With the Milwaukee Brewers, I felt like just providing you with the 2016 UTR-OAS list instead of reviewing the UTR’s from previous seasons. That’s where the Brewers system is and has been for sometime with regards to UTR’s. Most mentioned from 2014 were on the cusp of either Double-A or were soon to be 25-year old’s and off the radar. The only notables from that year were Tyler Wagner and Damien Magnifico who have both reached the MLB level. It had to get better in 2015 and some ways, it did. Wei-Chung Wang was selected during the 2013 Rule 5 draft from the Pirates and pitched from the bullpen in Milwaukee in 2016. My “One to Watch” selection prior to the 2015 season was Angel Ventura, who then made the OAS roster that season. Ventura handled his advancement to HiA Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi in 2016. His stats were to be expected, except the spike in home runs allowed. He gave up as many in 2016 (12) than he did in his five previous seasons (13). Cody Ponce was a 2nd rounder from 2015 who received only 2 starts in the Pioneer League before a promotion to LoA Wisconsin. One would expect a repeat to LoA in 2016, but the Brewers tend to be aggressive and sent the 22-year old to HiA Brevard County. In 17 starts, Ponce posted an outstanding 22% K and 5% BB ratios, but was somewhat unlucky with a .348 BABIP. We’ll see if the push will continue with Ponce only seeing 118 innings of full season ball. His average control and straight-line fastball could be suspect at the Double-A level, without the seasoning at the lower level. Without a doubt, Ponce figures heavily into the future the Brewers rotation. One-time Uber-UTR Josh Hader, who I touted hard during his early time with Houston in 2014 will be in Milwaukee this season. Brandon Woodruff slid into the last spot on the 2015 UTR-OAS. The 11th round pick in 2014 had a 2016 that placed him into the future rotation discussion for the Brewers. I recommended readers to take a flyer on Jorge Ortega, as he displayed outstanding control. This didn’t carry over into 2016, as things went off the rail at the start of July, and Ortega was shutdown for the season. Just off my scope prior to the 2016 season were Freddy Peralta, Daniel Missaki, and David Burkhalter. Peralta and Burkhalter are both very young and should continue to be tracked. Missaki, who came over to the Brewers along with Peralta from Seattle in 2015, has yet to see action in a Brewers uniform. Let’s see if this years UTR-OAS roster can provide some excitement for the Brewers:
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Factor Score / TPS
1. RHP Jon Perrin – 20 / .100
23 years old – (LoA Wisconsin / HiA Brevard County / Double-A Biloxi)
27th round – 2015
Perrin got the opportunity to see LoA ball in his debut season, which isn’t too shabby for a 27th round pick. He must have impressed the Brewers staff with his 34:4 K/BB rate in 39.2 innings of work. They had to be absolutely giddy at the start of the 2016 season, when Perrin pitched 36 innings at Wisconsin and registered a 47:1 rate with a 2.50 ERA. The big bodied (6’5″- 220 lb.) righty was promoted to HiA and got a one start taste of Double-A, and enjoyed success. Perrin throws a soft fastball with sink and deception that commands both sides of the plate. Overall projection is tough to call from his sophomore season and one should see more Double-A innings. He could become a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater.
Before (or if) Perrin can take residency as a #4 or #5 type, Woodruff may fill that role sometime in 2017. Another big bodied right-hander, Woodruff led all of the minor leagues last season with 173 strikeouts in 158 innings. He never missed a beat from HiA to Double-A in registering a 27% K-rate over both levels. Of course, he was the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and could possibly rank within the Top 1o of Brewers prospects.
20 years old – (L0A Wisconsin / HiA Brevard County)
International Free Agent (Texas) – 2013
The Rangers traded Diplan, Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel to the Brewers in the Yovani Gallardo on January 2015. The aggressive Brewers gave Diplan a shot at LoA after only seeing seven Pioneer Leagues appearances with Texas. He finished 2016 with HiA Brevard County and should return with the Manatees to start 2017. If he builds upon his 2016 success early on, he could be one of the youngest arms in Double-A at 20-years old.
The Brewers sent Khris Davis to the Athletics for Derby and Jacob Nottingham prior to the 2016 season. Just before that deal, I listed Derby “Just Off the Scope” for Oakland during my “One to Watch” post. If my top three can work their way into the Milwaukee rotation over the next couple years, then Bubba Derby’s ceiling maybe that of a swing-man from the bullpen. That was basically the plan once Derby came over from Oakland, but the Brewers gave him a shot in the Brevard County rotation and was surprised with the results. If he heads to the new HiA affiliate (Carolina) to start 2017, I would look for Derby to work from the bullpen.