As the Arizona Fall League churns along, a quartet of Milwaukee Brewers' pitching prospects is making a big impression. Leading the way is Adrian Houser, who is starting for the Surprise Saguaros and logged another stellar outing on Thursday, allowing three hits and a walk over five scoreless innings. Houser is now 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA through five starts (19 IP), with 12 strikeouts and eight walks.
The Brewers relief contingent of Jacob Barnes, Josh Hader and Damien Magnifico have been stellar as well: the three pitchers have combined for a 0.78 ERA in 23 innings, with Barnes in particular having yet to surrender a run. Hader leads Surprise in strikeouts with 15 over 10 innings of work, and Magnifico is tied for the team lead with a pair of saves. Houser is already on the 40-man roster and Hader doesn't need to be yet, but Magnifico and Barnes will need to be added to avoid the Rule 5 draft -- the Brewers currently have five openings on their roster.
In less encouraging news, we now have some answers as to why Michael Reed was scratched from his start on November 2 as well as from the AFL Fall Stars roster. Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers shut Reed down for the season after he reported experiencing some soreness in his right knee and hamstring. At this point the move appears to have been made out of an abundance of caution, though it's never good news to hear that a player is experiencing pain. He ends his AFL campaign with just a .211 batting average but a solid .388 on-base percentage on the strength of 11 walks, which still easily leads the Saguaros despite him not having played all week.
Other news and notes:
- The Fall Stars Game (do you get it) took place Saturday, and three Brewers prospects were involved. Shortstop Yadiel Rivera didn't have his greatest night, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout while being charged with a throwing error. Magnifico and Barnes posted matching pitching lines of one scoreless, hit-less inning with a strikeout. The West All Stars, for whom Milwaukee's prospects played, won the game, 8-3.
- Nathan Orf, whose .464 batting average would lead the AFL if he had enough at bats to qualify, has not appeared in a game since being scratched along with Michael Reed on Nov. 2. There hasn't been any news regarding Orf's status and he apparently remains with the team. Additionally as I covered last week, Brett Phillips has left the Saguaros to play with Team USA at the Premier 12 tournament in Taiwan. This leaves Rivera as the only Brewers hitter to record any statistics last week and he cooled off a bit, going 3 for 17 with seven strikeouts.
- The Saguaros have opened up a three game lead in the AFL West Division after a four-game winning streak put their record at 13-8. Their magic number is down to seven to clinch a spot in the AFL Championship Game set for Saturday, November 21.