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Hiura staying hot, getting reps at 2nd in AFL

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Keston Hiura's ability to hit has never been questioned.

The Brewers' top prospect (No. 30 overall), owner of a 70-grade hit tool, led NCAA Division I hitters with a .442 average as a junior at the University of California, Irvine, before the Brewers selected him ninth overall in the 2017 Draft. In his pro debut, Hiura hit .371, and in 2018, his first full season, he reached Double-A Biloxi and hit .293.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Keston Hiura's ability to hit has never been questioned.

The Brewers' top prospect (No. 30 overall), owner of a 70-grade hit tool, led NCAA Division I hitters with a .442 average as a junior at the University of California, Irvine, before the Brewers selected him ninth overall in the 2017 Draft. In his pro debut, Hiura hit .371, and in 2018, his first full season, he reached Double-A Biloxi and hit .293.

With that kind of track record, it's no surprise that Hiura is raking in the Arizona Fall League -- hitting .326 and leading all players with 19 RBIs through 11 games. However, the opportunity to get extra at-bats, while always an added bonus, was not why he was sent to Arizona.

Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams

"I like going up there and seeing a bunch of great arms and challenging myself at the plate," Hiura said. "But a big reason for me being here is to get more reps on the defensive side and work hard in that aspect."

Hiura is an average defender and has decent footwork at second base, but he hasn't played a lot of defense in his brief professional career.

A right elbow injury caused Hiura to begin his career as a designated hitter. After completing a throwing program in 2017, Hiura appeared in three games at second in 2017 and then played the position 79 times this season.

The 22-year-old began the year with two goals, to stay healthy and to get as many defensive reps as possible.

He accomplished the first goal and is constantly working on the second, having played eight of his nine AFL games at second base, in addition to taking extra grounders during batting practice.

"Throughout the year I was able to get a good amount of reps at second base," Hiura said. "Obviously the more you take live ground balls off the bat, the more comfortable you feel out there. Being able to throw from different lengths and arm angles definitely helps when it comes to my future."

Video: Hiura on earning Fall League Player of the Week award

Brewers pitchers in Fall League

Daniel Brown, LHP -- The 23-year-old reliever spent the entire season with Class A Advanced Carolina, where he went 7-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 39 games. Brown, a seventh-round pick (2016) racked up 61 strikeouts and issued 34 walks in 64 1/3 innings.

Bubba Derby, RHP -- Derby, whom the Brewers acquired from Oakland in February 2016, reached Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2017 and then spent the entire 2018 season with the Sky Sox as well. The former sixth-round pick (2016) posted a 4.49 ERA through 118 1/3 innings and saw time as both a starter and a reliever -- making 16 starts and 15 appearances out of the bullpen. Derby fared well in Triple-A in 2017 but struggled with control this season as he walked 50 batters. He also gave up 127 hits and allowed opponents to hit .279.

Jon Olczak, RHP -- The 24-year-old put together the best full season of his professional career, pitching for Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. Olczak, a reliever, went 10-3 with a 1.39 ERA and converted six of seven save opportunities across 44 appearances (58 1/3 innings pitched). The right-hander also walked 19 and struck out 63.

Miguel Sanchez, RHP -- Sanchez pitched across a trio of levels and went 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 34 relief appearances. The right-hander spent most of the year (23 appearances) with Double-A Biloxi, where opponents hit just .213 off him. However, Sanchez has just as much success at his other stops too. Overall, Sanchez had a .201 opponents' batting average and piled up 95 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

Brewers hitters in Fall League

Trent Grisham, OF (No. 19) -- Grisham's overall slash line of .233/.356/.337 won't jump off the page, but his reduced strikeout totals certainly do. After fanning 141 times in 133 games last season, Grisham struck out 87 times in 107 games in 2018, and he did so while playing at the Double-A level for the first time. The former first-round pick (2015) played all three outfield positions, but likely fits best in center.

Mario Feliciano, C (No. 23) -- The 19-year-old was sent to the Fall League to make up for lost time as he played in 46 games this season as he battled injuries. Feliciano showed offensive potential in 2017, his first full season, hitting .251/.320/.331 with four homers. However, Feliciano struggled at the plate this season, hitting .205/.282/.329 through 42 games with Class A Advanced Carolina before being sent to the rookie-level Arizona League.

Weston Wilson, 1B -- Wilson is the definition of versatile. The 24-year-old has played seven positions (he hasn't pitched or caught) in his Minor League career and played six (didn't play center field) in 2018 alone. Since he was selected in the 17th-round of the 2016 Draft, Wilson has spent the bulk of his career at either first or third base. In addition to playing all over the diamond, Wilson also had his best offensive season to date. The 24-year-old hit .270/.326/.434 and hit a career-high 14 homers in 117 games. Wilson spent most of the season with Class A Advanced Carolina but was promoted to Double-A Biloxi late in the year.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Milwaukee Brewers

Hiura belts 3rd AFL HR in comeback victory

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Keston Hiura, the Brewers' No. 1 prospect, again showed why he's one of the best hitters in the Arizona Fall League this year, as he led Peoria to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Mesa on Thursday at Peoria Sports Complex.

Hiura went 2-for-4, with his biggest hit coming in the seventh inning. MLB's No. 30 overall prospect belted a two-run home run, his third homer of the Fall League season, to tie the game at 3.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Keston Hiura, the Brewers' No. 1 prospect, again showed why he's one of the best hitters in the Arizona Fall League this year, as he led Peoria to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Mesa on Thursday at Peoria Sports Complex.

Hiura went 2-for-4, with his biggest hit coming in the seventh inning. MLB's No. 30 overall prospect belted a two-run home run, his third homer of the Fall League season, to tie the game at 3.

Hiura leads the AFL with 19 RBIs, and he is batting .326 through 12 games. The Milwaukee second baseman attributes his consistency to staying relaxed and having fun.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

"Just knowing my body, staying within myself, not trying to do too much," Hiura said. "Going out on the field having fun every day with a bunch of great players."

Coming off his second season of pro baseball, the Brewers' 2017 first-round pick has lived up to his billing as one of the top hitters from his Draft class.

"It's the same game you've played since you were a little kid," Hiura said. "Regardless of if there's 10 fans or thousands of fans, it's the same game."

After hitting four home runs in 42 games in his first season in the Minors, Hiura hit 13 homers in 123 games in the 2018 Minor League campaign. As for his recent power surge in the Fall League, Hiura says it is less mechanical and more mental.

"I haven't messed with my swing since probably high school," Hiura said. "Eliminate the pitches they're trying to get me to chase at and be able to put the barrel on the ball."

Although Hiura is having success in the AFL, he knows there are ways he can still improve.

Video: Hiura on earning Fall League Player of the Week award

"A big reason I'm out here this fall is to get more work at second base," Hiura said. "Get more live reads off the bat and be able to move around the infield."

Hiura was the Arizona Fall League Player of the Week last week, and he's now having another great week for Peoria.

Andre Simms is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Milwaukee Brewers

Pipeline names Crew's Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- It was a case of mutual admiration when the Brewers' MLB Pipeline hitting and pitching prospects of the year reunited in the dugout at Miller Park at the end of September.

Corey Ray and Zack Brown spent a lot of time together in dugouts in 2018. They were teammates at Double-A Biloxi.

MILWAUKEE -- It was a case of mutual admiration when the Brewers' MLB Pipeline hitting and pitching prospects of the year reunited in the dugout at Miller Park at the end of September.

Corey Ray and Zack Brown spent a lot of time together in dugouts in 2018. They were teammates at Double-A Biloxi.

"We would score, and I would come in the dugout and say, 'How many more do you need?'" said Ray, the former first-round Draft pick who batted leadoff for Biloxi. "A lot of times, he would look at the scoreboard and say, 'That's good.'"

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Many times, those runs would come in the first inning thanks to Ray, the first player in Southern League history to lead the way in both homers and stolen bases. He was named league MVP, and Brown was the circuit's pitcher of the year after leading the league and the Brewers organization with a 2.44 ERA.

Each team's hitting and pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

"It was awesome to start a game with Corey in the box," said Brown. "However many leadoff home runs he hit -- you knew he was going to put the bat on the ball early in the game. Hopefully, before I ever touched the mound, I had a run or two."

Video: Top Prospects: Corey Ray, OF, Brewers

It was the sort of season Ray was looking for after a relatively disappointing 2017. Milwaukee made him the fifth overall pick in the '16 Draft, and Ray posted a .679 OPS at Class A Advanced Carolina in his first full professional season.

This year, after moving up to Double-A, his OPS was .801. Ray hit 27 homers, 32 doubles and seven triples while stealing 37 bases.

"For me, mentally, just for some of the hard work to have paid off in a small way is very encouraging," Ray said. "You work so hard, and you know that one day it will pay off. Just to be moving in the right direction allows me to continue to work hard -- and maybe even work harder."

Video: Ray, Brown named Brewers' Minor League POY

Brown, a fifth-round pick in the same Draft that brought Ray to the Brewers, won the honor despite missing a month with a sprained ankle. The Shuckers were 20-2 when he pitched.

"It took a hit on me mentally, but I think in Arizona I was just trying to stay on track," Brown said. "It was four weeks between outings in Biloxi, and to come back and have a good outing and get back with the guys -- that was huge for me."

The duo were together in Milwaukee to be honored on the field during the final homestand of the regular season after being named organizational Minor League player and pitcher of the year by the Brewers. For Brown, that meant following in some big footsteps; the previous two winners of the award, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, were the first two pitchers sent to the mound by the Brewers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Rockies.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

San Antonio becomes Brewers' Triple-A affiliate

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have a new Triple-A home in San Antonio.

The Missions, who are moving up a level to the Pacific Coast League for 2019 after more than a century in the Double-A Texas League, entered into a two-year player development contract with the Brewers on Tuesday, marking another move for Milwaukee's top Minor League affiliate.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have a new Triple-A home in San Antonio.

The Missions, who are moving up a level to the Pacific Coast League for 2019 after more than a century in the Double-A Texas League, entered into a two-year player development contract with the Brewers on Tuesday, marking another move for Milwaukee's top Minor League affiliate.

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The Brewers spent the past four years in Colorado Springs, but owners of that club -- the Elmore Sports Group -- are relocating the franchise to San Antonio. Before Tuesday's announcement, the possibilities were down to Fresno or San Antonio.

"We had a chance to go down there last week and view the facility, see what changes and renovations they are going to make to the facility, and we were impressed," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "A great market for our highest affiliate. We think it's a great final stop before our players come to Milwaukee."

Tweet from @missionsmilb: Missions Announce two year PDC with the @Brewers in @TripleABaseball #ThisIsMyCrew https://t.co/bXcsqrz1g0 pic.twitter.com/zA6ORaepsP

Just like in Nashville, Tenn. -- Milwaukee's Triple-A home from 2005-14 -- the Brewers will find themselves in the middle of a stadium debate. Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium opened in 1994, eight miles outside of downtown, and plans for a new downtown ballpark have not materialized. Stearns said he viewed that as a "longer-term project" for the Elmore Group and that the Brewers were focused on improving the current facility.

Missions president Burl Yarbrough said the team plans to upgrade the clubhouse and batting cages for the move up to Triple-A. Those projects are expected to be ready for next season, Stearns said, and while they will be paid for by the affiliate, the Brewers had input.

The current playing surface, however, "is outstanding," Stearns said, and having a Triple-A team in the Central Time Zone near a major airport will represent an improvement in terms of getting players to the big leagues in times of need.

"We are very excited to be working with the Milwaukee Brewers," Yarbrough said in a statement. "With our promotion to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, they will be terrific partners as we begin a new era of Missions baseball in 2019. The Brewers were in town last week to see our facility and discuss our renovation plans for the clubhouse and batting cages.

"After meeting with them and seeing their excitement for San Antonio, we feel the Brewers were the best fit for us. The Brewers have one of the top farm systems in baseball, and we look forward to helping them put many more players into Major League Baseball."

The teams have history. The Missions were Milwaukee's Double-A affiliate in 1972.

The Brewers already have PDCs with Double-A Biloxi and Class A Wisconsin, and they own the Class A Advanced Carolina affiliate. Rookie-level Helena is also owned by the Elmore Sports Group, and it is moving to Colorado Springs for 2019 and will remain affiliated with the Brewers, according to Stearns. Travel will be trying in the Pioneer League, but the facility will be first class for rookie ball.

"Player development is very important for us, and all of this goes into the big pie that is player development," Stearns said. "It starts with good, talented players and quality athletes. You add on top of that quality instructors and then you add on to that quality facilities, and the goal is to put together a solid and comprehensive player development apparatus. Really, top to bottom right now, we're pretty pleased with our affiliate structure."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

Biloxi sweeps 2018 Southern League awards

Brewers ready for roster expansion this weekend in Washington
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- It was a clean sweep of the Southern League's major awards for the Brewers' Double-A Biloxi affiliate.

Former first-round Draft pick Corey Ray was named the league's Most Valuable Player, right-hander Zack Brown was named the league's most outstanding pitcher and Mike Guerrero was named manager of the year on Wednesday. Ray is MLB Pipeline's No. 2 Brewers prospect, and Brown is No. 8.

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CINCINNATI -- It was a clean sweep of the Southern League's major awards for the Brewers' Double-A Biloxi affiliate.

Former first-round Draft pick Corey Ray was named the league's Most Valuable Player, right-hander Zack Brown was named the league's most outstanding pitcher and Mike Guerrero was named manager of the year on Wednesday. Ray is MLB Pipeline's No. 2 Brewers prospect, and Brown is No. 8.

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• Brewers' Top 30 prospects

"Sweeping the awards is a great honor that extends not only to the three individuals, but to the whole Biloxi team and coaching staff," said Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan, who was en route back to Milwaukee on Wednesday after a few days with the Biloxi club. "Corey and Zack had fantastic years, to be sure. But they would be the first to heap praise on their teammates and the staff for helping them to earn their awards."

It's not unprecedented; the Jackson Generals swept the same trio of awards two years ago. But it does bode well for Ray, the Brewers organization's first Southern League MVP since Hunter Morris in 2012, and Brown, the organization's first Southern League pitcher of the year since Jorge Lopez in 2015.

Entering Wednesday, Ray, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 Draft, leads the Southern League with 27 home runs, 32 doubles, 35 stolen bases and was second with 73 RBIs and 83 runs scored. His .807 OPS is 128 points higher than last season and Class A Advanced Carolina, when Ray was coming back from a knee injury.

"I think a fully healthy Corey Ray has shown he can do some pretty big things," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I'm excited about it. You see the year he's had and how it stacks up against a lot of other Minor Leaguers, and he's in pretty rare air with doing some things that very few guys are doing."

Ray smashes 26th home run

Brown won the league's pitching honor despite missing a month with a sprained left ankle. He leads the league with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, and has 113 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings. The Shuckers are 18-2 when he starts.

"Zack is a well-blended package of the physical and mental side of pitching," Biloxi pitching coach Dave Chavarria said. "Physically, he can throw anything at you and make quick adjustments. Mentally, he's not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. He's a great teammate, eager to get better every day that he's out there, and just loves to compete."

Brown's 6th K

Under Guerrero, the Shuckers need to win one of their final five games to set a club record for regular season victories. They have already clinched a postseason berth, and will host the first two games of their best-of-five South Division Championship Series next Wednesday and Thursday.

Callups coming into focus
The Brewers will set a plan for September callups on Thursday, Counsell said, giving the players involved a chance to get to Washington to join the Brewers. They will come in waves; a handful on Saturday when rosters expand, at least one more Sunday when Zach Davies and Corey Knebel are eligible to return from optional assignments to the Minors, and potentially more later next week, though Counsell said Major League needs would supersede Triple-A Colorado Springs' potential playoff appearance.

"It'll be kind of need-based a little bit as far as we go there," Counsell said.

• Who's in line for callup to Milwaukee?

Among the players hopeful of a promotion is the only other catcher on Milwaukee's 40-man roster, Jacob Nottingham. The Brewers' No. 9 prospect has arrived in Colorado Springs after rehabbing a fractured wrist in Phoenix, and he's on track to be active for the SkySox at some point this weekend. That would position him to be in one of the secondary waves of callups.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

Prospect Gatewood out for year with ACL tear

First baseman ranks No. 14 in Brewers' system in latest Pipeline update; Soria joins team
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Gatewood, the Brewers' No. 14 prospect in MLB Pipeline's updated rankings unveiled this week, has a torn ACL in his left knee and will undergo season-ending surgery.

Gatewood was injured running to first base in Double-A Biloxi's game at Jackson on Tuesday night. He traveled to Milwaukee for an MRI scan and a visit with Brewers head physician Dr. William Raasch, who made the diagnosis. He's the second premium Brewers prospect to go down with a torn ACL, joining infielder and No. 11 prospect Mauricio Dubon.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Gatewood, the Brewers' No. 14 prospect in MLB Pipeline's updated rankings unveiled this week, has a torn ACL in his left knee and will undergo season-ending surgery.

Gatewood was injured running to first base in Double-A Biloxi's game at Jackson on Tuesday night. He traveled to Milwaukee for an MRI scan and a visit with Brewers head physician Dr. William Raasch, who made the diagnosis. He's the second premium Brewers prospect to go down with a torn ACL, joining infielder and No. 11 prospect Mauricio Dubon.

View Full Game Coverage

After undergoing some "prehab" at the Brewers' training facility in Phoenix, Gatewood will undergo surgery in the next week or two. The Brewers hope he is close to baseball activity by the start of Spring Training, but will know more after the surgery, according to farm director Tom Flanagan.

Gatewood was a rising prospect in the MLB Pipeline rankings on the strength of his career-high 19 home runs, one behind teammate Corey Ray for the Southern League lead as of Friday afternoon.

The biggest jump in the rankings went to Biloxi teammate Zack Brown, who also went down with an injury this week. Brown sprained his left ankle trying to avoid a comebacker on Sunday and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks, putting him in danger of missing the rest of the Double-A season. Brown is 9-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 111 2/3 innings this season.

Infielder Keston Hiura remained No. 1 on the Brewers' list, followed by right-handers Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, both of whom are currently in the Major Leagues and moving toward graduating from prospect rankings.

Shortstop Brice Turang, the Brewers' top pick in this year's Draft, entered the list at No. 5. Other 2018 Draft picks who made the cut were outfielder Joe Gray Jr. (No. 9), left-hander Aaron Ashby (No. 23) and outfielder Micah Bello (No. 25).

Soria joins the fray
Veteran right-hander Joakim Soria, acquired Thursday in a trade with the White Sox, reported for duty on Friday and said he was open to whatever role the Brewers have in store, just as manager Craig Counsell suggested he may be more flexible with how he deploys closer Corey Knebel.

Knebel has fallen short this season of the high standard he set as an All-Star in 2017, struggling at times to command his curveball. The results are reflected in his ERA (1.78 last year/4.08 through Thursday), FIP (2.53/4.28) and strikeout rate (40.8 percent/33.1 percent).

"I'd like to get Corey out on the mound more, and if we're going to pitch him more, it's not just going to be in closing situations," Counsell said. "We need Corey to pitch well, whatever inning that is. … One of the ways to get Corey going a little bit is to be sure we get him out on the mound and not have a lot of space between his appearances."

Video: Joakim Soria discusses being traded to the Brewers

This is the third time since 2014 that Soria has been traded in July to a team with hopes of contending. He got a look at the Brewers at Guaranteed Rate Field in early June, when the White Sox won two of three from the Brewers.

Asked about leaving a closer role in Chicago for an uncertain role with Milwaukee, Soria said, "I want to win. I came to the Brewers organization to help them in any way possible to win a championship, whatever inning it is."

The Brewers optioned reliever Jacob Barnes to Triple-A Colorado Springs to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Soria.

Last call
• The Brewers delayed activating another reliever, Matt Albers, from the 10-day disabled list on Friday, but he remains healthy and ready to go. Counsell cited other roster considerations -- probably a reference to outfielder Lorenzo Cain's bumps and bruises suffered in Thursday's series-opening win, when Cain jammed his right wrist sliding into second base and tweaked his left knee on a swing.

The Brewers opted to leave Cain out of the lineup Friday. Keon Broxton, who has options and was a candidate to be sent down when Albers returns from the DL, started in Cain's place.

"Wrist is good. Knee is good. I'm just not playing," Cain said before adding playfully, "I told them I could play and I'm not playing. They do that a lot. They don't listen to me anymore, so I don't fight them anymore."

• After getting good news from an MRI scan of his tight lower back a day earlier, the Brewers announced Friday that right-hander Zach Davies was ready to resume a Minor League rehab appearance. Davies pitched for Class A Wisconsin at Peoria, Ill., retiring all seven batters he faced on 30 pitches, 21 strikes. He struck out four.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

7 contenders with prospects to make a big deal

MLB.com

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

At this time of year, when buyers are competing to bolster their rosters for the stretch run and sellers are looking to next season and beyond, arguably nothing is more important than the prospects contenders have -- and are willing -- to trade.

While much attention is paid to the top name or two in each team's farm system, depth matters too.

Catch up on the Latest Trade Talk

Just look at the Dodgers, who were able to acquire Manny Machado from the Orioles without giving up their top two prospects, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 29 overall, per MLB Pipeline) and catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 38 overall). They also held onto right-hander Dustin May (No. 83 overall), whom Baltimore reportedly coveted.

And yet, Los Angeles' five-player package, which was headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz, was enough to get a deal done. Diaz was the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect at the time of the trade, and he now tops the O's system while ranking 57th overall.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

So which clubs are in the best position to make a trade like that between now and Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline? Here are seven teams with the prospects to swing a summer blockbuster, ordered based on the number of prospects they have on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

Note: Prospect Points are determined by assigning a numerical value to each spot in the Top 100, giving 100 points to No. 1, 99 points to No. 2, and so on. A team's total is calculated by adding the values assigned to each of its Top 100 prospects.

1. Braves
Top 100 prospects (8): Right-hander Mike Soroka (No. 15 overall, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander Kyle Wright (No. 25), right-hander Ian Anderson (No. 40), third baseman Austin Riley (No. 44), catcher Cristian Pache (No. 58), left-hander Luiz Gohara (No. 63), right-hander Touki Toussaint (No. 78), left-hander Kolby Allard (No. 93)
Prospect Points ranking: 3rd
The Braves' system is stacked, as the club has four more prospects in the Top 100 than any other team on this list. With Atlanta in rebuilding mode over the past several years, the club hasn't made a major Trade Deadline acquisition since Michael Bourn in 2011, and that was under a different regime. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was at the helm in Toronto when the Blue Jays picked up David Price from the Tigers for Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt in July '15, but Anthopoulos has expressed his reluctance to trade young assets for a rental player this time around. If the Braves do deal from their wealth of Top 100 prospects, it will likely be for controllable talent. They are believed to be in the market for relief help and have also been linked to Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, who is under team control through '20.

2. Yankees
Top 100 prospects (4): Left-hander Justus Sheffield (No. 28 overall), outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 47), right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 77), right-hander Albert Abreu (No. 79)
Prospect Points ranking: 12th
The Yankees' farm system remains among the best in the game without even taking into account Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, who have both lost their prospect status. The club's system has also been heralded for its depth, even beyond the players in the Top 100. Though the Yankees made a bid for Machado and have discussed Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets, general manager Brian Cashman seemingly has been hesitant to raid the farm for a big-name player. New York has already acquired Zach Britton and J.A. Happ without moving any Top 100 prospects, and there's a chance it won't make any other major moves, even with Aaron Judge sustaining a chip fracture in his right wrist on Thursday and the Yankees sitting 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East entering Friday.

Video: Yankees acquire J.A. Happ

3. Dodgers
Top 100 prospects (4): Verdugo, Ruiz, catcher/third baseman Will Smith (No. 74 overall), May
Prospect Points ranking: 11th
Yep, even after acquiring Yu Darvish last July and Machado on July 18, the Dodgers still possess an impressive collection of youngsters in the Minors. But it remains to be seen if president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi are looking to make another big transaction. On one hand, the Dodgers' World Series window is open now, and adding a big-name pitcher such as deGrom or Chris Archer could be the move that brings home a title. Furthermore, it would give the club an insurance policy if Clayton Kershaw decides to opt out of his contract in the offseason. On the other hand, the Dodgers have an incredibly deep roster, six healthy starters and a bullpen that could get Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani back from the disabled list soon.

4. Phillies
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Sixto Sanchez (No. 17 overall), third baseman Alec Bohm (No. 46), right-hander Adonis Medina (No. 73)
Prospect Points ranking: 14th
Another surprise contender in the National League East, the Phillies have been consistently featured in Trade Talk throughout July, and their reported willingness to part with right-hander Medina made them a finalist for Machado. But after falling short in their pursuit of Machado, Philadelphia has turned its attention to lower-cost players. Meanwhile, the club has remained steadfast in its refusal to deal the crown jewel of its farm system, Sanchez, who has recorded a 2.51 ERA in Class A Advanced this season. Still, even if Sanchez remains off the table, the Phils have the pieces to make a Trade Deadline splash should the club's front office decide it is one big acquisition away from emerging as the favorite in a wide-open NL.

