Minor League free agency officially began yesterday, and the Milwaukee Brewers announced via their player development Twitter that over a dozen players who had been with the organization are now available on the open market. That includes infielder Ryon Healy, who was recently outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected to become a free agent, essentially amounting to a non-tender as he would have been arbitration eligible this winter.
Healy, 28, was signed to a one-year contract last December after he battled injuries and was cut loose by the Seattle Mariners in 2019. Like most of Milwaukee’s signings last winter, he was a bounce back candidate who did not work out. Healy spent most of the summer in Appleton at the alternate training site and appeared in only four regular season games for the Brewers, recording one hit in seven at-bats. He found himself as a cleanup hitter for Milwaukee in the postseason and went hitless in three trips to the plate.
In addition to Healy, several other minor league players became free agents. This includes a handful of players that were not initially identified as heading towards the open market. They include:
- Johan Belisario
- Anthony Bender
- Keon Broxton
- Preston Gainey
- Jake Gatewood
- Tuffy Gosewich
- Nelson Hernandez
- Chris Lee
- Julio Mendez
- Shelby Miller
- Dylan Prohoroff
- Ronny Rodriguez
- Trey Supak
- Aaron Wilkerson
Wilkerson, Broxton, Miller, Rodriguez, and Gosewich are all former big leaguers. Gatewood was a first-round pick by the club back in 2014. Chris Lee and Anthony Bender were both Indy ball signees; I personally saw and got to know Bender while he pitched for the Milwaukee Milkmen this summer, and his stuff can be nasty when his delivery is right — 97 with movement and a devastating slider. He’s a great guy, too.
Most notable on this list is probably Trey Supak, who was the Southern League pitcher of the year in 2019. He owns a 3.48 ERA in more than 500 innings pitched across all levels and is currently rated as the #15 prospect for the Brewers by MLB Pipeline, which obviously hasn’t updated yet to include his free agency. Supak got one day of MLB service time this year but did not appear in a game and was outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this summer. His pitch-to-contact approach is not one that is valued very highly by MLB organizations these days, but it’s tough to overlook his minor league success.
In addition to all the free agents, the Brewers did make a couple of signings. First, Alec Kenilvort has been brought back; he’s a former Indy ball signee who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Also added to the fold was Jamie Westbrook, a 25 year old former 5th-round pick of the Diamondbacks. He’s played all over with most of his experience coming at second base and in left field, and is a career .280/.334/.431 hitter in 781 minor league contests. He was a member of the Giants org this past season but with no minors being played, he found work in the Constellation Energy League — the pop-up independent circuit hosted by the Sugar Land Skeeters. In 98 plate appearances there, Westbrook hit .294/.347/.553 with five home runs.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference