Today is the deadline for MLB teams to add Rule-5 eligible prospects to their 40-man rosters to protect them from being taken in the draft. With that in mind, the Brewers have chosen to add starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann, left-handed reliever Michael Strong and shortstop Yadiel Rivera to their 40-man.
Jungmann, one of two Brewers' first round picks in 2011, had a nice bounce-back season in 2014 after struggling a bit in 2013. Splitting his time between Double- and Triple-A he made 28 appearances and posted a 3.57 ERA and 1.30 WHIP while striking out 8.6 batters per nine innings. Though he doesn't have the look of a future ace, Jungmann has developed into a player who could be a serviceable mid-rotation starter in the near future. He's also likely to see some time in the majors in 2014 as he appears to be seventh in line for a starting rotation spot.
Strong, a 10th round pick in 2011, isn't a household name when it comes to Brewers prospects, but he's looked excellent since a poor first professional season in '11. He's made just one appearance above A-ball in his career, but there's always a chance a team takes a lefty with good numbers in the Rule 5 draft. He made 31 appearances in 2014 with a 2.35 ERA and 9.5 K/9. In four minor league seasons, he's struck out 297 batters in 271 innings. Strong is already 26, so between his age and his placement on the 40-man, the Brewers may look at promoting him more aggressively this season.
Despite being just 22, Yadiel Rivera has been in the Brewers' farm system for five years already. He reached Double-A for the first time in 2014, hitting .262/.304/.410 in 58 games for Huntsville. Rivera is similar to former-Brewer Alcides Escobar in that his bat isn't particularly strong, but he is hailed as an excellent defensive player. Rivera doesn't have the speed on the basepaths that Escobar has, though. The Brewers may see Rivera as a potentially valuable bench player in the future and began giving him playing time at second base this past year in addition to shortstop.
Derek detailed a few other players who might have potentially been added to the 40-man in a post Wednesday, including Jed Bradley, Nick Ramirez and David Goforth. Of those, Goforth is perhaps the most surprising in not being added. Though he hasn't posted big strikeout numbers or particularly low ERAs, Goforth has recently been in the conversation as a possible bullpen piece in the near-future. Like Strong, he is already 26. Goforth, however, spent all of 2014 in Double-A and should be in Triple-A in 2015 if he remains with the organization.
Other notable players who will now be eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft include Tyler Cravy, Kyle Heckathorn, Manny Bareda, Kentrail Davis and perpetual 17th best prospect Cameron Garfield.
The Brewers had four 40-man roster spots open as of yesterday, so this leaves one roster spot open in case of any moves in the near-future this off season.