David Stearns is entering his fifth year on the job as the primary decisionmaker for the Milwaukee Brewers, and one specific area of organization-building that he has been far more aggressive in than his predecessor is mining talent from the independent leagues. Last season, no less than a dozen players that suited up for Milwaukee’s various minor league clubs were signed by the org out of one of the unaffiliated leagues. Stearns has continued his quest to strengthen that pipeline this offseason, adding two more indy ball grinders to the ranks. First was lefty Chris Lee from St. Paul, and more recently, Garrett Mundell from Winnipeg:
The contract of RHP Garrett Mundell has been purchased from the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association.— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) January 21, 2020
Mundell, a soon-to-be 27 year old right hander, began his professional career in 2015 when the Yankees selected him as a senior sign in the 23rd round of the draft out of Fresno State. He put up largely stellar numbers in the low minors, but was also old for his league and was never pushed to the higher levels by the Yankees. He made it as high as A-ball in 2016 and 2017 but for some reason was relegated back to short season ball in 2018 even after a successful run as Charleston’s closer the year before. He was released at the end of Spring Training in 2019 in spite of his 2.03 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, and 2.6 BB/9 across 120.0 career innings pitched.
Mundell landed with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the Canadian American Association for the summer of 2019 and immediately became one of the top bullpen arms in the league, capturing the circuit’s relief pitcher of the year award at the end of the season. He made 39 appearances (and finished 39 games) while compiling a 2.32 ERA across 42.2 innings. His 20 saves led the league, and his 4.33 K/BB ratio (52 strikeouts versus 12 walks) ranked second-best among qualified relievers. That superlative performance led the Winnipeg Goldeneyes of the American Association to purchase his contract from Trois-Rivieres during the first week of January, and the the Brewers in turn purchased his rights from Winnipeg 10 days later.
Mundell remains inexperienced at the higher levels of the minors; he’s likely to be assigned to Class A-Advanced or Double-AA for the first time and will also be advanced in age compared to his peers in those leagues. But his build — 6’7” and 265 lbs — statistical profile, and demonstrated stuff will make him an interesting arm to following in 2020 and going forward.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference