The month of June turned out to be a critical one for the Brewers' minor league system.
With Marco Estrada, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Alfredo Figaro all missing varied amounts of playing time due to injury, last month alone saw the promotion of four minor league prospects (Scooter Gennett, Caleb Gindl, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg) to the team's 25-man roster. Each received considerable playing time (some more than others), but none particularly stood out, further validating the fact that Milwaukee's minor league affiliates house no top-end, pro-ready arms or bats.
While that many be the case, there are a handful of projectable-type pitchers and position players in the Brewers' system who performed admirably in the month of June, elevating their stock as the All-Star break inches closer. Let's take a look at some of those players as well as those who didn't impress.
Who's Hot: Garrett Cooper, 1B, rookie-level Helena Brewers
June Line: .308/.413/.564, 4 XBH (3 HR), 6 BB/ 11 K, 0 SB (46 PA)
Milwaukee's sixth round pick earlier last month, Cooper wasted little time getting into the swing of things after signing on with the system. His first professional game back on June 20 yielded two solo home runs and has yet to not reach base safely in a single game this season. At a statuesque 6'5", 230 pounds, Cooper has immense raw power and a swing that generates plenty of loft. If he continues to hit for contact, show average plate discipline and field a decent first base, it won't be long before he get the call to low-A ball and beyond.
Who's Not: Orlando Arcia, SS, class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
June Line: .207/.298/.261, 3 XBH (HR), 11 BB/ 9 K, 4 SB (105 PA)
It was a breakout month of May for Arcia's bat, posting a .326 average while showing off a refined approach at the dish. But that high average did not perpetuate into June, as he hit just .217 over 105 plate appearances. However, that was more a product of his bat not finding holes; his refined and still improving approach allowed him to make consistent solid contact on an array of offerings, and he still managed to walk (11) more frequently than he struck out (9). Arcia's numbers aren't at all indicative of how he performed on the field, but such a drop-off in production from last month is enough to warrant a spot in the 'not' category.
Who's Hot: Tyrone Taylor, OF, class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
June Line: .438/.513/.646, 13 XBH (3 HR), 10 BB/9 K, 2 SB (114 PA)
Closing out June on a 14-game hit streak, no player within the system upped his 'prospect' status more than Taylor did this past month. Over 25 games, the 19-year-old notched 62 total bases en route to a .492 weighted on-base average and .208 isolated power rating, which are admirable power numbers for a kid who's still figuring out his swing and learning to use all corners of the field. His patience and plate discipline has improved progressively over the course of the season and, if that should continue, he'll be knocking on the double-A door faster than you might think.
Who's Not: Jason Rogers, 1B, double-A Huntsville Stars
June Line: .126/.236/.147, 2 XBH, 14 BB/ 20 K, 0 SB (110 PA)
2013 has been a mixed bag from a monthly basis for the 25-year-old first baseman. Plate discipline problems (16 K/3 BB) plagued his April campaign and a power surge in the form of 15 extra-base hits in May elevated his status within the system. Rogers struggled to find his stroke in June, though, tallying just 14 total bases over 27 games en route to a .154 slugging percentage. If he is to continue to climb the minor league ladder, he will need to tap into his power stroke at a much more frequent rate and reduce his strikeout frequency.
Who's Hot: Yadiel Rivera, SS, class-A advanced Brevard County Manatees
June Line: .310/.341/.440, 9 XBH (8 2B), 4 BB/ 11 K, SB (89 PA)
Going 3-for-28 and failing to draw a walk in his first eight games this season, Rivera's 2013 campaign began in disappointing fashion. He picked things up midway through April, however, and that transitioned well into the following months, boasting a .271/.339/.355 slash line since the beginning of May. His performance in June was particularly impressive, though, striking out just 11 times in 89 plate appearances while not committing an error at shortstop, which was a recurring problem earlier in the season. Questions remain regarding his ability to hit offspeed and breaking offerings, but if he continues to improve with the bat, he could be in double-A early next season.
Who's Hot: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, double-A Huntsville Stars
June Line: 5 GS, 1.67 ERA (3.90 FIP), 17 K/15 BB, 1.02 WHIP, 2.21 GO/AO (32.1 IP)
Milwaukee's No. 2 ranked prospect by Jonathan Mayo coming into the season, Jungmann's first month in double-A ball raised concerns about his big-league projection after he posted a April ERA of 7.77 and WHIP of 1.55 over five starts. But since the start of May, the 23-year-old has turned things around, holding true to a 2.12 ERA while holding batters to a .242 slugging percentage. He's still learning to control his long limbs and thereby improve his control, but if his recent successes continue, he will be on track to start 2013 in triple-A and have a shot at a rotation spot by the end of next season.
Who's Not: Zach Quintana, RHP, rookie-level Helena Brewers
June Line: 3 GS, 9.00 ERA (4.46 FIP), 11 K/9 BB, 2.10 WHIP, 1.73 GO/AO (15 IP)
Wooed away from a commitment to San Diego State by the Brewers in the third round of the 2012 draft, Quintana's stay in the rookie Arizona League was short stayed, and for good reason. The then 18-year-old struck out nearly a batter per inning as a reliever, and despite control issues, got the call to the rookie club in Helena to start 2013. But this season has not offered the same level of excitement toward the now 19-year-old. In three starts, Quintana has relinquished as many earned runs (15) as innings pitched (15), 'holding' opponents to a .349/.446/.540 slash line.
Who's Hot: Jed Bradley, LHP, class-A advanced Brevard County Manatees
June Line: 4 GS, 2.59 ERA (4.43 FIP), 13 K/11 BB, 1.32 WHIP, 1.79 GO/AO (24.1 IP)
Between injury and inconsistent play, reasons for optimism have been few and far between for Bradley, Milwaukee's second first-round pick two summers ago. Last May, he suffered a mild groin strain and limped his way to an ERA of 5.53 in the Florida State League. His 2013 campaign got off to a rough start, but he impressed greatly in June, posting a 2.59 ERA while holding batters to a .319 slugging percentage over four starts. The biggest concern for Bradley has been his command and propensity to leave his offerings over the middle of the plate, and while he walked 11 and struck out just 13 last month, he gave up just four extra-base hits in June and that was a product of his command toward the edges of the plate. Should that continue, he could get the call to double-A ball by the end of August.
Who's Not: Tyler Wagner, RHP, class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
June Line: 5 GS, 4.44 ERA (4.94 FIP), 19 K/15 BB, 1.52 WHIP, 2.92 GO/AO (26.1 IP)
No pitching prospect in the system stood out in May more than Wagner, who over 33.2 innings stuck out 33, walked eight and held batters to a feeble .198/.248/.298 slash line en route to a 2.14 ERA. June was a different story, as opponents made more frequent line-drive contact on his offerings, including his consistently mid-90s four-seam fastball, which led to a .269/.373/.441 line against Wagner this past month. His secondary offerings need polishing, but if he performs anywhere near the way he did in May in the coming weeks, a late-season promotion could be on the way.
Who's Hot: Gian Rizzo, RHP, AZL Brewers
June Line: 4 GS, 2.05 ERA, (3.36 ERA), 16 K/4 BB, 0.77 WHIP, 0.33 GO/AO (22 IP)
Signed as an undrafted free-agent out of Venezuela in 2011, Rizzo's first two seasons in the system produced outstanding numbers in the Dominican Summer League, striking out more than a batter per inning to go with a WHIP of 1.10. It took just three appearances there this season for him to be promoted to the Arizona Rookie League, where he hasn't missed a beat. Over ten innings, Rizzo has allowed just two hits and no runs to cross home, striking out 11 batters while walking none. The jury is out on how he's been able to accomplish it all, but if he keeps up this pace, he will make another jump by the end of the season.