Results tagged ‘ Mike Fiers ’

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’15 – #50 Mike Fiers

BBtJN Logo

Round numbers are to baseball… wait… I already used that one. Hmm…

Hey everybody! Welcome back to “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, my annual time-passing countdown to Brewers Opening Day by way of profiling players who wear a uniform with a number that matches how many days it is until said Opening Day.

I used that one too…

No matter. We ride! Let’s get the party started as we sit half a Franklin away from April 6. Let’s talk…

Mike Fiers.

 

FiersBBtJN

That a 6’2″, 190 lb right-handed pitcher from Hollywood, Florida via Deerfield Beach High School, Nova Southeastern University, and the 22nd round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft would make the majors is a longshot. That he’s excelled at the highest level of competitive baseball despite being undervalued by many, overlooked by most, and dismissed by all but a few is remarkable. But that’s not necessarily the way Michael Bruce Fiers would tell it.

Oh, he’s overcome an incredible set of odds just to etch his name into the big scorebook at all if nothing else was a problem, but Fiers has a well-documented story of getting past injury, personal tragedy, and a pitching profile that caused so many prospect evaluators to not bother profiling Fiers at all. I won’t get into it all here, but if you search “Mike Fiers BBtJN” over in the search bar on the right, you’ll find some of it that you might not have known.

But just looking at his skills as a pitcher, Fiers had a questionable ceiling to say the least in the eyes of most scouts. His fastball sat upper 80s (89.5 average velocity in 2014 according to FanGraphs.com) to low 90s and none of his other offerings were really considered to be “plus”. He brings a curve, changeup and cutter now which have helped him have staying power, but the phrase “working off of his fastball” holds very true for Fiers.

It’s his pinpoint control and command that is most noticeable when Fiers is on his game. I believe it was Greg Maddux who once said that he learned by taking some MPH off of his fastball, he could put it wherever he wanted whenever he wanted to, including getting more movement on it. Now, Mike Fiers is no Greg Maddux but the philosophy can be applied to others. Fiers hits the corners and throws all of his off-speed pitches for strikes. That combination allows him to elevate his fast ball out of the zone and get a plethora of swings and misses as guys are expecting the fastball to catch the zone or perhaps that Fiers is spinning a change up or a curve ball that’ll drop into the zone if they don’t swing.

But these are big league hitters, you say. Why don’t they just recognize the pitch better, you ask. Well, that’s where the deception in Fiers’ delivery comes in extremely handy. He hides the ball incredibly well and hitters don’t get much of a look at it late in his motion. Every fraction of a second later adds up to big losses in reaction time for a hitter, yes even big league ones.

Every year is the same song for Fiers though. He pitched well in the minors on his way to being on the radar at Triple-A (his 2011 season was fantastic, incidentally) but he had a rougher go in 2012 and 2013 in the minors. Some of that was injuries, some of that was no doubt mental as his priorities were rightfully off the field at times.

While 2012 may have been the coming out party for Fiers, it was 2014 that really showed what a physically and mentally healthy Mike Fiers is capable of. He stymied hitters over and over. His minor league season (17 starts) completed with a 2.56 ERA in 102.0 innings pitched. He tallied 129 strikeouts and led minor league baseball in strikeouts for a few weeks after getting the call back to The Show. He didn’t miss a beat once back in Milwaukee. In 14 games (10 starts), Fiers would pitch to a 2.13 ERA in 71.2 innings, with 76 strikeouts. One of his most fun to watch and most dominant starts of 2014 came on August 14 against the Chicago Cubs. Fiers would strike out 14 baby bears that day in just 6.0 scoreless innings.

At the far other end of the spectrum was Fiers’ game on September 11 in Milwaukee. In a wildly uncharacteristic moment, Fiers lost a fastball that would hit Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton in the face. Fiers was visibly shaken and only finished the inning after an ugly brawl broke out due to some miscommunication following a pitch to replacement hitter Reed Johnson. The details needn’t be relisted here, but if you want to read about it because you somehow missed it, there are plenty of accounts of it. I even archived Fiers’ entire postgame availability on my Instagram account (@brewer_nation).

Afterward, there was a lot of talk about whether Fiers would even make his next start, let alone how he would pitch in it. Showing the kind of mental fortitude he’d built up over the years, Fiers would not only make the rest of his starts last season, but he’d pitch pretty doggone well (18.0 IP, 6 ER, 13 K, 4 BB), especially factoring in the circumstances. But Fiers was truly at his best in August, during a stretch of time when both Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza were on the shelf with injuries. The team desperately needed someone to rise to the occasion, and Fiers answered the bell.

In the oldest sense of the word, Fiers has proven to be a bulldog for the Brewers. He wants the ball, he takes the ball, and he baffles hitters with good old fashioned swing-and-miss stuff. He doesn’t blow it by you with speed, but it still gets past you consistently. That’s a true artist.

Fiers finally enters a season with a job waiting for him in a big league rotation. In fact, he’s the #4 as things stand today, meaning that even if Yovani Gallardo hadn’t been traded, Fiers still would have had a job. He’s proven capable. He’s proven dependable. Now he has a chance to prove consistency over an entire Major League season, one where teams see him multiple times and there will be no more excuses for the doubters to look to.

As a 29-year-old, it’s time for Fiers to show it all off from the jump. It could truly be an incredible season if it all comes together.

Follow Mike Fiers on Twitter: @Fiers64

Catch up on the countdown!

Brewers On Deck 2015 – Attendees List, Pricing, Additional Details

image

BREWERS ON DECK TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI
Event to Feature Community Book Drive; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

OFFICIAL RELEASE

Nearly 50 Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

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.  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.

This year the event will feature a community book drive that will help support Next Door’s Books for Kids program. The goal of the Books for Kids campaign is to help all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of their family income or education levels, have books they can call their own. Local author Marla McKenna will help host the event. Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used children’s books to donate. In appreciation for their contribution, fans who donate a book will receive a free copy of McKenna’s newest publication, “Mom’s Big Catch,” a story based upon events that took place at Miller Park.

Once again food donations will be accepted through Hunger Task.  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.

Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

PLAYERS

  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Juan Centeno
  • Matt Clark
  • Clint Coulter
  • Khris Davis
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • David Goforth
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Hector Gomez
  • Brooks Hall
  • Jim Henderson
  • Jeremy Jeffress
  • Taylor Jungmann
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Corey Knebel (just added)
  • Adam Lind
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Gerardo Parra
  • Wily Peralta
  • Shane Peterson
  • Jason Rogers
  • Luis Sardiñas (just added)
  • Logan Schafer
  • Will Smith
  • Michael Strong
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

COACHES

  • Darnell Coles (Hitting Coach)
  • Joe Crawford (Video/Scouting)
  • Matt Erickson (Timber Rattlers Mgr.)
  • Mike Guerrero (1st Base Coach)
  • Marcus Hanel (Bullpen Catcher)
  • Rick Kranitz (Pitching Coach)
  • Jerry Narron (Bench Coach)
  • Ron Roenicke (Manager)
  • Ed Sedar (3rd Base Coach)
  • John Shelby (Outfield Coach)
  • Lee Tunnell (Bullpen Coach)

ALUMNI

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Cecil Cooper
  • Craig Counsell
  • Rob Deer
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle

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 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.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) 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 District.  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 $10 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 next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  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.

A detailed schedule of all Brewers On Deck events will be released next week.

***UPDATE! Here is the schedule…***

Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy 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 $10 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

Bob Uecker                           12:30 – 1:15         5

Ryan Braun                          1:00 – 1:45           6

Jonathan Lucroy                 2:30 – 3:15           3

Carlos Gomez                      3:00 – 3:45           1

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 – MAIN STAGES

Stage 1                                                                                               

10:30 – 11:15      Scooter Gennett ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Logan Schafer ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Mike Fiers ($10)

3:00 – 3:45           Carlos Gomez ($10)

 

Stage 2                                                                                                

12:30 – 1:15         Jim Henderson ($10)

2:00 – 2:45           Gerardo Parra ($10)

3:30 – 4:15           Will Smith ($10)

 

Stage 3                                                                                            

11:30 – 12:15      Adam Lind ($10)

2:30 – 3:15           Jonathan Lucroy ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Wily Peralta ($10)

 

Stage 4                                                                                                 

10:30 – 11:15     Brandon Kintzler ($10)

12:00 – 12:45      Rob Wooten ($10)

1:30 – 2:15           Khris Davis  ($10)

 

Stage 5

11:00 – 11:45 Jimmy Nelson ($10)

12:30 – 1:15   Bob Uecker  ($10)/Mark Attanasio ($0)

3:30 – 4:15   Jeremy Jeffress ($10)

 

Stage 6

11:30 – 12:15      Tyler Thornburg ($10)

1:00 – 1:45           Ryan Braun ($10)

3:45 – 4:30           Kyle Lohse ($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.

The 620 WTMJ Stage will broadcast live from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will include interviews with Brewers players and coaches.

