It's time for a recap of the Brewers draft and follow candidates for 2004. All of the DFEs (draft, follow and evaluate) have until one week before the June Amateur Draft to sign. This year's draft starts Tuesday, June 8, so these players must be signed by Tuesday, June 1st.
To refresh your memory on the DFE eligible players, please visit my previous story:
And onto the players and how they are faring this spring:
1. Luke Cannon (13-draft round)-OF-University of North Central Texas
Cannon continues to hit the ball extremely well despite getting pitched around somewhat, hitting .324 with a .440 on-base percentage so far this season in 148 at-bats. He adds good defense in right field, and could provide a productive and powerful bat for the middle of a lineup. The Brewers have been actively scouting Cannon all spring, and all signs point to him joining the organization. Look for him manning right field either at Arizona or Helena come June. If he isn't signed by the Brewers, he will once again be eligible for the draft. And if he doesn't sign by the end of the summer, he could always take his talents to Texas State next fall.
2. Joel Rivera (16)-CF-no JC, withdrew from Brookdale Community College
No word on Rivera, who as noted withdrew from Brookdale CC before the season even started. The Brewers still are interested in adding him to their system, as he is a very talented multi-tooled centerfield prospect with exciting raw potential.
3. Jared Theodorakos (25)-LHP-Baylor University (Texas)
Theodorakos started to see action in live games a month or two into the start of the season, and has pitched well coming off of a shoulder injury that required surgery last year. Through 7 games, all starts, Theodorakos has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.49 ERA. In 28.1 inning pitched he has allowed 28 hits and 11 walks with 25 strikeouts. If the Brewers feel Theodorakos is healthy and has put his shoulder problems behind him, I'm sure they'll find a place for the big lefty in their system.
4. Hasan Rasheed (26)-CF-Lake City Community College (Florida)
Somewhat raw a year ago, Rasheed has worked hard to become one of the most exciting junior college players in Florida, if not the entire nation. Two of his biggest developments this season have been drastically cutting down his strikeouts and learning to hit the ball to the opposite field. From his Head Coach at Lake City CC, Tom Clark: "Rasheed had an outstanding year hitting safely in 49 of 51 games. He still
needs to bunt more and work more on his technique of stealing second base; he steals third base better than second base. Hit over .400 until the last week of the season. Tried to pull the ball too much at the end. Our team finished the year as the hottest team in Florida and won 9 games in a row, 11 of our last 12. Hasan was a big part of that, he made 1st team all-conference." His numbers on the season: .391 batting average with 11 doubles, 5 triples, 3 home runs, 65 runs scored and 34 RBIs in 215 at-bats. Rasheed is another DFE candidate that is likely to join the Brewers by June, and could be leading off and manning CF at either Arizona or Helena.
5. Sheldon Catchot (31)-LHP-Chipola Junior College (Florida)
Catchot has been Chipola's everyday right fielder this spring, as well as getting time as one of their starting pitchers. While his athleticism is intriguing, I was unable to locate statistics and I didn't receive an answer from his head coach, so without that information I have no idea of his status. I do know the Brewers liked him enough to convince him to attend a JC in the first place instead of attending Southeastern Louisiana, where he wouldn't have been draft eligible until 2006.
6. Chad Miller (33)-1B-Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Arizona)
Miller received a lot of playing time at Chandler-Gilbert this spring, so far playing in each of the team's 54 games. In 202 at-bats he is hitting .287 with a .327 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging percentage. He leads his team in at-bats, total bases (79), hits (58), and doubles (12), is tied for first in home runs (3) and is second on the team in RBIs (33). He has committed 14 errors so far this year, so hopefully he has the skills to be more than a future DH with hard work. Similar to Adam Mannon last year, who didn't have the greatest season statistically, the Brewers may want to sign Miller for his power potential alone.
7. Justin Wilson (37)-LHP-Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Arizona)
Wilson's name didn't pop up in any box scores until midseason due to his past injury concerns. He has been brought along slowly since, and has pitched sparingly appearing in only 4 games, 1 of those a start. In 11 innings of work he has a 0.82 ERA giving up 7 hits and 7 walks while striking out 9. The Brewers have liked Wilson for several years now, but even so, he had better be showing an awful lot this spring to justify garnering a pro deal in June, as he just hasn't been healthy enough during his career at Chandler-Gilbert. That said, his upside is pretty good, as he has the perfect size and a good fastball-curveball 1-2 punch, not to mention that he's left-handed.
8. Wesley Yeary (39)-RHP-Daytona Beach Community College (Florida)
No updated stats for Yeary, but as his pitching coach Pat Leach told me as written in my previous story, Wes has a great arm with a good fastball/slider combo with good arm action despite a smaller frame.
9. Robert Hinton (40)-RHP-Manatee Community College (Florida)
Hinton posted impressive numbers this year with a 7-3 record and a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts. In that time he threw 4 complete games, 2 of those being shutouts, while throwing 84 innings pitched giving up 83 hits and 26 walks while striking out 87. He was the staff ace on a very formidable Manatee team. From his Head Coach Tim Hill: "Hinton moved up to our # 1 starter and was named All-Suncoast Conference 1st Team. He will start 1st game of state tournament this Friday against Lake City. Our team won the conference championship and is ranked #3 in state coaches poll." Look for the Brewers to sign Hinton by June.
10. Peter (Evan) Baubles (41)-C-Santa Fe Community College (Florida)
Baubles is yet another player that eluded my searches. I do know that he is a good overall athlete, especially behind the plate, which alone may be enough for him to get a pro deal.
11. Rayner Robles-Encarnacion (44)-2B/3B-Chipola Junior College (Florida)
Similar to his Chipola teammate, Sheldon Catchot, I was unable to find any further information on Robles-Encarnacion this spring. I do know that he has good bat speed and intriguing power potential.
12. Tim Grubbs (45)-RHP-Lake City Community College (Florida)
Grubbs struggled during he second half of the season for Lake City, and therefore was used less and less by Head Coach Tom Clark. Grubbs has good size and pretty good stuff, but still struggles with command and overall consistency. Don't look for Grubbs to be added to the Brewers system, as he could use another year of work before becoming a pro.
13. Clay Blevins (46)-C-Cowley County Community College (Kansas)
Blevins is an offensive-minded catcher and continues to post impressive numbers at the plate. In 149 at-bats this spring he is hitting .322 with a .420 on-base percentage and a .517 slugging percentage with 20 doubles, 3 home runs and 39 RBIs. On the flip side, his defense hasn't been that good, as he has committed 14 errors. His left-handed bat alone may get him a pro deal, but if he doesn't sign this summer either with the Brewers or the next team that drafts him, he will head to Oklahoma State in the fall.
14. Calvin Thompson (48)-CF-Oakton Community College (Illinois)
So far this spring he is hitting .314 in 70 at-bats with 3 doubles, 3 triples and 3 home runs. Thompson like Joel Rivera is a well-built centerfield prospect with good potential and 5 solid tools. And again like Rivera Thompson could be signed to join the team for his athletic potential alone.
15. Michael (Justin) Sarka (49)-RHP-Gulf Coast Community College (Florida)
Sarka started off the season reasonably well, but since his ERA has dropped to 6.00 in limited action, mostly out of the bullpen. In 13 appearances, 2 being starts, he has thrown 27 innings allowing 32 hits and 7 walks while striking out 17. His control seems to be the major issue for him, despite the relatively low walks total. From his Head Coach Darren Mazerowski: "When he has his control he is pretty tough to hit. With hard work over the summer he will be fine." The question remains whether or not those innings this summer will be spent as a Brewer farmhand or not. He does have good size & stuff, so hopefully he showed the Brewer scouts something that will garner him a pro deal.
The Brewers have kept their Florida scouts busy this spring, as 8 of their 15 candidates attend junior colleges in the sunshine state.
Last year the Brewers signed five out of 12 DFE candidates, and it's pretty clear that they are using this process more and more each and every year to cultivate more talent for their minor league system. Heading into this season I was told that the Brewers were actively watching all of these players, almost hinting that they would be aggressive adding these players into their system. Last year they added two players that probably could or even should have been signed the summer the Brewers originally drafted them, Justin Barnes and Dana Eveland, while signing another player who they were following for several years, Tim Dillard, along with two projects that they liked a lot for their physical talents despite not matching their potential with their production, Adam Mannon and Simon Beresford.
Luke Cannon, Hasan Rasheed and Robert Hinton in my mind are locks. Cannon's powerful bat would be more than welcome at Helena this year, and there is a reason the Brewers took him in the 13th round last June. Rasheed has the speed and overall skills that scouts love, and showed improvement in almost every aspect of this game this year. Hinton pitched himself into the role of his team's #1 starter, and helped push Manatee CC to the playoffs.
Jared Theodorakos, Chad Miller, Justin Wilson, Wesley Yeary and Clay Blevins would be my next best guesses. Theodorakos pitched well after returning due to shoulder injury, and doesn't seem to be showing any lasting affects from that injury. Like Dillard last year, Justin Wilson is a player the Brewers have been following for over three years now with great interest. Like another Chandler-Gilbert DFE candidate, Adam Mannon, Chad Miller has shown plenty of baseball skills despite limited production. Clay Blevins is an offensive-minded catcher that could add an impact bat at a demanding position in the lower levels of our minor leagues. And while I didn't hear anything about Wesley Yeary after my original contact with his pitching coach, he has the stuff and arm action that would serve himself well as a pro.
I have a feeling Joel Rivera might be added to the system for the simple fact that he might be able to sign for cheap after not playing this season. In other words, he doesn't have much leverage. He and Calvin Thompson are similar prospects as taller centerfielders with good overall tools. Rivera might get the edge just because he was a 16th rounder from a year ago, so the Brewers liked him enough to take him that high in the first place.
Tim Grubbs and Justin Sarka probably need more time to develop, although both of them have a lot of things that you look for in a pitching prospect.
I wasn't able to find as much information on Rayner Robles-Encarnacion, Sheldon Catchot and Evan Baubles as I would have liked, so I am unable to make an educated guess as their status as DFE candidates with the Milwaukee Brewers. Most of this has to do with how much their respective coaches choose to respond to my inquiries. All three of these players are extremely athletic with good upsides, and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of the three signed, with Catchot being the most likely.
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