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Hiura among 6 Brewers non-roster invitees

MLB.com

The Brewers announced Friday they have invited six players to Major League Spring Training camp, including 2017 first-round pick Keston Hiura.

The list also includes infielder Nate Orf, outfielder Kyle Wren and right-handed pitchers Corbin Burnes, Luis Ortiz and Jon Perrin.

The Brewers announced Friday they have invited six players to Major League Spring Training camp, including 2017 first-round pick Keston Hiura.

The list also includes infielder Nate Orf, outfielder Kyle Wren and right-handed pitchers Corbin Burnes, Luis Ortiz and Jon Perrin.

Hiura, 21, was the ninth player taken overall in last June's MLB Draft. He played for the Brewers' Rookie League team and at Class A Wisconsin last year, and the second baseman batted .371 in 42 games combined with 14 doubles, seven triples and four home runs. MLB Pipeline ranks Hiura as Milwaukee's No. 5 prospect.

Tweet from @Brewers: The #Brewers have invited 2B Keston Hiura, INF Nate Orf, OF Kyle Wren, RHP Corbin Burnes, RHP Luis Ortiz and RHP Jon Perrin to Major League camp. pic.twitter.com/hsCDL1SnWl

Orf batted .320 at Triple-A Colorado Springs last year, hitting 32 doubles, while Wren hit .286 there.

No. 7 prospect Burnes, a fourth-round pick in 2016, was 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 26 starts at Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi, striking out 140 over 145 2/3 innings. Last season at Biloxi, Ortiz (No. 3 prospect) went 4-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 games (20 starts), and Perrin was 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 23 games (12 starts).

Video: Burnes named Brewers' Pipeline pitcher of the year

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Burnes rising fast, eyes MLB breakthrough

Pitching prospect has 1.74 ERA across two Minor League seasons
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Most Minor League players will say it's best to keep one's head down and focus on the job at hand during the baseball season, rather than worry about personnel moves at higher levels. "Control what you can control," they all say.

Then comes the offseason, and a guy can dream a little. Just ask fast-rising Brewers pitching prospect Corbin Burnes.

MILWAUKEE -- Most Minor League players will say it's best to keep one's head down and focus on the job at hand during the baseball season, rather than worry about personnel moves at higher levels. "Control what you can control," they all say.

Then comes the offseason, and a guy can dream a little. Just ask fast-rising Brewers pitching prospect Corbin Burnes.

"During the season, you try to stay away from it. You focus on what you can do every day, whether it's in the weight room or on the field, to try to get better," Burnes said this month while taking part in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program. "In the offseason, you can kind of drift to it a little bit. Playing catch, working out, it's always there to look at."

Burnes, 23, is not expected to crack the Brewers' Opening Day roster, but he is moving up, and thus the team's Major League transactions this winter -- or lack thereof -- could have an impact on his own timeline.

The right-hander has done his part to advance his personal schedule since joining the pro ranks as Milwaukee's fourth-round Draft pick in 2016 out of St. Mary's College of California. In two Minor League seasons, Burnes is 11-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 181 1/3 innings. In 2017, he made it to Double-A Biloxi for his final 16 starts and posted a 2.10 ERA.

Burnes was an easy pick for the Brewers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He traveled to Miller Park in September for an on-field ceremony before a game.

"I started to learn a lot when I got to Double-A," Burnes said. "That's where you've got a lot of guys who have been around the system for a while, been in the Minor Leagues, so I was able to pick stuff from them, whether it's pitch sequence or how to get guys out. It was a really beneficial year for me, and I'm looking forward to building on what I have."

Tweet from @Burnes16: Excited to be a part of #BrewersOnDeck. Looking forward to a fun day and meeting all the @Brewers fans! https://t.co/6mCFff2o4n

Burnes currently ranks seventh on MLB Pipeline's top Brewers prospects list and is No. 97 in baseball, though he's likely to climb both rankings when the lists are updated for 2018. Another Brewers pitching prospect climbing alongside Burnes in the system, Brandon Woodruff, got a taste of the Majors in 2017. The Brewers also believe right-hander Luis Ortiz will start in the Majors.

Burnes was among three Brewers prospects, with infielder Mauricio Dubon and catcher Jacob Nottingham, to attend the Rookie Career Development Program near Washington in Leesburg, Va. The program has been running since 1992, a joint effort between MLB and the MLB Players Association to educate prospects about off-field issues that can arise and how to deal with them.

"These are some of the best Minor League players and big league players right now," Burnes said. "It's an honor to be here. I'm trying to take in everything I can."

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

Brewers send Minor Leaguer Baker to Dodgers

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were stymied in a bid to stash pitching prospect Dylan Baker in the Minor Leagues, but they did not come away completely empty-handed.

Baker, claimed by Milwaukee off waivers from Cleveland on Nov. 27, was traded to the Dodgers on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash. The Brewers had designated Baker for assignment just before Christmas to free a spot on a full 40-man roster after they signed veteran pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo.

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were stymied in a bid to stash pitching prospect Dylan Baker in the Minor Leagues, but they did not come away completely empty-handed.

Baker, claimed by Milwaukee off waivers from Cleveland on Nov. 27, was traded to the Dodgers on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash. The Brewers had designated Baker for assignment just before Christmas to free a spot on a full 40-man roster after they signed veteran pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo.

Often, trades like the one between the Brewers and Dodgers are settled for cash, typically covering the cost of the original waiver claim.

Baker, 25, ranked as high as No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Cleveland's top prospects in 2014, but has been limited to 21 2/3 innings since. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, missed all of 2016 and returned in 2017 with a 2.70 ERA and a 16-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 2/3 innings between Rookie-level Arizona and Double-A Akron.

Baker's brief stint with the Brewers continued Milwaukee general manager David Stearns' strategy of making liberal use of the waiver wire to acquire talent, even if it means designating those players for assignment soon thereafter in an effort to get the player through waivers and into the Brewers' Minor League system. In November 2016 alone, the Brewers plucked outfielder Adam Walker and relievers Blake Parker and Steve Geltz off the waiver wire, but wound up losing all three players.

Now Baker is on the move again, too.

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Dylan Baker

Crew prospects glad to be on journey together

Tight-knit Harrison, Ray help motivate each other through longest pro campaign
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Monte Harrison continued to climb up prospect lists with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, while Corey Ray searched for his professional footing. But while their seasons unfolded in opposite directions, the Brewers outfield prospects are on the path together.

A mini-documentary captured the duo's high-energy friendship during the waning days of the AFL, which capped the longest season of each player's brief professional career. Harrison finished on a high note, following his 21-homer regular season with five more home runs and a .604 slugging percentage for the Salt River Rafters, while Ray essentially matched his regular-season slash line with a .231/.302/.321 showing in the fall.

MILWAUKEE -- Monte Harrison continued to climb up prospect lists with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, while Corey Ray searched for his professional footing. But while their seasons unfolded in opposite directions, the Brewers outfield prospects are on the path together.

A mini-documentary captured the duo's high-energy friendship during the waning days of the AFL, which capped the longest season of each player's brief professional career. Harrison finished on a high note, following his 21-homer regular season with five more home runs and a .604 slugging percentage for the Salt River Rafters, while Ray essentially matched his regular-season slash line with a .231/.302/.321 showing in the fall.

"We were talking about getting to the big leagues, just joking around," said Ray, "and he goes, 'Corey, you ain't getting to the big leagues if you hit .240!'

"That's the type of relationship that we have, and it's true. I appreciate it to keep me grounded."

Video: Harrison collects two hits in Fall League action

Harrison, the Brewers' second-round Draft pick in 2014, was already in his third pro season when the Brewers picked Ray fifth overall in '16. Both players battled injuries. Harrison suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand, forcing him to miss about half of the '16 season. Then Ray tore cartilage in his left knee during the fall instructional league and required surgery, leading to a late start in '17.

But once both players hit the field in 2017, they stayed healthy. They finished the year together, first at Class A Advanced Carolina and then in the prospect-laden AFL, where they played alongside fellow positional prospects Lucas Erceg and Jake Gatewood.

"We're all competing to get a job in the big leagues," Harrison said. "At the end of the day, if you're going to push me, I'm going to push you."

That's the idea, Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said.

"I think it's natural for the guys to push each other," Flanagan said. "As far as pairing guys, we don't tend to look at it that way. There are so many factors as to where the individual player is best suited to play for their individual development, and to maximizing their playing time at specific positions, and we focus on trying to get those things right. But we are fortunate to have a number of talented players, and they all do a good job competing and helping to push each other along the way."

Video: Brewers prospect Corey Ray talks about his RBI double

Harrison is No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com's list of the top Brewers prospects, but he's likely due to rise with the list's next revision. Ray ranks No. 2, but he has tumbled down other publications' rankings in the wake of a .238/.311/.367 showing at Carolina, where he hit 29 doubles, four triples and seven home runs in 503 plate appearances while stealing 24 bases.

Flanagan pointed to Ray's strong finish. In his final 42 at-bats in the AFL, Ray's adjustments produced an .893 OPS.

"This season is probably the longest stretch of baseball that he has played -- starting in mid-February and playing through mid-November," Flanagan said. "And to Corey's credit, he continued to work and put in great effort all the way along."

Ray credited Harrison's help along the way.

"The thing that I like most about him is he works hard, he's humble, and he tells you how it is. That's a good person to be around," Ray said of his teammate. "The outsiders don't see the process, they just see the numbers on the field. But we know we'll be fine because of the work we put in. We're working every day, every day, every day.

"I'm excited to see where we end up. If we're in the outfield together [in the Majors] at some point, I think it will be a good outfield, but I think it will be a lot of fun."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers hope for face-to-face with Ohtani

Milwaukee among large group of clubs interested in signing star Japanese two-way player
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- They don't play in the biggest market and can't offer the richest signing bonus, but the Brewers are nevertheless making a serious bid to sign the player billed as the Japanese Babe Ruth, general manager David Stearns said as the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes formally got underway.

By the time Major League owners held a conference call on Friday to unanimously ratify a new Japanese posting agreement, the Brewers had already returned a questionnaire from Ohtani's representatives seeking each team's best pitch for the 23-year-old. The Brewers responded both in print (in English and Japanese) and with a multimedia presentation, according to Stearns.

MILWAUKEE -- They don't play in the biggest market and can't offer the richest signing bonus, but the Brewers are nevertheless making a serious bid to sign the player billed as the Japanese Babe Ruth, general manager David Stearns said as the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes formally got underway.

By the time Major League owners held a conference call on Friday to unanimously ratify a new Japanese posting agreement, the Brewers had already returned a questionnaire from Ohtani's representatives seeking each team's best pitch for the 23-year-old. The Brewers responded both in print (in English and Japanese) and with a multimedia presentation, according to Stearns.

"Clearly, we're very interested," Stearns said. "I think all 30 clubs, to some extent, are very interested. We feel he would fit our team very well, both as a pitcher and as a position player. We submitted our presentation and we think it represented our organization well.

"As an organization, we have a lot to offer."

Stearns already mentioned one thing the Brewers can offer: the opportunity for Ohtani, a right-handed pitcher with a fastball that touches triple digits and a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield, to do both in the big leagues. Miller Park is a good place for left-handed hitters with power, as 2017 newcomers Eric Thames and Travis Shaw discovered, and the Brewers' chief target this winter is starting pitching.

The Brewers' presentation sold the merits of Miller Park and the team's young, ascending core of players. It was submitted to Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo, who also represents Ryan Braun and Jimmy Nelson and who negotiated with the Brewers when they won the bidding for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki during the 2011-12 offseason. Aoki played two productive seasons for the Brewers.

Because he is leaving Japan before turning 25, Ohtani is subject to international signing rules that limit each team's spending. The Rangers and Yankees have the biggest pools available, at more than $3.5 million, and are considered among the favorites to sign him. The Brewers can offer a maximum of $765,000.

Given his international star power, Ohtani is expected to make up some of the difference with endorsement deals. Those may be easier to come by in large markets.

Ohtani is reportedly in Los Angeles to meet with teams in the coming days. Stearns is hoping to get one of those meetings.

"We're certainly hopeful that we're going to be in a position to make our case face-to-face and in person," Stearns said. "To some extent, that's out of our hands at this point. … He's a very unique talent and it's a very unique story for Major League Baseball in general. We're hoping to be a part of it."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Young prospects join Brewers' 40-man roster

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added four of MLBPipeline.com's top 20 Milwaukee prospects to the 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect eligible players from next month's Rule 5 Draft. They are infielder Mauricio Dubon, pitchers Freddy Peralta and Marcos Diplan and catcher Jacob Nottingham.

Generally, players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 or were drafted out of college in 2014 required a spot on a team's 40-man roster to avoid being exposed to the 29 other teams at the Winter Meetings. With their additions, the Brewers' roster is at 39.

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added four of MLBPipeline.com's top 20 Milwaukee prospects to the 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect eligible players from next month's Rule 5 Draft. They are infielder Mauricio Dubon, pitchers Freddy Peralta and Marcos Diplan and catcher Jacob Nottingham.

Generally, players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 or were drafted out of college in 2014 required a spot on a team's 40-man roster to avoid being exposed to the 29 other teams at the Winter Meetings. With their additions, the Brewers' roster is at 39.

The Rule 5 Draft is Dec. 14. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase, and that player must remain on the big league roster or be offered back to his original team for $50,000.

All four of the Brewers' additions Monday were acquired in trades over the past three years.

"You're always worried about roster crunch, but I do think the four players we protected this year separated themselves a little bit," Stearns said. "These were very deserving recipients to join the 40-man roster."

Dubon, a middle infielder and one of the players picked up from the Red Sox in the Tyler Thornburg trade at the 2016 Winter Meetings, is the Brewers' ninth-ranked prospect. He reached Triple-A Colorado Springs in late June about three weeks before his 23rd birthday and finished with a .274/.330/.382 slash line between the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season.

Peralta, 21 and No. 11 on the MLBPipeline.com list, was one of three teenage pitchers acquired from the Mariners at the 2015 Winter Meetings for Adam Lind. In a season split between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi, Peralta posted a 2.63 ERA in 120 innings, with 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings and a Minor League-best .178 opponents' average.

Video: Top Prospects: Marcos Diplan, RHP, Brewers

Diplan, 21 and coming off a 5.23 ERA in a season spent entirely at the Class A Advanced level, is Milwaukee's No. 15 prospect but might have gone unprotected in a different year. But his Rule 5 eligibility came one year after the Brewers lost 22-year-old pitching prospect Miguel Diaz with the first overall pick, despite the fact he'd never thrown a pitch above low Class A. Diaz posted a 7.34 ERA in 31 games for the Padres, but they managed to keep him all season.

The Brewers acquired Diplan with current closer Corey Knebel from the Rangers in January 2015.

Nottingham, 22, is ranked 19th in the Brewers' system by MLBPipeline.com coming off consecutive so-so seasons. Long regarded as a plus offensive catcher, Nottingham boosted his on-base percentage from .295 at Double-A Biloxi in 2016 to .326 in 2017, to go with 21 doubles and nine home runs.

"I think we're living in a little bit of a new world in the Rule 5 Draft now," Stearns said. "Selection behavior has changed over the last couple of years and players are selected now at times from lower levels, sometimes due as much to their prospect status as their ... production. As we evaluated our potential adds, we certainly had to take that into account."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Marcos Diplan, Mauricio Dubon, Jacob Nottingham, Freddy Peralta

Ray, Gatewood make AFL's Fall Stars Game

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- It was 11 years ago that Ryan Braun made the roster for the Arizona Fall League's inaugural Fall Stars Game. Now, it is Corey Ray's and Jake Gatewood's turns.

Despite struggling at the plate all month, that pair of Brewers Minor Leaguers -- Ray ranked second and Gatewood 18th on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects -- have been selected to take part in the 10th edition of the showcase at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday. The game will air on MLB Network and will stream live on MLB.com.

MILWAUKEE -- It was 11 years ago that Ryan Braun made the roster for the Arizona Fall League's inaugural Fall Stars Game. Now, it is Corey Ray's and Jake Gatewood's turns.

Despite struggling at the plate all month, that pair of Brewers Minor Leaguers -- Ray ranked second and Gatewood 18th on MLBPipeline.com's list of Milwaukee's top prospects -- have been selected to take part in the 10th edition of the showcase at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday. The game will air on MLB Network and will stream live on MLB.com.

Ray is one of 10 of baseball's Top 100 prospects slated to appear in the game. He currently ranks 58th on MLBPipeline.com's list.

"It's an honor to come here and be recognized as one of the best here," Ray told MLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo. "It's an honor and a testament to the hard work I've put in, and hopefully I'm an MLB All-Star one day.

"You play against the talent and you admire because guys are really good, so just to play against the guys and play with the guys and pick their brains. Hopefully I can take something from that game that will make me a better baseball player."

Video: Brewers' Ray on his MLB Pipeline top-100 ranking

Scouting and farm directors from every Major League organization selected the rosters in consultation with AFL staff. Each Major League organization is offered the opportunity to be represented by at least one player.

Ray and Gatewood made the cut on reputation rather than their AFL performances. Ray, the Brewers' first-round Draft pick in 2016, entered the week with a .182/.234/.250 slash line in 44 at-bats after a quiet season at Class A Advanced Carolina, where he posted a .679 OPS. The 23-year-old outfielder did stay healthy, however, after recovering from left knee surgery last fall.

Gatewood had a better regular season, hitting .264/.333/.441 with 40 doubles and 15 home runs in 512 at-bats between Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. In the Arizona Fall League, the 22-year-old infielder slashed .115/.207/.154 in 26 at-bats.

Video: Gatewood on Fall League opportunity, his growth

Last year, outfielder Brett Phillips and catcher Jacob Nottingham were named to the Fall Stars Game. Phillips made it to the Majors in 2017, appearing in 37 games.

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers' Arizona Fall League overview

Ray gaining valuable experience at plate, in field in AFL
MLB.com

The Brewers' contingent of position-playing prospects are among the best in this year's Arizona Fall League, a group led by No. 58 overall prospect Corey Ray.

Ray was selected to participate in this year's Fall League to close out his first full professional season. Spending the entire year in the Carolina League, the 2016 No. 5 overall Draft pick had his ups and down before finishing with a .238/.311/.367 line, 40 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases over 112 games with Carolina.

The Brewers' contingent of position-playing prospects are among the best in this year's Arizona Fall League, a group led by No. 58 overall prospect Corey Ray.

Ray was selected to participate in this year's Fall League to close out his first full professional season. Spending the entire year in the Carolina League, the 2016 No. 5 overall Draft pick had his ups and down before finishing with a .238/.311/.367 line, 40 extra-base hits and 24 stolen bases over 112 games with Carolina.

Arizona Fall League roster & stats

"I just took it as a learning process, the things I need to improve on and things I'll work on here," said Ray, Milwaukee's No. 2 prospect. "First full season and I was just getting acclimated to the speed of the game and playing 140 games. I learned a lot, and I was happy I stayed healthy throughout the year."

Now continuing his season in Arizona with the Salt River Rafters, the 23-year-old outfielder is making the most of his opportunity, taking in as much as he can from his coaches and peers.

"Even in the outfield drills, just picking up little tricks as far as getting jumps and ball off the bat and stuff like that," Ray said. "I think just being around the game and being around an environment like this you can't help but learn from guys who've played at a higher level."

Though he's working to improve himself as an all-around player, Ray also is using the Fall League to focus on several finer points of his offensive game after he struck out in 31 percent of his plate appearances during the regular season.

"Approach, most important," said Ray. "Just being able to be in a better position to hit. I think that there were some flaws and some loops in my swing that I have to clear up."

While the hits haven't quite fallen for Ray thus far in the Fall League, where he entered Monday with only two hits through his first 29 at-bats, it's worth noting that he's struck out just six times.

Brewers hitters in the Fall League

Lucas Erceg, 3B -- The Brewers' No. 10 prospect spent much of the regular season playing alongside Ray in the Carolina League, where he slashed .256/.307/.417 with 15 home runs, 33 doubles and 81 RBIs in 127 games. He finished his season with a brief-but-impressive stint with Triple-A Colorado Springs, and then he continued to see time in the Pacific Coast League playoffs before getting off to a strong start in the Fall League.

Video: Erceg on making strides on both sides of the ball

Jake Gatewood, 1B -- Gatewood struggled over parts of one-and-a-half seasons in the Midwest League before breaking out in 2017 with a .264/.333/.441 line, 15 home runs and 40 doubles, all career highs for the Brewers' No. 18 prospect. He made his progress at a pair of advanced levels, too, beginning the season in the Carolina League before moving up to Double-A Biloxi in early August.

Monte Harrison, OF -- Speaking of breaking out, Harrison, Milwaukee's No. 14 prospect, did just that in his first fully healthy season. Splitting the year between Class A Wisconsin and Carolina, the toolsy 22-year-old outfielder produced an impressive .272/.350/.481 batting line with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases, making him one of just 11 players to go 20-20 in 2017. His power already has been on full display this fall, as he connected on a pair of home runs including a grand slam en route to seven RBIs in his fourth game for Salt River.

Video: Harrison on growing as a player in the Fall League

"There's definitely some pride in that," said Harrison about his 20-20 campaign, "but at the same time the season is over, and I'm in this now, trying to see what I can do in this league. Everyone has goals, so I'm just trying to keep striving towards mine."

Brewers pitchers in the Fall League

Nate Griep, RHP -- The 2015 eighth-rounder added to his already impressive resume as a closer by saving 30 of 33 games for Carolina while earning mid-season and post-season All-Star honors. Logging 49 1/3 innings over 45 appearances, Griep posted a 2.37 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .191 average. In the Fall League, the 24-year-old righty has shown a 91-94 mph fastball as well as a slider and a changeup that both register in the low 80s.

Adrian Houser, RHP -- Sidelined for roughly 13 months following Tommy John surgery in July 2016, Houser returned to the mound this season to post a 1.02 ERA with 27 strikeouts and four walks over 17 2/3 innings (eight starts) between the Rookie-level Arizona and Class A Midwest Leagues. Owner of a mid-90s heaters before TJ surgery, the 24-year-old righty has operated at 94-96 mph so far this fall while mixing in a hard, low-80s curveball and a changeup in the mid-80s.

Jorge Ortega, RHP -- Ortega was assigned to the Fall League on Monday and has yet to appear in a game for Salt River. The 24-year-old right-hander struggled with the move up to Biloxi in 2017, going 1-9 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.30 ERA in 97 1/3 innings spanning 18 starts.

Jon Perrin, RHP -- Though he doesn't come with the fanfare of some of Milwaukee's other young arms, Perrin's pairing of a 91-93 mph two-seam fastball with an at times plus, swing-and-miss slider at 83-85 mph will allow him to contribute in the big leagues. Appearing in 23 games during the regular season, including 12 as a starter, the 24-year-old righty pitched to a 2.91 ERA with 91 strikeouts and 21 walks in 105 1/3 innings.

Quinton Torres-Costa, LHP -- A 35th-round pick in 2015, the left-handed Torres-Costa held same-sided hitters to a paltry .188/.313/.250 clip with a 37-plus percent strikeout rate this past season between Carolina and Biloxi, thanks largely his combination of an 89-91 two-seam fastball and a breaking ball in the mid-70s.

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

HarriSlam! Crew prospect racks up 7 RBIs in AFL tilt

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a strong regular season, Monte Harrison got off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, but got back on track with a pair of homers in Salt River's 10-4 win over Glendale on Friday.

The Brewers' No. 14 prospect hit a grand slam in the fourth and a two-run homer in the ninth on his way to a 3-for-5, seven-RBI performance in the Rafters' third straight win.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a strong regular season, Monte Harrison got off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, but got back on track with a pair of homers in Salt River's 10-4 win over Glendale on Friday.

The Brewers' No. 14 prospect hit a grand slam in the fourth and a two-run homer in the ninth on his way to a 3-for-5, seven-RBI performance in the Rafters' third straight win.

"It's just trusting the process and letting the whole thing work," Harrison said. "… I got some good pitches to hit and drove them out of the ballpark."

Box score

Harrison was just 1-for-11 entering the day, but instantly broke out of his slump with a grand slam.

The homer, which traveled 386 feet into the left-field bullpen, gave the Rafters a 4-3 lead and had an exit velocity of 104 mph, according to TrackMan.

"He had a fastball that had a little rise to it," Harrison said. "Once I fouled off a couple of those, he really couldn't throw me anything that could get me out, so I was very confident at the plate. He gave me a pitch that I could drive and I tried not to do too much to it, just put barrel on it."

Barreling pitches up certainly isn't new for Harrison. The 22-year-old entered 2017 with a career high of six homers, but obliterated that mark as he hit 21 over 122 games with Class A Wisconsin and Class A Advanced Carolina. Harrison had a pair of two-homer games during the regular season and now has one in the AFL.

After driving in a run with a base hit in the fifth, Harrison put the finishing touches on the win with a two-run homer in the ninth as he crushed a hanging slider out to left-center field.

Video: Harrison on growing as a player in the Fall League

Not only did Harrison increase his power numbers this season, but he also posted a career-best slash line, hitting .272/.350/.481.

"Just trusting and believing that the stuff I worked on in the offseason was going to work and then injuries the past few season really held me back," Harrison said of his breakout campaign. "I just trusted that my body was in a good position -- I worked out hard enough, did what I had to do and whatever was going to happen, would happen."

While Harrison's grand slam got the scoring started in the fourth, the Rafters also put up a four-spot in the fifth via RBI hits from Ryan Mountcastle (Orioles No. 3), Corey Ray (Brewers' No. 2, MLB No. 58), Harrison and Peter Mooney (Marlins). Over the two innings, the club sent 18 batters to the plate and scored eight runs on seven hits.

Francisco Mejia, Indians No. 1 and MLB No. 13, provided the bulk of the offense for Glendale as he went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Hiura shows off bat, plays field at instructs

MLB.com

Regarded by many scouts as arguably the best pure hitter in the 2017 Draft, Keston Hiura lived up to that reputation in his professional debut.

Selected by the Brewers with the ninth-overall pick in June, Hiura posted a robust .371/.422/.611 slash line with 20 multihit performances this summer over 42 games between the Rookie-level Arizona League and Class A Wisconsin. He recorded 62 hits and 25 extra-base hits (four home runs) in that span, while also tallying 32 runs scored and 33 RBIs.

Regarded by many scouts as arguably the best pure hitter in the 2017 Draft, Keston Hiura lived up to that reputation in his professional debut.

Selected by the Brewers with the ninth-overall pick in June, Hiura posted a robust .371/.422/.611 slash line with 20 multihit performances this summer over 42 games between the Rookie-level Arizona League and Class A Wisconsin. He recorded 62 hits and 25 extra-base hits (four home runs) in that span, while also tallying 32 runs scored and 33 RBIs.

"Obviously it's a special bat," Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said about Hiura, who led all college hitters with a .442 average this past spring as a UC Irvine junior.

"His swing is so quick and short to the ball, and there's some real pop in there. He's a fun guy to watch -- kind of one of those guys that when we're doing batting practice or drills, you see other guys peaking over at him or waiting for him to step in the box."

Hiura, Milwaukee's No. 5 prospect (No. 81 overall), continued to showcase his innate hitting ability this fall during Milwaukee's instructional league, which ran from Sept. 22 to Oct. 13 in Arizona. More significant, the 21-year-old second baseman finally was back on the field defensively after being limited to designated-hitter duties only as a junior due to a right elbow injury.

The possibility that Hiura could require Tommy John surgery after being drafted was enough to deter some teams from taking him with their first pick. The Brewers, believing that he could avoid surgery, placed Hiura on a six- to- eight- week throwing program -- during which he also received ground balls at the keystone on a daily basis -- with the goal that he could be ready to make his defensive debut by the end of the season.

The Brewers' timeline for Hiura's recovery proved accurate as he logged his first professional game at second base with Wisconsin on Aug. 15, only to land on the disabled list several days later with a hamstring injury. He rejoined the Rattlers in early September and closed out the regular season by starting at second base in two of his final three games.

Largely unrestricted in the field this fall during instructional league, Hiura began to make up for some of the developmental time that he lost during the 2017 season between the college and professional ranks.

"He played basically all of his innings on defense at second base," Flanagan said. "He looked good there, and he'll only continue to get more comfortable throwing after his layoff in college."

More important for Flanagan and the Brewers, however, was that Hiura remained healthy throughout camp.

"We met with all of our players before the start of the program to go over individual goals," he said. "For Keston, the No. 1 thing was to just get through the program healthy, because we knew everything else would take place as long as he's out there healthy."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Ray among Crew prospects playing in AFL

MLB.com

While the MLB playoffs were on hiatus due to Tuesday's National League Division Series rainout, many of baseball's future stars took the field for beginning of this year's Arizona Fall League slate.

Two of the Brewers' top prospects -- No. 2 Corey Ray (No. 58 overall) and No. 10 Lucas Erceg -- were in action for the Salt River Rafters' opener, a 4-3 win over the Saguaros at Surprise Stadium.

While the MLB playoffs were on hiatus due to Tuesday's National League Division Series rainout, many of baseball's future stars took the field for beginning of this year's Arizona Fall League slate.

Two of the Brewers' top prospects -- No. 2 Corey Ray (No. 58 overall) and No. 10 Lucas Erceg -- were in action for the Salt River Rafters' opener, a 4-3 win over the Saguaros at Surprise Stadium.

• Brewers' Top 30 prospects

Ray, the Brewers' first-round Draft pick in 2016, started in right field and went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored.

Extending his season with the Rafters allows Ray an opportunity to make up for the at-bats he lost to an early-season recovery from knee surgery. The 23-year-old hit .238 with seven homers and 48 RBIs in 112 games for Class A Advanced Carolina.

• Arizona Fall League stats and news

Erceg, meanwhile, came off the bench to bat 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and a run scored. In his second professional season since the Brewers made him a second-round Draft pick in 2016, Erceg slashed .259/.333/.455 with 15 homers and 83 RBIs for Carolina and Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Video: Top Prospects: Lucas Erceg, 3B, Brewers

Also representing the Brewers on the Rafters are pitchers Nate Griep, Adrian Houser, Jon Perrin and Quintin Torres-Costa; infielder Jake Gatewood (No. 18) and outfielder Monte Harrison (No 14).

The AFL season, typically considered a "finishing school" for prospects on the cusp of reaching the big leagues, runs through Nov. 18. Games are played Monday through Saturday at six Arizona Spring Training facilities: Surprise Stadium, Scottsdale Stadium, Camelback Ranch-Glendale, Salt River Fields, Sloan Park and Peoria Sports Complex.

Each organization is required to send at least six players to compete in the six-team league. This year, the Brewers' prospects are competing on the Rafters alongside players from the D-backs, Orioles, Rockies and Marlins.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Phillips, Burnes named Brewers Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- A bounceback season in the Minor Leagues not only earned Brett Phillips a ticket to the bigs, it netted him MLBPipeline.com's Brewers Minor League Player of the year award.

Phillips won the honor alongside the easy choice for Brewers Minor League pitcher of the year, Corbin Burnes.

MILWAUKEE -- A bounceback season in the Minor Leagues not only earned Brett Phillips a ticket to the bigs, it netted him MLBPipeline.com's Brewers Minor League Player of the year award.

Phillips won the honor alongside the easy choice for Brewers Minor League pitcher of the year, Corbin Burnes.

Brewers' Prospects of the Year

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

"[Phillips] has had a great year, a great season. He had a big season at Triple-A," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He had a little bit of a down season [in 2016]. We thought it was a little bit better than it looked and he's played well this season."

So well that Phillips' play at Triple-A Colorado Springs propelled him to the Majors, where he finished the season as the Brewers' starting center fielder. Before that, he hit .305/.377/.567 in 105 games for the SkySox, with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs.

His slugging percentage was tops among Brewers Minor Leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances.

"With his personality and his skill set, I knew he was going to be great," said top-rated Brewers prospect Lewis Brinson, who edged Phillips for the Brewers' own version of their Minor League player of the year honor. "I told him I miss him, I wish I was here with him. But he's doing awesome up here, contributing every way he can. Obviously, with his cannon. I think everybody finally sees that he has one of the, if not the, best arms in the big leagues right now, in my opinion. He's doing his thing and I'm not surprised at all."

Video: PIT@MIL: Statcast™ tracks Phillips' 104-mph throw

The two have a chance to share time in center field for the Brewers next season. Phillips is a left-hander and Brinson hits right-handed.

Burnes, meanwhile, will probably begin 2018 at Colorado Springs after charging through the advanced Class A and Double-A levels in his first full professional season. The 22-year-old, drafted in the fourth round in 2016, went 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 26 starts between Class-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi.

Video: CIN@MIL: Burnes talks MiLB season, Miller Park visit

Burnes' ERA ranked third among qualifying pitchers at all levels of Minor League Baseball.

"The goal is always to continue to move up," he said last week in Milwaukee. "I don't know what plan the Brewers have for me yet, but I would like to continue to move up, of course, because the ultimate goal is the big leagues. I would like to get a shot next year. The only thing I can do is control what I can this offseason, and that's working hard to keep getting better."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers' Derby in crowd during Vegas shooting

Farmhand discloses harrowing personal account of tragic event
MLB.com

One of the thousands of people at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night was Brewers farmhand Bubba Derby, who traveled in from his native California with eight family members, all of whom are safe after a gunman opened fire from a nearby hotel in what some are calling the deadliest mass shooting in U.S history.

"I would like to open up with sending my thoughts and prayers to all the victims, the wounded, the families they can't find, the loved ones and the ones who have passed on," Derby said. "This is a really difficult time. Experiencing it was not something I ever really wanted. I'm extremely grateful that I was able to get out. It makes me think about the other ones that weren't so lucky. I definitely had an angel looking out for me."

One of the thousands of people at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night was Brewers farmhand Bubba Derby, who traveled in from his native California with eight family members, all of whom are safe after a gunman opened fire from a nearby hotel in what some are calling the deadliest mass shooting in U.S history.

"I would like to open up with sending my thoughts and prayers to all the victims, the wounded, the families they can't find, the loved ones and the ones who have passed on," Derby said. "This is a really difficult time. Experiencing it was not something I ever really wanted. I'm extremely grateful that I was able to get out. It makes me think about the other ones that weren't so lucky. I definitely had an angel looking out for me."

Derby, a 23-year-old pitcher, and his family are all country music fans; they often travel to Nashville to see concerts. His group separated early during the concert. His parents took his 6-year-old nephew to see a Beatles tribute show at The Mirage, while his sister and brother-in-law stayed back in a grassy area. The rest of the group, including Derby, was about 100 yards from the stage.

Vegas tragedy hits home for players, ex-players

"My parents decided at the last minute that they wanted to take my nephew to The Mirage to watch the Beatles show," he said, "which was way out of the way of everything that happened. My nephew is a big Jason Aldean fan, and the fact that he wasn't there ... it's so hard to think about, if he was there what he would've seen, and just getting him out of there would have been horrific in every sense of the word."

Derby thought he heard fireworks, but as Aldean sprinted off the stage, he realized it was gunfire. Amid the mass confusion, he found his cousin and aunt, and ran for cover.

"At that point, we didn't know where the shots were coming from," he said. "It sounded like it was on top of us. We had a sinking feeling that maybe he's shooting an automatic weapon from the top of the Mandalay Bay. It's kind of what everyone was thinking. Everybody got down, and we tried to get as low to the ground as possible. ... I turned around to find my aunt, and I'll never forget her face. We made eye contact, and it was that look like 'Are we about to die?' You could hear the bullets hitting, ricocheting, and it's kind of one of those moments where you don't know what to do, but you try to get out of there."

His group found cover in a "House of Blues" tent and spent what he estimated was 20-30 minutes trying to distance themselves from the gunshots. Derby helped cover and guide two girls near him, who were visibly shaken, to safety and they finally made it to the Tropicana.

"There were these women who were sitting there literally frozen in fear," Derby said. "We started picking people up and shoveling them to the [exit] toward the back, and we all went that way."

Derby eventually met up with his sister and brother-in-law in the lobby of the hotel, where they were helping those in need of medical assistance. It was, for Derby, just one of many episodes of heroism he witnessed, a point of solace in an unimaginably horrific day.

