On Friday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced award winners throughout their minor league system.
The Milwaukee Brewers have named OF Lewis Brinson and RHP Corbin Burnes the Robin Yount Performance Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Both players showed how valuable they will be for the future.
Brinson slashed .331/.400/.562 this season for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He will be a top of the order threat and will also steal some bases in the Major Leagues. He was tearing the cover off of the baseball, before injuring his hamstring last month, essentially ending his season.
Burnes has been even more impressive this season. Across two levels of the minor leagues, he compliled an 8-3 record with a 1.67 ERA over 145 2/3 innings pitched. He started 26 games, striking out 140 while only allowing 36 walks. Burnes has a bright future in the middle of the Milwaukee Brewers rotation.
What does the past tell us?
A look at past winners of the awards reveals that this doesn’t guarantee success at the big league level. Position players like Taylor Green (’11), Hunter Morris (’12), and Jason Rodgers (’13) all won the award. However, none of the three went on to make an impact in the Majors.
On the pitching side, we have seen players like Amaury Rivas (’09) and Johnny Hellweg (’13) tear up the minors one year, only to disappear the next. Hellweg made a brief appearance with the Crew, Rivas on the other hand never even made it to the Majors.
What’s happened to the recent winners
Although, there have been plenty of players who never fulfilled their promise, there have been just as many who lived up to the hype. A look at recent years shows some players who are already making an impact for the Crew.
Jimmy Nelson (’14), Orlando Arcia (’15), and Brandon Woodruff (’16) have been vital to the Brewers success this season. Without Nelson, this team would have fallen apart when Chase Anderson hit the DL.
Instead, Nelson delivered his best season in the Majors, before suffering an injury of his own recently. Woodruff seized his opportunity with the Brewers while Anderson was injured. With Nelson out for the year, he has also helped stabilize a depleted rotation down the stretch.
Isan Diaz won the Player of the Year award in 2016 for Milwaukee. He, like Arcia, profiles as a superior defender at multiple positions. This season Arcia has far exceeded expectations. We all know he is a magician with the glove, but he has been a force at the plate this season as well. With second base up for grabs, Diaz could follow a similar path as Arcia.
Brinson is the future in center for Milwaukee and has showed that this year in the minors. Burnes will be a big part of this rotation within a couple of years. However, he will need to show that he can have the same success at the highest level of the minors first. These two are a big part of the foundation for the success to come for the Crew.