GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- With the arrival of two-time A's All-Star Stephen Vogt, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio made note of the Brewers' sudden depth at one of the organization's biggest preseason question marks: Catcher.Trading the longtime duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado forced the Brewers to start from scratch
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- With the arrival of two-time A's All-Star Stephen Vogt, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio made note of the Brewers' sudden depth at one of the organization's biggest preseason question marks: Catcher.
Trading the longtime duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado forced the Brewers to start from scratch at the position. But the addition of Vogt alongside Manny Pina, who boasts a .816 OPS at the Major League level, moved still-developing Jett Bandy to Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he'll try to find better results at the plate. At Double-A Biloxi, top Brewers catching prospect Jacob Nottingham moved past a quiet opening month to post an .804 OPS in May and .925 in June.
A little lower in the system is Class A Wisconsin's Mario Feliciano, still just 18 years old and rated the Brewers' 23rd-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com. He garnered a favorable comparison offensively to another former Timber Rattler -- Reds infielder Scooter Gennett.
"When you talk about hitters' hands or the ability to manipulate the barrel without being in perfect balance, [Feliciano] does a pretty good job of that -- probably the best I've seen as a young teenager since maybe Scooter Gennett," said Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson. "Scooter was here a while ago, but he had the same kind of skill set with his hands where he was able to manipulate the barrel and hit maybe even some pitches out of the strike zone hard to all parts of the field."
Feliciano, hitting .260/.329/.348 through his first 58 games this season, worked out with Gennett during Spring Training and was flattered by the comparison, especially with Gennett's recent four-homer game against the Cardinals on June 6.
"It's always good to be compared to a big leaguer. I got to see him play in Spring Training," Feliciano said through interpreter Fidel Pena.
Of his offensive approach, Feliciano said, "The first two pitches of the at-bat are for me. After that, when I get two strikes, it's all about the team. I want to put that ball in play, create some situations and force some runs and get the team into competition."
The Brewers selected Feliciano with the 75th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Defensively, he has come a long way since his debut in the organization, according to Erickson, by working regularly with Pena, a Timber Rattlers coach and former catcher. The two work in the cage almost every day after batting practice during homestands, focusing on exchange and footwork in an effort to clean up his throwing accuracy to second base.
"I started out a little bit shaky at first because I thought it was so easy and all that," Feliciano said. "I got kind of a little bit lazy. After that, I started having more fun, things started to change and I've been doing better ever since."
• Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson underwent an MRI scan on Friday that confirmed his strained left oblique. Anderson was administered a cortisone shot and told to expect to miss 4-6 weeks.
"That's the best-case scenario," Anderson said. "Obliques are touchy-feely. You have to make sure they're 100 percent."
• The Brewers signed 11th round Draft pick Max Lazar for $475,000, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, $350,000 of which will count against Milwaukee's bonus pool. The high school right-hander from South Florida was committed to Florida Atlantic University.
*Carson Mason * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.