It's about the middle of August at that means that the end of the minor league baseball season is almost upon us. Soon it will be a time for reflection on the past season's events, but today in the minor league report, we're going to look into the future a little bit. I'm going to peer into the Brewerfan crystal ball and try to give an idea, or at least my very early prediction, of what the rosters for the 2003 teams from Beloit on up will look like at the beginning of next season, April of 2003.
There is a lot that is going to happen between now and then, obviously. There are rumors of front office shakeups, players will be traded, free agents will be signed and players will retire. Heck, with player development contracts up after the season, not all this cities even may be right. Next spring training, we'll have a better view of what the rosters will actually look like, so this projection is just a fun little exercise, but for the most part, is should be fairly accurate.
I tried to fill holes as best I could with players already in the organization. I did use some players that will be free agents at the end of the season, and there are some spots that simply could not be filled with in-house talent. Those spots are marked with the To Be Determined acronym, TBD. First off, let's look at the Brewers:
||MR-Valerio De Los Santos|
It's likely neither Bako nor Fabregas will be brought back for the 2003 season, so they were excluded. Alexander was signed about two weeks ago as insurance for the major league shortstop position, and since it is doubtful the Brewers will or would want to resign Hernandez for next season, the job could be the veteran Alexander's job to lose. Belliard may or may not be brought back, but it would be silly not to. For the backup infielders, Pena and Smith would both have to be added to the 40-man to be kept around next season, but both would be cheap and versatile backups. The starting outfield is all but set, unless one or both of Hammonds/Jenkins can be traded. Alcantara and Rushford have both earned major league roster time. Thompson is here just because he's already here, though the chances of him actually being in Milwaukee next season is pretty slim. Four of the rotation slots are pretty much set, with the #5 starting role the only one that will garner much competition, for now. There will be a crunch in the bullpen with the return of a healthy Leskanic. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Brewers back Chad Fox, but for now, they don't need him. Part of the bullpen will likely be dealt in a trade.
The AAA team will once again need a pretty healthy number of free agent additions. The Brewers should be able to fill in most of the starting roles in-house, but backups and a first baseman will be needed. They will also likely chose to bring in a free agent catcher, as neither Burkhart nor Moon are likely to have a whole lot of success at AAA. Deardorff could play either first or third, or outfield, but he is more valuable to the Brewers at third, given the general dearth of organizational talent there. There is no room for Scarborough in AA, so he should be here in 2003. They will also likely sign an outfielder or two to start here, as none of the three guys listed here are proven AAA guys. In addition, Randolph could leave after the season. The rotation should be one of more promising AAA rotations around next season, though Diggins could start in AA. The Brewers again should be set with their bullpen here, but they will likely sign some AAA veterans.
The offensive lineup should be very impressive, if not in production, then at least in terms of number of prospects. Alfonzo needs more AA seasoning, so he stays. The Brewers are high enough on Foster to promote him to AA to stay for the 2003 season. After being injured on and off for most of the 2002 season, Scott returns, and should man first base every day. Newly acquired Raburn is ready for the leap to AA, and he should stick at second base here. Assuming the experiment with Hart at third continues, he will man the hot corner here. Hardy is likely to return to AA, though the Brewers are high enough on him that he could conceivably wind up in AAA. West provides valuable defense in a backup role. Rowan may leave the organization, so Scarborough may be here, Candelaria may be, or a free agent may be. Clark, Krynzel and Guerrero are earmarked for the outfield. Johnson will split time between first, left and DH. Hammond is a mild stretch, but he feels a need here. Mieses, Robinson and Hawkins both should start here if healthy. Martinez will likely return, and Smart has earned a promotion from A+. Starting here and working down, the bullpen picture gets a bit muddled. Parker, Penney and Adams all should return, though either or both of Adams or Penney could wind up in AAA. High should make a return trip to AA. Miller and LaMattina are the two most likely options for promotions to AA for 2003, but any one of Sams, Altman, McGee, Sismondo or Cordero are also possibilities.
Next year's A+ team should be a lot more competitive than this season's. Ramirez will be back for his second here, and will split time at catcher with Villanueva, as well as play first base. Villanueva will also play other positions, namely third base and left field. Nelson will continue here after a short stint in 2002. Santana and Chavez should move up the ladder together from A ball. Barnwell is the de facto third baseman at the moment, though Villanueva could play there a bit, as could Ayala or Candelaria. They also might carry a third catcher, like Alvarado, Patterson or Serafini. Belcher is likely done at catcher, and should move to the corner outfield full time beginning next season. Gemoll will split time between left field and DH. Carrow and Hinton should both see quite a bit of time off the bench. Jones and Yeatman should make for a very stable top end of the rotation, though the rest of the starters are up in the air. Gordon will probably be back, and Sams is likely to repeat here. The final rotation spot could go to Kolb, Dan Hall, Miller, Steitz, Richardson or Artman. The bullpen is again a muck to predict. Dan Hall, Saenz and Stavros seem to be in. Cordero and Shwam both missed most of 2002 with arm injuries, so they probably won't be promoted. That leaves one bullpen spot to quite a number of contenders, including Altman, Perez, Maysonet, McGee, Michaels and Wheeler.
|C-John Vanden Berg
|SP-Eric M. Thomas
Like the A+ team, the A ball squad should be more competitive than the 2002 season. The team will look a lot like the 2002 Ogden squad. Vanden Berg has had a strong rookie campaign and should be a decent offensive catcher. Esparragoza will have to beat out Serafini, Patterson and/or Alvarado to come back to Beloit, though he should. Fielder, Crabbe, Eure and Murray will all be promoted from Ogden together to be the A infield. Bell will likely backup all infield positions. They might carry a third catcher, though Bohanan could fill the last spot on the roster. The starting outfield will also likely carry over from Ogden, with Melo, Bibbs and Carter likely composing a fast outfield. McClanahan should stick around in full-season ball for the first time. Hicks has been injured for the whole 2002 season, and he should make his full-season debut as a backup. The 2003 rotation should be a lot more stable than the 2002 rotation, with Carpenter, Ballouli and Parra making an imposing top 3. Richardson and Thomas should round out the rotation, though Bo Hall, Steitz, Artman, Oakes and Ramirez will all get chances. The bullpen will be a mess to figure out, with many worthy candidates from Ogden and the present A staff available
Offensive Player Of The Week:
When the Brewers reacquired Tony DeRosso from the Pirates organization last week, it was a move to help fill the roster of a desperate and slumping High Desert team struggling to make the playoffs. The 26 year old third baseman had been struggling with the Pirates' AA affiliate all season, and was likely to be released from their roster at any point. While he most likely won't be with the Brewers' organization next season either, he has really helped bolster the High Desert offense, which has been ravaged by promotions. Much like recent pitcher of the week Aaron Sams, DeRosso has really made his mark with the Mavericks. This past week, in fact, he put up the best offensive numbers in the whole system, and that makes him our offensive player of the week. In six games and 24 at-bats with High Desert, the third baseman hit .375/.423/.667. Tony logged four doubles and a home run, totaling 9 hits, 16 total bases, 2 walks and 9 runs batted in. DeRosso played for the Brewers last season with Huntsville, before being released around midseason. He stands 6'3, 226 pounds, bats and throws right.
Last Week: Dan Boyd, OF, High Desert
July 29th: Prince Fielder, 1B, Ogden
July 22nd: Jeff Deardorff, OF, Huntsville
July 15th: Prince Fielder, 1B, Ogden
July 8th: Nic Carter, OF, Ogden
July 1st: Izzy Alcantara, OF, Indianapolis
June 24th: Mario Mendez, OF, Ogden
June 17th: Ralph Santana, 2B, Beloit
June 10th: D.J. Clark, 3B, High Desert
June 3rd: Steve Scarborough, SS, Huntsville
May 27th: Corey Hart, 1B, High Desert
May 20th: Brad Nelson, 1B, Beloit
May 13th: DJ Clark, 3B, High Desert
May 6th: Pete Zoccolillo, OF, High Desert
April 29th: Corey Hart, 1B, High Desert
April 22nd: Ryan Thompson, OF, Indianapolis
April 15th: Ryan Knox, OF, High Desert
Pitcher Of The Week:
One of the most exciting prospects in the Brewers system, right-hander Ben Hendrickson has really made a name for himself this season in both High Desert and Huntsville, and now has earned pitcher of the week honors at both affiliates. Ben continued to be rock steady for the Stars this past week, winning both of his starts and allowing only 3 runs in 11 innings of work. He allowed 14 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 10. The lanky 21 year old righty has been since being promoted to the Stars, keeping his ERA under 3 after his 5th start there. While he likely won't have enough innings to qualify for the Southern League ERA title, he will likely have done more than enough by season's end to prove he is ready for AAA next season. The St. Cloud, Minnesota native was drafted in the 10th round of the 1999 draft out of high school and stands 6'3, 185.
Last Week: Dave Pember, SP, Huntsville
July 29th: Aaron Sams, SP, High Desert
July 22nd: Ryan Poe, SP, High Desert
July 15th: Carlos Ramirez, SP, Arizona
July 8th: Tim Harikkala, SP, Indianapolis
July 1st: Jose Garcia, SP, Indianapolis
June 24th: Jimmy Osting, SP, Indianapolis
June 17th: Dave Pember, SP, Huntsville
June 10th: Luis Martinez. RP, Huntsville
June 3rd: Ben Hendrickson, SP, High Desert
May 27th: Jimmy Osting, SP, Indianapolis
May 20th: Derek Lee, SP, Huntsville
May 13th: Ryan Miller, SP, High Desert
May 6th: Doug Dent, SP, High Desert
April 29th: Justin Gordon, SP, High Desert
April 22nd: Brian Nielsen, SP, Beloit
April 15th: Andrew Lorraine, SP, Indianapolis