Brewers Send 5 Prospects To Brisbane Bandits For Australian Winter Ball
By David Gasper
The Milwaukee Brewers have a partnership with the Brisbane Bandits in Australia and will be sending five prospects to the land down under for winter ball.
Former Brewers catcher Dave Nilsson retired from MLB early to go back to Australia and help grow the game of baseball. He’s currently the director of baseball operations for the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League (ABL).
A few weeks ago, the Bandits and the Brewers announced a partnership in which the Brewers would send a number of their own prospects to play for the Bandits in winter ball to help them gain experience.
Now it’s known which players will be sent down to Brisbane.
The biggest prospect on this list is catcher Nick Kahle, the Crew’s 4th round pick in 2019 and 18th ranked prospect on the Brewers Top 30 list. Kahle is a strong defender that should also hit for a good average at the plate.
Looking at the rest of the list, Brandon Ramey was acquired from the Phillies in the David Phelps trade back in August. This will give the Brewers a better look at what they actually acquired since Ramey wasn’t at an alternate training site this year and all they have seen is what he did at Instructional league.
The bespectacled Matt Hardy pitched in High-A Carolina in 2019, posting a 3.32 ERA across 39 games. He was not at Brewers Instructional league this year and was signed as an undrafted free agent back in 2017.
Michele Vassalotti was another 2017 undrafted free agent the Brewers signed and he worked his way up from the Dominican Summer League to Rookie-level Rocky Mountain in 2019. In 15 starts for the Vibes, Vassalotti had a 6.09 ERA. At Instructional league, Vassalotti is reported to have improved his velocity, so this gives him a chance to showcase his improvement.
Paxton Schultz is another former Vibes player, posting a 3.86 ERA for the Vibes in 2019. Schultz was the Crew’s 14th round pick back in 2019.
Those five players will be with the Brisbane Bandits, while the Brewers are sending a sixth player, catcher Alex Hall, will play for the Perth Heat, another team in the ABL.
Across two levels of Rookie ball in 2019, Hall hit .280 with a .700 OPS and, interestingly enough, four triples. As a catcher, that’s quite impressive. Hall went undrafted in 2017 and signed with the Brewers in December of that year as an international signing from Australia.
Since American teams are no longer able to send players to the Venezuelan Winter League due to political reasons, places like the Australian Baseball League are going to become much more popular and the Crew appears to be on the leading edge of this change.
It helps to have a connection like Nilsson in the league and the Brewers are going to take full advantage.