New this year, fans are invited to stop by the Social Media Stage for fun and games. Fans can also 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.  Kids can run around the field or try a quick game of ping pong with Brewers players.

Klement’s Main Stage Schedule

10:15 a.m. – Welcome – Brewers television broadcaster Craig Coshun will welcome fans to Brewers On Deck. The winners of the seven T-Shirt Friday designs will be introduced to fans.

11:15 a.m. – Meet the Coaches – Third base coach Ed Sedar will host a Q&A session with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff.

12:30 p.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.  Joe Block will host the show.

2:00 p.m. – Meet the Management and Newest Players – Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio, President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin, Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash will join the newest Brewers acquisitions – Corey Knebel, Adam Lind and Luis Sardinas – in a question and answer session with Brewers fans. The session will be hosted by Brian Anderson.

3:15 p.m. – Call to the Pen – Brewers players, coaches, prospects and alumni will participate in a game show, similar to Pictionary.  Joe Block will host the show.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

BBtJN Logo

My annual countdown to Opening Day will return for another season!

There has been some decent 40-man roster turnover since Spring Training. I mark the passage of time from (roughly) the turn of the calendar until Brewers Opening Day by previewing players who wear a certain uniform number on the corresponding day.

We’re 98 days away from Opening Day, so we won’t get underway on this thing quite yet, but once the countdown coincides with a jersey, you’ll see the first column go up.

I call the series “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” and it works a little something like this:

  • Opening Day is April 6, 2015.
  • March 29th is eight days before April 6th.
  • Ryan Braun wears number 8 on his jersey.
  • I’ll write an article reviewing Ryan Braun’s 2014 and looking ahead to his 2015 and post it on March 29, 2015.

Make sense? Here’s another example:

  • Jonathan Broxton wears number 51.
  • 51 days before April 6th is February 14th.
  • I’ll post my Broxton column on February 14th.

I do a column on every player who is on the Brewers 40-man roster along with most Spring Training non-roster invitees. I’ll update this space with a full schedule once the uniform numbers for the newest 40-man additions are announced. I’ll update it again as non-roster invitees are revealed.

Thanks for reading and sticking with me this winter. BBtJN is a very popular series and I thank you for that. Stay tuned!

Roster News: Brewers DL Thornburg, Understandably Recall Fiers

MikeFiers20130525

Following Saturday’s game, the Brewers announced that they had place right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg on the 15-day Disabled List. The official cause for the designation was termed as “elbow soreness”. Before the game, manager Ron Roenicke said that it was something that had been there for a little while. That would explain both Thornburg’s limited use lately and lack of effectiveness with Friday’s game as the most glaring example.

In his place, the Brewers have recalled right-hander Mike Fiers. Fiers dazzled for much of 2012 both as a starting pitcher and a reliever before a late season swoon chalked up mostly to workload concerns. 2013 got off to a rough start as Fiers dealt with off-field distractions and was eventually lost almost entirely to injury.

This season has been phenomenal for Fiers at Triple-A Nashville. His season line for the Sounds reads as such:

6-3, 2.53 ERA, 67.2 IP, 11 GS, 54 H, 21 R (19 ER), 5 HR, 9 BB, 92 K, 0.931 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 10.22 K/B

I have to point out a couple of things again for you.

  • A league-leading 92 strikeouts (ninety-two)
  • A 12.2 K/9 ratio
  • A 10.22 K/B ratio because he’s walked nine (9) in 67.2 innings pitched

I know it’s the Pacific Coast League and not the National League, but these are the kinds of encouraging numbers that belie that Fiers’ command and control are with him this season.

Welcome back to The Show, Mike!

2014 Opening Day Affiliates Rosters

Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!

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

Nashville Sounds

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (9)

Outfielders (3)

Huntsville Stars

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)

Manager: Carlos Subero

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (7)

Outfielders (4)

  • Kentrail Davis
  • Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
  • Brock Kjeldgaard
  • D’Vontrey Richardson

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

26 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (8)

Outfielders (3)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

27 Total Players

Pitchers (13)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

*Player/Coach

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #64 Mike Fiers

BBtJN Logo

It’s January 26th. We are 64 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park on March 31st.

The man who wears #64 on his back gets his profile today. He is the first player on the countdown who is a member of the 40-man roster. He’s been a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher and when his command is on, he’s very good at either job. He is…

Mike Fiers.

MikeFiers20130525

To describe the year that Mike Fiers had in 2013 takes more than just a simple look at his final numbers. The numbers were bad but his fortunes were worse.

