Brewers Spring Training is almost here and the next big step toward an actual baseball season isn’t just a chance for big league players to ramp up to the regular season. It’s also a chance for some of the younger guys to get some experience with the parent club.
Every year, a number of non-roster invitees get to attend Spring Training and are given a chance for some extra development. Last week, the Brewers announced an initial list of players who received their invite for 2021 Spring Training.
It will be fun to see how every player on this list will fare during their time with the big league club this spring. But there are a few players who have a little extra intrigue for fans to look out for during the Spring Training season.
Here are three names from the list that will be particularly interesting to watch over the course of Brewers Spring Training.
OF Garrett Mitchell
It’s hard for fans not to have a ton of anticipation for Brewers 2020 first-round draft pick Garrett Mitchell‘s first game action this spring, especially considering he hasn’t yet played his first professional game for the organization yet.
While many 2020 draftees got to see time at their teams’ Alternate Training Site last summer, the Brewers chose not to add any of their five draftees from last year to last squad. Mitchell did participate in the team’s Instructional League during the fall, but a quad injury limited him while there.
Mitchell and his 70-grade speed, among other highly-graded tools, debuted on MLB Pipeline’s initial 2021 Top 100 Prospects list at No. 65. So it’ll be great to finally see that talent in a Spring Training game ahead of the first minor league action of his Brewers career.
LHP Quintin Torres-Costa
Once upon a time, Quintin Torres-Costa was on the cusp of breaking into the bigs with the Brewers as he put up a combined 1.31 ERA and 0.945 WHIP across Double-A and Triple-A back in 2018. Tommy John surgery at the end of that season ended up temporarily derailing that dream.
Once healthy, Torres-Costa got a small amount of action at the end of the 2019 minor league season at the Rookie level and then got to participate in 2019’s Arizona Fall League for the Brewers, giving up just two earned runs over nine appearances. But the lack of a minor league season in 2020 made it unable for him to parlay that into any further success.
If Torres-Costa can continue to show that he hasn’t lost a step since his injury, he could potentially prove to be a valuable tool down the road. With Alex Claudio gone, the only confirmed lefty in the Milwaukee bullpen is Josh Hader, leaving a need that a player like Torres-Costa could fill if he can show that he is ready.
RHP Zack Brown
At one point, Zack Brown was the cream of the crop for Brewers pitching prospects. In fact, at No. 8, he finished 2018 as the highest ranked pitching prospect in Milwaukee’s system per MLB Pipeline and was named the organization’s minor league Pitcher of the Year after that season.
2019 saw Brown take a step back, however. Be it the “juiced ball” at Triple-A or just the jump in competition, he struggled to the tune of a 5.79 ERA and 1.731 WHIP over 25 games with the San Antonio Missions.
In a piece for The Athletic ($), Will Sammon spoke to Brewers VP of Minor League Operations Tom Flanagan about Brown’s progress, among others, at the Alternate Training Site and the reviews were encouraging. Does that mean Brown could be the next minor leaguer to step up and contribute, much like Drew Rasmussen and Justin Topa last year? Spring Training may give us our first hint toward that answer.
After a 2020 season that was one unlike any other, it will be a relief to see a Spring Training that will hopefully at least somewhat represent something close to normal again.