The Milwaukee Brewers originally announced near the end of August that they would be sending eight prospects to represent the organization in this year’s Arizona Fall League, which begins play next week on September 18th — Victor Castaneda, Nathan Kirby, Quintin Torres-Costa, Clayton Andrews, Payton Henry, David Fry, Tristen Lutz, and Pablo Abreu. Shortly after that, however, we learned that Henry, Kirby, and Lutz would all be held out of action while recovering from injuries sustained late in the minor league season. Abreu was promoted from the taxi squad to a full-time slot with the Glendale Desert Dogs, but the Brewers did not immediately reveal who would be sent to fill the other two slots. Earlier today, the club finally named the players that will fill out their AFL contingent.
RHP Robbie Hitt
Hitt is a low-slot right hander who throw relies on a sinker/slider mix to attack hitters. A 24th-round pick by the Brewers out of Quinnipiac in 2017, the 23 year old split this season between the Class A Timber Rattlers and the Class A-Advanced Carolina Mudcats. He made a total of 44 appearances and logged an even 59.0 innings between the two stops, posting a 2.90 ERA with a pair of saves, both for the Timber Rattlers. Overall Hitt struck out 58 batters while issuing 28 free passes, and he allowed only two home runs during the entire regular season.
INF Jake Gatewood
A former 1st-round (supplemental) pick and top-ranked prospect within the organization, this will be Gatewood’s second go-round in the AFL. He hit .095/.204/.119 in 49 plate appearances for the Salt River Rafters in 2017. Gatewood was holding his own with 19 home runs and a 112 wRC+ during his first full season at the Double-A level in 2018 before tearing his ACL late in the season. That caused him to get a late start in 2019 and when he did get back on the field with the Biloxi Shuckers, his performance was dismal. Gatewood did crank 13 home runs, but he hit only .187/.244/.331 with 140 strikeouts in 385 plate appearances. Originally drafted as a shortstop, Gatewood spent this season playing regularly at the hot corner defensively after spending 2018 predominantly on the other side of the infield at first base. He’ll turn 24 later this month.
In addition to those two additions, the plan for David Fry appears to have shifted a little bit. The 2018 7th-round pick appeared at every defensive position except pitcher while suiting up for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season and was originally listed as an “infielder” when the rosters were released, but he’ll slide into more of a regular catcher’s role in the absence of Payton Henry. Fry was drafted as a catcher and made more starts behind the plate (62) than anywhere else this season, and he also thwarted 42% of attempted base thieves in 2019. Fry hit .258/.329/.444 with 17 home runs and 41 doubles in 134 games to lead the Midwest League with 224 total bases.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference