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Pitchers and Catchers Report: Milwaukee Brewers non-roster invitees

Who will be fighting to make the 40-man in Arizona?

Minor League Baseball: Florida State League-All Star Game Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Happy baseball day! Continuing our Pitchers and Catchers Report series, we’re taking a look at all of the non-roster invitees playing with the Milwaukee Brewers at the American Family Fields in Phoenix. In total, the Brewers will be joined by 14 players, ranging from veterans trying to make the roster and farm players.

The Crew is bringing seven pitchers, two catchers, four infielders and an outfielder. Let’s take a moment to get to know the players who could fight their way onto the big league club.

RHP Zack Brown

Brown is Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect. In 127.2 innings, Brown went 9-1 with a 2.40 ERA. His control is solid, as shown by his 2.6 BB/9. The fastball can sit in the low-90’s and he has a solid curveball. He likely will start the season at AAA, but is could be a candidate to make an impact in the pen or rotation this season.

RHP Bubba Derby

Derby was acquired in the 2016 Khris Davis trade. He’s a fastball/change up pitcher. In his first full season at AAA, he three 118.1 innings with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.496. Derby has pitched mostly as a starter, but profiles best as a long reliever.

RHP Deolis Guerra

Guerra was signed by David Stearns in December. In parts of three years at the Major League level, the 29 year old Guerra has pitched in 73 games and thrown 95.0 innings with a 4.17 ERA, 7.11 K/9, and 2.08 BB/9.

RHP Jon Olczak

Olczak is one of the Menomonee Valley Nine’s top relief prospects. He spent most of his season at Biloxi in 2018, throwing 56.1 innings with a whopping 1.44 ERA. He’s not a strikeout specialist, but limits base runners with a .959 WHIP.

LHP Angel Perdomo

Perdomo is another minor league signee with an invite to camp. Still just 25, Perdomo has never even reached AA. In seven seasons as a member of the Blue Jays org, Perdomo has a 3.25 ERA and a 10.4 K/9. He struggles with control, as shown by his 4.4 BB/9 and a 1.293 WHIP. Perdomo has pitched primarily as a starter, but Milwaukee may be able to get more out of him sooner with a transition to relief.

RHP Miguel Sanchez

Sanchez is the other noteworthy reliever in the Brewers’ farm system alongside Olczak. In 2018, Sanchez progressed through three levels — granted, he only threw two innings in AAA — and had a 2.52 ERA in 64.1 innings. He limits base runners and had a 13.3 K/9. Sanchez could make a major impression and find himself helping secure early innings for the Cream City Nine’s already amazing pen.

RHP Burch Smith

Smith is a 29-year-old journeyman who’s rarely appeared in the majors. Smith has only pitched in parts of two Major League seasons. The first was in 2013 with the San Diego Padres, and then again in 2018 with the Kansas City Royals. Throughout his career, Smith has a 6.77 ERA in 114.1 IP with a 9.7 K/9 and a 4.8 BB/9.

C Tuffy Gosewisch

The veteran minor leaguer was signed in December to help with organizational depth. He hasn’t had much success during his brief stints in the big leagues, hitting .190/.228/.271 in 137 games over the course of 5 seasons. He was most recently with Seattle in 2017 and only played in 11 games.

C Payton Henry

Henry is one of the top catchers in the Brewers’ farm system. With a solid defensive profile, it’s easy to understand why Milwaukee wants Henry to come to Arizona to help catch all the arms that will be throwing during side sessions. Otherwise, he’s headed back to the minors for more development.

3B Lucas Erceg

Erceg is a power bat who spent all of last season at AA. He’s seen a decline in his production as of late, but still has a lefty power profile with good defense.

IF Jake Hager

The Brewers acquired Hager last season and he was very productive in the minors. Across AA and AAA, he hit .284/.348/.472 with 11 homers. He’s played 3B, SS and 2B over his career. He could be the Tyler Saladino of 2019.

2B Keston Hiura

Never heard of this guy before, amirite?

Hiura is putting his bat on display for the higher ups. They’ll be looking to see how the second baseman handles himself against big league and AAA arms. He will certainly begin the year in the minors, so his appearance is more for coaches to see him up close.

IF Nate Orf

We’re all very familiar with Nate Orf’s story after he was a mid-season hero for Milwaukee last year. Orf can hit very well but has almost no power. He plays most infield positions and can handle the outfield in a pinch.

OF Corey Ray

Ray greatly reestablished himself as a value to the organization in 2018. After the season where he had 27 homers and 37 stolen bases. He struggles with strikeouts, but if he continues to progress, he can be at least a fourth outfielder in the next season.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference