Francisco Rodriguez finally reported to the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training complex at Maryvale Park over the weekend, the last of the active players that had yet to report to camp for the Brewers. With a full roster now in camp and less than three weeks until Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies on April 6th, the Brewers have started to zone in on the players that have the best chance to make an impact on the big league team coming out of Spring Training. Over the weekend, the Brewers announced that they had reassigned several players to minor league camp through a series of tweets. Six players were reassigned, leaving 44 players left in major league camp. Here is a breakdown of the players were sent down:
C Parker Berberet-age 25 season, 25th round pick in 2011. .277/.343/.390 line in 180 plate appearances in A+ in 2014, caught 22 of 50 attempted base stealers (44%).
RHP Tyler Cravy-age 25 season, 17th round draft pick in 2009. 1.64 ERA in 82.1 innings pitched across three levels in 2014, mostly at AA. Struck out 76 batters against only 20 walks with a 0.874 WHIP.
LHP Brent Leach-age 32 season, signed as a minor league free agent originally in 2013, re-signed this past offseason. Hasn’t appeared in major leagues since 2009 with Dodgers, but posted a 3.28 ERA in 60.1 innings out of AAA bullpen in 2014 with a 69|28 strikeout to walk ratio.
1B Hunter Morris-age 26 season, 4th round pick in 2010. Former Brewers’ top prospect at 1B, but has failed to live up to expectations after a big 2012 season in AA. .275/.322/.434 with 11 home runs in 401 plate appearances in 2014, missed time with broken arm. Outrighted off 40 man roster to make for Neal Cotts signing.
LHP Mike Strong-age 26 season, 10th round pick in 2011. 2.50 ERA in 75.2 innings pitched at A+ in 2014, posting a 78|23 strikeout to walk ratio. Optioned to AA Biloxi (1/3 options used).
IF Yadiel Rivera-age 23 season, 9th round pick in 2010. Slick fielding infielder has played primarily at shortstop, but bat has work to do to get to MLB level after a .258/.309/.374 in 450 plate appearance between A+ and AA in 2014. Optioned to AA Biloxi (1/3 options used).
Of the players the Brewers sent down with this round of cuts, Hunter Morris and Yadiel Rivera are the two I’ll be most keeping my eye on in 2015. Morris has seemingly fallen out of favor with the club after two disappointing seasons in AAA, and finds himself on the outside looking in of the 40 man roster situation after being passed on the depth chart by Matt Clark, Luis Jimenez, and Jason Rogers. Unless Morris can recapture the power and plate discipline that propelled him to the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year, he probably doesn’t have much longer of a future with the Brewers organization.
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Rivera, on the other hand, finally showed a little bit of ability with the bat in 2014, slugging .410 with 17 extra base hits in 58 games after a midseason promotion to AA. He will again find himself at that level to start this season, and with top prospect Orlando Arcia likely to receive the bulk of the playing time at shortstop, Rivera could find himself logging significant time at second base and third base for the Shuckers in 2015. If Rivera can fill out his 6’3″ frame a little bit and add some more pop to his bat, he could be another possible solution for the Brewers third base conundrum following Aramis Ramirez‘s likely retirement following this season.
The Brewers are currently enjoying a rare Cactus League off day following a busy weekend of games, and many players are appearing at Bob Uecker’s Front Row Classic charity golf event today. The Brewers lost all four of their spring training games over the weekend, including being swept in a pair of split squad games yesterday. The 3-9 Brewers will resume their Cactus League schedule tomorrow, facing off against the Padres and James Shields at 3:05 CST. Matt Garza is likely to start for the Brewers.