Before diving right into the Brewers minor league system, a quick update on the major league team. Ryan Braun continues to crush it at the plate, with his batting average up to .340 after going 2 for 3 in the Brewers 10-5 win over the Minnesota Twins. Three players also hit home runs in Wednesday’s victory: Chris Carter (4 on the season), Domingo Santana (2), and Aaron Hill (1). Starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson also cruised to his third win of the year as he also added six strikeouts to his season total.
But despite many players getting off to fast starts for the Brewers there has been one position lagging behind.
That position is center field. Currently it is platooned by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ramon Flores, of which both have not shown any staying power or any reason to be considered as a long-term answer. In Colorado Springs, the Brewers Triple-A affiliate, center fielder Michael Reed is batting .378 and has an .858 OPS to go along with four RBIs. At age 23, it seems like now is the right time to bring him up.
Shortstop Orlando Arcia, the Brewers’ #1 prospect, is off to a decent start as well. Coming into the season with such high expectations and thoughts that he might make the opening day roster, his .289 batting average and .720 OPS may seem pedestrian, but he is still coming along nicely as there is no rush to bring him up to the majors and stunt his development.
Pitching wise, Damien Magnifico has been a huge bright spot. He has three saves, has struck out five and has allowed zero runs through 5.1 innings of work so far this season. By season’s end, especially if injuries keep up within the Brewers major league pitching staff, Magnifico will see the majors.
At the Double-A level, center fielder Brett Phillips is living up to the hype. Batting for an .326 average and a .920 OPS, Phillips is having a great start to his season. With eight RBIs and one home run so far this season, one of the prizes from the Carlos Gomez deal is looking like a steal.
Another player to come over from the Astros in the Gomez deal was pitcher Josh Hader, who has been making easy work of Double-A batters. Through three starts and 13 innings pitched, Hader has only given up six hits and allowed one run. He has also racked up 19 strikeouts while only walking six. Aside from that stunning stat line though, Hader has struggled with the amount of pitches it takes him to get those stats. So far, he is averaging 19.5 pitches per inning, which is slightly concerning.
In advanced Single-A, relief pitcher Bubba Derby is carving batters up. Through eight innings pitched, Derby has 11 strikeouts with only three walks and has only allowed one run. Derby, who came over to the Brewers via the Khris Davis trade with the Oakland Athletics, also came over with catching prospect Jacob Nottingham.
Nottingham has gotten off to an atrocious start with the Double-A Shuckers, batting for a .135 average. But at the tender age 21, there is no reason to be over concerned with his start of the season as he will continue to develop and grow.