As Milwaukee’s four full-season minor league clubs round out the first month of the season, it’s time for another edition of the Minor League Mailbag. In this round we’ll take a look at Brevard’s offensive struggles and the Brewers promotion patterns as well as answer questions about youngsters like Trey Supak and Jose Sibrian as well as veteran closer Jaye Chapman.
Brevard County has been brutal offensively so far this season. What’s going on down there? I know it’s a pitcher’s park and a pitcher’s league, but that offense just seems so consistently bad. It seems like it’s the same coaching staff year after year (in Wisconsin too). Maybe it’s time for a shake up? – Justin
At some point it does make you start to wonder if it’s on the coaches or the players. Generally speaking it’s a different group of players from year-to-year, so it’s hard to imagine there’s an issue with the message getting stale, but from a developmental standpoint you’d like to see your coaches moving up the ladder just as you do your players. There’s comfort zones and family issues involved, but the priority has to be on player development above all else. The continued struggles of once highly regarded prospects is definite cause for concern and while it’s still early, the small sample size argument is a tough one to sell when the problems are consistently the same from year-to-year. It might be a simple as getting that High-A team out of Brevard – I guess we’ll find out next season – but something needs to change.
It seems like the Brewers were not as aggressive with promotions this season as they have been in years past. Is that due to the new regime and do you think they’ll continue to take a more cautious approach? – Wilton
On the one hand, they held back some of their really young guys like Trent Clark, Demi Orimoloye and Gilbert Lara, but on the other hand, we saw far more college players skipping over Wisconsin and starting the season with Brevard County than we have in the past. George Iskenderian, Jose Cuas, Brad Kuntz, Jon Olczak and Junior Rincon all made the leap from rookie ball to High-A this season. Its hard to say this early on, but it sure seems like a bit of a shift in philosophy, being more aggressive with older players and more cautious with the younger ones. I like the idea of letting guys like Clark dominate a level for a bit, and get some confidence and the Brewers are in no rush on these guys, so as much as I’d love to be watching some of these guys in full season ball, I can’t argue with the strategy.
I was surprise Trey Supak didn’t open the season with Wisconsin. Is he healthy? Would they hold him back for any other reason? – Mike
As far as we know, Supak is healthy. While I too expected him to open at Wisconsin, he’s only 19 and has just 52.1 innings of pro ball under his belt, so having him start off in Helena isn’t the worst thing in the world. It falls in line with the previous question, taking a little more time with development for the youngsters in the organization.
Where do you think Jose Sibrian will start the season? – Hunter
I would have to think it would be either in the Maryvale in the AZL or the Dominican. I know he worked stateside in instructional league and spring training, but starting Gilbert Lara in Maryvale last season was a really bold move and he was a higher profile signing, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Sibrian get at least part of a DSL season on his resume in his pro debut.
Will Jaye Chapman make your next prospect ranking list? He’s been lights out for Biloxi. I know he’s a reliever but he has to be one of their top bullpen prospects, right? – John
As you mention, Chapman has been dominant and I would think he may get some votes, but it’s hard to sell people on a 28-year-old at Double-A as a prospect anymore. Chapman does have some previous big league experience with the Chicago Cubs back in 2012 and the Brewers could certainly use all of the bullpen arms they can find, so I could see him contributing at some point this season, but I still prefer some of the big, younger arms like David Goforth and Damien Magnifico.
Thanks, as always, for all the great emails. If you have questions about any of the Brewers prospects, feel free to email us at email@example.com or tweet us @BrewersMPP and we will pick a few of your questions to use in next month’s edition.