Results tagged ‘ Zach Braddock ’

Fall League set to start

afl-javelinas.jpgThe prestigious Arizona Fall League begins its 18th season on Tuesday with a trio of games, including a matchup between the Surprise Rafters and Peoria Javelinas that includes the Brewers’ contingent of prospects.

Eight players will suit up for the Javelinas this season including pitchers Omar Aguilar, Josh Butler, Mark Rogers and Robert Wooten plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

In addition, left-hander Zach Braddock is a member of the Javelina’s taxi squad, available on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Class A Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney will serve in that role for the Javelinas.

That’s a pretty impressive list of Brewers prospects. Keep an especially close eye on Aguilar, Butler and Rogers because they are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, plus Cain and Lucroy, who have pretty clear paths to the big leagues if they can continue to develop. Cain lost part of the 2009 season to a knee injury, so his AFL stint is particularly important.

The AFL distributed a PDF packed with everything you could possibly want to know about the league, so I’ll attach it here for those who are interested. The AFL’s regular season ends Nov. 21 with the championship game slated for Nov. 21.
Javelina.jpg
AFL Opening Day.pdf

Here’s something you won’t find in that PDF: A javelina, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is also known as a peccary, a medium-sized mammal that looks a bit like a pig. A terrifying, crazed pig.

Eight farmhands set for Arizona Fall League

Eight Brewers Minor Leaguers, including 2004 first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers, will play for the Peoria Javelinas in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

Besides Rogers, who missed all of 2007 and 2008 with shoulder injuries, the Brewers will send pitchers Omar Aguilar, Zach Braddock, Josh Butler and Rob Wooten, plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. The position players have been set for some time, but Brewers officials waited until this week to finalize their contingent of arms.

Braddock, who has battled a shoulder injury and blisters this summer, is on the Javelinas’ “taxi squad” and may be activated only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Both Rogers and Aguilar are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

Additionally, Class A Brevard County’s Fred Dabney will serve as the Javelinas’ pitching coach this fall.

The Javelinas play home games at Peoria Sports Complex and will be comprised of players from the Brewers, Dodgers, Mariners, Tigers and White Sox. The 18th annual Arizona Fall League season begins on October 13 and runs through Nov. 19 with the Rising Stars game on Nov. 7 and the Championship game set for Nov. 21. Every game can be followed live on Gameday on MLB.com and MLBFallBall.com.
 

In the Minors: Jones to AAA; Butler, Rogers to AFL

Some Minor League tidbits from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash:

- The organization intends to promote former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones to Triple-A Nashville on Monday. It’s a significant milestone for Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, who has been derailed by shoulder injuries over the years.

Jones had been pitching at Double-A Huntsville and doing, “great, which is why we want to send him to Triple-A,” Ash said. “He wants to go. He has never been over Double-A, so he feels good about it and he deserves the chance.”

Ash has seen Jones pitch three times this season and said the pitcher’s fastball is back up to 93 mph. In 20 starts this season between Class A Brevard County and Huntsville, Jones is 7-5 with a 4.40 ERA and 73 strikeouts versus 32 walks.

- Right-hander Josh Butler, who had been sidelined by an oblique injury, is healthy and will take Jones’ place at Double-A Huntsville. In four Minor League stops this year, including his just-completed rehab stint in the rookie Arizona League, Butler has a 2.87 ERA in 20 appearances, 19 of them starts.

The Brewers acquired Butler from Tampa Bay last season for outfielder Gabe Gross. 

- Teams have until Monday to designate their pitchers for the prestigious Arizona Fall League, but the Brewers intend to make Butler and fellow right-hander Mark Rogers two of their four picks. Another could go to left-hander Zach Braddock, depending on Braddock’s health. He had been sidelined by a shoulder injury, then developed blisters. The shoulder has healed, Ash said, and the blisters are close.

“Butler will be one of then, Rogers will be one,” Ash said. “After that, it’s wait and see what we have, health-wise.”

On the positional side, Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com on Saturday that the team intends to send outfielder Lorenzo Cain, infielder Taylor Green and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the AFL.

- The Brewers considered promoting Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 Draft, from Class A Brevard County but opted against it. Rogers has also been derailed by shoulder problems, but Ash saw him firing 98 mph fastballs during a visit this summer.

“We’ll let him have a full, good year there,” Ash said. “We’re trying to extend his pitch count. He was at 50; now he’s up to 65. He’s pretty impressive. Ninety-eight [mph] with good secondary stuff. And he’s feeling good about himself, which is the important thing.”

- The Brewers will lose a number of Minor League players on Sept. 1 to the Baseball World Cup in Europe, Ash said. Among the participants are Canada’s Brett Lawrie, Jim Henderson, John Axford and Adam Stern, Puerto Rico’s Martin Maldonado and Efrain Nieves and The Netherlands’ Shawn Zarraga. Canada and the Netherlands play their first-round games in Sundbyberg, Sweden, and Puerto Rico begins in Barcelona. 

Outfielder Jason Bourgeois, promoted to Milwaukee this week, was under consideration for the U.S. entry, but his call-up makes him ineligible.

- Partly because of those losses, and partly because the Brewers have a number of players coming back from injury, the team will make very few Sept. 1 call-ups. The only sure thing is that the Brewers will promote an extra catcher, Ash said.
 

Braddock overcoming physical, mental hurdles

Brewers pitching prospect Zach Braddock has been healthy this season, both in body and mind, and some promising results have followed.

The Brewers promoted Braddock to Double-A Huntsville on Wednesday after the left-hander posted a 1.14 ERA and 40 strikeouts versus just four walks in 14 relief appearances at Class A Brevard County. Opponents hit .143 against the hard-throwing Braddock.

Braddock has been limited by physical injuries since the Brewers drafted him in the 18th round of the 2005 Draft and by a bipolar disorder that requires medication. But in terms of pure “stuff,” he’s a bona fide Major League prospect.

“He can dominate,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “There have been a number of reports this year [that say] he could pitch in the big leagues. He has that kind of dominating stuff. Obviously, being left-handed helps. It’s a matter of being consistent, like it is with a lot of young guys.”

Assuming he stays physically and mentally healthy, Braddock could move fast through the system. He turns 22 on Aug. 23.

“Which is why we moved him to Double-A, to get him to that next level,” Ash said.

Club officials help “monitor” Braddock, Ash said. That involves making sure he takes the proper medication at the proper time.  

“He’s in a very good spot,” Ash said. “He’s monitored, and he’s had no issues at all. … He’s in a good place.”

In other Minor League transactions Wednesday:

– Right-hander Rob Wooten joined Braddock in a move from Brevard County to Huntsville. Wooten doesn’t possess the raw tools of Braddock, but, “If you throw strikes, you’ve got a chance,” Ash said. “Chris Smith shows it now.”

– The Brewers promoted right-hander John Axford from Double-A Huntsville to Nashville to replace right-hander Mike Burns, who went to Milwaukee to join the starting rotation. Axford has been rising fast; he pitched in just four games for Huntsville after a promotion from Brevard County.

– Class A Wisconsin closer Jim Henderson was promoted to Brevard County after going 17-for-17 in save chances. Henderson is a veteran Minor Leaguer.

– Right-hander Omar Aguilar is not, which made it somewhat disappointing when he was demoted from Huntsville to Brevard County. Aguilar, who is on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, had a 7.71 ERA in 23 relief appearances.

“Player development will do this,” Ash said. “There are surprises upward, and there are surprises downward. We had [Jeremy] Jeffress, [Alex] Periard and Aguilar, all guys we’re high on but all who will end up in A-ball right now. Then there’s guys who have taken a step forward. Axford has taken a step forward. Josh Butler has taken a step forward. Braddock. Chris Cody. Several guys have taken a step.”

– Right-hander R.J. Seidel, a Wisconsin native, will begin a throwing program at the Brewers’ baseball facility in Arizona later this week. He’s ahead of schedule after undergoing offseason surgery for a torn ACL. Seidel told the Brewers he hurt his knee slipping on some ice.

“He’ll salvage a month or so of the season,” Ash said.

– Right-hander Mike Jones, on the Huntsville DL with a medical issue that Ash said was of a personal nature, will throw a bullpen session to see how he feels before potentially returning to action next week. 

– Left-hander Chris Capuano, rehabbing from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, threw his first bullpen session this week and hasn’t had another setback, Ash said. Capuano still faces a long road; he’ll have to throw several bullpens, then a series of live batting practice sessions before he’s cleared to pitch in a game. That probably won’t happen until the end of August, just as the Minor League seasons are ending.

“It’s just a long, slow grind,” Ash said. “He gets full marks for grinding it out.”

Former No. 1 pick Jones was offered release

A couple of Minor League notes, courtesy of Brewers GM Doug Melvin:

–The team gave oft-injured former No. 1 pick Mike Jones the option of
starting another year at Class A Brevard County or taking his release,
and he wanted to keep pitching. Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 Draft, will turn 26 on April 23 and has been dogged throughout his pro career by shoulder and elbow injuries. Fellow star-crossed former first-round
pick Mark Rogers should also begin the year at Brevard County.

 – Club officials had considered assigning Wisconsin native Vinny Rottino to Double-A Huntsville so he could play third base every day, but they thought it might upset him. They were happy when Rottino brought up the idea himself.

– Playing time at Huntsville opened up for Rottino because prospect Taylor Green is “taking longer than we thought” to return from offseason wrist surgery, Melvin said. The Brewers don’t expect him back until June, and Green may be asked to return to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the season.

– Another Wisconsin native, right-handed pitcher R.J. Seidel, is out for the year with a knee injury. He slipped on some ice during the winter and “tore up” his knee, Melvin said, and underwent surgery. Fellow pitching prospects Zach Braddock and Alex Periard will also miss the start of the season with injuries. Periard was sidelined all spring by a sore right shoulder, but Melvin was not sure of the nature of the left-hander Braddock’s injury, but he did have offseason surgery. Both Braddock and Periard should be able to pitch in 2009.

– The Triple-A Nashville Sounds roster is available here. The Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers roster is available here. I have not seen rosters for Huntsville or Brevard County just yet.

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