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Old 12-05-2018, 12:55 AM   #521
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Sorry a little bit late with this. Got a bit distracted by a side-project related to this one (the Lyerly Clone Project).
But here are the Brewers first three picks (rounds 2-4) of the 1969 draft.
Not a great deal of talent there, unfortunately. But maybe someone will develop enough to play a role eventually.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:24 AM   #522
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Relative unknown, Jesus Garcia, of the Pittsburgh Roadrunners tossed the first no-hitter of the 1969 season today against the Washington Night Train. Garcia's no-hitter is the 7th in league history and he has the distinction now of holding the record for walks allowed in a no-hitter as he was effectively wild, walking 6 while striking out 7. (Previously, the most walks allowed in a WPK no-hitter was just 2.)

Meanwhile, the Brewers completed a 4-game sweep of the lowly Charlotte Sting, winning easily, 10-2. Antonio Puente was the player-of-the-game as he collected a big 1st inning double to score Ruben Souffront for the game's first run and hit a 2-run HR in the 9th inning to end the scoring. At 10 games above .500, the Brewers are starting to gain some ground on the suddenly slumping 1st place Oklahoma City Diamond Kings.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:11 PM   #523
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It took a narrow 1-0 victory on Sunday afternoon to secure it, but the Brewers sweep the San Francisco Velocity on the road and remain just 1/2 game behind the first place Oklahoma City Diamond Kings.
Ruben Souffront continues to be one of the most valuable Brewer batters (and runners) and the pitching staff, which had started the season quite poorly, has bounced back and the team is now 2nd in the league in fewest runs allowed, 3rd in starters ERA and 4th in bullpen ERA (while also being 1st in defensive efficiency.)
There is still an awful lot of season to go, but the Mile High City is currently buzzing over their Brewers.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:15 PM   #524
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With 2 excellent starts during the week, Brewers starting pitcher Daniel Torres wins the MGL Player-of-the-Week award.

Meanwhile, the Brewers top positional prospect, centerfielder Joe McPhillips, continues to shine on his way up the minor league ladder and had a spectacular week at the plate, taking the Player-of-the-Week honors in the A-league.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:20 PM   #525
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Big news out of L.A. today as it was announced that starting pitcher Miguel Chavez has been lost for 4 months due to a torn labrum in his throwing arm.
Chavez is the second L.A. Spinners ace to suffer a torn labrum this season (Jaime Schardein was lost for the entire season earlier) and while the Spinners are still two games over .500 and not out of contention by any means, this probably means the path to the pennant for the Spinners is a long slog uphill in mud. In other words, they are probably toast.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:52 AM   #526
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I think maybe Ruben Souffront has really dedicated himself to making a point this season, especially after finding himself losing playing time in 1968 and early this season to Pat Rondeau.
Ruben doesn't have quite enough plate appearances to qualify, but if he did he would have the 7th highest batting average in the MGL. But more impressively, given that he has fewer plate appearances thus far, is that he is leading the league in stolen bases with 18 while also being 3rd in the league in RBI (43), this despite often hitting in the lead-off slot (though probably most often this year hitting 3rd or 5th in the lineup), and 3rd in Win Probability Added, and tied for 3rd in triples (5).
At the pace he is presently on, Souffront would finish the season with 17 doubles, 14 triples, 12 HR's, 124 RBI, and 52 stolen bases (and that is, at this pace, in just 483 plate appearances.)
The scouts have recently decreed that they see evidence of improvement in Ruben's throwing arm accuracy as well and this has increased his defensive value in rightfield. (His OF arm rating was 7, but is now 8, something I just noticed tonight.)

With the Brewers now tied with Oklahoma City for 1st place in the MGL, much credit must go to Ruben "Streak" Souffront!
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:09 PM   #527
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To say that the Brewers are playing well at this stage of the season would be to seriously understate the case.
With this 10-1 drubbing of the Detroit Falcons, in front of 31,571 fans, the biggest crowd at Brewers Field since opening day, the team has now gone 10-2 in the month of June and has won 13 of their last 15 contests.
They remain tied with Oklahoma City for first place in the MGL.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:09 AM   #528
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Well, that was a crazy game. And another great win.
Top prospect, Harry Lyerly, having recently been brought up to the big league club when Diego Ramirez once again went on the 10-day DL (calf strain), got his first major league start today at Brewers Field.
Lyerly was pretty much as advertised, allowing 2 HR's, but also striking out 9 and walking 3 batters. After allowing 2 runs in the first inning, he settled down nicely until allowing single runs in the 8th and 9th.
But the Brewers offense came alive in the bottom of the 9th to insure that he didn't suffer a loss in his first big league start. The Brewers 3-run 9th was keyed by a Tanner Yurek 3-run homerun. The Brewers had a good chance to end it then and there as Bobby Erbakan followed with a triple but he was stranded at third and the game went to extra innings. Neither team scored another run through the 12th inning but then the visiting Falcons strung together a pair of singles and a sac bunt to plate 1 run in the 13th. The Brewers fought back in the bottom of the inning and once again tied the game (this time Tanner Yurek tied it with a run-scoring single).
Then, finally and improbably, back-up catcher Joey Townsend sent the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the 14th inning into the rightfield seats and Brewers Field erupted in joy and relief.
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:12 AM   #529
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The Brewers, at 40-21, are now officially off to great start for the 1969 season. And while they have been getting some fine offensive contributions and at time display an explosive attack, it is once again pitching, defense, and speed which lead the way for the Brewers.
With the Oklahoma City Diamond Kings finally hitting a slump (they have lost 4 in a row) and the predicted MGL champions, the Phoenix Speed Devils treading water in 3rd place (5-5 in their last 10), and 4th and 5th place L.A. and Detroit both hovering around .500, the Brewers have been able to put a bit of distance between themselves and the pack of late. There is obviously a great deal of season left, and inevitably the Brewers have rough patches ahead of them, but the more wins they can put up now, the better they can weather the rough spells, when they come.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:00 PM   #530
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But, of course, just when the team starts getting a little cocky, the inevitable rough patch sets in. The Brewers have now lost 5 straight. It started with the bats going icy cold and has also included some inconsistency on the part of the pitching staff.
Daniel Torres (7-2, 2.57) had his worst start of the season, allowing 6 runs (all earned) in 8 innings pitched in a 9-1 loss to Brooklyn.
On the other hand, the Brewers got a very solid start from rookie Harry Lyerly in his second major league start but were unable to provide him with enough run support to get him his first victory. Lyerly worked 8 1/3, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 7 and walking just 2 batters. Many were critical of the managerial decision to leave Lyerly in the game in the 9th inning when the Brewers held onto a tenuous 2-1 lead. Lyerly gave up a solo HR to Detroit centerfielder Kurt Morgan, not known as a power hitter, to erase the narrow lead and the Falcons ended up winning the game in 14 innings.
Steve Alonso (7-3, 2.21) was also victimized by poor run support as he allowed just 2 runs (1 earned) over 7 innings while striking out 9 Detroit batters but took the loss as the Falcons outscored the Brewers 2-1.

Fortunately for the Brewers, the Oklahoma City Diamond Kings, who were the dominant force in the MGL for the first 2 months of the season, continue to tumble and are now in 3rd place. The Brewers have seen the Phoenix Speed Devils, predicted by most to win the MGL, close to within 2 1/2 games though and with a big 3-game series against the Speed Devils in Phoenix next on the agenda for the Brewers, first place is in jeopardy.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:25 PM   #531
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But before we move on to this pivotal series, this seems like a good time to look in on the top prospects in the Brewers organization and see how 1969 is treating them thus far and what the future might hold.

We will start with the Brewers top prospect (according to our scouting staff and the OSA), starting pitcher Harry Lyerly. Lyerly entered this season as #3 on the WPK Top 100 Prospects list.
First a little bit of the history: Harry Lyerly was chosen by the Brewers in the 4th round of the 1966 first-year-player draft (#94 overall) out of Jackson State. He was drafted for the potential of his electric stuff and his decent velocity, but with serious concerns about his propensity to give up the long ball and his under-developed control, he was not expected to ever contribute in any significant way at the major league level.
In spite of low expectations, Lyerly performed mostly quite well at the minor league level. Then, during the course of the 1968 season, a few dramatic things happened that elevated Lyerly's status as a prospect. First, his velocity, which had already improved from a solid low-90's when signed to mid-90's as he developed in the low minors, was now averaging in the high-90's and topping out over the century mark. But probably even more significant is that Lyerly successfully added a fourth pitch to his repertoire, a mediocre knuckle curve that is projected to possibly turn into an above-average offering, to go along with his explosive fastball, solid sinker, and very poor change-up.
And with that, a pitcher who was thought to mostly have value in dominating minor league hitters with his great fastball catapulted to the top of the prospect list.
Having started the 1969 season at AAA Chester, Lyerly was recently elevated to the big league club due to the continuing injury issues of Diego Ramirez. And in his first 2 starts for the Brewers Lyerly has continued to show great promise, while also demonstrating that troubling propensity to give up HR's.

Largely depending upon the continuing development of the knuckle curve, and the extent to which his control comes along, the Brewers scouting staff sees Lyerly as alternately having a ceiling of staff ace or top-notch closer. Others though are very skeptical of him ever reaching those heights given his inability to keep the ball in the yard.

But a few things are certain: Lyerly has already exceeded earlier expectations and the Brewers are committed, for the time being anyway, to letting him prove just how far his obvious talents, flawed as they may potentially be, can take him.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:48 PM   #532
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#2 on the list of top Brewers prospects is centerfielder Joe McPhillips. McPhillips entered the 1969 season ranked as #11 on the WPK Top 100 Prospects list.
A little history: McPhillips was chosen by the Brewers in the first round of the 1967 draft out of Norwood High School in Norwood, Massachusetts. He was the 5th player taken overall that year. Although the youngster looked a bit over-matched in the Rookie League later that season he got the ship righted when he dominated the Arizona Fall League that year. Since then McPhillips has been an impressive player and is making steady progress towards the major leagues.

About his skills: McPhillips possesses well-rounded talents and fits well in the Brewer mold. Which is to say, he is a superior defensive player with great speed and athleticism who also projects as being at least an above average hitter with some power and great plate discipline. While he has the range to play his natural position- centerfield- he also has a plus arm which gives him the potential to be an exceptional rightfielder. The organization will likely also try to get him some experience at firstbase as well, where he projects as having above average ability, in case things don't work out with Bobby Erbakan (and with firstbase being a relative weakness in terms of prospects) and with the Denver outfield being so talent-rich at this time.

What does the future hold?: Again, the biggest challenge for McPhillips has probably nothing to do with his own ability but is about the talent ahead of him at the major league level. Although the Brewers current centerfielder, Ryan Rodgers, is now in his early 30's he is also locked up in a long-term contract that could keep him on the club until his career is nearly over. And Rodgers is a superstar level player who is showing no obvious signs of diminished ability at this stage of his career. In addition, the Brewers have three other young outfielders in Antonio Puente (signed through the 1974 season), Ruben Souffront (coming into his own but potentially a free agent after the 1971 season, though the thought is the team hopes to sign him to a longer-term contract before that), and Pat Rondeau (still under team control through 1972 season), who block McPhillips path. Given his age, it is expected that McPhillips won't be ready for the bigs until 1972 or later so much can change in that time.
While some have advised that he might make for very valuable trade bait, McPhillips, with his great work ethic and all-around talent is an organizational favorite and the thought is that he is pretty much untouchable for the time being.
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:14 PM   #533
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#3 (#21 on WPK Top Prospects list): Starting pitcher Rob Ibarra.

Some history: Rob Ibarra was the first round pick of the Milwaukee Cadets in the 1965 draft as an 18-year old out of Bremen High School in Midlothian, Illinois. He was the 7th overall pick that year. He came to the Brewers on July 24th, 1966 in a multi-player trade which sent relief pitcher David Windecker to the Cadets along with 4 minor leaguers, the most significant being RHP Chris Martin, who is now a member of the Milwaukee bullpen and projected to be a very good starting pitcher as he develops. As a Brewer farm hand, Ibarra has often looked very good and has obvious talents. Unfortunately, it also has turned out that he is very injury prone and he has spent a good deal of the past few years on the disabled list, including having to receive ligament reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow in the middle of the 1968 season.

About his skills: When healthy, Ibarra displays well-rounded pitching ability with above average movement, potentially above average stuff, and mediocre control. He possesses three pitches which are already considered average to above average with the potential for a devastatingly good change-up. He has great stamina, controls the running game very well, and induces an above average number of groundball outs. But the keys words in this summary are the first two- when healthy. At this point, the rumors are that the organization is thinking very seriously about looking to trade Ibarra before the next big injury occurs and when his stock is still quite high around the league.

What does the future hold?: Well, as stated above, it might well hold a change of scenery to another organization. If the Brewers can get some solid talent in return a trade might make the most sense at this time. Unfortunately, it is starting to look like the Brewers got the bad end of the original deal that brought Ibarra to the team, especially if Chris Martin ends up reaching his potential for the Cadets. (Though it should be noted that the Brewers also got Josh McEwen in this deal, and McEwen is one of the current team leaders and after a rocky start to the 1969 season is now 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA as a middle reliever for the Brewers.)
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Old 12-08-2018, 02:36 PM   #534
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#4 (#27 on WPK Top Prospects list): Starting pitcher Steve Green.

Some history: Steve Green was the Brewers first round pick in the 1968 draft (#8 overall) after a distinguished collegiate career at St. Louis College. (He finished 2nd in the 1965 Collegiate Pitcher-of-the-Year award voting and was named to the College All-Star game in 1966 and 1967.) Green got his pro career off to a very fine start with the short-season A league Jersey City Judges and won the league's Pitcher-of-the-Year award for 1968. He continued to perform similarly at class A Bainbridge in 1969 but was showing signs of great unhappiness and management decided his talent level and age justified elevating him to AA Nashville and given him a greater challenge. His first two starts at Nashville were pretty ugly, but his third, a few days ago, was more reflective of his ability and the hope is that he will settle down and perhaps earn a promotion to AAA for the 1970 season.

About his skills: Green is a power pitcher with well developed control. He throws a mean cut fastball in the mid-to-upper 90's and has a developing slider which should be a strong second offering. He also possesses a very average forkball and much of what his future looks like will depend upon the development of his change-up, which is currently a bit below-average but has the potential to be another plus pitch in his arsenal. Green has good stamina and does a fine job of inducing groundballs, which should play well with the Brewers exceptional infield defense.

What does the future hold? If his change-up develops as expected, Green should become a solid mid-rotation starter at the major league level. On the other hand, with his plus stuff and solid control, even if his third pitch doesn't develop enough, he will likely be a capable member of a major league bullpen. Given that he was drafted after 4 years of collegiate pitching with pretty well-developed skills, Green is likely to compete for a job at the major league level sooner rather than later, likely joining the Brewers roster as early as late in the 1970 season.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:00 PM   #535
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#5 (#48 on the WPK Top Prospects list): Secondbaseman Jonathan Koch.

Some history: Koch was chosen in the supplemental 1st round of the the 1967 draft (#27 overall) by the San Antonio Keys. He came to the Brewers just a little over a month later in a multi-player draft along with starting pitcher Ricky Diaz (who left the club as a free agent at the end of the season), catcher Kevin Curtis (one of the top prospects for at least a back-up catching job on the Brewers), and Oscar Vargas (a backup infield candidate) in the trade that sent veteran star and fan favorite A.J. White away from Denver along with 3 marginal minor league prospects. Since joining the Brewers organization, Koch has shown rather advanced hitting skills while also being highly regarded for his defensive abilities at second (a weak arm being his biggest defensive liability, along with some error-proneness.) Recently Koch was selected to the Class A All-Star game.

About his skills: As mentioned above, Koch is considered a very talented defensive secondbaseman. He has good speed but needs to work on his base-running and base-stealing skills. While it isn't projected that Koch will ever draw many walks, it is believed that when he is fully developed he will be exceedingly hard to strike out and will have above average contact skills. He already is a fine gap hitter and should produce a good number of extra base hits at the major league level, though he will probably never be more than an occasional HR threat.

What does the future hold?: Like McPhillips, Koch's biggest challenge is the level of talent ahead of him. With fan favorite Tanner Yurek (signed through 1973) and emerging talent Arturo Baca already vying for playing time on the Brewers, it could be hard for Koch to crack the roster. With his under-powered throwing arm he wouldn't be a good fit at shortstop or thirdbase. He does have some ability to be an adequate leftfielder, though again weak-armed, but as has been mentioned, the outfield is not an area where the Brewers are short on talent. But given that he is at least a few years away from being major league ready, the Brewers organization are content to wait it out and see what happens.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:27 PM   #536
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Now a few notes about some interesting also-ran prospects.

Jordan Gallardo, a 21-year old centerfielder who was signed to a minor league contract out of the Dominican Republic in 1965, has never been considered anything more than a marginal prospect, likely a 4th outfielder at the major league level at best. Although Gallardo is exceedingly well-thought of as a person and a competitor and possesses well-above-average defensive and running abilities, the thought is that he doesn't have enough hitting potential to be a major league starter. And yet, thus far in his minor league career Gallardo has pretty much raked at every level. If he continues on the path he is travelling, he will surely deserve a chance to crack the major league roster. Again though, he joins a crowded field of talented outfielders in the Brewers organization.

Ali Pressley, drafted by the Brewers in the supplemental 1st round of the 1968 draft has pitched very well in the minors thus far and has the potential to be a very solid member of the bullpen in a few years time. But even more intriguingly, should Pressley develop his secondary pitches a bit more and increase his stamina a bit he could still become a promising potential member of the starting rotation. Management is high on Pressley not just due to his raw talents and great propensity to induce groundballs, but also because of his great intelligence, which they believe will increase the chances of him reaching his full potential.

Eric Johnson is also a young pitcher whose high intelligence and potential skills intrigue management. Johnson still needs a good deal of development and should perhaps be farther along than he is at his age, but if everything breaks right it is thought that he could at least be a valuable back-end-of-the-rotation guy in a few years. And, like Pressley, Johnson profiles as a very durable arm, something that the organization is learning, the hard way, to value more and more.
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:11 PM   #537
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In the midst of a 3-game series against their closest competitor for first place- the Phoenix Speed Devils- (the Brewers won a back-and-forth battle in game 1 and were beaten 3-1 in game 2), the front office decided that it was time to entertain trade offers for oft-injured top pitching prospect, Rob Ibarra.

And, according to reports from front office sources, they were overwhelmed with the quality of the players, particularly pitchers, that teams dangled for potential trade to get Ibarra. Apparently, among these pitchers offered were some young very high draft picks (including, reportedly, a former #1 overall pick) with potential to turn into solid major league starting pitchers but also with various potential deficits as well. Sources indicate that the toughest factor in making the decision about which offer to accept revolved around a philosophical debate as to the importance of focusing on what might help the team win the MGL this season versus other options that might advance the team even more in the future. In the end the team decided to split the difference and take a chance on a very talented young left-handed relief pitcher who should strengthen the bullpen this season but even more so in the future. With the knowledge that veteran lefty reliever Chris Healy is hanging up the spikes at the end of the season, it was felt that Liann-Wei Hua would provide the team with a young left-handed arm to go along with veteran David Brown next season and a probable second late-inning high-leverage pitcher to compliment right-hander Miguel Solis in the future.

As part of the deal, the Brewers also sent third-baseman Willie Chavez to Washington, making the deal financially neutral and allowing Chavez to have a chance for a re-start with another organization. Chavez put up good numbers in the Brewers organization and was part of the major league squad for parts of the last 2 seasons and was considered an over-achiever with limited potential but a great attitude.

As a result of the move space also needed to be cleared in the Brewers bullpen and the difficult decision was made to demote flame-throwing Armando Cruz, who has been plagued with poor control this season, down to AAA Chester. Cruz, at age 23, is still hoped to play an important role in the Brewers bullpen in the future, but much will depend on how well he can harness his electric stuff.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:15 AM   #538
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The Brewers are glad to see the month of June now in the rear-view mirror. Although they started off the month strong, they ended up losing 10 of the last 13 starting on June 18th, including two 5-game losing streaks. They redeemed themselves in the last two games of the month, winning a squeaker (6-5) at Brooklyn in the nightcap of a Sunday doubleheader to stop their second 5-game losing streak of the month, and then getting an easy 10-3 victory of the Velocity in San Francisco, particularly behind the big bat of Ruben Souffront, who came into the game in a bit of slump. After a 5 for 6, 3 RBI day it is probably safe to say the slump is over.

Although the Brewers managed to maintain first place throughout this rough patch (though just barely, having led Phoenix by 1/2 game coming into this game against S.F.), they will need to get off to a better start in July to hold off the Phoenix Speed Devils (now 1 1/2 gb), Oklahoma City Diamond Kings (still hanging in there at 2 1/2 gb), and recently hot Detroit Falcons and Los Angeles Spinners (3 and 3 1/2 games back respectively).
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:22 AM   #539
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The Brewers did make a small move in an effort to provide a bit more pop off the bench when they signed veteran free agent leftfielder Miguel Cardenas to a minor league contract then sent down youngster Andrew Kennedy to AAA Chester and brought Cardenas up to the big league club.
In his first game in a Brewers uniform Cardenas went 2 for 5 with a double.
The team is still very high on Kennedy's offensive potential and strong leadership skills and see a future for him with the club as a 4th or 5th outfielder, but he wasn't getting much playing time this year and wasn't hitting much so it was felt that it would be more helpful for him to get a bit more seasoning and playing time in AAA.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:45 PM   #540
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Something I find myself thinking about today (and this is a post that sort of lives partly outside of the WPK universe and partly within it- just as a warning) is the organizational trends thus far in the short history of the Denver Brewers.

I find myself wondering how much of this has to do with my biases, how much it has to do with my head scout's biases and/or my coaching staff's (up and down the organization) approaches and skills (or lack thereof), how much it has to do with the makeup of the talent in the WPK universe thus far, and how much is just luck.

There has certainly emerged a Brewers type of player (at least in terms of position players) and much of that I think is reflective of my own biases. A Brewers player is defensively gifted and speedy and usually a hard worker and a good teammate. They are often versatile. And they hit a good number of doubles and triples and even the occasional inside-the-park home run. But, by and large, they don't connect for many conventional home runs.

And it seems like even when the Brewers draft a player who seems to have the potential for at least above-average HR power, either that potential proves to be illusory or they just fail to develop at all and they languish in the minors and/or are traded away.

When I'm in front of the game again later tonight I'll be looking at minor league HR totals for my teams and how they compare to the rest of the leagues they play in, curious to see just how systemic this trend is or if my perception of things is skewed.

Not going to say much more about that now but you can expect that I will be revisiting this topic in the future. Time will tell whether there really is an organizational approach at work here or if is just the way the cards have fallen thus far. And, maybe more importantly, time will tell if the team can win with this combination of skills and deficits.

Last edited by BirdWatcher; 12-10-2018 at 09:03 PM.
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