5. Brewers
Top 100 prospects (3): Second baseman Keston Hiura (No. 27 overall), right-hander Corbin Burnes (No. 53), right-hander Freddy Peralta (No. 82)
Prospect Points ranking: 17th
Milwaukee was a Trade Deadline seller in general manager David Stearns' first season in charge, sending Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers and Will Smith to the Giants in 2016, and Stearns held off on making a notable deal last July despite being in contention for the postseason. It's been a different story this year, with the Brewers landing reliever Joakim Soria and third baseman Mike Moustakas, though the highest-ranked prospect they moved in those transactions was outfielder Brett Phillips, who was 10th on Milwaukee's list before being sent to Kansas City for Moose. That leaves Stearns with a strong system to trade from as he looks to address the rotation, which remains the club's biggest area of need. Peralta has already made a significant impact in the Majors, posting a 3.74 ERA with an 11.8 K/9 rate in eight starts, so it's unlikely the Brewers would move him for another starter. Meanwhile, the belief around baseball, according to The Athletic (subscription required), is that Milwaukee won't trade Hiura, who has recorded an .868 OPS in the Minors this season. But Burnes could be in play as the headliner in a blockbuster deal.

Video: Joel Sherman on possible Trade Deadline stories

6. Astros
Top 100 prospects (3): Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7 overall), outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 8), outfielder Yordan Alvarez (No. 42)
Prospect Points ranking: 6th
After winning the 2017 World Series championship with former highly rated prospects such as Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers Jr. playing key roles and trading for Gerrit Cole in the offseason, the Astros still have a good deal of promising youngsters on the farm. But Houston's MLB roster is so talented that the club likely won't need to move any of its top prospects for a substantial upgrade. Of course, if Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow does want to bring in, say, the Reds' Raisel Iglesias or the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto, he likely could make it happen by dangling Whitley, Tucker and/or Alvarez.

7. A's
Top 100 prospects (3): Left-hander Jesus Luzardo (No. 12 overall), left-hander A.J. Puk (No. 39), catcher Sean Murphy (No. 54)
Prospect Points ranking: 10th
Although the A's financial restrictions are well documented, executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane hasn't been averse to dipping into the farm system to make a trade when the club has been in contention in the past. In July 2014, Beane sent top prospect Addison Russell along with youngsters Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The A's supplemented their system by trading Sonny Gray to the Yankees and Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals last summer, adding Luzardo, Jorge Mateo (Oakland's No. 7 prospect), James Kaprielian (No. 9), Sheldon Neuse (No. 10) and Dustin Fowler in those deals. Luzardo may be off the table, but Beane still has plenty to work with here.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros

Burnes quickly ascends to key role for Brewers

Aguilar out Sunday due to cramps; Guerra, Peralta to return vs. Nats
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Corbin Burnes' rise from the 2016 Draft to high leverage Brewers reliever two years later was fast. But that's only part of the story.

Burnes didn't even pitch full-time until 2013, his senior year at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif. He was a self-described slow-footed, slap-hitting middle infielder before that, and since he had no ambition of playing professional baseball at the time, he essentially answered, "Why not?" when it was suggested he move to the mound.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Corbin Burnes' rise from the 2016 Draft to high leverage Brewers reliever two years later was fast. But that's only part of the story.

Burnes didn't even pitch full-time until 2013, his senior year at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif. He was a self-described slow-footed, slap-hitting middle infielder before that, and since he had no ambition of playing professional baseball at the time, he essentially answered, "Why not?" when it was suggested he move to the mound.

View Full Game Coverage

He threw a fastball, curveball and changeup in high school, topping out at 87-88 mph. Burnes added a cutter once he got to St. Mary's College, where head coach Eric Valenzuela helped morph the pitch into the lengthy, nasty slider Burnes is known for today. His ERA fell and his strikeout rate rose in each of his three collegiate seasons.

Along the way, Burnes grew four inches and filled his frame. The Brewers made him their fourth-round Draft pick.

"I was still learning all through college," Burnes said.

He proved a quick learner. Burnes, the Brewers' top pitching prospect according to MLB Pipeline, shot through Milwaukee's Minor League system in two calendar years, earning 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors with the third-best ERA (1.67) of qualified pitchers throughout Minor League baseball. When the organization shifted Burnes to the bullpen this season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, manager Rick Sweet and pitching coach Fred Dabney presented it on June 14 as "good news," Burnes said. It meant a quicker path to the Major Leagues.

"I'm just making the most of every opportunity," Burnes said. "I'm all for it."

There was no breaking-in period. Burnes' big league debut came July 10 in Miami, when Burnes inherited a two-run lead in the eighth inning and, after airing his very first pitch to the backstop, settled in to retire all six batters he faced for a two-inning save. On July 14, he pitched two scoreless innings in Pittsburgh with the Brewers down a run.

Video: MIL@MIA: Burnes goes 2 scoreless in debut to get save

And on Saturday against the Dodgers, Burnes inherited a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the fifth inning of a game the Brewers trailed, 2-1. Burnes escaped without allowing a run, then pitched a scoreless sixth and was rewarded with his first Major League victory when the Brewers rallied to beat Clayton Kershaw.

"It's been based on need a little bit," said Counsell. "And he's handled every situation wonderfully. He's going to give up runs here, but there's a reason he's a very highly thought of player, and a reason he shot through the Minor Leagues. That's part of the reason we're using him in these situations. It's been a shot in the arm for our bullpen."

Like they said about Josh Hader last year, Brewers officials say they view Burnes as a starting pitcher long-term. But unlike Hader, who works primarily with two pitches and was so dominant in relief that he stuck, it sounds as if the club means it about Burnes.

"Corbin will be a starter next year. For sure. One hundred percent," Counsell said. "There is no debate on that one."

For now, Burnes will continue to contribute out of the bullpen.

"It's awesome to get the trust of Counsell and the staff to get put in the situations I've been in," Burnes said. "I'm going to keep trying to make the most of it."

Last call
• The Brewers held Jesus Aguilar out of Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers after he reported tightness in his hamstrings on Saturday night. Aguilar, who entered the day as the National League's co-leader with 25 home runs, didn't get much of an All-Star break because he participated in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby before getting two at-bats for the National League in the game itself.

Junior Guerra is expected to be ready to come off the disabled list (right forearm strain) to start Tuesday's game against the Nationals at Miller Park. The Brewers plan to recall Freddy Peralta from a brief assignment to Class A Wisconsin to start Wednesday's series finale.

• Another starter on the 10-day disabled list, Zach Davies, is scheduled to test his injured back by throwing live batting practice on Monday. The next step would be a Minor League rehab assignment. One of Monday's hitters will be first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames, who has a chance to return from the 10-day DL (hamstring) when he's eligible on Tuesday.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Corbin Burnes

Crew can deal from rich system to fill gaps

Brewers have top prospects to swap to address lackluster offensive production from infield
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The best first half in Brewers history ended with six straight losses, and it doesn't get easier after the All-Star break.