Fiers was coming off of a 2012 season in which he burst onto the scene for 22 starts and a 3.74 ERA. It was a season that saw him post a 1.261 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched. Those and other numbers were there despite a late season swoon which many people hoped was simply as a result of fatigue.

Unfortunately, Fiers began his season with a rough start. Lasting just 5.0 innings and allowing six earned runs on nine hits (including two home runs) and one walk, it set the stage for a hard upcoming year.

The control-reliant righty would make just three starts at the big league level in 2013 to go along with eight relief appearances. They were spread out though. Fiers pitched in three games in April and then was demoted to Class-AAA Nashville on April 18th. He was then reassigned from Nashville to Class-A Advanced Brevard County which led to a lot of speculation as to his future with the ballclub.

As it turned out, Fiers requested the move to Brevard because it’s in Florida and far closer to his sick mother than Nashville was. And that’s where the most real bad fortune of Fiers’ season was centralized. I’ll refer you to this article by Adam McCalvy if you want to read more.

But, Fiers still had a job to do. And when Tom Gorzelanny hit the disabled list in May, Fiers was recalled. He would make the rest of his MLB appearances for the year before being sent back to Nashville on June 3rd.

In June, specifically on June 15th, Fiers would break his forearm when he took a line drive off of it during a game. He was scheduled to miss significant time. Some birthday present.

Perhaps though, in some way, the injury was a blessing in disguise. Fiers was able to rehab near home and as a result was able to be with his mother when she passed away in August.

Fiers dealt with more adversity on a personal and professional level in five months than most players deal with in a career. Still, he remains on the 40-man roster of the Brewers as he’s certainly demonstrated the ability to contribute at the big league level. He’ll be in camp with just as much chance to make the roster as anyone else.

In a world where too many athletes get their story of overcoming adversity written, when and if Fiers returns to the big leagues it will certainly be a much more appropriate use of the phrasing.

You can follow Mike Fiers on Twitter: @Fiers64

Brewers On Deck to Feature Over 50 Players, Alumni, Coaches, Broadcasters

BREWERS ON DECK, PRESENTED BY TIME WARNER CABLE, TO INCLUDE OVER 50 PLAYERS, COACHES, BROADCASTERS & ALUMNI

Free Admission to All Fans in 2014; Food Donations Accepted through Hunger Task Force

Nearly thirty Milwaukee Brewers players plus a host of alumni, coaches, front office executives and broadcasters are scheduled to participate in Brewers On Deck, presented by Time Warner Cable, which is set to take place on Sunday, January 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Wisconsin Center.

Admission to this year’s Brewers On Deck is free of charge.  Tickets are not required for the event.  Food donations will be accepted through the Hunger Task Force (peanut butter is requested by the Hunger Task Force, in particular).  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.  Players, coaches and alumni scheduled to attend include (all subject to change):

Players (28)

  • Jeff Bianchi
  • Michael Blazek
  • Ryan Braun
  • Hiram Burgos
  • Khris Davis
  • Marco Estrada
  • Mike Fiers
  • Yovani Gallardo
  • Scooter Gennett
  • Caleb Gindl
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • Brooks Hall
  • Sean Halton
  • Donovan Hand
  • Johnny Hellweg
  • Jim Henderson
  • Elian Herrera
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Kyle Lohse
  • Jonathan Lucroy
  • Hunter Morris
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Jason Rogers
  • Logan Schafer
  • Jean Segura
  • Kevin Shackelford
  • Will Smith
  • Tyler Thornburg
  • Rob Wooten

Alumni (7)

  • Craig Counsell
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Gantner
  • Larry Hisle
  • Geoff Jenkins
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Robin Yount

Coaches (10)

  • Ron Roenicke
  • Joe Crawford
  • Mike Guerrero
  • Marcus Hanel
  • Garth Iorg
  • Rick Kranitz
  • Johnny Narron
  • Ed Sedar
  • John Shelby
  • Lee Tunnell

Broadcasters (3)

  • Jerry Augustine
  • Dave Nelson
  • Bob Uecker

— 

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 game shows with Brewers players, coaches and broadcasters; vendor booths with baseball memorabilia; Brewers Community Foundation’s Treasure Hunt and many other activities will all be a part of Brewers On Deck.

Details regarding autographs include the following:  Recipients of “PREMIER” autographs (players to be announced next week) 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 District.  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 $10 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 next week.  The autograph opportunities are for signatures on photo cards provided by the team; the Brewers cannot guarantee that any player will sign other memorabilia.  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.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter to win autographs from their favorite players via a #BrewersOnDeck Vine & Instagram contest, which runs through Monday, January 20. The details can be found here: http://brewers.mlblogs.com/2014/01/07/win-an-autograph-from-your-favorite-brewers-player-at-brewers-on-deck/

Something To Look Forward To: September Call-ups

image

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.

You’ve Seen the Moves, So What Do They Mean?

So you’ve seen the moves (as listed here) but what do they all mean for the individual players involved?

First the easy one.

Alex Gonzalez will be unconditionally released through the waiver system. He wasn’t getting the job done at the plate and his defense didn’t continue to progress the way that the team had hoped back in Spring Training. He does have one W to his credit this season though. His two-run double against A.J. Burnett in the game the Brewers won 2-1 back on May 24th.

Second up is Mike Fiers. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. What does that mean? He’ll start for the Sounds as he looks to regain his confidence which manager Ron Roenicke said was noticably absent from his recent outings. Despite having more success as a relief pitcher this year, he has experience starting successfully so the Brewers will certainly give him an opportunity to contribute in a place where they lack ready depth.

Moving into that spot in the rotation will be Alfredo Figaro. Figaro was a starter in Japan for the last two seasons along with much of his minor league career. Figaro had a spot start last week against the Minnesota Twins.

Now for the moves that resulted in new pieces on the big league roster.

juanfranciscotrot

Third baseman Juan Francisco, 25, is a 6’2″, 240 lb Dominican who was acquired via trade following his having been designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves. Once being touted as having the potential to be their “Pablo Sandoval”, Francisco didn’t hit for much average in Atlanta and was the expendable piece when the Braves needed an extra arm called up for the bullpen.

Hopefully the Braves’ discard is the Brewers’ treasure. Doug Melvin told the media that the plan is to start Francisco at first base, something that he, while not having much experience doing it, is willing to do. After all, Brewers’ 1B this season have combined to slash .193/.229/.288 so far. That’s putrid. Francisco posted a .241/.287/.398 slash line himself. He is a left-handed bat though and will help balance out the lineup to a degree when he plays.

ScooterFutures

And finally, the clamoring has been answered as Doug Melvin recalled second baseman Ryan “Scooter” Gennett from the minor leagues. Scooter’s addition accomplishes two things right away. It finally gives the Brewers a full bench of hitters but also allows for a soft platoon at the keystone with the incumbent and favored lightning rod Rickie Weeks.

Gennett bats left-handed and again offers some lineup balance on days he starts. More over, it allows Roenicke to pick and choose his match ups for Weeks even more finely and really get the veteran in there on days which he should benefit in an effort to continue to build upon his mild resurgence over the past week plus.

So there you have it. Weeks and Gennett will somewhat platoon at second for the time being. It won’t be a strict Gennett vs RHP and Weeks vs LHP all the time. Francisco will start a lot at first base with Yuniesky Betancourt as his soft platoon partner and primary back up. Jeff Bianchi become the primary back up for shortstop and some combination of he, Betancourt and Francisco will back up Ramirez at third. And Figaro takes over in the rotation for the demoted Fiers.

Multiple Roster Transactions

Send Minor League Pitcher Thomas Keeling to the Braves

—– Infielder Alex Gonzalez Released; Infielder Scooter Gennett Recalled; Pitcher Mike Fiers Optioned —– 

The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired third baseman Juan Francisco from Atlanta for left-handed minor-league pitcher Thomas Keeling.  The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

Francisco, 25, is a career .254 hitter with 19 HR and 77 RBI in 209 games with Cincinnati (2009-11) and Atlanta (2012-13).  He batted .241 (26-for-108) with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 35 games this season with the Braves, making 31 starts (29g at 3B, 2g at DH).  He was designated for assignment on May 30.  Francisco will wear uniform #21 and is expected to report to the team tomorrow.

Keeling, 25, was selected by Milwaukee in the 18th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.  He was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 1 save in 17 relief appearances at Double-A Huntsville this season.

In other transactions, the team has asked for waivers for the purpose of the unconditional release on infielder Alex Gonzalez, who batted .177 (20-for-113) with 1 HR and 8 RBI in 41 games this season with the Brewers, making 27 starts (16g at 1B, 9g at 3B, 2g at SS).  In addition, second baseman Scooter Gennett has been recalled from Triple-A Nashville (50g, .297, 1hr, 13rbi, 8sb).  He will make his Major League debut and wear uniform #2.  To make room for Gennett on the 25-man roster, right-handed pitcher Mike Fiers was optioned to Nashville.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27,867 other followers