Late in the week the rosters were announced for this year’s iteration of the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is a league that plays annually following the completion of the regular baseball season and is used as a showcase and proving ground for MLB prospects. This season, our Milwaukee Brewers will be sending their minor leaguers to play for the Peoria Javelinas alongside prospects from the Braves, Padres, Mariners, and Rays.
The Brewers will send eight representatives to the AFL, with the group headlined by top prospect Keston Hiura. Last year’s first round pick has already made his way up to the AA level and has hit .268/.330/.416 with six homers and 10 steals in 70 games and 294 plate appearances for the Biloxi Shuckers in 2018. Starting 62 of those games at second base should help put to bed concerns about his elbow health, and he projects to be an average defender with a plus bat for the position.
Joining Hiura in Arizona will be three other position players and four hurlers:
OF Trent Grisham
Milwaukee’s first round pick in 2015 has had an underwhelming season in his first go-round at AA Biloxi. He’s still only 21, but Grisham has yet to really show off any other skills beyond drawing a walk. He’s hitting .234/.357/.342 with seven home runs and 10 steals across 392 plate appearances while spending most of his time defensively in right field. Grisham has fallen to #19 among the club’s top-30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
C Mario Feliciano
The Brewers tabbed Feliciano in the second round of the 2016 draft, and this year the 19 year old backstop has failed to build off a promising 2017 campaign while battling injuries. He’s been limited to 42 games and 165 plate appearances for the Class-A Advanced Carolina Mudcats, and when on the field he’s hit only .205/.282/.329 with three home runs while throwing out 30% of would-be base stealers. Feliciano is currently Milwaukee’s #23 prospect.
UTIL Weston Wilson
Wilson was a 17th-round pick back in 2016 who so far, has played well above his draft position. The 23 year old made starts at every position except catcher and center field while suiting up for the Mudcats this season and batted .274/.330/.446 with 13 dingers and seven stolen bases across 424 plate appearances. He was recently promoted to Biloxi, where he has recorded eight hits - including a home run - through his first nine games.
LHP Daniel Brown
A lefty chosen in the 7th round back in 2016, Brown has spent the season coming out of the bullpen in Carolina. There the 23 year old has worked to a 4.20 ERA across 39 appearances and 64.1 innings. He’s struck out 61 of the 289 batters he has faced in 2018, but has also struggled with his command while issuing 34 walks and hitting five others.
RHP Bowdien Derby
The righty affectionately known as “Bubba” is armed with a spllit-change he calls “The Falcon” and has been in the organization since the Khris Davis trade before the 2016 season. He was a valuable swingman for the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox this year, appearing in 30 games and starting 16 while covering 114.1 innings. He posted a 4.49 ERA - pretty solid given the park/league environment - and allowed only nine home runs while punching out 93 batters and walking 48.
RHP Jon Olczak
This 24 year old has been one of my favorite relief prospects in the org since he was selected in the 21st round in 2015. Olczak unleashed his plus fastball/slider combination on the Southern League this year and compiled a tremendous 1.46 ERA in 43 games and 57.2 innings. He registered six saves while piling up 63 strikeouts and a 0.954 WHIP - just 37 hits and 18 walks allowed, along with one lonely home run.
RHP Miguel Sanchez
Sanchez wasn’t your typical international free agent, signing out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 22 back in 2016. He started the year in Carolina but has since climbed the ladder to Biloxi and the Colorado Springs. Along the way he has found work in 33 games and tossed 62.1 innings with a cool 2.60 ERA. Sanchez has walked 22 batters while whiffing 90, and his astounding 13.0 K/9 across all levels is among the organizational leaders down in the minor leagues.
The 6-team Arizona Fall League begins play this year on October 9th. The annual Fall Stars Game is scheduled for November 3rd, and the league championship will take place on November 17th in Scottsdale.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference