NEVIN ASHLEY (C)
Profile: After ten minor league seasons, and just a few weeks after his 31st birthday, Nevin Ashley finally got the call to big leagues on Monday, earning a September call-up to Milwaukee following a strong season at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 6th round of the 2006 draft, Ashley spent his first seven seasons in Tampa’s minor league system, advancing to Triple-A Durham in 2010. He traveled with the Rays during the 2010 ALDS as an emergency backup catcher, but was never active.
Ashley spent two more season in the Rays organization, then signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013. He appeared in 80 games for the Reds Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, hitting .235 with six home runs and 28 runs batted in. He hooked on with Pittsburgh the following season and played in 70 games for their Triple-A team in Indianapolis, hitting .246 in 203 at bats.
The Brewers signed Ashley in January, prior to the start of the 2015 season, and he played the entire season at Colorado Springs. In 94 games with the Sky Sox, he hit .306 with 14 doubles and eight home runs, earning a promotion to Milwaukee.
Strengths: A solid defender, who was ranked as Tampa’s best defensive catcher in both 2009 and 2010 by Baseball America, Ashley has gunned down 36% of opposing base runners over his ten year minor league career. Offensively, he has some pop in his bat, collecting 125 career doubles and 61 home runs.
Weaknesses: Like many catchers, defense is a priority and Ashley hadn’t hit much prior to this season. He hadn’t batted above .280 since his first year in rookie ball before finding success at Colorado Springs. Also, as you would imagine for a catcher, Ashley does not have much speed on the basepaths, moving station to station.
Future: At age 31 and with his fourth organization, Ashley is the definition of a journeyman behind the plate, but after a successful showing with the Sky Sox, the Brewers rewarded the veteran backstop with a September call-up. His age works against him, as he’s older than both Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, and neither catcher is in danger of losing their job to Ashley, but having a third catcher on the roster in September provides some nice insurance and flexibility for manager Craig Counsell over the season’s final few weeks.