The calendar is now into February, meaning we’re less than two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona.
Ahead of that, we’re hearing which minor leaguers in the Brewers’ much-maligned system will have a chance to work with the big leaguers — and perhaps improve their prospect status — with invites to big league camp. Adam McCalvy has the names on the list:
Brewers just announced some big league camp invites:— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 31, 2020
3B Lucas Erceg
C Mario Feliciano
C Payton Henry
LHP Clayton Andrews
RHP Zack Brown
RHP Thomas Jankins
RHP Drew Rasmussen
RHP Miguel Sanchez
LHP Ethan Small
RHP Aaron Wilkerson
Feliciano and Henry are likely among the invites to serve as camp catching bodies for the slew of pitchers that are set to report in a couple weeks. Erceg is likely headed back to Triple-A to repeat the level this year, but with third base among the positions that look to be fluid at best right now, a strong camp could put him on the call-up radar later in the season.
The arms are where things get a little interesting as the team still figures to possibly have a bullpen spot or two up for grabs on the Opening Day roster. Zack Brown was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year just a couple years ago, but struggled with his control in his first go-around at Triple-A and also got hit hard with that level using the aerodynamic MLB ball, ending with a 5.79 ERA in 25 games (23 starts).
Ethan Small, last year’s first round pick, could potentially be a fast riser in the Brewers’ system this year and will get a chance to prove that by starting the spring in big league camp. The 6’3” left-handed spinrate savant dominated less advanced hitters in his first taste of pro ball last summer, allowing just 2 earned runs in 21 innings, striking out 36 and walking just 4 between rookie ball and low-A Wisconsin. Small turns 23 on Valentine’s Day.
The team could still potentially add more non-roster invitees in the coming weeks, and just because a player isn’t on these lists doesn’t mean they won’t get a chance to get a taste of the big league side of the complex. You’ll remember Brice Turang was brought over the play multiple games with the big league club last spring less than a year after being drafted out of high school to play some innings at shortstop and experience the way things work in a big league clubhouse.
The players above join the slew of others David Stearns signed to minor league deals with invitations to big league camp over the winter, including Tuffy Gosewisch, Logan Morrison, Jace Peterson, Keon Broxton, Shelby Miller, Justin Grimm, Mike Morin, Jesus Castillo and Jake Faria, who was outrighted after being designated for assignment earlier in the offseason.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference