We've already established the Brewers draft & follow candidates for this spring. To refresh your memory, please visit my previous story:
Without further ado, onto the DFE (draft, follow & evaluate) candidates & how they're faring this spring:
1. Justin Barnes-RHP/3B (15th round selection). Manatee Community College (Florida). 6'3" 205, R/R. Justin hasn't fared as well this year statistically as he did last year, but observers can still see the talent. He has been pitched around quite a bit this season after posting big power numbers last season, so he hasn't seen as many good pitches to hit. Coach Hill has moved Barnes back to SS this year after beginning the year at third base. Barnes also began the year in the starting rotation, but early arm troubles shut him down for a brief time, and now serves as Manatee's closer. At the plate he is hitting .275 with 8 doubles, 3 triples & 4 home runs. Not quite the .347 with 17 home runs he flashed last year, but there is still a good month left this season for him to pad those numbers. On the mound he is 2-1, logging 13 innings while allowing 8 hits & striking out 14 with 3 saves. Again, there is obviously talent there, and it remains to be seen whether or not the Brewers still prefer him as a pitcher. Coach Hill did tell me that it's hard to gauge the Brewers interest, since Fernando Arango has replaced Tom McNamara as the local area scout.
2. Dana Eveland-LHP (16). College of the Canyons (California). 6'1" 215, L/L Dana Eveland has been as steady as ever. Over the course of this season, Dana has appeared in 11 games, 9 starts logging 67.2 innings while allowing 39 runs (only 21 earned for a 2.79 ERA), 56 hits & 18 walks while striking out 85. The amount of unearned runs he has given up should tell you that he has pitched through more outs than he should have, so his numbers should be even better. His pitches were already sound to begin with, and has only improved his stock by touching 95 at one point this spring. He still works comfortably in the high 80 to low 90s while changing speeds & inducing ground balls.
3. Adam Mannon-corner OF (17). Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Arizona). 6'3" 215 pounds, R/R. The Brewers love Mannon's baseball body, athleticism & overall power potential, but at this point in time he is far from a finished product. Through early April Mannon is hitting .267 in 86 ABs, but has 21 RBIs in that time. If the Brewers like him for his potential alone, they'll likely make a serious effort to get him signed. Otherwise, he could use some more work.
4. Simon Beresford-RHP (32). Texarkana College (Texas). 6'5" 215, R/R. Beresford might just be a good enough combination of size & stuff to get a pro deal. Through the end of March he was pitching quite well for the Texarkana Bulldogs. In 7 games he had worked 33 innings giving up 22 runs (18 earned) for a 3.82 ERA while walking only 7 & striking out 32. Head coach Jeff Mansinger told me earlier this year that he expected the Brewers to see if Beresford could dominate the league while improving his command. While he hasn't dominated, he has pitched pretty well.
5. Tim Dillard-C/RHP (34). Itawamba Community College (Mississippi). 6'4", 225, R/R. No word on Tim Dillard & whether or not he has rebounded from injury problems last year. He has signed to play with Ole Miss next season if he goes unsigned through next fall. Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco plans to continue to use Dillard both ways as a pitcher & as a positional player, a tribute to his athleticism & arm strength.
6. Emanuel Cividanes-OF (35). Broward Community College (Florida). 6'1" 165, L/L. As head coach Robert Deutschman told me 2 months ago, Cividanes has rotated with 3 other regulars, seeing extensive playing time at all 3 outfield spots for the Southern Conference Champion Broward Seahawks. No word if his game has improved enough to justify a pro deal, but his speed might be enough to take a chance on.
7. Daniel Carter-RHP (36). Tallahassee Community College (Florida). 6'4", 195, R/R. Don't look for Daniel Carter to be joining the Brewers organization anytime soon. No word if he's been injured or not, but through mid-April he has only seen 9.2 innings worth of work while allowing 7 runs (6 earned), 9 hits & 11 walks while striking out 12. The stuff seems to be there, but Carter needs more work before joining the pro ranks.
8. Stephen Bryant-C (37). Olney Community College (Illinois). 6'0", 180, R/R. The Brewers like Bryant's bat, but like so many other DFEs he has a long ways to go to prove himself as a pro prospect. Bryant hasn't seen much playing time this year, and through late March he had only 1 hit in 10 ABs out of Olney's 11 games played. Bryant was expected to see his fair share of at-bats this spring as the team's DH while backing up the team's starting catcher. It wouldn't seem as though he has done enough to prove his worth at the plate to command a pro contract.
9. Dave Hancox-RHP (38). Pasco Hernando Community College (Florida). 5'11" 160, R/R. Coach Steve Winterling has informed me that due to injuries to some of his fellow teammates, Hancox has been playing full-time at second & third base this season. He is faring well, hitting .324 with 6 extra base hits (out of 24 total hits) through the beginning of April. On the mound, Hancox started slow but has been pitching more effectively as of late. His fastball is in the upper 80s, and has shown improvement with his slider. He certainly isn't dominating the competition, nor does it seem he has made any vast improvements. Still, he has stayed healthy & has proved to be a productive ballplayer on the mound, in the field & at the plate.
10. John Herrera-RHP (39). Arizona Western Junior College. 6'6", 195, R/R. According to head coach John Stratton, Herrera has suffered an injury in his elbow and likely will miss the rest of the year. He had only pitched 1 inning all season. That pretty much eliminates the chances of the Brewers signing him.
11. Johnathan Shapland-OF (41). St. Petersburg College (Florida). Head coach Dave Pano has informed me that through early April Shapland was hitting .256 (30 for 117) with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 10 home runs. Not much word on how he is faring otherwise, nor any word to describe the Brewers interest. Shapland was considered a big project beforehand, but the 10 home runs do have to warrant some attention. Shapland was considered a long shot heading into the season, so I'm guessing it's going to take a lot more than a .275 batting average & 10 home runs to get him signed & in the Brewers organization.
12. Neil Avery-LHP (42). University of Connecticut at Avery Point. 6'0", 180, L/L. Avery is posting some pretty nice numbers. Through early April he has logged 21 innings allowing only 8 hits, 3 runs (only 1 earned, for a miniscule 0.43 ERA) & 4 walks while striking out 20. However, according to reports he hasn't shown much improvement on the mound. He's going to need to add a few ticks to his fastball & sharpen up his curve to be considered a legitimate pro prospect.
The Brewers know what they're getting with Dana Eveland. He should already be in the system to begin with, and he certainly should be there by the end of May.
Justin Barnes hasn't had the year statistically he did last year, but he continues to display baseball talent and a nice, strong physically mature frame.
3 players on the bubble include Adam Mannon, Simon Beresford & Tim Dillard. All 3 could very well be offered a deal for their athleticism & potential alone. The Brewers like Mannon a lot, although it seems unsure whether or not he's ready for pro ball. Both sides might benefit from waiting another year. Beresford's size & stuff are impressive, but he didn't dominate his league as much as you would have liked to see. And while I didn't hear back from Dillard's coach at Itawamba, he must have done something right to be given the chance to join a strong D1 program at Ole Miss.
Last year the Brewers signed 2 of their DFE candidates: Manny Parra and Stephen Hunt. Parra obviously epitomizes the benefits of the draft & follow process, however at this point in time I think it's pretty safe to say that none of our candidates have enjoyed a Parra-like revelation this spring. That doesn't mean there aren't some good baseball players to be had.
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