Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings have officially come and gone for 2019, with Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft wrapping things up before the various beat writers, job seekers, and front office personnel headed back towards home. For the third straight year, the Milwaukee Brewers did not select any players in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The club didn’t lose anyone in the MLB phase, either, despite leaving their top pitching prospect and #3 overall (per Baseball America and MLB Pipeline) Zack Brown unprotected.
The Brewers also did not select any players in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, but they did lose four unprotected prospects from their system who were snapped up by other clubs. Here are the players who will have new homes for 2020, including at least one farmhand who might be recognizable:
RHP Nate Griep || Colorado Rockies
Griep was a starter at Kansas State University when Milwaukee selected him in the 8th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, but he’s served as the closer at just about every stop he’s made climbing the minor league ladder. All together, Griep has pitched to a 3.17 ERA across 203 outings and 253.0 innings pitching, registering 110 saves. According to 20-80 Baseball, the now-26 year old Griep works in the 92-93 MPH range with his fastball, along with an average mid-80s changeup and a fringy, sweeping slider in a similar velocity band. Griep hasn’t missed a ton of bats for a reliever (8.3 K/9), but he generates a good amount of deception with “a head whack and funky delivery” that helps his stuff play up and generate weak contact. Griep’s control and command, especially of his off-speed stuff, has been what has held him back. But he could eventually make himself into a middle-reliever or shuttle-type pitcher.
C/UTIL Bryan Torres || San Francisco Giants
Torres signed with the Brewers as an international free agent back in July 2015 when he was 17. He has posted solid batting averages and on-base percentages while playing for Milwaukee’s lower-level affiliates, but has never hit for much power. He spent three years in the Dominican Summer League and another two in rookie ball, only advancing to a full-season level for the first time this past year, appearing in eight games for the Carolina Mudcats. Altogether he is a career .278/.359/.354 hitter with a pair of homers and 41 stolen bases in 767 plate appearances, and this past season he batted .283/.373/.356 with 21 steals in 67 games for the Rocky Mountain Vibes. 22 year old Torres has played catcher (where he’s thrown out 45% of would-be base thieves) as well as first, second, third, and left field.
RHP Jordan Brink || St. Louis Cardinals
Once upon a time, Brink was an 11th-round pick of the Cubs back in 2014. He lasted though the end of the 2016 season and threw roughly 30 innings in that organization before getting cut loose, then pitched in independent ball for parts of the next three seasons after that. The Brewers inked him out of the Frontier League this past summer, where he had posted a 2.04 ERA and 55:13 K/BB ratio in 35.1 frames with the Southern Illinois Miners. He used the @FlatgroundApp Twitter to gain notoriety, showing off a fastball that topped out at 99 MPH. The soon-to-be 27 year old tossed 5.1 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, one walk, and just one hit allowed for Milwaukee’s AZL Gold affiliate.
@flatgroundapp @PitchingNinja @drivelineBB @TopVelocity @TreadAthletics Jordan Brink RHP— Jordan Brink (@jordanbrink_) July 19, 2019
Frontier League: 24.1 IP 36 K 9 BB 2.21 ERA
FB 95-97 T 99
*previously affiliated w/ Chicago Cubs 2014-2017* pic.twitter.com/caIsvqpj5t
RHP Michael Petersen || Colorado Rockies
Born in Middlesex county over in the UK, Petersen was a 17th round pick of the Brewers back in 2015. He unsurprisingly struggled to prevent runs during two years in the Pioneer League, but he posted solid numbers at Class-A Wisconsin in 2018 (3.46 ERA in 67.2 innings) and then again for the Carolina Mudcats in 2019 (3.00 ERA in 54.0 innings). He is no stranger to working multiple frames (198.0 IP in 102 career appearances) and has the type of frame you can dream on at 6’7” and 195 lbs. According to Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, the 25 year old throws “up to 98 with a plus breaking ball” and is “a lightning in a bottle type of add.”
Statistics courtesy Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs