This is the first part of a series looking into how each Milwaukee Brewers Minor League affiliate is looking heading into the 2018 season. As was the case in the last Minor League recap, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox are first on the docket.
Although the Colorado Springs Sky Sox had enjoyed success in 2017, 2018 certainly has a lot of intrigue on its own. Sure, there will be plenty of Minor League free agents and waiver claims coming into the fray. However, there is a fair amount of information already available to speculate how things will play out in 2018.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Key Losses
As far as batting stats go, the biggest loss from the 2017 Sky Sox is infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. The 30-year-old batted a scorching .345 on the season to go with 30 doubles and seven home runs. Other hitters who are slated to leave in free agency include Yadiel Rivera, Nick Noonan and Chris Colabello.
On the mound, a couple pitchers with Big League experience are heading to the market. Hiram Burgos is a free agent after a rough season in Triple-A. Yhonathan Barrios is in the same boat following a lost season. Another intriguing name heading off is left-hander Nick Ramirez. He is a converted first baseman who produced a 1.36 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A.
Finally, some players will get promoted to Milwaukee. After spending a good portion of 2017 in the minors, Brandon Woodruff and Josh Hader will spend 2018 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Brett Phillips also made a case to stay in Milwaukee, and top prospect Lewis Brinson is on the cusp of the Majors. Needless to say, there are plenty of big names leaving the Sky Sox.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Additions & Returners
Although the team is losing plenty of quality prospects, a few exciting names will make their way to Colorado Springs this spring. Right-hander Luis Ortiz pitched 94 1/3 innings with Double-A Biloxi in 2017. He’s nearly a lock to be with the Sky Sox in 2018. Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta also performed well enough to warrant a trip to Triple-A. On the offensive side of the ball, Jake Gatewood could make his way to Triple-A if he continues to rake. Mauricio Dubon should also spend much of the campaign with the Sky Sox. Additionally, Jacob Nottingham looks like the primary catcher for the Sky Sox and Lucas Erceg seems to have earned a place in the hitter-friendly environment.
As far as returners go, there are a few notable names. Speedster Kyle Wren will return after swiping 26 bases last season. Bubba Derby and Aaron Brooks seem like locks for the rotation, unless injuries strike the Milwaukee Brewers. To go with that, fan favorite Tim Dillard is also back on a Minor League contract.
Naturally, a lot can change for the Sky Sox from now until the start of spring training. However, the 2018 season is looking bright with the roster is shaping up. With prospects like Corbin Burnes and Mauricio Dubon in the wings, the team is sure to excite next year.