Milwaukee Brewers Farm Report: Colorado Springs Sky Sox June 1-23


The Sky Sox are 9-11 (.450) in the month of June, which is actually an improvement over their over all 28-41 (.406). Obviously they haven’t been great this year, though the team has fed a few useful pieces to the Big League club, and should see even more players migrate as the Brewers trade away key pieces.

So today we’re going to base our hot or not’s on the whole month of June to this point, because I’m a schmuck.

Who’s Hot

Elian Herrera has continued his AAA dominance since returning to Colorado Springs early this month while playing mostly 2B and LF. Including his final game with the Brewers, Herrera has hit .392/.436/.510 in June, similar to the likewise ridiculous slash that earned him the promotion in the first place. He currently has an OPS north of 1.000, and an even .400 batting average in 107 plate appearances with the club.

Tyler Cravy has continued to impress in AAA, performing even better after his spot start with the Brewers than before. Including his start with the Crew, Cravy has allowed an opponent OPS of just .577 in June, outstanding considering no luck seems to be involved (.304 BABIP). He has a K:BB ratio of 21:4 in that time and owns a 2.19 ERA.

The back end of the Sky Sox’s bullpen has been strong in June, beginning with Jaye Chapman, who was called up from the Shuckers at the start of the month. He was immediately placed in the closer’s role, and he has yet to give up a run in that role with the Sox, throwing 12 strikeouts against one walk over 8 2/3 innings and four saves.

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Most were four- or five-out saves, despite not coming to the team from Biloxi as a closer. It is clear the organization is playing the hot hand, and it is working exceptionally thus far. Chapman now has an opponent OPS of .485 and a 0.59 ERA across AA and AAA, with some serious luck having its hand in his gaudy numbers.

Michael Kirkman is having a bizarre season, but so far it has worked in his favor. He has a lopsided .155/.351/.224 opponent slash line over 16 2/3 innings, stifling bats, but walking nearly a batter per inning (!). He has given up zero runs in June, but owns an FIP over 4.50 this year. There is some real luck going on here as well, and unless Kirkman can get his walks under control, he may lose effectiveness shortly.

On the other end of the luck scale, Ariel Pena has been good considering his .340 opponent BABIP. Most of that came in April when he gave up a .971 OPS thanks to a .421 BABIP. Pena’s June is giving the organization hope, as the flamethrower has cut his walks and held batters to a .211/.244/289 slash with a .308 BABIP. Pena’s FIP is just 3.39, and he has a 3.47 BB/9, a huge improvement over his previous numbers in the Brewers farm system.

Who’s Not

Tyler Thornburg has had a tough time of it in 2015, and he does not seem to be coming out of it. He has given up 14 earned runs over 19 2/3 innings in June, and has an opponent slash line of .338/.398/.550 over that time. His ERA with Colorado Springs is now 5.13 on the year while striking out just 6.5 batters per 9 innings.

C Nevin Ashley is coming down hard from a great month of May, posting an OPS of .488 in thusfar in June, after joining the monthly .300/.400/.500 club just last month. He does profile as a strong defender, and has a .777 OPS over the year, and I still think he would be the organization’s third catcher if offensive black hole Juan Centeno wasn’t several years his junior.

1B Matt Clark is also coming off of an outstanding May with a weak June, owning a .581 SLG% in May and a .328 SLG% in June. It is worrying to see such suppressed power numbers given Clark’s profile and his homer friendly home field. The hope is that Clark bounces back quickly as the trade deadline approaches, as he’s the likely replacement should Adam Lind be traded.

2B/3B Pete Orr is 36 years old, and relies on a high average to maintain offensive value. And while his walk rate is up from last year, Orr is far from the player to maintain value while hitting just .213 in June. His OPS is now .716, which is acceptable, but it’s also 80 points lower than his OPS at this time last month.

I think we have a real chance at seeing every member of this week’s Who’s Hot section in the Majors this year, with the possible exception of Kirkman, who looks like a serious regression candidate. Of course Chapman will regress as well, but his peripheral numbers imply he has been a strong reliever. If Ariel Pena continues to succeed (in the face of poor luck), his career in the Majors should begin soon.