The Brewers return to action Friday at Miller Park against the Dodgers and Manny Machado, who will make his L.A. debut against a Milwaukee team that reportedly finished as runner-up in trade talks with the Orioles. Next on the homestand are the Nationals, followed by an eight-game West Coast trip against the Giants and Dodgers. That carries the Brewers past the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and into an August schedule that includes a critical three-city trip with games against the NL East-leading Braves, NL Central-leading Cubs and then the Cardinals.

MILWAUKEE -- The best first half in Brewers history ended with six straight losses, and it doesn't get easier after the All-Star break.

The Brewers return to action Friday at Miller Park against the Dodgers and Manny Machado, who will make his L.A. debut against a Milwaukee team that reportedly finished as runner-up in trade talks with the Orioles. Next on the homestand are the Nationals, followed by an eight-game West Coast trip against the Giants and Dodgers. That carries the Brewers past the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and into an August schedule that includes a critical three-city trip with games against the NL East-leading Braves, NL Central-leading Cubs and then the Cardinals.

"We have to find a way to get it done in the field," said Lorenzo Cain. "We open with the Dodgers and play them a few times. The schedule definitely doesn't get any easier. We have to find a way to pull together and compete."

Reinforcements could help, and with Machado off the board, Brewers GM David Stearns will have to look elsewhere. The injury-battered Brewers finished the first half with outfielder Ryan Braun, first baseman Eric Thames, catcher Manny Pina, infielder Jonathan Villar, reliever Matt Albers and starter Zach Davies on the 10-day disabled list -- plus ace right-hander Jimmy Nelson still on the 60-day DL and facing an uncertain timeline coming back from shoulder surgery. Pina is expected back Friday.

Here's a look at where the Brewers stand with the Trade Deadline looming:

Current status: Buyer
The Brewers' aggressive pursuit of Machado, a free agent at season's end, cemented that club officials believe they have a postseason contender. Even after losing seven of eight games on a brutal road trip to close the first half, the Brewers set a franchise record for victories before the All-Star break (55) and tied the Cubs for the most victories in the NL. That, despite a long list of personnel losses that extended to poor performances from players like shortstop Orlando Arcia and right fielder Domingo Santana who were expected to contribute. Both players are beginning the second half at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Video: Craig Counsell on Orlando Arcia being sent down

What they are seeking
Statistically, it appears the Brewers' chief need is offense. They finished the first half seventh in the Major Leagues with a 3.65 ERA -- and yes, that was fueled by a fantastic bullpen, but Milwaukee's starters ranked a respectable 10th of 30 teams at 3.87, one spot ahead of the starter-rich Cubs. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's hitters were 17th at 4.35 runs per game, with particular need at shortstop (tied for last in MLB at 48 wRC+) and second base (27th, 69 wRC+). Thus, the interest in Machado.

What they have to offer
The Brewers have a rich farm system, even after sending four premium prospects including then-top prospect Lewis Brinson to the Marlins in January for Christian Yelich. It starts with hitting phenom Keston Hiura, No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's Brewers Top 30 Prospects list and No. 30 on MLB Pipeline's overall Top 100 list. He would be tough to trade, but he's not off-limits in the way players like Prince Fielder and Braun were in years past. The Brewers would prefer to deal from two areas of relative strength: Pitching and outfielders. Their Nos. 2 and 4 prospects are pitchers -- Corbin Burnes and Luis Ortiz -- and there's also No. 9 Freddy Peralta. Burnes and Peralta are in the Major Leagues currently, and particularly prized. If the Brewers find a trade partner in need of outfielders, there's a match to be had. Santana, Brett Phillips, Corey Ray, Trent Grisham and quick-rising Tristen Lutz are all age 25 or younger.

Video: MIL@MIA: Burnes goes 2 scoreless in debut to get save

Possible scenario
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported the Brewers have been in touch with the Twins about pending free-agent infielders Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier, neither of whom is the caliber of All-Star starter Machado, but would nonetheless represent an upgrade. Escobar has the versatility the Brewers like, including experience at shortstop, and an .834 OPS this season. The Twins' top center-field prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is 10th-ranked Akil Baddoo; the two outfielders above him on Minnesota's list, including All-Star Futures Game participant Alex Kirilloff, profile to the corners or first base. Grisham, the Brewers' No. 7 prospect, is having a tough year at Double-A Biloxi but remains a well-regarded prospect.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers' top prospect on the fun of trade rumors

Futures Game participant Hiura says Minor Leaguers joke around to handle the uncertainty
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- For every Manny Machado or Noah Syndergaard rumor, there's a Keston Hiura on the other side, a top prospect waiting to see what the looming non-waiver Trade Deadline sends rippling through the Minor Leagues. In a Double-A Biloxi clubhouse teeming with top prospects, players have made it a running joke.

Someone gets pulled from a game?

WASHINGTON -- For every Manny Machado or Noah Syndergaard rumor, there's a Keston Hiura on the other side, a top prospect waiting to see what the looming non-waiver Trade Deadline sends rippling through the Minor Leagues. In a Double-A Biloxi clubhouse teeming with top prospects, players have made it a running joke.

Someone gets pulled from a game?

He's getting traded.

Manager Mike Guerrero steps foot in the clubhouse?

Someone's about to be gone.

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

"It's just all fun and games," said Hiura, Milwaukee's top prospect per MLB Pipeline (No. 30 in MLB Pipeline's Top 100), and thus, the subject of some of those rumors. "I think that's how people cope with it and relax a little."

Hiura was relaxed on Sunday, though he struck out in both of his at-bats as the designated hitter for the U.S. team in a 10-6 win over the World squad in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. It was a who's who of baseball's future, stocked with players who can relate to Hiura's familiarity with trade rumors.

While his name has not been mentioned much in the Machado derby -- Machado, the Orioles shortstop, is a free agent at season's end, and the Brewers almost certainly wouldn't part with a player of Hiura's caliber for a rental -- he has surfaced in discussions about potential trade pieces with more club control. Think Jacob deGrom or Syndergaard, if the Mets opt to trade one of their top arms, and the Brewers opt to go big to fortify their starting pitching.

The other Brewers prospect in the Futures Game, right-hander Luis Ortiz (Brewers' No. 4 prospect), has reportedly been part of the Machado talks. But the Orioles are believed to want Major League pitching in the deal, and Ortiz has been pitching for Biloxi.

Video: WLD@USA: Ortiz gets Diaz to ground out to end 9th

"There's a lot of talk," said Hiura. "With all the trade talk, we've been joking around with each other that someone's going to be gone soon. But it's been fairly easy for me to focus. Whatever happens behind the scenes, I can't control that.

