Milwaukee Brewers: Colorado Springs Sky Sox Midseason Update
By Isaac Buttke
The Triple-A All-Star Game is almost upon us. This means that the Colorado Springs Sky Sox’s season is nearly halfway done. How is the Milwaukee Brewers top affiliate performing so far?
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, have gotten off to a decent start to the season. They currently sit in second place of their division at 34-30. This puts them five games back of the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Naturally, the results in the standings aren’t as important as individual developments in the minors though. How are the players doing to start off the season?
Colorado Springs Sky Sox All-Star Contenders
Arguably the top All-Star contenders on the roster is also one of the brightest prospects. In 59 innings pitched, Freddy Peralta produced a stellar 2.75 ERA with 84 strikeouts. He walked his fair share of batters (27 walks allowed), but perhaps more importantly he’s keeping the ball in the park. Peralta allowed only one home run during the first half of the season, a difficult task in the thin Colorado air.
Another player with a strong case for an All-Star spot is catcher Christian Bethancourt. After giving up pitching, his renewed focus on hitting is really showing. He’s hitting .310 with eight homers and 33 RBI across 48 games this year.
Mauricio Dubon would be in this category as well if he hadn’t injured his knee. Prior to being out for the year, the infield prospect was batting .343 with four home runs and six stolen bases. His defense was suspect (seven errors in 27 games), but his bat more than made up for his shortcomings with the glove.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Pitching
Peralta isn’t the only intriguing arm on the roster. Top pitching prospect Corbin Burnes is also with the Sky Sox. He cooled off considerably since the beginning of the year, as he now sports a 4.96 ERA and 1.45 WHIP heading into the All-Star break. However, he’s still fanning batters at a solid clip; Burnes has 71 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched.
Another top performer in the rotation is Adrian Houser. He began the season with Double-A Biloxi, but he garnered a pair of call-ups to the Milwaukee Brewers as well. Houser only has three starts with the Sky Sox since he was only sent to Triple-A at the end of May, but he holds a 2.70 ERA in those brief appearances.
Moving on to the bullpen, the best arms at this point are right-hander Jorge Lopez and left-hander Tyler Webb. Both relievers have big-league experience, which is showing in their Pacific Coast League performances. Lopez relies more on soft contact and control to keep opponents at bay, as is evidenced by his strong 1.08 WHIP. Webb, on the other hand, utilizes the strikeout more to his advantage, whiffing 22 batters in 17.2 frames this season.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Hitting
Seemingly always contributing well in the minor-leagues, Nate Orf continues to play well with the Sky Sox. His .285 batting average is the highest on the team out of players with at least 200 at-bats. He’s also second on the team with 14 stolen bases and tied for first with 37 runs scored.
With whom is he tied? None other than former big-league center fielder Keon Broxton. The speedy center fielder is having an up-and-down year with Colorado Springs, but his counting stats are looking solid at this point. He has seven home runs, 37 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. Strikeouts are still a major concern for him though, as he already has 93 K’s in the first half.
One other name to watch is Brad Miller. He just joined the team after a trade brought him into the organization from the Tampa Bay Rays. He played his first game with the Sky Sox on Thursday, going 1-for-4. However, in true Brad Miller fashion, he struck out twice and even committed two fielding errors. It will be interesting to see if he can shore those shortcomings up in order to get an opportunity in Milwaukee.
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These performances have the Sky Sox right in the thick of the division race. Of course, it’s tough to take all the numbers at face value given the environmental conditions in Colorado Springs. Regardless, there’s plenty to be excited about with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate this year.