We're a month into the minor league season and this is usually around the time to start seeing promotions up the farm system for prospects performing well. The Milwaukee Brewers just announced their first set of in-season promotions for some of their prospects.
How quickly a prospect gets promoted can dramatically impact their prospect stock and their hopes of making the big leagues. Quick moves up the ladder shows signs of confidence from the organization in the player while waiting long periods of time for a promotion shows perhaps a lack of confidence they are ready for the next level.
It was just one year ago that the Brewers announced they were promoting Jackson Chourio to Low-A Carolina. Look at how much his prospect stock has improved in that time. He's gone from nowhere on the radar, to the #1 prospect in all of baseball. Now, another player is on a similar track...
Which Brewers prospects were promoted to new affiliates today?
Brewers affiliate promotions
Outfielder Luis Lara and RHP Will Rudy were promoted to Low-A Carolina on Tuesday.
Luis Lara was an international signing in January 2022 and put up good numbers in the DSL last year. His stay in extended spring training lasted as long as Jackson Chourio's and the Brewers are promoting him to Low-A and skipping over the Arizona Complex League entirely, just like Chourio. This isn't saying that Lara is definitely going to be the very next Chourio and a #1 prospect in all of baseball, but prospect analysts and people in the Brewers organization are very high on Lara.
Will Rudy was the Brewers 5th round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft out of Cal Poly Pomona. He did not pitch last year after being drafted since he had a long season in college. and this will be his first professional game action once he gets into a game in Carolina. He has an athletic delivery with some promising stuff and is quite raw as a pitching prospect. The Brewers have likely been putting him in the pitching lab sharpening his stuff these last several months and he's now ready for game action.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
RHP Edwin Jimenez and OF Eduarqui Fernandez were promoted from Low-A Carolina to High-A Wisconsin on Tuesday.
Edwin Jimenez had been lighting up the Carolina League this year, with a 2.00 ERA in 18 IP with 23 Ks and just five walks. He spent all of last year in Carolina with some mixed results, including a 4.75 ERA, but it's clear he's made some improvements over the offseason and is ready for the next level.
Eduarqui Fernandez was a big international signing in 2018 and while it's been a slow push through the lower levels of the minors, Fernandez has turned a corner. He earned a late season promotion to Low-A last year and now has quickly bumped up to High-A. So far this year in Carolina, Fernandez has a .385 OBP and a .731 OPS. He's a power hitter that has some strikeout concerns, 22 Ks in 17 games this year, but the Brewers feel he's ready for the next level.
OF Joe Gray Jr was promoted from High-A Wisconsin to the Biloxi Shuckers while RHP Cam Robinson was demoted from Triple-A Nashville to Biloxi on Tuesday.
Joe Gray Jr's prospect shine has fallen off after his dominant first half in the 2021 season in Carolina. He struggled upon his promotion to High-A that year and when he returned to the level in 2022, he struggled again, including some complications from Lasik surgery that hampered his ability to see the ball. As a result, his strikeout rate jumped and his batting average dropped. Those issues appear to have finally subsided as he's hitting a solid .247/.321/.356 with five doubles, a homer, and five stolen bases so far this season.
Cam Robinson was added to the 40 man roster this offseason but has struggled in Triple-A this year, necessitating a move back to Double-A. He had a 6.75 ERA and seven walks allowed in eight innings for the Sounds this year. When he's on, Robinson has closer's stuff and he led the organization in saves in the minors last year. Hopefully he'll be able to reset down in Biloxi.
RHP Ryan Middendorf and IF/OF Isaac Collins were promoted from Double-A Biloxi to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday.
Replacing Robinson in the Sounds bullpen is Ryan Middendorf, an independent ball signing that has quickly moved through the ranks and now finds himself on the precipice of the big leagues. Through nine innings, Middendorf has a 6.00 ERA this year, but the Brewers must feel confident he's ready for the next level. He's also struck out 13 and allowed just three walks. He could join the big league bullpen this year.
Isaac Collins was selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft back in December. With Skye Bolt going on the IL in Nashville, they need some more outfield depth and Collins is able to play out there. Collins showcases patience at the plate, drawing 10 walks already, earning him a .404 OBP despite hitting just .222. When he's on the bases, he's a menace, already stealing nine bases so far this season.
The Brewers have made their first round of promotions. Luis Lara is the biggest prospect of the group making a move up, and the fact that he's skipping the ACL completely just makes him that much more of a player to keep an eye on.