Baseball’s offseason has now officially begun. Although nothing too significant has happened yet to this point, there have been an array of signings, trades, and waiver wire activities taking place around Major League Baseball. The Milwaukee Brewers are among the teams who have already begun work on personnel moves for 2020, and earlier this week the club announced that the re-signing of two minor league players who would have otherwise been able to depart via free agency:
Roster moves: RHP Justin Topa and INF Patrick Leonard have been signed to minor league contracts for 2020.— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) October 29, 2019
Leonard, who turned 27 in October, began his career as a fifth-round pick of the Royals back in 2011. He has never appeared in the big leagues but has bounced around between affiliates with Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Chicago (AL), and now Milwaukee over the past nine seasons. Leonard enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2019 while playing for Double-A Biloxi, batting .301/.375/.459 with 10 homers and nine steals in 403 plate appearances. His 143 wRC+ in the pitcher-friendly Southern League was the third-best total among qualified minor leaguers in the organization. Leonard has previously spent time at third base and in the outfield corners, but he was a full-time first baseman in 2019. His return will help shore up an otherwise uncertain depth chart at the cold corner in the upper minors.
Topa, who turns 29 next spring, was an independent ball signing this past spring. He has previously battled injury but thrived in his first year as a full-time reliever, posting a 2.19 FIP in 16.0 innings for the Carolina Mudcats before getting called up to the Shuckers and working 24.0 innings over 18 appearances with a 2.63 ERA and 2.71 FIP. He punched out 41 total batters while issuing only 10 walks, and just one batter took him deep. Topa can throw up to 99 MPH with his heater and was identified as someone that the club should consider retaining in our Minor League Free Agency preview post.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs