Spring Training is truly in full swing as minor league pitchers and catchers reported on March 7th for the Milwaukee Brewers, with minor league position players set to report tomorrow as camp officially begins. After losing their player development contract with AAA Nashville last year, the Brewers have done plenty to shore up their minor league depth during this offseason: Bryan Petersen, Matt Long, John Ely, and Wifrin Obispo are just a few of the experienced minor league players that Milwaukee brought aboard during the winter. Earlier today, it was reported that the Brewers have added another two minor league players to the fold.
Ariel Estades was originally drafted in the 17th round by the Kansas City Royals in 2012. Estades will be 21 years old this season, bats left, throws right, and has played both left field and center field in his minor league career. Estades has a career .232/.328/.275 line in 248 minor league plate appearances, playing in only four games and accruing nine plate appearances last season. He was released by the Royals organization on July 1st last year. Estades has NO power; he has zero career home runs and only seven career extra base hits, and strikes out far too often (21.3% career K rate) for a slap hitter. He has at least shown a solid eye at the plate (career 11.3% walk rate) and good speed (16 steals in 71 games). He has a strong arm in the outfield, as well, with nine outfield assists in 70 games. Estades has yet to play above rookie level, and will likely be assigned to a similar level as he starts his career in the Brewers system.
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Tyler LaTorre was signed by the Giants in 2006 following his collegiate career at UC-Davis. Davis will turn 32 this year, which will be his tenth career minor league season. LaTorre is primarily a catcher, having made 301 of his 352 minor league fielding appearances behind the plate, but has also made 35 appearances at first base, as well. In 1399 minor league plate appearances, LaTorre has a .242/.337/.333 slash line with 77 extra base hits, including 14 home runs. He has thrown out 25% of base runners attempting to steal over his career. For those who love position players that can pitch (like my fascination with Brooks Kieschnick), LaTorre has also made seven appearances on the mound in his career, giving up two runs in 7.1 innings pitched with a couple of strikeouts. LaTorre has spent the majority of his career at AA (226 of 441 minor league games) and will likely report there again this year. The Brewers have several exciting pitching prospects who will be in Biloxi this season (Taylor Williams, Brooks Hall, and Tyler Wagner among them), and LaTorre’s experience and veteran presence behind the plate should help these promising pitchers as they continue to develop on the farm (think Crash Davis with Nuke LaLoosh).