Archive for the ‘ Players ’ Category

2016 Draft Recap Podcast

Ray

It’s here! With the draft come and gone I have once again put together a podcast for your listening pleasure.

I talk to two of the Brewers draft picks this year, a tradition I started several years ago at this point, as I had the chance to interview top pick Corey Ray and 6th rounder Payton Henry. You’ll also hear some audio from the Director of Amateur Scouting for the Brewers, Ray Montgomery, as well as MLB veteran Curtis Granderson who has been a mentor for Corey over the last couple of years.

I might post a follow-up interview that I wanted to conduct but haven’t yet had a chance to complete due to scheduling conflicts but I wanted to get this up for now without it just in case it never happens.

But for now, listen to this and let me know what you think.

Official Release: Brewers Make Three Selections on Day One of 2016 First-Year Player Draft

Team Selects OF Corey Ray, 3B Lucas Erceg and C Mario Feliciano

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers made three selections during day one of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.  The team selected outfielder Corey Ray (University of Louisville), third baseman Lucas Erceg (Menlo College) and catcher Mario Feliciano (Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy) with the fifth, 46th and 75th picks, respectively. The announcements were made by Vice President of Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager Ray Montgomery.

Ray, a junior at the University of Louisville, batted .319 with 55 runs, 16 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 44 stolen bases, a .396 OBP and a .562 slugging percentage this season. He was previously drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Simeon Career Academy, but chose to enroll in college instead. The left-handed hitter is majoring in exercise science. He was scouted by area scout Jeff Simpson and regional supervisor Tim McIlvaine.

Erceg, 21, is a junior at Menlo College. He hit .308 (70-for-227) with 47 runs, 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 56 RBI with a .351 on-base percentage and a .639 slugging percentage in 56 games this season. He was scouted by area scout Joe Graham and regional supervisor Corey Rodriguez.

Feliciano, 17, is a senior at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. He was a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American and was scouted by area scout Charlie Sullivan and national supervisor Doug Reynolds.

The Draft will resume tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT with rounds 3-10. Day three of the Draft will begin at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday with rounds 11-40.

2016 Organizational Opening Day Rosters

What follows are the announced rosters for the parent club Milwaukee Brewers as well as each of the full-season minor-league affiliates of the same, broken down by position group.

Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Parent Club (Twitter: @Brewers)

Manager: Craig Counsell

25 Total Players (excluding disabled list)

Pitchers (12)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

Disabled List (5)

SkySoxPrimary

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @skysox)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

BiloxiShuckersOnWhite

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @BiloxiShuckers)

Manager: Mike Guerrero

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (4)

Infielders (7)

Outfielders (4)

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

Brewers Announce Opening Day Roster

Milwaukee BrewersPITCHERS (12)

57 Chase Anderson
54 Michael Blazek
48 Blaine Boyer*
39 Chris Capuano*
22 Matt Garza
21 Jeremy Jeffress
41 Taylor Jungmann
52 Jimmy Nelson
58 Ariel Peña
38 Wily Peralta
37 Tyler Thornburg
59 Carlos Torres

CATCHERS (2)
20 Jonathan Lucroy
12 Martin Maldonado

INFIELDERS (6)
33 Chris Carter
2 Scooter Gennett
9 Aaron Hill
29 Yadiel Rivera
5 Jonathan Villar
7 Colin Walsh

OUTFIELDERS (5)
8 Ryan Braun
23 Keon Broxton%
18 Ramon Flores%
10 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
16 Domingo Santana%

DISABLED LIST (6)
50 Yhonathan Barrios (right shoulder – 60-day)
75 Zack Jones (right shoulder – 15-day)
46 Corey Knebel (left oblique – 15-day)
79 OF Rymer Liriano (face – 60-day)
53 LHP Sean Nolin (left elbow – 60-day)
13 LHP Will Smith (right knee – 15-day)

STAFF
30 Craig Counsell – Manager
11 Darnell Coles – Hitting Coach
36 Derek Johnson – Pitching Coach
40 Jason Lane – Coach
49 Pat Murphy – Bench Coach
6 Ed Sedar – Third Base Coach
31 Carlos Subero – First Base/Infield Coach
43 Lee Tunnell – Bullpen Coach
56 Joe Crawford – Coaching Assistant
55 Marcus Hanel – Bullpen Catcher

Brewers Make Several Roster Decisions

StearnsAtMMP

Through a series of tweets by beat writers Adam McCalvy (MLB.com), Tom Haudricourt & Todd Rosiak (Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel), several decisions which directly impact the 25-man roster of the Milwaukee Brewers were disseminated from Spring Training on Sunday morning.

