The Milwaukee Brewers currently have eight prospects representing the organization for the Peoria Javelinas in this year’s Arizona Fall League, and soon another farmhand will be heading to the AFL but to pitch for a different ballclub on the circuit:
Heard today that Aaron Wilkerson is going to pitch in the Fall League for Mesa (other Brewers farmhands are with Peoria) before heading to winter ball in the D.R. The righty’s MLB time in ‘18 didn’t go as planned, but he had another solid season in the Minors and is on the 40.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 26, 2018
Wilkerson, who will turn 30 next May, only accumulated 81.1 innings between the majors and minors this season after beginning the year on the minor league DL. He didn’t take the mound for the AAA Sky Sox until mid-May but turned in some strong work even while pitching in the tough environments of Security Service Field and the Pacific Coast League. He was the author of a 2.49 ERA with marks of 7.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9, and he allowed only three homers in his 15 appearances.
Aaron did spend some time in the big leagues with Milwaukee during the summer, logging three appearances - including a solid start against Atlanta on July 7th - and pitching an even 9.0 innings. His 10:3 K/BB ratio was encouraging, but he allowed 10 earned runs and coughed up four homers. His final appearance for the Menomonee Valley Nine came on July 14th, and he did not receive a September call-up for the run to the playoffs.
As McCalvy notes, Wilkerson is on the 40 man roster (and has been there for awhile now), and he would be an optionable arm that the club could use in a similar swingman capacity again next year. This could be a way to keep his arm in shape heading and stretched out after pitching his fewest in a season since 2014.
It may be worth keeping in mind, though, that Wilkerson’s peripherals in the minors trended in the wrong direction this season and his MLB velocity was down nearly a mile-per-hour from where it was during his 2017 stint in the big leagues. Perhaps Wilkerson’s upcoming appearances for the Mesa Solar Sox and then whichever team in the Dominican Republic he pitches for will be the chance for the club’s scouts to get one more look at the big right-hander before the front office needs to make 40 man roster decisions on who to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference