Brewers’ Minor League Rookie of the Year Awards for 2018 | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

With minor league prospects of the year being given out by the organization (Corey Ray and Zack Brown) on top of “Rookie of the Year” discussions in full-swing as we head into the final bits of the regular season, I figured it was only fair to check-in and acknowledge the rookies the Brewers drafted this season.  Though it was a year that saw just over half the selections signing, there were a number of names that already looked promising in their first taste of minor league play.

Positional Draftees

Player (Age) Draft Rd. Position Level(s) Games (PA) BA OBP OPS HR RBI SB
Brice Turang (18) 1st SS Rk AZL & Helena 42 (192) .283 .396 .748 1 18 14
Joe Gray Jr. (18) 2nd OF Rk AZL 24 (98) .182 .347 .672 2 9 6
Micah Bello (18) Comp Rd. B OF Rk AZL 39 (174) .240 .324 .648 1 15 10
David Fry (22) 7th C Rk Helena & Low-A 63 (270) .312 .400 .950 12 57 2
Arbert Cipion (18) 9th CF Rk AZL 26 (103) .118 .204 .376 0 2 2
Korry Howell (20) 12th SS Rk AZL 28 (119) .311 .398 .748 0 6 12
Pablo Garabitos (18)* 25th OF Rk AZL 25 (86) .230 .329 .613 0 6 3
Kekai Rios (21) 28th C Rk AZL 19 (60) .333 .533 .986 0 6 1
Caleb Marquez (18) 39th C Rk AZL 19 (61) .164 .261 .540 1 7 0

*Listed as a pitcher on Baseball Reference and draft boards but converted into position player

Among top selections this season, SS Brice Turang posted impressive numbers in his first taste of professional ball as a teenager.  Though his draft stock lowered during last summer and this spring, the Brewers snagged a middle-infielder with polished contact abilities to pair with a solid all-around skill-set.  His his eye at the plate was especially nice; he walked only three less times (31) than he struckout (34) and had 10 multi-hit games.  Turang also hit nicely to all fields for both rookie leagues despite his K-rate jumping once he reached Helena (20.7%, up from 10.5%).

Despite the 1.5-year age difference in Rookie League Helena, catcher/infielder David Fry put on the best offensive statistical season of any rookie prospects this summer.  He has some work on the defensive-side of the game, but he displayed nice power with a lower strikeout rate (16.1%) at Rookie-League Helena.  Also, he posted the best wRC+ out of any rookie performer with a 142 ( However, he’s been pretty pull-happy (43.7 pull percentage at Helena) which could get exploited next season.  He ended the season in Appleton, so he should get ample time behind the plate for us to see more of him in 2019.

Another name that performed well was 20-year old, 12th-round pick Korry Howell.  Despite only 119 plate appearances, he hit for contact and sprayed the ball to all fields.  His best calling-card is his speed – something Fangraphs writer noticed in a late-August scouting trip.  As he also mentioned, it’s important to note the .405 BABIP, which indicates that it’s very possible that his numbers are inflated.  Either way, he’s a classic toolsy and raw player with some interesting potential after this summer.

I should also mention Competitive Balance selection OF Micah Bello for his red-hot 28 game stretch. Hitting the ground running, he hit a combined .279/.365/.752 slash in 127 plate appearances with nine stolen bases and just a 19.7% K-rate in his first taste of professional ball.  However, he went ice-cold in his final 11 games (.140/.213/.376 line in 47 PA with 16 K’s in 47 plate appearances).  Despite the dip in numbers at the end, Bello is seen by a number of scouts as having good defensive and speed abilities to combine with a potentially-average bat down the road.

When it comes down to numbers and potential, I would give Brice Turang the edge over the statistical line of David Fry and the relatively unknown nature of Korry Howell.  Turang’s start made some writing sites question whether or not teams made a mistake in not drafting him despite his youthful age.  He is no Keston Hiura by any means, but his season is a very nice start that fans should be interested to know.  Similarly, Howell’s start flashed his potential at an early age enough for me to envision him as more intriguing than Fry – though it’s incredibly difficult to ignore the great offensive start by a power bat that is being groomed as a catcher.

Winner: SS Brice Turang

Runners-Up: SS Korry Howell, C David Fry

Pitching Draftees

Player (Age) Round Handedness Level(s) IP (Starts) ERA WHIP SO-BB SO/9
Aaron Ashby (20) 4th LHP Rk Helena & Low-A 57.2 (10) 3.59 1.30 66-17 10.3
Justin Jarvis (18) 5th RHP Rk AZL 19 (3) 6.63 1.47 18-4 8.5
Drew Rasmussen (23) 6th RHP Did Not Pitch
Luis Gonzalez (19) 8th RHP Rk AZL 11.1 (2) 6.35 2.47 6-13 4.8
J.T. Hintzen (22) 10th RHP Rk Helena & Low-A 39.2 (1) 2.96 1.11 48-11 10.9
Reese Olson (19) 13th RHP Rk AZL 10.1 (2) 5.23 1.45 6-4 5.2
Clayton Andrews (21) 17th LHP Rk Helena & Low-A 33 (0) 2.18 0.91 54-7 14.7
Scott Sunitsch (22) 18th LHP Rk Helena & Low-A 51.1 (9) 3.51 1.38 37-18 6.5
Joey Matulovich (21) 20th RHP Rk Helena 36 (2)  2.75 1.14 49-14 12.3
Wade Beasley (18) 24th RHP Rk AZL 8.2 (2) 10.38 2.31 3-4 3.1
Brady Schanuel (21) 27th RHP Rk Helena & AZL 20 (0) 9.90 2.10 32-17 14.4
Michael Mediavilla (23) 34th LHP Rk Helena & AZL 30.1 (0) 0.59 0.63 31-5 9.2
Franklin Hernandez (22) 37th RHP Rk Helena & AZL 13.1 (2) 3.38 1.58 12-6 8.1

On the pitching side of things, it feels much more like a unanimous decision with 4th round selection Aaron Ashby eclipsing so many in innings, strikeouts, and starts.  Though starts by no means indicate success – rather that ability to start is valuable in itself – Ashby’s late-season dominance  as a starter after his promotion to Low-A Appleton (17 IP, 27-3 K-BB ratio, 1.59 ERA in just three starts) cemented him as the best arm drafted this season.  Even before the draft, he was known for having strikeout stuff at the Junior College levels, and it became apparent that it transferred over to the minors once he settled in.  Some prospect outlets already bumped him up over ten spots in their rankings from mid-season – a few even placing him within the top-5.

Among top relief performers, 10th-round righty J.T. Hintzen and  20th-round righty Joey Matulovich did very well in their first stints in the minor leagues. Both arms have logged a ton of innings this season including spring baseball, so it is very possible we see both of them start next season.  For example, Hintzen has thrown over 130 total innings so far with 12 of the 17 outings being multi-inning since he was drafted.  There’s a chance they would use his solid repertoire as a starter next season after his success as one of the best Division II arms this season.  Per Matulovich, the 6-3 righty appears to have a feel for pitching with his arsenal and effectiveness as well – seen in the high strikeout count and 41% groundball rate on the season – and could also make some starts next season for an extended look.

I think after Ashby, it could really be a toss-up between Hintzen and Matulovich – though I like Hintzen’s stuff a lot more overall.

Winner: RHP Aaron Ashby

Runners-Up: RHP J.T. Hintzen, RHP Joey Matulovich

 

NOTE:  Photo taken by Ron Page of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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