"Family-wise, my dad always freaks out a little when he gets a text from me. He's like, 'Did you get traded or something?' So there's a lot of talk, but I've been able to handle it pretty well."

Hiura has handled everything pretty well since the Brewers made him the ninth overall pick in the 2017 Draft. Hiura, a hitting prodigy out of UC Irvine, was mostly limited to DH duty last year and at the start of this season over concerns about his right elbow, but he has avoided surgery and has played 43 games at second base between advanced Class A Carolina and Biloxi while slashing a robust .308/.370/.498.

Recently, Hiura missed about a week with a sprained thumb after tangling with a first baseman, but he reported for Futures Game duty at 100 percent, he said.

"I've never seen anybody hit like him," said Ortiz. "There's only one guy probably -- [Atlanta Braves All-Star] Ozzie Albies. I faced him in 2016 and he's by far one of the best hitters I've seen, and Keston reminds me of him. He's short to the ball and he just doesn't miss."

Ryan Braun (2006) and Corey Ray (2017) are the only other players to participate in the Futures Game the year after being drafted by the Brewers. Hiura's path so far is most similar to Braun's, who made it to Double-A midway through his first full professional season.

"It's been a quick 13-14 months. There's been a lot to it," Hiura said. "Playing at four different levels in that time, getting adjusted to the professional baseball lifestyle. It's been interesting. I've learned a lot about myself in the last year.

"I always felt I was ready to compete with the best around. Being able to move up quickly in the system is definitely something I wanted to work toward. I was always up to the challenge."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Keston Hiura

Prospects Knizner, Ortiz added to Futures Game

MLB.com

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game rosters

Knizner, 23, is ranked the Cards' No. 5 prospect, and is hitting .318/.386/.430 between stints at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. Power may be the last raw tool that eludes him as he continues his ascent toward the Majors; he has just three homers in 223 at-bats this year. Knizner spent three weeks with Memphis earlier this season -- the first time he's reached that level -- when Carson Kelly was called up to St. Louis to fill in while Yadier Molina recovered from emergency surgery following a pelvic injury. In that stretch, Knizer impressed with a .333/.400/.444 line.

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Taken with what was touted as a sneaky solid pick in the seventh round in 2016 by St. Louis, Knizner had his true break out during the Arizona Fall League last season.

Ortiz, 22, is Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect, and remains at Double-A Biloxi as he works toward a season in full health after battling forearm and hamstring issues early in his young career. He's on his way to exceeding the career-high 94 1/3 innings this year, now at 49 frames with a career-high 4.41 ERA across 12 outings. He also has 51 strikeouts and a 1.235 WHIP.

Ortiz, who was drafted by the Rangers with the 30th overall pick in 2014 and came over in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with Texas in 2016, got his first glimpse of Spring Training with the big league club this year. Scouting reports indicate that if Ortiz can remain healthy and condition his body to fully exploit his 6-foot-3 frame, he has the potential to be a No. 3 starter in a big league rotation.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Andrew Knizner, Luis Ortiz

What to expect from Burnes with Brewers

MLB.com

After a quick ascent through the Minor Leagues, Corbin Burnes is ready to make an impact at the highest level.

The Milwaukee Brewers selected the contract of Burnes, the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 56 overall, from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday, marking one of eight roster moves made by the Crew to close out the week. Expected to pitch exclusively in relief, Burnes will bolster a Brewers bullpen that currently ranks third in the National League with a 3.14 ERA.

After a quick ascent through the Minor Leagues, Corbin Burnes is ready to make an impact at the highest level.

The Milwaukee Brewers selected the contract of Burnes, the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 56 overall, from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday, marking one of eight roster moves made by the Crew to close out the week. Expected to pitch exclusively in relief, Burnes will bolster a Brewers bullpen that currently ranks third in the National League with a 3.14 ERA.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Burnes' promotion comes amidst a stretch of three straight scoreless relief appearances for the Sky Sox during which he allowed just two hits across 4 1/3 scoreless frames. The outings were a marked improvement compared to Burnes' first three relief outings, when Burnes permitted seven earned runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 frames.

The Brewers shifted Burnes to the bullpen from the starting rotation in mid-June, after the 23-year-old right-hander had pitched to a 4.96 ERA over 69 innings and 13 starts for the Sky Sox. Despite his struggles in the role, Burnes still managed to complete at least five innings in 10 of those 13 turns, all while registering 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

Overall, Burnes posted a 5.15 ERA across 19 games in the Pacific Coast League, compiling 81 strikeouts and 31 walks in 78 2/3 innings.

Burnes' Draft stock took off behind his strong showing in the 2015 Cape Cod League, and he built upon that performance the following spring as St. Mary's Fright-night starter. The Brewers made Burnes their fourth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, signed him for slot value and then watched him advance to Class A Wisconsin in his professional debut.

Assigned to Class A Advanced Carolina to begin his first full season, Burnes made quick work of the Carolina League, going 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 10 starts en route to a late-May promotion to Double-A Biloxi. The Bakersfield, Calif. native was even more impressive during his time in the Southern League, registering a 2.10 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 84 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings (16 starts).

He ultimately garnered honors as Milwaukee's Minor League pitcher of the year after finishing second in the Minors with a 1.67 ERA to go along with a 0.95 WHIP, .200 opponents' average and 140-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 145 2/3 innings (26 starts).

Burnes offered Brewers fans a glimpse of his impressive stuff and bullpen potential this past spring with three strong relief appearances, two of them scoreless, in his first big league camp.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder demonstrates advanced feel for executing and sequencing four average-or-better pitches, all of which play up thanks to his above-average command.

A lightning-fast arm enables Burnes to generate a 92-95 mph fastball that has natural cutting action and could play up a few ticks in short bursts out of the bullpen. He pounds the strike zone with the pitch, using it to attack hitters on both sides of the plate, and he maintains velocity deep into starts.

Burnes' above-average curveball, thrown with a high spin rate and late, downer action, is his best secondary offering, and he also shows earns above-average grades from evaluators for his mid-80s slider. Burnes rounds out his arsenal with an effective changeup that has splitter-like action in the mid- to upper-80s, giving him a weapon against left-handed hitters.

Though he'll be utilized in relief in his first taste of the big leagues, Burnes still projects as a starter long term for the Brewers. That, of course, was also said about Josh Hader at the time of his first callup in 2017, and the left-hander has since developed into one of the more valuable bullpen assets, headlining a Milwaukee bullpen replete with strikeout artists.

Regardless of his future role, Burnes, with his combination of stuff, pitchability and overall aptitude on the mound, has the potential to immediately impact a Brewers club that currently sits atop the National League Central with a 54-36 overall record and 1.5-game lead over the second-place Cubs.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Milwaukee Brewers

Cain activated; prospect Burnes called up

Braun, Pina to disabled list among flurry of roster moves
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain returned from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Manny Pina hit the DL and the Brewers promoted top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday.

It was a week's worth of transactions packed into one busy morning:

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Lorenzo Cain returned from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Manny Pina hit the DL and the Brewers promoted top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday.

It was a week's worth of transactions packed into one busy morning:

View Full Game Coverage

• Cain (left groin) activated from the 10-day DL
• Braun placed on the 10-day DL with a back strain
• Pina placed on the 10-day DL with a left biceps strain
• Burnes selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs
• Catcher Jacob Nottingham recalled from Triple-A
• Infielder Nate Orf recalled from Triple-A
• Pitcher Aaron Wilkerson optioned to Triple-A
• Pitcher Mike Zagurski designated for assignment

"I don't know that I've been in a situation where you make [this many] moves in a day and feel completely comfortable with what's coming back to replace it," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "Getting 'LoCain' back is a huge boost for this club."

Cain had been on the DL with a left groin strain but passed a final test on Saturday, just before Braun was scratched with tightness in his back and right side.

"Today was just the combination of a lot of circumstances. It all just came to one day," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Wilkerson was sent back down to Triple-A after an effective start on Saturday against the Braves, and Zagurski was designated for assignment to make room for Burnes, the 23-year-old ranked second on MLB Pipeline's top Brewers prospects behind second baseman Keston Hiura, and No. 56 in the Top 100.

Video: ATL@MIL: Wilkerson strikes out Swanson in the 4th

Zagurski, a 35-year-old journeyman left-hander, was ineffective in two Brewers appearances, including Saturday when he yielded back-to-back RBI triples to left-handed hitters Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis in a three-run eighth inning that sealed Milwaukee's 5-1 loss.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers. Zagurski was effective in Triple-A, and the Brewers hope to keep him in the organization, Counsell said.

Timing played role in Braun, Pina moves
The pending All-Star break, which is one week away, played a role in the Brewers' decisions to place Braun and Pina on the 10-day DL with injuries that might have been treated as day-to-day matters in a different segment of the schedule.

Braun said the issue was related to a bout of back tightness last week while the Brewers were in Cincinnati.

"Counsell talked to me after the game yesterday, and where we're at as a team and the timing of it, the fact that I've been dealing with this for a while now, we just felt like it was the right thing to do," Braun said. "I irritated it a little bit again the other day to the point where it's painful to swing.

"I've played through these intercostal-type things plenty of times, but once it gets to that point, you have to shut it down. Sometimes it's two days, sometimes it's 10 days. You just don't know."

Video: ATL@MIL: Brewers make multiple roster moves

Pina said he felt biceps pain on a swing in his second at-bat against the Braves on Friday. He managed to stay in the game before undergoing an MRI on Saturday morning that confirmed a muscle strain.

"There was some debate whether we needed [the DL], but it's close enough with the All-Star break that we can just get him good for the second half, and he'll be active after the break," Counsell said. "It's not a bad injury, but it's enough that DL time is required, especially with a catcher." 

Erik Kratz and Nottingham are expected to share starts over the next week. Nottingham, MLB Pipeline's No. 25 Brewers prospect, made his Major League debut in April and played in three games, including two starts.

Burnes set for MLB debut
The Brewers see Burnes as a starter long term, but they recently shifted him to relief at Triple-A to give him experience in that role in the event of a callup. He will be used out of the bullpen.

Like left-hander Josh Hader last year and right-hander Brandon Woodruff this year, it can take some time for prospects accustomed to the routine of starting games to adjust to the bullpen. Of his six relief appearances for the SkySox, Burnes allowed seven total runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in two of them, and pitched scoreless ball in the other four. His three most recent outings were scoreless.

"We had shortened his length in between appearances and amended his prep time," Counsell said. "When you call down there, how fast can you get ready? And that's a big issue, when you're starting and you have this use at the time, or the phone rings and it's two hitters later. That's the biggest adjustment those guys make. We feel like we got through that and he handled it very well."

Last call
• Left-hander Wade Miley will rejoin the Brewers on Monday in Miami and is an option to fill the next opening in the starting rotation on Thursday in Pittsburgh. Miley, on the 60-day DL with a right oblique strain, pitched four scoreless innings on 57 pitches in his latest rehab start for Double-A Biloxi on Saturday and is eligible to come off the DL beginning Monday.

• Woodruff's most recent start for the SkySox was cut short after four innings on Monday, and he did not pitch again before the Triple-A schedule reached its All-Star break on Sunday night. That was by design, according to Stearns.

"There's nothing up with him. He's fine," Stearns said. "We got the Triple-A All-Star break coming up, managing innings. We've got a lot of [Major League] innings coming this week, and we're likely going to need a couple of pitchers to cover those innings. We want to make sure we're giving ourselves flexibility." 

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain

Top prospect Hiura chosen for Futures Game

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- One day after the Brewers signed 2018 first-round Draft pick Bryce Turang, last year's top pick was named to the prestigious SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

Futures Game roster revealed

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- One day after the Brewers signed 2018 first-round Draft pick Bryce Turang, last year's top pick was named to the prestigious SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

Futures Game roster revealed

View Full Game Coverage

Fast-rising infielder Keston Hiura, MLB Pipeline's No. 1 Brewers prospect and No. 30 on the overall Top 100 list, will be Milwaukee's lone representative at the prospect showcase on July 15 at Nationals Park in Washington.

Tweet from @Kestdaddy: Blessed and excited to represent @Brewers at this year���s #FuturesGame ! Hope to see you all out in DC July 15th! https://t.co/oHeWTZG2By

The Brewers drafted Hiura ninth overall last year, and he was limited to designated hitter duty while recovering from a right elbow injury. He has split time between second base and DH this year and remains a hitting machine at Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi, entering Friday with a .322/.381/.523 slash line between the two stops.

Hiura was sidelined recently with a mild strain of his left thumb, but returned to Biloxi's lineup on Friday.

He's one of 30 members of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects slated to take part in the game, which will stream live on MLB.com. MLB Network will exclusively televise the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at 3 p.m. CT, with Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, Lauren Shehadi and Jim Callis calling the contest live. The game will also be available to SiriusXM subscribers.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers