As the 2016 Brewers season winds down amongst tumbleweeds at Miller Park (except when the hated Cubs invade) and the Packers take over the Wisconsin sports spotlight there are still several reasons to tune into the Young Brew Crew. Since the hire of David Stearns almost 1-year ago (9/21/15) the Brewers 40-man roster and farm system have undergone a dramatic change, all for the betterment of the franchise’s future. While the Brewers provided us with some competitive play during the first few months of this season of low expectations. The bottom has fallen out since the departures of Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith and the team has been swimming upstream trying to avoid the bottom of the National League cellar. However there are several key, young current players along with top prospects who could make their MLB debut and other minor leaguers trying to make a mark in Milwaukee this September that are still worth tuning in as the Crew finishes up the 2016 campaign with 23 of their 29 games against Central Division foes. As you sift through your Fantasy Football lineup, I encourage you to at least flip on FSN because even though the present may be bleak the future is definitely bright:
SS- Orlando Arcia (22 years old) headlines the reason to watch as he has shown flashes of the gold glove potential he possesses and continues to get used to Major League pitching and prepare to become the everyday Shortstop of the future. His bat struggled out of the gate but Arcia has been on fire over the last few weeks raising his Batting Average from well under the Mendoza Line to now batting .221 to go along with his first 2 Home Runs and 12 RBI’s. The sky’s the limit, the bat just needs to continue to make more consistent contact.
3B/SS- Jonathan Villar (25) has enjoyed a breakout season and gets the month to work out the kinks over at Third base and refine his base running skills and improve his very respectable slash line of .297/.376/830. The Carlos Gomez-eske base running blunders continue to follow Villar throughout the summer. None the less, Villar has still has found himself with 52 steals and behind only Tommy Harper (73 steals in 1969 as the Pilots), Scott Podsednik (70 in 2004) and Pat Listach (54 in 1992) for the single season club record.
CF- Keon Broxton (26) spent most of the year riding the elevator between Milwaukee and Colorado Springs and was never able to settle into a groove. However, since being recalled on July 26th Broxton has shown that he has the talent and physical attributes to stay in the Majors and a slight change in his batting stance has led to a surge in OPS to .769 which, if he can keep it up, would signal that he will be the likely leading candidate to start the 2017 campaign in centerfield. The complexing part about Broxton is there is a large contingent of outfield talent waiting in the minor leagues, but he has shown he is more reliable and durable than Domingo Santana at this point.
SP-Junior Guerra- (31) was David Stearns first signing as GM of the Brewers and has enjoyed an excellent “rookie” season. A recent stint on the DL halted any of the ROY chances Junior had but a 2.93 ERA and 7-3 record to go along with 90 K’s and 37 BB’s over 107 IP has given Guerra a great shot to either slot into the upper half of the rotation in 2017 or be dealt to a contending team looking for back end of the rotation help.
1B- Chris “Sleepy” Carter (29) playing on a 1-year contract, Carter has been of the feast or famine variety this year, whacking 33 majestic Home Run shots while also Striking out 174 times. He has been able to help fill in the First base hole that has plagued the Brewers since the departure of Prince Fielder in 2012 and has also become a fan favorite because fans still and will always, love the long ball. September will be an interesting month as Carter will look to end on a high note as he goes into the offseason as a Free Agent.
LHP- Brent Suter (27) the Harvard alum made his MLB debut in August and became the first LH Starting Pitcher for the Crew since August 28th, 2013 (474 games for those who are curious). Suter has done an admirable job filling in thus far and will continue to get a role out of the bullpen in September.
RHP Jacob Barnes (26) displayed some nastiness out of the Brewers bullpen in 16 appearances before landing on the DL with elbow soreness is slated to be recalled this week to add depth to a surprisingly solid bullpen.
Beginning September 1st, MLB teams were allowed to expand from 25 to 40 players on their active game day roster. While the Minor League Season won’t wrap up until next week don’t expect the Brewers to go hog wild on bringing in young prospects up quite yet as, but keep an eye on these guys as they try and raise their stock going into the offseason:
RHP Taylor Jungmann (26) made the opening day roster only to falter early and often before being sent down to Colorado Springs. Struggled mightily in AAA and found himself in Biloxi where he was able to turn things around and post a 9.6 K/9. Jungmann may gets a call back up to prove he has righted the ship.
RHP Damien Magnifico (25) made his MLB debut on August 16th and will add another arm to the bullpen. Magnifico had a successful MiLB season posting a 4.02 ERA in very hitter friendly Colorado Springs to go along with only allowing 2 Home Runs in 62 innings.
C Andrew Susac (26) C Andrew Susac (26) the backstop received in the Will Smith trade looks to give himself some momentum heading into the offseason following an oblique strain which has caused him to miss a the majority of his minor league time in the Brewers organization. Susac was selected in the Second Round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants and made his Major League debut with the Giants in 2014.
A crazy stat in a game filled with them is that Susac got his “first” major league hit, a single, on July 30th, 2014. However, when Susac played in a September 1st continuation game from May 22nd against the Rockies, which was originally suspended by heavy rains, Susac collected a single and later scored. Because the game was a continuation, and due to MLB’s record-keeping rules, May 22nd is the official date of Susac’s first hit and run scored. Susac also wound up with a spot on the Giants Postseason roster in 2014 and was the backup catcher to Buster Posey. He posted a .250 BA (1-4) in the Postseason and collected a World Series Championship ring as the Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in an epic 7-game series.
Two notables who didn’t get the September call up:
OF- Lewis Brinson (22) has been tearing the cover off the ball (.397/.403/1.065)for Colorado Springs since coming over from the Texas Rangers in the Jonathan Lucroy/Jeremy Jeffress trade and has vaulted into the #2 prospect in the System, behind Arcia. With 33 players on the roster currently it would have been very difficult to find regular playing time for Brinson so he will get a chance to rest and prepare to arrive in Maryvale next Spring with a chance to make the MLB ballclub.
LHP- Josh Hader (22) has been the best pitching prospect in the Brewers pipeline, but has had some struggles in the mile-high Colorado Springs air. He has displayed the skills to receive the call up, but as expected, due to the fact he has already set a career high for Innings Pitched he will be watching the Brewers on TV as he prepares for 2017. Read Alexander Juneau’s Spotlight on Hader .