It was a year to forget for the Milwaukee Brewers. On the field, the team had its first losing record in three seasons. Off the field, superstar Ryan Braun was watching from afar after being suspended for his involvement with a PED clinic.
The Arizona Fall League, and the offseason as a whole, can be a therapeutic time for fans of teams like the Brewers. A time to put 2013 in the rear view and look ahead to the future.
The Brewers team up with prospects from the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox to form the Surprise Saguaros. The AFL season starts tomorrow, here’s a snapshot of the Brewers prospects headed to the desert this fall.
Taylor Jungmann – One of Milwaukee’s best prospects, Jungmann was drafted 12th overall in 2011. The 6-foot-6 right-hander had some control issues this season in Double-A that he’ll surely be looking to troubleshoot down in Arizona. He had a 4.33 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in Huntsville over 26 starts. He gets a lot of outs on the ground, so he doesn’t necessarily need to overpower hitters to be effective.
Mitch Haniger – Another first rounder, Haniger was the No. 38 pick in the 2012 draft. In his first full season of pro ball, the 22-year-old hit .264/.348/.431 with 11 home runs and 57 walks. A center fielder in college, he also got some work in right field this season. The AFL will be a good test on whether or not Haniger is ready to face more advanced pitching.
David Goforth – It was a big year for Goforth, who put up his best numbers and seemed to transition nicely to the bullpen after being promoted to Double-A. Pretty much every pitcher wants to start, but turning his focus on developing into a reliever should accelerate his path to Milwaukee. The 24-year-old had a 3.17 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 125 innings during the regular season. He hasn’t been a strikeout pitcher, averaging 6.8 K/9, but his fastball is regularly in the upper 90s.
Jason Rogers – A 25-year-old former 32nd rounder, Rogers isn’t going to show up on any top prospect lists, but he took big strides this season. He smashed a career-high 22 home runs while posting a .468 slugging percentage this season in Double-A. He spent most of his time at first base this year, but he’ll see some action in the outfield in the AFL. At 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, however, Rogers isn’t the most nimble guy.
Kevin Shackelford – After a rough start in High-A, Shackleford was bumped up to Double-A and was dominant, Go figure. The 6-foot-5 right-hander had a 5.06 ERA when he made the jump to Huntsville, but he gave up just three earned runs over 29 ⅓ innings (0.92 ERA) after the promotion. The AFL will be a good test of whether or not he’s turned the corner.
Tyler Cravy – Cravy has put up some nice strikeout totals in past years, but he saw a dip this year despite putting together a successful campaign. This season, the right-hander had a 2.04 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 79 ⅓ innings, but his K/9 has dipped from 11.0 to 9.4 to 6.7 over the past three seasons. He’s 24-year-old and has yet to reach Double-A, so Cravy is more organizational depth than a prospect.
Adam Weisenburger – Drafted in the 34th round in 2011, Weisenburger has never been a prospect, but he did have somewhat of a breakout this season. After hitting below the Mendoza Line in his first time at Double-A last season, the catcher hit .251/.367/.394 with five home runs in 63 games.
For more on this year’s Arizona Fall League, check out our Fall-Winter Leagues hub.