Minors: Promotions, Orimoloye, Barnes, Lopez | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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

Although the season is winding down on the Brewers farm, there is a lot of news around the system.

  • The Southern League named AA Biloxi RHP Jorge Lopez its “Most Outstanding Pitcher”! Manager Carlos Subero was named manager of the year! Congratulations to the Shuckers!
  • The Brewers have made a series of promotions to fill roster holes and advance some key players.
  • Milwaukee released their list of players headed to the Arizona Fall League. OF Brett Phillips, LHP Josh Hader, RHP Adrian Houser,  RHP Jacob Barnes, RHP Damien Magnifico, IF Yadiel Rivera, and OF Michael Reed will play for Surprise in the AFL.
  • LHP Nathan Kirby underwent Tommy John surgery, placing his 2016 campaign in jeopardy along with RHP Taylor Williams.






This season has provided an opportunity to watch a lot of minor league box scores, and 2015 4th round draft pick Demi Orimoloye raised that hobby with his recent trip to Japan as a part of Canada Baseball. One of the reasons to be “high” on Orimoloye around the draft was due to his participation on national baseball teams for several seasons. Although the outfielder is young and a raw talent at this point, many scouting reports will point to his experience with professional, or “elite,” competition as a mark in his favor. Basically, Team Canada threw Orimoloye into some tough tours and games against high-velocity pitching early on, which means the youngster has already faced the rigors of traveling and adjusting to challenges early in his amateur career.

Orimoloye’s tour continues as he left the Brewers’ rookie-league affiliate for Japan, and after a cold start in the WBSC, Orimoloye has performed quite well recently. I have not found any “comprehensive” statistical website for the tournament, but luckily Canada Baseball’s website featured individual box scores for each game:

WBSC Orimoloye AB H R / RBI K / BB Notes
Pre-play 2 0/0 1/1
Aug 28 4 0/0 4/0
Aug 29 3 1 0/0 2/0 1 stolen base
Aug 30 3 0/0 0/1
Aug 31 3 1 0/0 0/0
Sept 2 4 1 1/1 0/1 2 stolen bases
Sept 3 4 2 1/0 1/0 One Double (3 TB)
TOTAL 23 5 2/1 8/3 One double / 3 stolen bases

After taking the Golden Sombrero early on, Orimoloye improved his discipline, collected a bunch of hits, and also successfully translated his speed to the basepaths (his overall line was .217 / .308 / .261). Although his batting line does not look as powerful as his AZL performance (.292 / .319 / .518), it’s quite a solid line when one considers that an 18-year old player traveled across the globe (without a real break) after experiencing his first taste of professional baseball. I have no context for the WBSC overall batting line or environment, but if you scrutinize Orimoloye’s line, he did improve his walks, and continued a trend of showcasing his speed on the bases (he stole 19 / 25 attempts in the AZL).

I am admittedly high on Orimoloye’s talent because beyond his physical tools and abilities, he has received notable praise for his athleticism and approach, and he also has experience beyond his years that many prospects lack. While I understand that he might not have the most polished bat (like Trent Clark) or biggest power potential (like Tyrone Perry) among the Brewers’ 2015 draft class, when one puts together his full profile of experience, performance, and tools, he is a contender for the best prospect in the Brewers’ 2015 draft.

Jacob Barnes Profile
Since others have focused on Arizona Fall League roster analysis, I want to highlight Jacob Barnes. If you’re like me, even paying close attention to the Brewers system in 2015 means that you’ll miss some interesting performances, since there was so much happening around the minors. So, I apologize for not covering Barnes in detail earlier, but I guess it’s better late than never. The Brewers drafted Barnes in the 14th round of the 2011 draft, and the 25-year old spent the entire season in AA Biloxi.

After his 2014 campaign in Advanced A Brevard County and AA Huntsville, something interesting happened to Barnes: he worked a six start circuit in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he improved his strike outs by 29% over his AA Huntsville, advanced minors rate. The righty received an opportunity to continue working at AA Biloxi, and he started the season in the Shuckers rotation. Through his first seven games, including six starts, Barnes’s strike out rate stuck, as the righty whiffed 38 bats in 30.3 IP. His run prevention and hit prevention weren’t as strong, and the Brewers unleashed Barnes into the bullpen.

Jacob Barnes G (GS) IP K / BB / HR H / R
As a starter 7 (6) 30.3 38 / 10 / 1 35 / 16
As a reliever 30 42.3 46 / 17 / 1 38 / 15

Since moving to the bullpen, Barnes has continued a high rate of strike outs. Even if his rate over his last 30 games is not as strong as his first seven, Barnes’s strike out performance as a reliever in 2015 is 53% better than his 2014 performance at AA Huntsville. The righty is firmly on the Brewers’ map, as they now must make a decision whether they will protect an advanced minors reliever on their 40-man roster (Barnes is one of many intriguing players that could potentially be selected by other teams in the 2015 Rule 5 draft).

Unfortunately for Barnes, the 2015 minor league season was packed with key advancements (including steps forward by several of his Biloxi teammates), a great draft, and bigtime trade deadline moves that added more prospects to the system, so his own amazing step forward has been hidden throughout the year. Therefore, it’s tough to find updated scouting reports, but one can read between the lines of this A Wisconsin report and look for (a) an improved breaking ball, (b) improved command, and (c) perhaps higher velocity as Barnes works as a reliever (or grew into his 6’2″ frame).

Rule 5 Draft
I am starting a list of players that could potentially be available to other teams through the Rule 5 draft. Any corrections or updates are more than welcome. There are a lot of intriguing players on this list, including (by my count) at least eight players that took big steps forward in the advanced minors, or received key promotions in the advanced minors.

Jacob Barnes
Parker Berberet
Jed Bradley
Taylor Brennan
Drew Gagnon
Preston Gainey
Brooks Hall
Dustin Houle
Jorge Lopez
Damien Magnifico
Casey Medlen
Nick Ramirez
Michael Reed
Victor Roache
Nick Shaw
Brent Suter
Martin Viramontes
Wei-Chung Wang
Adam Weisenburger
Mike Strong — already on 40-man
Yadiel Rivera — already on 40-man

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