With an opt-out decision looming today, first and foremost relief pitcher Blaine Boyer was told that he has made the 25-man roster. The move will eventually require a corresponding 40-man roster move as Boyer was in camp on a Minor League contract, but there are a handful of 60-day DL candidates so finding a spot (or two or three) won’t be difficult.

The other player who got the best news was OF/1B Ramon Flores who was also told he’ll make the 25-man roster. Flores was acquired this off-season in trade from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for infielder Luis Sardiñas in a swap of players who were likely to be waived by their original clubs. Flores had a strong Cactus League and also showed a little versatility in being able to potentially backup Chris Carter at first base.

As there are ultimately so few spots, many more players get the proverbial red ticket in their locker.

Among those informed that they’ll begin the regular season in the minors are catchers Josmil Pinto and Manny Piña who were told they’ll be in Triple-A. Catcher Adam Weisenburger will apparently join them, giving Colorado Springs a trio of backstops.

Will Middlebrooks was informed today that he’ll also be assigned to Triple-A after vying for a spot as a backup corner infielder. Once there he is expected to rotate at the corner infield positions with Andy Wilkins and Garin Cecchini.

Joining them in the high-altitude infield will be Jake Elmore who was hoping to make the big league team as a reserve but came up short.

In the outfield competition, Eric Young Jr. was told that he’ll also head to the Centennial State when camp breaks. He’ll be joined officially by Shane Peterson who, after passing through waivers earlier this winter, was also in camp on a minor-league deal.

And finally, one official optioning came down as reliever David Goforth was sent out. Even with all the injuries to the bullpen recently, Goforth having minor league options was likely a key factor as others in the running for just a couple of spots had less team control due to no options or contract opt-outs like Boyer.

All told, this leaves the following combination of players in camp:

  • Yadiel Rivera, Rule 5 Colin Walsh, and non-roster invitee Hernan Perez are competing for what is likely two open infield jobs.
  • Keon Broxton (options remaining), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (no options), and Alex Presley (NRI) competing for likely two backup outfield spots.
  • Chris Capuano (opt-out), Franklin Morales (opt-out), Ariel Peña (no options), Tyler Cravy (options remaining) are in play for two bullpen jobs

Brewers 30 Clubs/30 Days Video Clips

30Clubs30DaysLogo

These are the archived videos aired on MLB Network on March 4th as Greg Amsinger and Milwaukee’s all-time Saves leader Dan Plesac visited Brewers’ camp at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona as a part of the Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series previewing the 2016 season.

GM David Stearns sits down with Amsinger & Plesac

Ryan Braun talks about his bounce back 2015 and looking ahead to 2016

Jimmy Nelson with Dan Plesac

Domingo Santana talks about his fresh start

Will Smith on the bullpen

Ryan Braun demos base running/stealing with Plesac

Chris Carter talks to Greg Amsinger

Lucroy talks 2016 with Amsinger

Matt Garza talks youth and rotation with Plesac

Counsell with Plesac

Brewers Prospects with Jonathan Mayo

Brewers Fan Vote

Brewers Predictions

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #41 Jake Elmore

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The lack of Monday columns this year has been disturbing. Think about it. I normally shout Mondays from the rooftops once this series begins because not only are we another day closer but the week counter always ticks down to a whole number.

We got a 63 (Junior Guerra) but 56 and 49 are coaches this year and 42 is retired throughout baseball…but you already know that. Finally next week Monday we’ll get to 35 and Shane Peterson and I’ll be able to properly acknowledge the week ticker.

Regardless, we’re now inside of six weeks until Opening Day and since we just took a three day break due to retired numbers and a coach and tomorrow is also a coach, I wanted to make sure we talked about…

Jake Elmore.

JakeElmoreBBtJN

(First, let’s say how great it is that Elmore tweeted this on his BBtJN profile day.)

This is normally the kind of profile I wouldn’t do for “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” for two major reasons. First, Jacob David Elmore isn’t exactly much of a prospect. He’s 28 years old and has spent parts of the last four seasons in the big leagues after debuting in August of 2012 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was a 34th round pick in 2008 by the D’backs so even reaching the big leagues is an unlikely accomplishment in and of itself, but what I mean in saying he’s not a prospect is that he likely doesn’t have a significantly better future ahead of him.

Does that make sense? He’s not some 20-year-old with tools coming out of his ears and unrealized potential. It doesn’t mean he can’t be useful. It doesn’t mean he’ll get cut and retire. It just means that people normally don’t like to read about guys in his situation.

