Brewers fans have been understandably distracted by the conclusion to the Major League season. The playoffs hung in a very precarious balance until the very end, and now we won’t see the local ball team back on the field for the better part of five months.
What may have understandably fallen beneath the radar in all of the playoff chase hubbub is that the minor league season recently concluded for all of the Milwaukee Brewers affiliates. With that ending, a number of gentlemen who have played affiliated ball with Milwaukee are seeing their Brewers minor league careers coming to an end. Some have been with the organization for a really long time: hello, Tim Dillard. Others, such as Michael Blazek and Yadiel Rivera, have played big league ball with the Brewers as recently as a few months ago. A few of the departing players may only be known to the most devoted minor league aficionados, with absolutely no disrespect meant to Travis Hissong or Natanael Mejia.
So I’m here today to introduce you to the 2017 minor league free agent class for the Milwaukee Brewers. But that’s not all! I want to introduce you to the austere reality that are minor league contracts and show you the free agency dates for all active players currently on minor league deals in the Brewers system. All 297 of them.
It is a fact of organized baseball life that the organization you initially sign a minor league contract with holds your rights (and the right to pay you pitifully low wages) for six full minor league seasons. That means newly minted Brewers draftees from this past June - think Keston Hiura and Tristen Lutz - could theoretically be under Brewers minor league control through, let’s count, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022... the 2023 (!) season. My nine year old is going to be a sophomore in high school by then. And what happened to 2017 you ask? If a player signs their first pro contract in the middle of a season, that season doesn’t really count. Six full seasons, which means most players will be under team control for their first seven seasons in pro ball.
(By the way, if you are really interested in the vagaries of minor league contracts, and why wouldn’t you be, The Cub Reporter has done a lot of work on all sorts of baseball rules, including this one. No doubt written on a sunny day when the Cubs weren’t playing.)
There is of course a lot that can happen between signing your first pro deal and becoming a minor league free agent. The best outcome is that you become and stay a big leaguer long before minor league free agency becomes an issue. Even if you don’t stick as a big league player right away, many players are added to 40-man rosters each season. Those players are not eligible for minor league free agency unless they are removed from the 40-man roster. At the other end of the spectrum, many players are released before their six full seasons are up. There are many more minor league players than major league spots, which is unfortunately just the way it works.
The lists below also go some way to show how differently players develop, and in a way also goes to show why initial minor league contracts are as long as they are. Baseball simply has a different timeline for skill mastery than most other sports, and a wider possible range for completion of the timeline. For every Bryce Harper, there’s a Junior Guerra.
Take a look at the Biloxi Shuckers’ roster this past season, for example. There are players who were on that roster for much of the season who are free agents at the end of this season (Houle, Ortega, Ramirez, Reed). There are players who will be free agents after next season (Coulter, Taylor, Betancourt, Ortega, Gainey). Then there is Corbin Burnes, who would not be a free agent until after the 2022 season. Age indeed varies wildly as well. Forrest Snow is 28 and a free agent after this season; Freddy Peralta is 21 and a free agent after the 2020 season.
Players below are listed by the season after which they become as a free agent. In other words, the 2017 guys become free agents after the 2017 season, and so forth.
Minor league contracts expire at 5pm New York time, five days after the final game of the World Series. Major league contracts expire at the same time.
Finally, some notes about the free agent classes:
- Players currently on the Brewers’ 40-man roster are not included, however likely it is that some of them could be designated for assignment after the season. That said, among players with a more-than-remote chance of being taken off of the 40-man roster soon, these guys would become minor league free agents: Quintin Berry, Taylor Jungmann, Andrew Susac, Jett Bandy, Oliver Drake, Carlos Torres.
- If removed from the 40-man, Wei-Chung Wang would not automatically become a minor league free agent, but he would have the right to elect free agency as he’s already been outrighted off of a 40-man roster in the past. Technically Berry, Drake, and Torres would also have that right. As would Eric Sogard, if the Brewers removed him from the roster before he became an MLB free agent after the end of the season.
- If Tyler Webb is outrighted from the 40-man, he would remain the Brewers’ property.
- Players on Brewers minor league Suspended/Restricted lists are not included. Those players do not accrue minor league service time as long as they are on said lists. A few current examples are George Iskenderian and Kyle Beam.
- The Brewers also still hold the rights to players who voluntarily retired, even a few years ago, like Matt Miller, Tanner Poppe, and Nick Shaw.
- A few of the 2017 free agents may have already agreed to a 2018 minor league contract with the Brewers, without it having been announced as yet.
- All of the 2024 free agents were signed as “July 2” international free agents within the past few months. They agreed to contracts that begin after the 2017 season concludes. A few of them are already in Arizona to begin their pro careers in instructional league.
- The Brewers have 29 players becoming free agents after this season. That’s more than usual. They had 16 in 2016, 20 in 2015, 20 in 2014, and 17 in 2013.
- A big hat tip goes out to Jim Goulart (@Mass_Haas), who has been putting the yearly MiLB free agent lists together for years and years at Brewerfan. He also provided clarification on a number of the players below.
RHPs: Yhonathan Barrios, Parker Berberet, Michael Blazek, Aaron Brooks, Hiram Burgos, Tyler Cravy, Tim Dillard, David Goforth, Travis Hissong, Jorge Ortega, Wily Peralta, Matt Ramsey, Rob Scahill, Forrest Snow, Angel Ventura
LHPs: Andrew Barbosa, Sean Nolin, Nick Ramirez
Catchers: Rene Garcia, Dustin Houle, Natanael Mejia
Infielders: Chris Colabello, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Fidel Pena, Nick Noonan, Gabriel Noriega, Yadiel Rivera
Outfielders: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Michael Reed
RHPs: Victor Diaz, Preston Gainey, Braulio Ortiz
LHPs: Frank Lopez
Catchers: Tyler Heineman
Infielders: Javier Betancourt, Angel Ortega
Outfielders: Carlos Belonis, Clint Coulter, Tyrone Taylor
RHPs: Tristan Archer, Rodrigo Benoit, Nattino Diplan, Yosmer Leal, Daniel Missaki, Tyler Spurlin, Josh Uhen, Devin Williams
Catchers: Jacob Nottingham
Infielders: Luis Aviles, Mauricio Dubon, Tucker Neuhaus, Nate Orf, Wendell Rijo
Outfielders: Johnny Davis, Joantgel Segovia, Kyle Wren
RHPs: Jesus Brea, Joaquin De La Cruz, Marcos Diplan, Nelson Hernandez, Alec Kenilvort, Carlos Luna, Luis Ortiz, Josh Pennington, Freddy Peralta, Wuilder Rodriguez, Trey Supak, Jordan Yamamoto
LHPs: Kodi Medeiros
Catchers: Carlos Leal, Yoel Vasquez
Infielders: Dustin DeMuth, Isan Diaz, Jake Gatewood, Franly Mallen, Julio Mendez, Jonathan Oquendo
Outfielders: Monte Harrison, Nic Pierre, Troy Stokes
RHPs: Phil Bickford, Colton Cross, Bubba Derby, Jordan Desguin, Nate Griep, Conor Harber, Carlos Herrera, Karsen Lindell, Jon Olczak, Jon Perrin, Michael Petersen, Maiker Pinto, Cody Ponce, Nash Walters
LHPs: Jake Drossner, Nate Kirby, Brad Kuntz, Drake Owenby, Quintin Torres-Costa, Christian Trent
Catchers: Mitch Ghelfi, Kevin Martir, Max McDowell, Moises Perez, Bryan Torres
Infielders: Blake Allemand, Jose Cuas, Gilbert Lara
Outfielders: Trent Clark, Jay Feliciano, Demi Orimoloye
RHPs: Daniel Acosta, Freisis Adames, Luke Barker, Parker Bean, Dalton Brown, Zack Brown, Corbin Burnes, Harold Chirino, Johan Dominguez, Mike Gonzalez, Tom Jankins, Henry Medina, Jeison Medina, Jenri Montas, Jose L. Romero, Miguel Sanchez, Scott Serigstad, Jake Smith, Matt Smith, Andrew Vernon, Braden Webb, Chase Williams
LHPs: Jose Alberro, Dan Brown, Luis Cordero, Blake Fox, Blake Lillis, Cameron Roegner, Wilfred Salaman
Catchers: Luis Avalo, Mario Feliciano, Payton Henry, Cooper Hummel, Nathan Rodriguez, Jose Sibrian
Infielders: Luis Avila, Yeison Coca, Jomar Cortes, Lucas Erceg, Aaron Familia, Gabriel Garcia, Ronnie Gideon, Luis Manon, Chad McClanahan, Trever Morrison, Antonio Pinero, Nick Roscetti, Edwin Sano, Francisco Thomas, Wes Wilson
Outfielders: Ryan Aguilar, Zach Clark, Bryan Connell, Yorki Franco, Jose Gomez, Jesus Lujano, Jose Pena, Corey Ray, Caleb Whalen
RHPs: Nestor Batista, Alec Bettinger, Justin Bullock, Victor Castaneda, Wilmy De Jesus, Roberto Delgado, Dylan File, Bowden Francis, Gabe Friese, Juan Gomez, Cameron Hanes, Matt Hardy, Robbie Hitt, Landon Holifield, Max Lazar, Caden Lemons, Cody Martin, Branden Nunn, Jose Parra, Wilber Perez, Cam Robinson, Kody Rock, Jayson Rose, Austin Rubick, Bryan Salaya, Kadon Simmons, Christian Taugner, Brandon Texiera, Tyler Thorne, Victor Vasquez, Michele Vassalotti, Ricardo Velasquez
LHPs: Cody Beckman, Davison Gonzalez, Karlos Morales, Brendan Murphy, Brandon Presley
Catchers: Brent Diaz, Alex Guenette, KJ Harrison, Tyler Lawrence, Charlie Meyer, Johan Mojica, Roberto Molina, Joel Munoz, Robie Rojas
Infielders: Rafael Brito, Jean Carmona, Dallas Carroll, Kenny Corey, Jean Cruz, Nick Egnatuk, Elian Gonzalez, Devin Hairston, Keston Hiura, Julian Jarrard, Victor Maria, Ernesto Martinez Jr., Pat McInerney
Outfielders: Pablo Abreu, LG Castillo, Bryan Dimas, Francis Florentino, Rob Henry, Tristen Lutz, Alejandro Marte, Anderson Melendez, Luis Valdez, Je’Von Ward
RHPs: Leonar Colina, Santiago Elizondo, Cristian Sierra
Catchers: Jesus Chirinos, Andres Melendez, Jose D. Romero, Luis Valderrama
Infielders: Jose Arteaga, Daniel Castillo, Alberis Ferrer, Luis Silva
Outfielders: Francis Casado, Jeicor Cristian, Larry Ernesto, Juan Frias, Carlos Rodriguez, Alwinson Valdez, Vitor Watanabe