Results tagged ‘ Ariel Pena ’
Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.
About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)
This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.
Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.
A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)
However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.
For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.
So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.
Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…
Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:
Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli
Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:
Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo
The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.
The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.
…Friday’s Front Row Grill…
…at Miller Park…
…73 days until Opening Day…
…Oh! Time to talk about…
Peña will be wearing number 73 this Spring Training, but you already knew that based on the premise of the “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series.
Allow me to educate you on some things you may not know about the 6’3″, 190 pound, 23-year-old, right-handed starting pitching prospect of your Milwaukee Brewers.
From a personal standpoint, Peña hails from the Dominican Republic. He was born on May 20, 1989 in Los Jovillos.
Now as far as baseball goes let’s begin in that Peña was signed as an international free agent back before the 2007 season by the The Angels Angels of Not Los Angeles but in fact Anaheim, California, PST. His first professional season in affiliated ball was in 2007 when he pitched in the Dominican Summer League on behalf of the Angels. He was brought to the United States to continue his development in 2009, following two good-looking seasons in the DoSL.
As a 20-year-old in 2009, Peña has a strong season while pitching in rookie ball. He pitched in both Class-A and Class-A Advanced in 2010 and then pitched a full season in Class-A Advanced (with a singular spot start in Triple-A) in 2011.
Last season saw the promising starting pitcher take the next step in advancement as he was assigned to the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. Peña was ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, PST’s farm system heading into the 2012 season. He lived up to the hype in Arkansas posting a line of: 19 G (all starts), 1 CG, 114.1 IP, 95 H, 43 R (38 earned), 2.99 ERA, 42 BB, 111 K, 1.198 WHIP, 8.7 K/9
Peña was a little homer prone as a Traveler, surrendering 14 long balls (12.4% of his outfield fly balls allowed), but nothing egregious. He pitched well enough during the first “half” of the year that he was selected as a member of the World team for the All-Star Weekend Future’s Game in Kansas City. It was at Kaufmann Stadium where some serious dents would be forced, hard, into Peña’s armor.
The USA team won that game by a final score of 17-5 (here is the box score, if you’re so inclined) and Ariel Peña’s line from that game reads thusly:
0.1 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR, 216.00 ERA
Unfortunately, my decimal point is not misplaced. It was an epic display of futility. I recall vividly watching the game and cringing anew at each batter Peña was left in to face. I felt bad for the kid by the end of it. “What a meltdown on a pretty big stage,” I thought.
Then, for a week or two, I had forgotten all about the performance. Ariel Peña was no longer a blip on my radar … at least not until it became pretty apparent that the Brewers were looking to trade Zack Greinke.
In looking around the league at teams which wanted Greinke and who they could offer in return, Peña’s name caught my eye. His stats in Arkansas were still quite good. You can see the numbers he finished with as a Traveler back a couple of paragraphs. But when word came down officially that the Angels were going to acquire Greinke and that Peña was part of the package coming back to Milwaukee, I was reminded about his Future’s Game performance. It was then that I went back and looked at his final starts between then and what was now. I’ll admit it, I was worried what I might find.
The Futures Game was played on July 8th. Peña’s first start back was July 14th. He would make three more starts for the Travelers before the trade came down. His combined stats in those games: 19.2 IP, 13 H, 7 R (7 ER), 4 HR, 7 BB, 18 K.
Two of the starts were seven full innings with a total of two earned runs surrendered (both in the first game on solo home runs). The middle game was a bad outing in which Peña went 5.2 innings pitching allowing five earned on five hits, including two home runs, and four walks. The key here that put me more as ease was that his last outing before Doug Melvin pulled the trigger was a 7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K effort.
In short (too late!), the Future’s Game hadn’t affected his psyche like I had feared.
What happened after the trade is a matter of some confusion. Perhaps it was becoming acclimated to his new surroundings, mostly new teammates, new stadium, new routine, et cetera, et cetera, but over the seven starts he had remaining in 2012, Peña produced only two “quality starts” and had four where his ERA was at least 9.00.
He had one very good start of 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 6 K in his second outing as a Huntsville Star. Three starts later he would post his second “quality start”. This came one start after what was easily his worst outing of the year outside of Kansas City. Instead of being worried, I decided to actually be encouraged by the fact that this young player has shown more than once that he will respond positively to adversity. That’s a necessary quality in a starting pitcher at the big league level. When you’re facing the best of the best every single day (well, unless you catch Houston) at the Major League level, you will have bad outings. The ability to rebound off of a bad outing is paramount. Peña appears to have shown a propensity for that.
Scouts differ though on how all of that combines into projectability for a would-be starting pitcher.
One report I found said that Peña was “underwhelming in person” and that while the Brewers are likely hoping for more due to Peña’s durable frame, the writer said that Peña profiles as a “prototypical 7th inning reliever.”
As with any player, the true outcome will be determined by how he adjusts to the increasing level of competition as he advances up an organizational chain. The road to The Show is littered with the arms of promising players who couldn’t adjust. I don’t feel that Peña’s lot will be that, but he must improve in 2013 over a 7.24 ERA in 7 starts over 32.1 IP in which he allowed 40 hits and 23 walks.
He’s got a bit of wildness to him that can’t be ignored but his big fastball (reportedly touching 98 MPH), low 90′s sinker, and “wipeout” slider would make for a repertoire that can hang in a starting rotation. The best part though is that Peña is still young enough to harness his stuff at some point and still have a long and productive MLB career.
Peña will report to Spring Training no later than February 12th. He’ll train as a starting pitcher and throw as one once being sent back over to the minor league side. And while Spring Training numbers can’t always (and never should) be relied on to paint the picture of the upcoming regular season, once the lights go on Peña is going to a player to watch. Was he a “throw in” in the Zack Greinke deal as one evaluator stated? Or is he going to contribute as a starting pitcher one day at the big league level? Time will tell. The true test starts in April.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
The Milwaukee Brewers today acquired infielder Jean Segura and right-handed pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena
from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. All three players will be added to the 40-man roster
and assigned to Double-A Huntsville. To make room on the 40-man roster for these additions, the team designated infielder Edwin Maysonet and
outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard for assignment. The announcement was made by Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin.
“We greatly appreciate Zack’s contibutions to the Brewers,” said Melvin. He will be greatly missed on the field and in the clubhouse. We
wish him nothing but the very best. We are also very excited about acquiring three good young players who are already on the 40-man roster. We
look forward to them joining organization and their future contributions to the Brewers.”
Segura, 22, entered the season as the Angels’ second-best prospect according to Baseball America. He began the 2012 season at
Double-A Arkansas, where he batted .294 with 7 HR, 40 RBI and 33 stolen bases in 94 games before earning a promotion to the Angels earlier this
week. Segura, who particpated in the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City and was a Texas League All-Star, made his Major League debut on
Tuesday vs. Kansas City, starting at shortstop. His first name is pronounced JEAN (like blue “jean”).
Hellweg, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 21
starts with Arkansas this season.
Pena, 23, entered the season as the Angels’ ninth-best prospect according to Baseball America. He went 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 19 starts at
Arkansas this season. He also participated in the All-Star Futures Game. Pena held Texas League opponents to a .222 batting average this season
and recorded 111 strikeouts in 114.1 innings.
Sometimes, it’s just fine when things go the other way.
According to multiple reports (but first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosental and Jon Morosi), the Milwaukee Brewers have traded starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a package of prospects centering around young shortstop Jean Segura. The deal also includes a pair of Double-A level pitchers coming to the Brewers organization.
Segura is a fine centerpiece for a deal for Greinke and it’ll be interesting to see exactly who else is coming along for the ride. Jean Carlos Enrique Segura is a 22-year-old shortstop from San Juan, Dominican Republic. He bats right-handed and stands 5’10″, weighing 165 pounds.
Segura is highly-touted, played in the MLB Futures Game during All-Star Weekend this year and made his Major League debut just four days ago on July 24th.
To begin his career in the Brewers’ system, he (and the two pitchers) have been assigned to the Double-A affiliate Huntsville Stars.
His career minor league slash line over parts of six seasons is .310/.364/.438 along with 26 HR and 135 SB. He is still maturing physically and has been said to have 20 HR potential down the line.
The final report from Texas’ beat writer TR Sullivan is that the Brewers asked for 3B prospect Mike Olt as the centerpiece of a deal but Texas balked at the idea.
Likely what happened was that the larger idea became too complicated with Milwaukee definitely not wanting to move Corey Hart at this time and the Rangers becoming unsure of Profar’s readiness. So, the talks pared down into a smaller framework but the two sides still couldn’t match up in the end.
We’re still waiting word on the identities of the pitchers coming to Milwaukee, and this space will be updated with their information when we learn it.
For now though, thanks to Zack Greinke for the memories of a spectacular 2011 and always being able to count on his performance at Miller Park.
UPDATE (7:23 pm): The minor league pitchers included in the deal to Milwaukee are Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg.
Gathering information on them now and will update again in a short bit.
UPDATE (7:32 pm): While gathering info on the pitchers, the news broke on Twitter that the necessary 40-man roster moves to accommodate these acquisitions are that OF Brock Kjeldgaard and SS Edwin Maysonet have been Designated For Assignment.