was the team’s Opening Day starting shortstop in 2014.
Sneed, 23, was selected by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He went 6-13 with a 3.30 ERA in 37 games (30 starts) over two seasons in the Brewers organization (2014-15). Sneed was 0-2 with a 5.92 ERA in 11 games (6 starts) at Rookie Helena in 2014 and split the 2015 season at Class-A Wisconsin (15g/13gs) and Class-A Brevard County (11gs), going 6-11 with a 2.58 ERA in 26 games (24 starts).
Just prior to the close of the business day Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced six players as no longer being a part of its 40-man roster by way of outright assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
New general manager David Stearns has been discussing his ongoing evaluation of the organization’s talent pool. Now almost a month into his official tenure, the first wave of changes are underway in earnest.
Five of the players could have remained under team control for 2016. Four of those five appeared in the big leagues in Brewers uniforms this season along with the sixth player who won’t be back with the club in any capacity.
- RHP Johnny Hellweg
- LHP Cesar Jimenez
- C Juan Centeno
- 1B Matt Clark
- OF Logan Schafer
- RHP Kyle Lohse (declared free agency)
Lohse’s declaration should come as no surprise given how his tenure in Milwaukee ended this year. All five of the outrighted players now also have the right to declare minor league free agency, though they could sign minor league contracts for next year should they choose to do so.
Despite a new man in charge and disappointing results following Tommy John surgery and rehab, you would think the Brewers would prefer retaining Johnny Hellweg on a minor league contract. They have, after all, put quite a bit of time and money into him after he was acquired as the second piece in the Zack Greinke-to-Los Angeles deal. Hellweg was also the Brewers MiLB Pitcher of the Year once upon a time.
Jimenez’s outright is probably the only somewhat unexpected move as he performed acceptably for the majority of his time in Milwaukee. That said, he’s certainly a veteran player who doesn’t have a ton of business on a rebuilding roster at the end of the day.
Centeno was passed over for a September call-up after appearing in 10 games early in the year. While it’s not a bad thing to have a third catcher on the 40-man roster, that spot is much more valuable this off-seaosn for Rule 5 Draft protection than for a guy who is inconsequential while there are no games being played.
After being sold a bill of goods never fulfilled, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Matt Clark look for his next opportunity elsewhere. He’s flashed a solid set of tools and I believe he could help a team at the MLB level. That said, at 29 years of age next season, he’ll be outside of the range wherein the Brewers would best benefit from his skills before they deteriorate.
As for Logan Schafer, he’s always been a great guy and he still plays top flight defense (when he’s sharp) but given where he’s at in his career against where the Brewers are in their rebuild, this one just felt kind of inevitable. Schafer is a solid 5th outfielder, in my opinion, but outfield just so happens to be one of the deepest positions in the organization right now both in terms of players currently on the 40-man roster and those hopefully on their way through the minor (Brett Phillips, Tyrone Taylor, Trent Clark).
The Brewers have plenty more decisions to make as the weeks and months pass following the completion of the World Series. For now, Stearns has decided he needs the room on his 40-man roster. After all, two of the spots would appear to be spoken for already as RHPs Jimmy Nelson and Michael Blazek will likely be reinstated from the 60-day Disabled List soon enough and will, as a result, fill two of the current openings.
Nelson and Blazek were reinstated from the 60-day DL on Monday as assumed. That officially puts the 40-man roster at 36 players with four open spots.
***END OF UPDATE***
Ron Burgundy may never have heard Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” but David Stearns obviously has, and he’s willing to make the moves he deems necessary to regain Milwaukee’s footing in the ultra-competitive National League Central division.
Up next for Stearns? It could be a decision on whether to pick up the $8 million club option on first baseman Adam Lind. That decision must come by the close of business Wednesday.
Each season, every city’s chapter of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America votes on team awards for the respective clubs based there. Milwaukee is no exception. As such, the seven members of the Milwaukee BBWAA chapter voted on the standard awards as they always do. The winners of the same were announced this morning.
Here is a breakdown of the voting (where provided in the official press release) for each of the five awards.
Most Valuable Player – Ryan Braun
- Ryan Braun (Seven (7) 1st place votes – 35 points – Unanimous)
- Adam Lind (Six (6) 2nd place, One (1) 3rd place – 19 points)
Most Valuable Pitcher – Franciso Rodriguez
- Francisco Rodriguez (35 points – Unanimous)
- Jeremy Jeffress – (14 points)
- Jimmy Nelson (11 points)
Top Newcomer – Adam Lind
- Adam Lind (31 points)
- Taylor Jungmann (22 points)
Unsung Hero – Jeremy Jeffress
- Jeremy Jeffress (24 points)
- Will Smith (15 points)
“Good Guy” Award – Jonathan Lucroy
- Jonathan Lucroy (35 points – Unanimous)
- Kyle Lohse (14 points)
- Scooter Gennett (12 points)
BREWERS ANNOUNCE 2015 MINOR LEAGUE PITCHER AND PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Jorge Lopez and Orlando Arcia Named Recipients of the Robin Yount Performance Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards, Respectively
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2015 Robin Yount Performance Awards. Right-handed pitcher Jorge Lopez was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and shortstop Orlando Arcia was named Brewers Minor League Player of the Year. Both players played for the Brewers Double-A affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers.
“We are extremely proud of both of these young players,” said President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Doug Melvin. “Jorge and Orlando have grown tremendously this season and their hard work is paying off, helping Biloxi reach the Southern League Championship Series. We look forward to seeing their names in the Brewers lineup in the near future.”
Lopez went 12-5 with a 2.26 ERA in 24 starts for the Southern League South Division Champions this season. His 2.26 ERA was only behind teammate Tyler Wagner for the league-lead. The Cayey, Puerto Rico native struck out 137 batters, while walking 52. After going 5-2 with a 3.02 in 12 starts in the first half, the 22-year-old went 7-3 with a 1.59 ERA in his final 12 starts of the year. He finished his campaign tied for the league-lead in wins, placed third in strikeouts and led the league in WHIP (1.10), batting average against (.205) and fewest baserunners per nine innings ratio (10.05).
The Brewers’ second-round selection in the 2011 June Draft out of Caguas Military Academy (Caguas, PR) was named both a mid-season and postseason Southern League All-Star. The League also honored the righty by naming him the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Year. In addition, Lopez was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month for each of the last three months of the season. He is currently ranked as the ninth-best and the second-best pitching prospect in the Brewers system according to MLB.com. Lopez was signed by scouts Charlie Sullivan and Manolo Hernandez.
Arcia finished his first season at the Double-A level batting .307/.347/.453 with 37 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 69 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 129 games. The 20-year-old finished his campaign was among the league-leaders in several categories including average (5th), at-bats (2nd, 512), RBI (4th), doubles (1st), slugging percentage (5th), extra-base hits (3rd, 52), runs (5th, 74) and total bases (2nd, 232). He set new career-highs in almost every hitting category including runs, hits, doubles, triples and home runs.
The Venezuelan native was signed by the Brewers as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. He was named both a mid-season and postseason Southern League All-Star. Arcia was honored with the League’s Player of the Week award for May 25-June 1 when he batted .400 (10-25) with 6 runs, 5 doubles, a homer, 5 RBI and 2 walks in six games. In addition, Arcia was selected to represent the World Team in the 2015 Futures Game at Great American BallPark in Cincinnati. Arcia is ranked as the top prospect in the organization according to MLB.com.
Both players are currently with the Biloxi Shuckers where they have a 1-0 lead against the Chattanooga Lookouts in the best-of-five Southern League Championship Series. The Shuckers swept the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the Southern League Division Series to advance to the finals. Arcia is batting .625 (10-16) with 3 homers and 9 RBI in the playoffs, while Lopez is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA (13.2ip, 1er) with 4 walks and 13 strikeouts.
The Milwaukee Brewers had a roster spot to fill prior to Friday’s game against the Nationals in Washington D.C. The opening was created Wednesday and at the time manager Craig Counsell said they would be calling up a hitter but declined to identify who at that time.
Following their 8-7 win on Wednesday afternoon over the Miami Marlins, the Brewers announced that Tuesday’s starting pitcher Tyler Cravy was headed to the disabled list with a right elbow impingement. Cravy says that elbow was first injured five days prior while batting in a start against the Chicago Cubs. The elbow was apparently hyperextended on a foul ball in the top of the 5th inning. Cravy was unable to get through the bottom of the fifth as he walked a batter and then allowed a pair of home runs all with one out.
It had been previously announced that Cravy would pitch out of the bullpen for the time being after a run of bad starts and because of a scheduling quirk which has the Brewers not in need of a fifth starting pitcher for two weeks, but then the injury was revealed. Without the need of that starter, the Brewers had the chance to add another hitter. They’d been playing with a four-man bench for some time.
With Friday morning came the announcement that some had expected and many had anticipated no later than September 1…
Santana has been absolutely mashing since he came over to the Brewers system. The recently turned 23-year-old is slashing .333/.426/.573 this year at the Triple-A level including a robust .380/.424/.544 line just with the Brewers’ Class-AAA affiliate Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
There is a lot of swing-and-miss in his game as evidenced by his 91 K in 275 Fresno ABs and 17 in 79 w/Colorado Springs. That said, in Fresno is K% was 33.1% whereas with Colorado Springs it has dropped to 21.5%. Still, it’s a lot. He does have a good batting eye and has walked 54 times against his 108 strikeouts this season in Triple-A.
Santana’s calling card though is that when he hits balls they tend to stay hit. He is still developing of course but the power is what makes people drool over Santana as a prospect. He has 18 home runs in Triple-A this season to go along with 23 doubles and four triples. That’s 45 extra-base hits in 354 at-bats.
In his brief call-up to the Astros earlier this season, Santana hit a pair of home runs and a pair of doubles in 39 at-bats.
The future is coming over the next couple of seasons. Santana is the first piece of what plans to be many.
Here are the latest two trades breaking this morning:
(with a hat tip to Lookout Landing who heard of the discussions yesterday)
Nothing announced yet on that one.
The other deal, as first reported…
…has been announced.