Today is Major League Baseball’s deadline to add eligible players to the 40-man roster and protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, and clubs all around the league have been busy announcing transactions regarding which prospects they’ll be safeguarding. The Milwaukee Brewers have not yet made an official announcement about who among their 50+ eligible players will be added, but there has been an early report regarding a pair of minor leaguers who will have their contracts purchased. Neither one is exactly a surprise:
The Brewers will add outfielder Corey Ray (No. 4 on MLB Pipeline's list of Milwaukee's top prospects) and reliever J.P. Feyereisen to the 40-man roster today to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. We'll see if more are added by the 7 p.m. deadline.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 20, 2019
Ray became Milwaukee’s highest draft pick of the decade when he was selected 5th overall in 2016, the first year of the David Stearns regime. But heading into his age-25 season, his development has thus far been disappointing. He has often been plagued by injury and was limited to 69 games across three levels in 2019, during which he hit a cumulative .218/.291/.363 with 106 strikeouts. Swing-and-miss has been an unexpectedly significant problem for Ray, who was considered to be a polished hitter coming out of Louisville. Even during his best year, when he won Southern League MVP in 2018 for Double-A Biloxi, he struck out 176 times in 135 games. Overall, Ray is a .235/.311/.406 hitter with 47 home runs and 77 steals in 1,665 minor league plate appearances. His speed and defensive ability in all three outfield spots should help Corey become at least a bench player, but the front office undoubtedly is hoping for more than that from the left-handed hitter.
Feyereisen is a native of River Falls and pitched collegiately at UW-Stevens Point. A former 16th round pick of the Indians, the right-handed pitcher was included as part of the Andrew Miller trade and pitched the last three and a half years in the Yankees’ org. Never considered highly as a prospect, Feyereisen has nonetheless dominated batters throughout his minor league career, pitching to a 2.49 ERA across 307.2 innings and 217 appearances. He’s long missed plenty of bats but took his whiff rate to a new level this past season in Triple-A, punching out 94 batters for a 13.8 K/9 rate in 61.1 innings. He also posted a 2.49 ERA and 1.109 WHIP. The soon-to-be 27 year old throws a hard fastball accompanied by a slurve, and is something of a spin-rate darling. He’s also previously been a student at Driveline Baseball and embraces analytics. Feyereisen was acquired from New York in a trade in early September for prospect Brenny Escanio and international bonus pool money
If those are the only two players added, that would leave Milwaukee at only 35 players on the 40-man with still five spots available for outside additions. The deadline to purchase the contracts of eligible players is this evening at 7:00 pm central.
These two transactions are now official. Along with recently acquired infielder Mark Mathias, the Brewers now have 36 players on their 40-man roster. They leave Zack Brown, Braden Webb, and Lucas Erceg unprotected, among others.
OF Corey Ray and RHP J.P. Feyereisen have been added to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 36. pic.twitter.com/9pULx0p8YW— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) November 21, 2019
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference