Although the drive from Seattle down to Tacoma can be quite treacherous, it is always nice to head out of the city and catch some outstanding baseball. Cheney Stadium is one of the most beautiful, unheralded gems of the Pacific Northwest baseball scene, and it was a treat to go spend a Sunday afternoon catching a game in the press box.
As most casual fans know, AAA is a hodgepodge of elite, nearly MLB ready prospects, MLB players on rehab assignments, and of course journeyman ballplayers looking for another chance at the show.
While Sunday’s matchup between the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Tacoma Rainiers had some of all three, it was unfortunately filled primarily with the latter. The Brewers have a solid farm system, but most of their high-level talent is playing in low-level leagues, at least at the moment. That, combined with injuries to three of my top 50 guys, meant that I was only able to see two top 50 prospects in action.
No matter, as I’ll provide a report on how those two looked, as well as a look at some of the fringier prospects who stood out during Colorado Springs’ 6-1 victory.
The Ranked Prospects
No. 31) Nate Orf, Second Base
Orf started at second and hit second in the order on Sunday. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and a two-run RBI single with two outs in the fourth inning. Orf is a 28-year-old ‘prospect’ who finally got his first crack of the big leagues this season. He has tremendous plate discipline, with an 11.0% walk rate in Triple-A and a 12% walk rate in his 25 big league plate appearances.
Orf has a long load and a bat wiggle that will remind Brewers fans of another young infield prospect, Gary Sheffield. (Yes, Gary was at one point a shortstop). However, his advanced age and lack of power make him a utility infielder at best, a role that he has yet to fulfill on a regular basis in the show. If he isn’t up for good within the next year, that’s probably it for Orf.
No. 42) Quintin Torres-Costa, LHP
Just when I was starting to get restless that the only player I’d get to write about would be Orf, the Sky Sox went ahead and brought in future LOOGY Torres-Costa to get the last four outs of the game. QTC got the job done, getting a fly out to end the eighth and a flyout and two groundouts to end the ballgame in the ninth.
Torres-Costa has a closed off mechanics and a low three-quarters delivery, which makes him the perfect LOOGY in the big leagues. At just 23 years of age, QTC was actually the youngest active player on the Sky Sox roster (Jacob Notthingham is younger, but he is currently on the disabled list). From a fantasy persective, Torres-Costa will likely have limited value. Still, he’s a 23-year-old who could be big league ready as soon as September if Milwaukee is desperate for another left-hander in the ‘pen.
The Super-Fringey Prospects
Almost everyone who played for Colorado Springs on Sunday had exhausted their prospect eligibility. However, there were other players who got into the game who are technically prospects, but were not ranked inside my top 50. Here they are:
Dylan Moore, 3B
Moore led off and played third for the Sky Sox. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Moore is a 26-year-old who has experience at every single position except catcher. He has been playing primarily third this season, although his versatility has been on display. Moore is slashing a solid .278/.342/.487 with seven home runs and 13 stolen bases with the Sky Sox. He began the year at Double-A Biloxi, where he hit .373 in 24 games before getting promoted.
Frankly, Moore probably should have been near the bottom of my midseason top 50. He has long displayed excellent speed and solid bat-to-ball skills, although his lack of power will almost certainly limit him to a utility role in the big leagues. However, he’s already ready for that role, and could easily step into it next season if the Brewers wanted him too. A high-contact, speedy player who can play everywhere around the diamond is always useful, although more as a real life asset than as a fantasy contributor.
Shane Opitz, 1B
Opitz hit eighth and started at first on Sunday, going 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI. The 26-year-old was an 11th round pick by Toronto back in 2016. He has absolutely no power and while he is having a solid season, it’s hard to envision a big league future for Opitz, barring catastrophic injuries.
Starter Aaron Brooks had a great outing, tossing 6.2 innings with five strikeouts and one earned run, courtesy of a Dan Vogelbach blast. Brooks holds an 8.38 big league ERA in 58 innings, and likely won’t factor into Milwaukee’s back end of the rotation unless they get really, truly desperate. Still, he’s 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA, so at the very least he’s keeping the people of Colorado Springs happy.
Keon Broxton was the only Sky Sox player to strike out more than once, proving that his big league woes are still not past him.
Veteran OF Rymer Liriano had a very nice afternoon, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Liriano hit 16 home runs at Triple-A Salt Lake earlier in the year, but the Angels let him go and Milwaukee was happy to snap him up. In an incredibly crowded Milwaukee outfield picture, Liriano is not going to see the big leagues unless he switches teams once again.
It was bark in the park night in Tacoma, which featured a hot dog eating contest for a few pups. It was jarring to see people rooting on dogs eating something called a dog, but whatever.
Erik Davis was the bridge between Brooks and Torres-Costa. He gave up a hit in one inning of work, lowering his season ERA to 4.01. Davis has long posted solid strikeout numbers in the upper minors, but a lack of control and an inability to keep runners from scoring has kept him from reaching his potential, which is that of a middle reliever. Nothing to get excited about here.
I had a blast checking out some Brewers prospects for you all, and hope I can make it out to more games in the future. If you have any questions about the players I saw, or any other Brewers related Q’s, feel free to fire away. Thanks!
Featured image of Cheney Stadium – via southsoundtalk.com