Six Brewers to play in Arizona Fall League
PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Taylor Jungmann and outfielder Mitch Haniger were among 33 former first-round Draft picks named to Arizona Fall League rosters on Monday.
Jungmann, the Brewers' top Draft pick in 2011 and second-ranked prospect, and Haniger, a supplemental first-round selection in 2012, will play for the Surprise Saguaros in the prospect-rich league, which has graduated more than 60 percent of past participants to the Majors. Also named to that team were right-handers David Goforth and Kevin Shackelford, catcher Adam Weisenburger and first baseman/outfielder Jason Rogers.
The six-team league begins play on Oct. 8.
"It is still very, very prestigious, and a chance for players to extend their seasons a little bit," said Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash. "You can't knock the results. The results are impressive of players graduating from that league to the big leagues."
The Brewers' roster is littered with former AFLers, including Ryan Braun, one of 11 league MVPs to have played in the league. Outfielders Khris Davis, Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer, second baseman Scooter Gennett, shortstop Jean Segura and pitchers Brandon Kintzler and Tyler Thornburg all played in the AFL.
"That was when I really felt like I could play with those guys," Gennett said. "Basically every day was quality, Triple-A or big league [caliber] guys. You're in the big league uniform, playing against great competition."
Gennett followed his strong 2011 Arizona Fall League with a breakthrough Spring Training with the Brewers in 2012, even though he was not a member of big league camp. On loan from the Minors, Gennett hit .450 in nine official Cactus League games, hitting for the cycle in one game against the Royals.
Davis was in the AFL last year, and followed up by cracking the Brewers' Opening Day roster.
"It's a fun time to meet other players, and that's one of the main things, the connections you make," said Davis, who also remembers the grind of his longest season to date. "I would say it's a week too long. But to start, it's pretty fun. It's laid back and you get to work on you."
Haniger, 22, was the Brewers' priority pick and should play regularly for the Saguaros. He hit a combined .266 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs for Class A Wisconsin and Class A Advanced Brevard County through Monday, and has a .353 on-base percentage in his first 138 Minor League games.
Jungmann, 23, is 9-10 with a 4.38 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A Huntsville but has struggled since that league's All-Star break, going 0-4 with a 6.30 ERA in his first eight second-half starts.
Of the Brewers' picks, the 25-year-old Rogers made the biggest jump. He entered Tuesday batting .268 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs in 127 games for Huntsville, doubling his home run total from 2012. A regular first baseman, he will play some outfield in the AFL to maximize his playing time.
Goforth, 24, was 11-8 with a 3.17 ERA for Brevard County and Huntsville, and Shackelford, also 24, had a 3.30 ERA in 41 relief appearances for those same two teams. Weisenburger hit .251 in 63 games at Huntsville.