Milwaukee Brewers: Biloxi Shuckers 2018 Preview

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 20: Nick Franklin
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 20: Nick Franklin /

Minor-league Opening Day is finally here! With the Milwaukee Brewers’ affiliates announcing their rosters recently, it’s a good time to look ahead at what 2018 has in store for the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers.

The Southern League team recently released their Opening Day roster and have a number of intriguing players, including 11 of the Milwaukee Brewers top 30 prospects.

Shuckers Starting Pitchers

Three top prospects are featured in this section of the roster. Luis Ortiz is the top pitching prospect on the roster, but Cody Ponce, Zack Brown and Kodi Medeiros are also tabbed for rotation spots. Adrian Houser is expected to work as a starter for the squad, but those plans will wait for now while he spends time in the big league bullpen. Needless to say, the future is bright with these starters.

Shuckers Relief Pitchers

There aren’t a lot of top prospects in the relief corps, but there are a few names to keep in mind. Nick Ramirez is returning to the team after producing a 1.37 ERA in 79 innings pitched last season. However, he’s expected to get some more reps at first base as well, which could make for an interesting season. Tristan Archer, Josh Uhen and Angel Ventura also make their return to the Shuckers’ ‘pen.

One other name to keep in mind is Nate Griep. “The Grim Grieper” collected 30 saves as High-A Carolina’s closer in 2017. He may not close for the Shuckers, but he has a lot of potential.

Shuckers Catchers

The Shuckers will begin the season with three catchers on the roster. Tyler Heineman joins the team after spending 2017 at Triple-A. He batted .281 with a pair of homers at that level. Dustin Houle will make a return trip to the level after producing just a .620 OPS with at Double-A last year.

The most interesting catcher of the bunch is Nick Franklin. He has a wealth of Major League experience, but it’s mostly as an infielder. He is converting to catcher, so he’s worth monitoring all season.

Shuckers Infielders

On the infield, all eyes will be on the corners. Top prospects Jake Gatewood and Lucas Erceg are expected to man first and third base this year after breakout 2017 campaigns. Wendell Rijo and Blake Allemand are also returning to the Shuckers for 2018.

The lone newcomer is Jake Hager. He spent his entire career so far with the Tampa Bay Rays organization. However, they cut him loose after he could only muster a .603 OPS with Triple-A Durham last season.

Shuckers Outfielders

Biloxi is carrying just three outfielders on the roster, but they’re all pretty special. Former first-round draft picks Trent Grisham and Corey Ray headline the bunch as they progress up the organizational ladder. Troy Stokes is also a noteworthy prospect after swiping 30 bases and hitting 20 homers between two levels last season.

Next: Colorado Springs Sky Sox 2018 Season Preview

The Shuckers may be very pitching-heavy to start the season, but the whole roster is very intriguing. Between the Milwaukee Brewers top prospects and appealing storylines, this team is worth tracking this year.