Milwaukee Brewers: Who were the best players at High-A?
The Carolina Mudcats finished the year 65-74, but there were several impressive seasons for the prospects with the Milwaukee Brewers High-A affiliate. But who was their top pitcher and best hitter?
The Mudcats had seven mid-season All-Stars, but the Carolina League made this easy. The Milwaukee Brewers High-A affiliate had the league MVP and the Pitcher of the Year, despite missing the playoffs.
Who took home the hardware for the Carolina Mudcats in 2019?
Which Milwaukee Brewers prospect was the Carolina League MVP
The Milwaukee Brewers had not one, but two top catching prospects in High-A in 2019. However, only one earned Carolina League MVP honors.
Catcher Payton Henry may have started the year in front of Mario Feliciano on most top prospects lists, but it was Feliciano who earned MVP honors.
Feliciano slashed .273/.324/.477, and lead the league with 19 homers. He drove in 81 runs, scored 62 times, and managed to steal two bases in three attempts. It’s odd to say that a 20-year old revitalized his career, but that’s exactly what Feliciano did. He was getting outshined by Henry, but turned in a solid season, and reestablished himself as a prospect.
Feliciano should start 2020 in Double-A, but he has one more year before the Milwaukee Brewers have to protect him from the Rule V draft. Unless there’s a rash of injuries, Feliciano is unlikely to see the 40-man roster, let alone the 25-man roster.
Who was the Pitcher of the Year for the Carolina League
Do you remember when the Milwaukee Brewers traded Domingo Santana for Ben Gamel and a prospect. The prospect in the deal was Noah Zavolas, who won the Pitcher of the Year award in the Carolina League.
Zavolas managed a 2.98 ERA in 22 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers High-A affiliate. He worked 133 innings, struck out 102, and walked only 23. He was tagged for just eight homers, and managed a 1.14 WHIP.
Zavolas ended the 2019 season on the injured list with an undisclosed injury. Zavolas was added to the IL on August 14th, but he hadn’t pitched in a the previous week and was shut down for the remainder of the season. His injury is still listed as undisclosed.
It’s worth noting that his 133 innings were a bump from the 108 2/3 innings he threw in 2018 between college and professional baseball.
Zavolas won’t turn 24 until next May, and should start the 2020 season in Double-A. He’s two years away from being exposed to the Rule V Draft, so he won’t be cracking the 40-man roster any time soon. There is a non-zero chance that Zavolas can advance to Triple-A next year if he continues to show the control and movement that earned him the 2019 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year award.