Milwaukee Brewers: Prospects in the Arizona Fall League
The Milwaukee Brewers have a number of prospects taking part in this year’s Arizona Fall League. This article takes a look at those players and what their outlook is moving forward.
The Arizona Fall League is one of the most prestigious places to showcase organizations’ top talent. Each team brings their top prospects to play against other top prospects in what hopes to be a matchup of future stars.
The Milwaukee Brewers will have eight players from the organization playing for the Peoria Javelinas this fall. Let’s take an in-depth look at each future Brewer who will be participating in the festivities.
Arizona Fall League Participant #1 – Keston Hiura, 2B
Hiura is the Brewers’ top prospect, so it comes as no surprise that he’ll take his talents to Arizona. The second-year pro began the season with High-A Carolina, but earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi after slashing .320/.382/.529 with 26 extra-base hits in 50 games with the Mudcats. He continued to produce with the Shuckers, slashing .272/.339/.416 with 26 more extra-base hits in 73 games.
Hiura’s biggest calling card is his bat, but the more promising development is that he’s been able to play the field without issue. While at UC-Irvine, Hiura was limited to DH duty due to an elbow injury. With that injury seemingly in the rearview mirror, he appears to be the second baseman of the future for Milwaukee.
Arizona Fall League Participant #2 – Trent Grisham, OF
Grisham is a former first-round pick, though he went by Trent Clark when he was initially taken. He hasn’t really lived up to his billing to this point, as his power and speed haven’t developed as many would have hoped. His eye at the plate is outstanding though, as he walked nearly as much as he struck out with Double-A Biloxi this season.
Grisham is a solid fielder who can play all three outfield spots, and given that he’s just 21 years old, he has time to recoup his first-round value to make an impact at the major-league level in the coming years.
Arizona Fall League Participant #3 – Mario Feliciano, C
Feliciano missed a chunk of the 2018 campaign due to injury, but there’s a lot to like here. He made his full-season debut at age 18 with Low-A Wisconsin and hit .250 with 22 extra-base hits for the Timber Rattlers. This season, he amassed just 165 plate appearances and hit a mere .205, but he improved his fielding by throwing out 35 percent of would-be base stealers (compared to 27 percent the year prior).
The teenager has an above-average arm and expects to have a solid bat, so playing in the Arizona Fall League could be an important step in his development behind the plate.
Arizona Fall League Participant #4 – Jon Olczak, RHP
Despite straying outside of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospects list, Olczak is a very intriguing arm in the Brewers’ system. He broke out this season with Double-A Biloxi, posting a 1.44 ERA and allowing hitters to bat just .180 off of him. The righty also allowed just one home run all season as well, which is vital for success at Miller Park.
Olczak will be a relief pitcher moving forward, but if he can sustain his success over the next couple seasons, he certainly could provide a good numbers of innings in middle relief for the Milwaukee Brewers a couple years from now.
Arizona Fall League Participant #5 – Bubba Derby, RHP
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Derby has never been a top prospect, but he’s been very serviceable every season and is now knocking on the door of the big leagues. His 4.49 ERA this year certainly does not turn too many heads, but the most interesting part of his game this season was his ability to keep the ball in the park at Colorado Springs. Derby allowed less than a home run per nine innings with the Sky Sox, which is certainly a tall task in the thin Colorado air.
Given the young starters coming up for Milwaukee, it’s hard to see Derby cracking the rotation, but he certainly has the potential to be a solid long reliever in the future.
Arizona Fall League Participant #6 – Miguel Sanchez, RHP
Sanchez certainly isn’t the first name that comes to mind when talking about Brewer pitching prospects. However, he should be popping up soon after this past season.
He began the season with High-A Carolina and finally found some success in full-season ball, producing a 2.53 ERA and a 12.7 K/9 in 21.1 innings. That was against younger competition though, so the Brewers tested him at Double-A Biloxi. He continued to shine there, sporting a 2.63 ERA and a 13.6 K/9 in 41 frames for the Shuckers.
Sanchez even landed a couple innings Triple-A as a result of all this success. He walks a few too many hitters, but this breakout could have him pitching in Milwaukee as soon as next summer.
Arizona Fall League Participant #7 – Weston Wilson, 3B
Wilson, a 17th-round pick back in 2016, surprised many by producing an .887 OPS in the Pioneer League right after being drafted. He hasn’t been as good as that in the following two years, but hitting .274 with 13 home runs and 62 RBI with High-A Carolina is nothing to scoff at.
His production went down a bit after a promotion to Double-A Biloxi at the end of the season, but Wilson’s power and ability to play all over the diamond (he played every position but center field and catcher for the Mudcats) put him in a good place to carve out a utility role for the Milwaukee Brewers in the future if his bat continues to play.
Arizona Fall League Participant #8 – Daniel Brown, LHP
Brown is the most interesting selection to participate in the AFL. He was drafted 10 rounds earlier than Wilson in 2016, but Browns career simply hasn’t taken off. He produced a 4.20 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in the Carolina League this year, and his 61:34 K:BB across 64.1 innings isn’t overwhelming.
That said, he is left-handed and has given up a grand total of six home runs over the past three years. If he can cut down on the walks, Brown could become a decent lefty specialist in the big leagues one day.
The Milwaukee Brewers have an intriguing mix of top prospects and under-the-radar youngsters heading to Arizona for the next couple months. All these players have some excitement surrounding them, and hey, maybe you’ll even get to see them at Miller Park one day.