"There's a ton of people lying on the ground crying, scared," Derby said. "There was a corner that they designated for the wounded. My brother-in-law is a firefighter and used to be an EMT, and you see these people, and they ran over and immediately started helping without hesitating. They're grabbing gloves, they're grabbing gauze, bottles of water, they're helping these victims who are facing injuries that they never thought they'd face in their lives, and they're scared. They don't know where their family is. Especially running out of the venue, you see these victims carrying wounded people. It was incredible to see all these people helping each other.

"It was amazing and warming to see these people stay in harm's way to help other people who seemed helpless. They sat there crumpled with fear, and these people went out of their way, into the eye of the danger, to help. That was incredible. At a time like this, it was refreshing to see in such a negative, negative day."

Tweet from @Bderby11: I cannot believe what I witnessed last night. My heart aches for those who lost loved ones. Stay strong Las Vegas #prayforvegas pic.twitter.com/oQIDqyn2DJ

Derby remains in Las Vegas, because he is unable to get to his car, which is parked below the Mandalay Bay hotel where the shooter was located.

"I was actually staying at the Mandalay Bay on the 28th floor, so [four] floors under where the shooter was," Derby said. "My truck and my sister's car are in valet. We valeted the cars when we got here and apparently the shooter did the same, so they have that entire valet lot locked down. It's currently being investigated by the FBI."

For his part, Derby is still processing his experience, and what likely will be the permanent impact of that horror, and the sorrow and realization of his extraordinary luck in the face of hundreds of heartbreaking tragedies.

"To be honest, it hasn't even been 24 hours, so I've kind of been walking around today in a haze," Derby said. "It's weird to be walking around Vegas. ... There are people that were involved or even just were around the area at the time, and you can tell because they have a certain look on their face. Everyone's walking around like they saw a ghost.

"For me personally, processing this information is going to take a while. It's kind of one of those things where you always say that you never imagine yourself being in that position where you're running for your life and you're trying to make sure you have your loved ones by you. Because when there's thousands of people sprinting out at the same time all trying to survive, it gets dangerous. And I'm not talking about the shooting, I'm talking about stampeding and people trampling over each other. That's where it gets scary and deadly as well.

"Processing it is definitely going to take a little time on my end. I think it's definitely one of those things where you have to accept what happens and try to move on from it."

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Bubba Derby

Brinson, Burnes honored as top Minor Leaguers

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Lewis Brinson's latest visit to Miller Park was "a little bit" bittersweet. He'd hoped to be part of the Brewers' chase for the Wild Card, but a season-ending hamstring injury in August dashed those hopes.

So Brinson, MLBPipeline.com's top Brewers prospect, was in street clothes when he arrived Tuesday to accept his Robin Yount Performance Award as the organization's Minor League Player of the Year. He was honored alongside pitcher of the year Corbin Burnes in a pregame ceremony before the Reds-Brewers game.

Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Lewis Brinson's latest visit to Miller Park was "a little bit" bittersweet. He'd hoped to be part of the Brewers' chase for the Wild Card, but a season-ending hamstring injury in August dashed those hopes.

So Brinson, MLBPipeline.com's top Brewers prospect, was in street clothes when he arrived Tuesday to accept his Robin Yount Performance Award as the organization's Minor League Player of the Year. He was honored alongside pitcher of the year Corbin Burnes in a pregame ceremony before the Reds-Brewers game.

Full Game Coverage

"Coming in here and seeing all the guys again and they're in the middle of the playoff race, it's definitely bittersweet," Brinson said. "Very humbled to receive this award, but at the same time, I'd really like to be up here and be playing."

Brinson was up in the Majors twice this season but went 5-for-47, including his first two Major League home runs. It was a different story at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where Brinson batted .331 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .962 OPS in 76 games.

Video: MIL@WSH: Statcast™ measures Brinson's 441-foot homer

Brinson beat a crowded field to win the organization's top honor.

"It was a very hard choice. Legitimately, there were three or four guys who were considered -- Brett Phillips, Monte Harrison, even Troy Stokes," said Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan, who added Jake Gatewood to the list of contenders. "There were some other guys, too. It was a really tough choice and you couldn't go wrong.

"In the end, we kind of deferred to Lewis because coming into the year, he had that status where everyone was kind of watching. … He was a difference-maker on both sides of the ball in Triple-A."

Brinson's season ended Aug. 14, when he sustained a left hamstring injury running to first base. Brinson has been rehabbing at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, hitting in the cage and tracking live pitching to keep his eye sharp. He will play for the Brewers' instructional league team when he is ready.

If Brinson was a hard choice for the top player honor, Burnes, the Brewers' No. 7 prospect, was an easy one among pitchers. The 22-year-old, taken in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft, went 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 26 starts between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. His ERA ranked third among qualifying pitchers at all levels of the Minors.

"One thing he does is he kind of pitches with anger," Flanagan said. "He's kind of angry on the mound a little bit. [Brandon] Woodruff was that way at times in the past. Not that they're angry guys, by any means, but on the mound, they are real competitors. That's something you can't really teach on the development side."

Coaches did play a role, however. Burnes cited a mechanical change that began in Spring Training to get his body more square to the plate and better involve his legs. The result, Burnes said, was improved command.

"I was able to, from opening day to the end of the year, just stay consistent," Burnes said. "That was the biggest thing for me, was to go out every day and give it what I had. Some days I didn't have certain pitches working and the command wasn't great every day, but I just wanted to keep my head on straight and continue to play the way I did."

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

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Lewis Brinson