Part of that situation is the second reason I normally wouldn’t write about him, that being that he doesn’t really have much of a chance — barring a significant rash of injuries — to break camp with the big league club.

So why bother writing this? First, for the people like you who clicked to read it. Second, it’s simply that when telling the story of Jake Elmore’s baseball career, there are some fun and interesting things to tell.

As I mentioned above, Elmore was originally a 34th round draft pick. How many other draft picks in the last decade have reached The Show having been taken that late or later? I’d wait why you look it up because it’s not an incredibly long list but the point is that for every Kenny Rogers, Junior Spivey, Keith Hernandez, Mark Buehrle, or even the holy grail that is Mike Piazza, there are hundreds of players who never get a sniff. So that’s cool that Elmore not only broke through but has remained in consideration over the past four years.

Here’s another thing. Elmore has been in the big leagues with four different teams in those four years but was a part of seven organizations. He debuted with Arizona (1) in 2012 but was waived after the season. Houston (2) claimed him and he got back to the big leagues as an Astro in 2013. He was waived again following that season but picked up by the Chicago White Sox (3), for who he never played. The Oakland Athletics (4) purchased Elmore’s contract from the White Sox three months and a week after Chicago claimed him. Elmore played in 47 games for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate before finding himself back on the waiver wire. This time it was Cincinnati (5) who was found claiming the well-traveled player. He played in 25 games for their Triple-A club before a September call-up brought him back to the dance.

That’s five teams. How do we get to the Brewers being number eight? Elmore was granted free agency on November 4, 2014 but signed back with Cincinnati the very next day…who promptly waived him. Two days after that the Pittsburgh Pirates (6) were awarded a claim but less then three months later Elmore was granted free agency again. A week blowing in the wind ended with a free agent contract on February 9, 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays (7). Elmore found his way into 51 games for the Rays, making a career-high 158 trips to the plate.

Now granted, Elmore only slashed .206/.263/.284 in the big leagues last year but this is where the most fun part of Elmore’s back story comes to light as it’s what has kept him relevant at times throughout his career. He’s versatile.

You sometimes hear of a player’s defensive versatility and you think of a guy who can play second, third, and short. Or a corner infielder. Or someone who can line up in each outfield position. Or maybe even someone like Jonathan Lucroy or Buster Posey who spend some time at first base when they aren’t catching. Or how about Brewers cult favorite Brooks Kieschnick who played corner outfield, pinch-hit, and pitched in relief?

Jake Elmore is all of those people.

Seriously. He’s played all nine defensive positions, and designated hitter. And not just in the minors like Brewers prospect Nate Orf did for Brevard County (in one game, no less), but at the Major League level. He doesn’t hit as well as the guys who moonlight at a secondary position or keep their bats in the lineup by spelling everyone in the infield in a rotating manner, but Elmore truly does it all defensively.

Check out this breakdown of just his MLB fielding statistics.

jakeelmoredbreakdown

I’m counting and that’s 10. Which is where his value lies for this club. I don’t expect Elmore — in big league camp on a minor-league contract — to head north to Milwaukee on April 4, but what I’m thinking he offers is absolute emergency coverage should something happen as well a good approach at the plate if not always good result.

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said about him last year, “Jake is an interesting player. He gives you a good at bat and he can play everywhere.”

While “everywhere” will almost certainly mean “Colorado Springs” to begin the season, don’t be shocked to see Elmore find his way into a Brewers uniform at some point.

But also don’t be shocked to see him waived at the end of the season only to catch on with another new club. He’s already played all the positions. Maybe he can get to a majority of the teams.

Follow Jake on Twitter: @JElmo10

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

Brewers Release Spring Training Roster

2 Scooter Gennett ……………………………………………….2B
5 Jonathan Villar ………………………………………………..INF
6 Ed Sedar ………………………………….. Third Base Coach
7 Alex Presley* ………………………………………………….. OF
8 Ryan Braun ……………………………………………………. OF
9 Aaron Hill ……………………………………………………….INF
10 Kirk Nieuwenhuis ……………………………………………. OF
11 Darnell Coles ……………………………………Hitting Coach
12 Martin Maldonado ………………………………………………C
13 Will Smith …………………………………………………….. LHP
14 Hernan Perez* ………………………………………………..INF
15 Will Middlebrooks*…………………………………………….3B
16 Domingo Santana …………………………………………… OF
20 Jonathan Lucroy ………………………………………………..C
21 Jeremy Jeffress ……………………………………………..RHP
22 Matt Garza ……………………………………………………RHP
24 Eric Young Jr.* ……………………………………………….. OF
25 Michael Reed …………………………………………………. OF
26 Taylor Jungmann …………………………………………..RHP
27 Zach Davies ………………………………………………….RHP
28 Jorge Lopez ………………………………………………….RHP
29 Yadiel Rivera …………………………………………………..INF
30 Craig Counsell ……………………………………….. Manager
31 Carlos Subero ……………………First Base/Infield Coach
32 David Goforth ………………………………………………..RHP
33 Chris Carter ……………………………………………………..1B
35 Shane Peterson* …………………………………………….. OF
36 Derek Johnson ………………………………. Pitching Coach
37 Tyler Thornburg …………………………………………….RHP
38 Wily Peralta …………………………………………………..RHP
39 Chris Capuano* …………………………………………….. LHP
40 Jason Lane ………………………………………………..Coach
41 Jake Elmore* …………………………………………………..INF
43 Lee Tunnell …………………………………….Bullpen Coach
45 Tyler Cravy ……………………………………………………RHP
46 Corey Knebel ………………………………………………..RHP
47 Adrian Houser ……………………………………………….RHP
48 Blaine Boyer* ………………………………………………..RHP
49 Pat Murphy ……………………………………….Bench Coach
50 Yhonathan Barrios …………………………………………RHP
51 Cesar Jimenez* …………………………………………….. LHP
52 Jimmy Nelson ……………………………………………….RHP
54 Michael Blazek ………………………………………………RHP
55 Marcus Hanel ………………………………..Bullpen Catcher
56 Joe Crawford …………………………….Coaching Assistant
57 Chase Anderson ……………………………………………RHP
58 Ariel Peña …………………………………………………….RHP
60 Keon Broxton …………………………………………………. OF
61 Ramon Flores ………………………………………………… OF
62 Garin Cecchini …………………………………………..INF/OF
63 Junior Guerra ………………………………………………..RHP
64 Andy Wilkins ……………………………………………………1B
65 Josmil Pinto* ……………………………………………………..C
66 Hiram Burgos* ……………………………………………….RHP
67 Manny Piña* ………………………………………………………C
68 Adam Weisenburger* ………………………………………….C
70 Jacob Barnes ………………………………………………..RHP
71 Josh Hader* …………………………………………………. LHP
72 Orlando Arcia …………………………………………………..SS
73 Colin Walsh ……………………………………………….INF/OF
74 Daniel Tillman* ………………………………………………RHP
75 Zack Jones ……………………………………………………RHP
76 Rene Garcia* …………………………………………………….C
77 Brett Phillips* ………………………………………………….. OF
78 Damien Magnifico ………………………………………….RHP
79 Rymer Liriano …………………………………………………. OF
80 Rick Sweet ……………………………………………. Instructor
81 Tony Diggs ……………………………………………. Instructor
82 Charlie Greene ………………………………………. Instructor
83 Bob Skube ……………………………………………. Instructor
84 Bob Miscik …………………………………………….. Instructor
85 Rick Tomlin …………………………………………… Instructor
86 Jeremy Reed …………………………………………. Instructor
87 Fred Dabney …………………………………………. Instructor
88 Matt Erickson ………………………………………… Instructor
89 Chris Hook ……………………………………………. Instructor
90 Joe Ayrault ……………………………………………. Instructor
91 Sandy Guerrero …………………………………….. Instructor
92 Jacob Nottingham* ……………………………………………..C

*Non-Roster Invitee

Official Release: Brewers Trade With Oakland

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Bubba Derby from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Khris Davis. Following this trade, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 39. The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.

“In Jacob Nottingham, we are acquiring one of the premier catching prospects in baseball,” said Stearns. “Jacob has an advanced feel for hitting and has demonstrated consistent power throughout his minor-league career.”

Nottingham, who turns 21 on April 3, has been invited to Major League camp as a non-roster player. He is a career .284 hitter with 23 HR and 130 RBI in 211 games at the Rookie and Class-A levels (2013-15).

Originally selected by Houston in the sixth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Nottingham was dealt to Oakland this past July 23 as part of a trade for left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir. In 2015, he batted a combined .316 with 33 doubles, 17 HR and 82 RBI in 119 games between Class-A Quad Cities (Houston), Class-A Lancaster (Houston) and Class-A Stockton (Oakland). He was named to both the Midwest League’s midseason and postseason All-Star teams while at Quad Cities.

“In acquiring Bubba Derby, we continue to add to our prospect pitching depth,” said Stearns. “In his first professional season, Bubba had one of the best performances of any lower-level pitcher. We are excited to add him and Jacob to our organization.”

Bowdien “Bubba” Derby, who turns 22 on February 24, went 1-1 with a sterling 1.21 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) during his first professional season between the Rookie Arizona Athletics (2gs) and Class-A Vermont (12g/8gs). He held opponents to a .183 batting average with 47 strikeouts in just 37.1 innings.

Davis, 28, batted .250 with 60 HR and 162 RBI in 321 career games with the Brewers (2013-15), including .247 with 27 HR and 66 RBI in 121 games last season. He was selected by Milwaukee in the seventh round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Prior to today’s trade, David Stearns already acquired a number of highly-regarded prospects during his first offseason as general manager of the Brewers, including 2015 Pioneer League Most Valuable Player – shortstop Isan Diaz (Jean Segura trade), infielder Javier Betancourt (Francisco Rodriguez trade), right-handed pitcher Trey Supak (Jason Rogers trade) and right-handed pitchers Daniel Missaki, Carlos Herrera and Freddy Peralta (Adam Lind trade).

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’16 – #54 Michael Blazek

BBtJN Logo

We are 54 days away from Opening Day. That’s less than two months, less than 8 weeks. As was once infamously said about Paris practically being a suburb of Berlin, “It’s a nothing commute.” In other words, it’ll be here before you know it.

Just think about the milestones we’ve already left in our collective rear-views this winter.

No, wait, don’t think about that. Think about my guy who wears #54 for the Milwaukee Brewers, my favorite baseball team…

Michael Blazek.

BlazekBBtJN16

Last winter I took a particular interest in Michael Robert Blazek, being the only person to bend his ear for a time at the annual On Deck fan fest event. We talked about his off-season program and the things he was focusing on in order to get better and have the best season of his career.

Well, I’d say it paid off.

I say that for a number of reasons. It was Blazek’s first full season in the big leagues for starters…er…to start with. He pitched exclusively in relief and, get this, posted his best full-season ERA (2.43) of his professional career. That’s at any level. He prevented runs better in 2015 against MLB competition than he had at any point along his winding ascent to the big leagues following his being selected in the 35th(!) round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. His previous best was a combined 3.00 in 2013 which was compiled between two minor league levels for St. Louis, and big league time in both St. Louis and Milwaukee that year.

It goes beyond ERA though. Blazek’s FIP was a career-best 3.17, his WHIP a career-best 1.042. He allowed just 6.5 H/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Both figures are, you guessed it, career-bests.

Blazek appeared in 45 games, 32 of which were scoreless appearances. He also inherited runners nine times (13 total inherited) in 2015 (once with the bases loaded) and only allowed any of them to score twice. Those days were the Opening Day team-wide disaster against Colorado and a 10-1 loss to the Braves on May 21st.

About the only thing that went wrong for the 6’0″ right-handed Las Vegas native was a signifcant one. Blazek suffered a broken hand at some point. I say “at some point” because no one is really certain when it happened. One day, while throwing long toss, Blazek’s right hand just started to swell. There wasn’t any pain involved which is why it could have been undetected for some time.

The bone eventually would heal and Blazek worked hard to return before the end of the year. That would end up not being in the cards as the team moved Blazek to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for one of the Biloxi troop which was called up late in the year. Blazek told me that he was disappointed by the move as he was near a clean bill of health and really didn’t want his season to end on the sour note of injury.

As for the injury itself, it certainly would help explain his rough patch leading up to the diagnosis. Beginning on July 30, Blazek allowed runs in four of five appearances including allowing all three of his home runs for the season, the last of which resulted in a walk-off win for the Chicago Cubs on August 12th.

This led to speculation that Blazek injured his hand nefariously striking something out of frustration because everything’s a conspiracy, apparently. That wasn’t the case here and a bone in Blazek’s hand broke.

I spoke to Blazek about it again at Brewers On Deck last month and he told me that he’s doing some exercises to make sure his grip strength is where is needs to be but he’s healthy and ready to go when Pitchers & Catchers report on February 19.

(Sidebar: His hair is also most definitely ready.)

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And to follow up on the question I asked him a year ago, I wondered what his goals were for 2016. After getting through the baseball stuff (BOR-ING!, right??) he said he desires to become the greatest FIFA player of all time on PS4. Any challengers feel up to letting Blazek hone his skills?

Seriously though, on the baseball stuff Blazek said he’s on track with his preparations which are strikingly similar to last season. You know, that season when he was the best he’s ever been.

Works for me. Good answer.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34

Catch up on BBtJN ’16:

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