The Milwaukee Brewers have a partnership with the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League. Former Brewers catcher Dave Nilsson is part of that organization and has been instrumental in helping the Brewers find some winter ball playing time for their young prospects.
This winter, the Brewers have sent seven minor leaguers to the Bandits for more seasoning. Those prospects are 2022 CB-B pick Robert Moore, catcher Darrien Miller, and pitchers Justin King, James Meeker, Max Lazar, Brannon Jordan, and 2022 11th round pick Cameron Wagoner.
So far in Australia, all of the Brewers prospects they sent to the Brisbane Bandits have been playing well and are thriving in their opportunity.
There hasn't been a single Brewers prospect that's been performing poorly so far for the Bandits, which is great news to hear. Let's check the stats.
Starting with the hitters, 2022 CB-B pick Robert Moore out of Arkansas is spending his first professional offseason still playing. In 24 games with the Bandits, Moore is hitting .290/.380/.516 with six doubles, five homers, 13 stolen bases, and an .896 OPS in 93 ABs. He's shown a mix of power, on-base ability, and speed, plus his solid defensive work. Those were all the ingredients that led to him being a projected Top 10 pick early on before a tough season at the plate for Arkansas dropped his draft stock.
Catcher Darrien Miller, a 9th round pick by the Brewers in 2019, is also hitting well in Australia, posting a .280/.352/.453 slash line with 10 doubles, one homer, two stolen bases, and an .805 OPS in 75 ABs. Miller had just 12 doubles in over 300 ABs with High-A Wisconsin in 2022 so the high rate of extra base hits is nice to see.
On to the pitchers now, the Brewers have two starters they sent to Brisbane. 2022 11th round pick Cameron Wagoner is one of them and in his six starts, Wagoner has a 3.38 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 26.2 IP. On the downside, he's allowed 13 walks in those 26.2 IP, which gives him a 4.4 BB/9 that will need to decrease as he goes forward.
The other starting pitcher is Max Lazar, an 11th round pick in 2017. Lazar was putting himself on prospect radars in 2019 when he put up a 2.33 ERA across the low minors with 119 Ks and just 15 walks in 85 IP. After the lost 2020 season, Lazar also lost the 2021 season due to injury and returned to pitch just 40 IP in 2022 and had a 3.83 ERA.
With the Brewers looking to get the 23 year old some more innings and ramp him up, they sent him to Brisbane where he's posted a 3.10 ERA in six starts covering 29 IP with a stellar 37:3 K/BB ratio. Just three walks in his six starts. He's continued to show that impeccable command and strikeout ability.
The remaining three pitchers are relievers with Justin King posting a 2.70 ERA in nine appearances covering 10 IP with 20 strikeouts and seven walks. The walks are a bit high but so are the strikeouts, plus he hasn't been hurt too much by those walks coming around to score. Brannon Jordan has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 IP over eight appearances with 20 strikeouts and just four walks.
The star of the bullpen has been 27 year old James Meeker. He's been the closer for the Bandits, converting 7 of 7 save opportunities, posting a perfect 0.00 ERA in 12 appearances covering 14.1 IP with 18 strikeouts and just five walks. The Brewers signed Meeker out of independent ball in 2021 and he's put up a career 1.97 ERA in the minors for them ever since, making it all the way up to Double-A at the end of the 2022 season.
So far so good for all the Brewers prospects down in Australia. Every single one has been playing well for the Bandits and showing positive signs in their development.