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2022 Minor League Transaction Thread


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Brewer Fanatic Staff

Baseball America notes that the Brewers have released 20-year-old RHP Oscar Castaneda.

 

Not to be confused with fellow Mexican native RHP Victor Castaneda, who has ranked among the Crew's Top 30 prospects, Oscar Castaneda (no relation to our knowledge) debuted as a just-turned 18-year-old in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 and was immediately placed in the DSL rotation, always a vote of confidence coming off signing day.

 

In twelve starts Castaneda posted a strong 2.85 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, only 44 K's in 60 IP, but still promising.

 

Of course 2020 was a wipeout, but Castaneda was brought stateside last summer. In 16 Maryvale appearances (one start) covering 26.1 innings, his ERA sat at 7.86, WHIP 1.86. His K rate did increase to 11.3 per 9.

 

As we'll often say, best wishes, baseball- and otherwise to Oscar.

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Source: #Brewers agree to deals with shortstop Jhonny Severino, #21 on @MLBPipeline’s Top 50 Int’l Prospects list and No. 23 shortstop Johan Barrios atmlb.com/31P2UBO

 

More info on each prospect here:

https://www.mlb.com/news/brewers-2022-international-prospects?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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33 international players signed. 15 from Venezuela, 15 from Dominican Republic, 3 from Nicaragua. 17 position players, 16 pitchers. 16 born in 2005, 11 in 2004, 3 in 2003, 2 in 2002, 1 in 2000. The oldest 8 players on the list are all pitchers.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Brewer Fanatic Staff

As per mlb.com, the Brewers have signed minor league free-agent catcher Jason Lopez. Lopez, 23 years old (24 this March), was signed out of Venezuela by the Yankees as part of their July 2nd, 2014 international class. The then-16-year-old reportedly received a relatively modest $100,000 bonus.

 

Lopez became a free agent after spending a full seven seasons in the Yankees system. He only reached the AA level (49 games) and AAA level (three games) for the first time this past 2021 season. Lopez did play winter ball in his native country for the first time in '21-'22.

 

His career line is .232/.311/.349 (.660 OPS). In the timeline below, which reads from most recent to oldest, you will note outside of a productive three-quarters of a season at Low A in 2018, offense has been an issue, despite the one video clip to start things off.

 

Baseball Reference Page

 

MiLB.com Player Page

 

Lopez, in terms of paper assignment, has been placed on the AA Biloxi roster. Of note and perhaps of interest is that the AAA rosters of all teams remain frozen until the Rule 5 draft. So even veteran 1B and recent signing 1B Tyler White is listed on Biloxi's paper roster for the time being.

 

Lopez will join fellow catchers Thomas Dillard, Brent Diaz, Jakson Reetz, perhaps Alex Hall and Nick Kahle among AA options behind the plate at points in time in 2022.

 

***

 

VIDEO 7/22/21: Yankees' catching prospect Jason Lopez had one homer coming into the Double-A Patriots game, and he left with three for the year.

 

***

 

SB Nation prior to the 2020 season:

 

Jason Lopez was a well regarded catcher when he signed with the Yankees as an international free agent in 2014. As recently as 2018 he put up a solid .285/.330/.453 line through 72 games with Low-A Charleston, but that success has not translated to High-A Tampa where he has only produced a .590 OPS in 84 games.

 

***

 

Fangraphs prior to the 2019 season:

 

Potential Reserves/Platoon Types

 

Lopez is a prototypical potential backup catcher who converted from the infield, and it looks like he’s going stick back there, but probably not have much offensive impact.

 

***

 

Prospects1500 prior to the 2019 season:

 

Not in the Top 50 Yankees prospects, but listed under “The Fringe-stripes”

 

Jason Lopez, C

Age: 20

Highest Level: A+

2018: 324 PA, .272/.313/.430, 8 HR, 7:3 SB:CS, 5.2% BB%, 21.0% K%, 111 wRC+

Can show patience at the plate, despite having a raw approach overall. Displayed power and speed in the SAL last season with some promise for the future projections of his bat. He is athletically built with a potential to stick behind the plate long-term. Still, a long way to go on the development path to make that call. The profile is exciting if he does stay behind the plate.

 

***

 

MiLB.com after a productive 2018 age 20 season:

 

Yankees Organization All-Stars

 

Catcher -- Jason Lopez, Charleston (72 games), Tampa (13 games): Signed out of Venezuela in 2014, Lopez participated in his first full professional season this year and seemed to have little trouble with the adjustment. After appearing in 67 total games over the previous two years, the 20-year-old played in 85 games between Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa and sparkled. Lopez hit .272/.313/.430 while sporting a .743 OPS with 31 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs. Behind the plate, Lopez finished with a .994 fielding percentage and committed just four errors in 716 total chances.

 

"Jason really put himself on the map this year," said Yankees director of Minor League operations Hadi Raad. "He's made himself one of our higher catching prospects. He was splitting time in the beginning, but the more he played the more he improved. We always knew he could catch and throw, but now the hitting has come around, too. He really put it all together and he looks good for us right now, and we're happy with how far he's come."

 

***

 

August 2018 article on Lopez' mid-season promotion to High-A (so this would be at the peak of his career productivity)

 

***

 

April 2017 via pinstripedprospects.com -

 

A 19-year old out of Valencia, Venezuela, Jason Lopez is a catcher that could be a guy to watch this season. He signed an international free agent on July 2, 2014, for $100,000 a small sum compared to others in that class. He has been highly touted for his defensive skill set behind the plate, and Lopez showed it off in his first season with the Dominican Summer League Yankees where Lopez threw out 45.6% of runners attempting to steal a base in 40 games behind the plate. He hit .240/.337/.301 in 146 at bats that year with one home run and 19 RBI.

 

Last season Lopez only played in 11 games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, hitting .192/.267/.346 in 26 at bats and throwing out 7 out of 15 runners attempting to steal. This season he could return to the GCL or move up to Pulaski.

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Let's hope the upper level catchers stay healthy (MLB: Narvaez, Severino; AAA: Sullivan, Feliciano) and then one of these AA guys finds his offense in 2022:

- Jason Lopez - 1998 - .640 OPS in 200 PAs at mostly AA in 2021 - .286 BABIP - threw out 36% of basestealers

- Jakson Reetz - 1996 - .620 OPS in 302 PAs at mostly AA in 2021 - .256 BABIP - threw out 24% of basestealers

- Brent Diaz - 1996 - .636 OPS in 210 PAs at mostly AA in 2021 - .303 BABIP - threw out 27% of basestealers

 

The Jason Lopez signing has a nice little ripple effect in my projected minor league placements:

- Jason Lopez to catch in AA, pairing with Jakson Reetz and Brent Diaz

- Nick Kahle repeats a season as High-A catcher, after a .565 OPS last season, pairing with Darrien Miller and Alex Hall

- Zavier Warren High-A starting third baseman, since he only caught 3 of his final 39 games last year

- Freddy Zamora AA starting shortstop, making the leap after just 92 PAs in High-A

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Brewer Fanatic Staff

Not so much a transaction as it an update on an arm that saw a bunch of time with the Mudcats last summer.

 

Posted on September 1st, 2021:

 

- RHP Nick Belzer released by Milwaukee.

 

Undrafted and signed out of independent ball in 2019, Belzer played for Maryvale Blue that summer, was released in November 2020, made one start for Sioux City (independent ball), then re-signed on May 30th (more on that sequence of events here).

 

Belzer looked more like a promotion candidate than a release candidate for most of the year with Carolina, with a 2.98 ERA through his first nine starts. However, the numbers weakened over his last three starts (ending with 3.55 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 63.1 innings), his age (now 26 years old) and a low K rate (6.4 per 9 innings) appear to have triggered a second release from Milwaukee. We hope he quickly lands on his feet. Good luck Nick!

 

***

 

2/4/22:

 

Five minor leaguers suspended for violating drug program

 

Belzer, who remains a free agent, is the only one (thankfully) with Brewers ties.

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- RHP Wade Beasley is listed as Voluntarily Retired on milb.com https://www.milb.com/player/wade-beasley-681406

 

A 24th-round pick at age 18 out of Horatio Arkansas (Home School) High School, he originally signed for $257,500, the 7th highest paid by the Brewers in that 2018 draft class. However, injuries stopped him early and often, as he only recorded 8.2 innings over 3 seasons (plus Covid year) - 5 games in 2018, 1 in 2021.

 

To his credit, he made it back to throw 5 pitches in AZL ball this year, facing one batter. I hope for his sake that that was actually the goal this year: make it back, then retire. Still just 22 years old, the Best is certainly ahead of him. Good luck Wade!

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  • 1 month later...

Former Brewer draft pick, LHP Kodi Medeiros, signs minor league contract with the Angels

 

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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- Brewers traded C David Fry to Cleveland (to complete Nov 2021 J.C. Mejia trade)

 

Fry, a Texan born in 1995, was a 7th round selection out of Northwestern State University (LA) in 2018. He’s hit and apparently caught well at every level – 2018 Helena .969 OPS, 40% caught stealing; 2019 Wisconsin .773 OPS, 42% caught stealing; 2021 Biloxi-Nashville .797 OPS, 35% caught stealing. He even played in the Arizona Fall League in 2019 (.835 OPS, 24% caught stealing).

 Given the premium value which the Brewers typically place on catchers, I wonder if they feel like Mr. Fry has reached his ceiling and isn’t quite worth the 40-man roster spot that he’ll be expecting with one more decent season. Well, his pursuit now moves to the Cleveland organization and we wish him luck in his quest!

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- Brewers signed C Brian Navarreto, plugging high minors catching depth gap caused by recent David Fry trade

 

Navaretto, a Puerto Rican born in 1994, was a 6th round pick of the Twins in 2013 out of Arlington Country Day High School (FL). He reached AA in 2017 and spent 6.5 seasons in total with Minnesota, with season OPS’ ranging from .550 to .684. Traded to the Yankees mid-2019, he then spent 2020-2021 with the Marlins, even getting 5 MLB PAs (with 2 hits!) in 2020 (likely from Covid roster decimation). 2021 was a relative bright spot for his bat, as he posted a .681 OPS in 211 PAs across AA and AAA, including 9 homers.

Clearly, Mr. Navaretto is a Defense-First catcher, with caught stealing rates of 33% (2021), 29% (2019), 39% (2018), 54% (2017), 52% (2016), 56% (2015), 59% (2014) and 34% (2013).

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- 2B Drew Smith retired

 Smith, a Nebraskan (well, born in Michigan) born in 1998, was not selected out of Grand Canyon University in the 5-round 2020 MLB draft, but signed with the Brewers in June 2020. The Covid 2020 wipe-out and an early injury in 2021 delayed his debut until September 3, 2021.

In all, Drew played in 12 games with ACL Brewers Gold, posting a respectable OPS of .758 in 42 PAs. Despite the decent start, he faced extremely tough competition to make the Low-A Carolina roster this year. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.

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14 hours ago, damuelle said:

- Brewers signed C Brian Navarreto, plugging high minors catching depth gap caused by recent David Fry trade

Navaretto, a Puerto Rican born in 1994, was a 6th round pick of the Twins in 2013 out of Arlington Country Day High School (FL). He reached AA in 2017 and spent 6.5 seasons in total with Minnesota, with season OPS’ ranging from .550 to .684. Traded to the Yankees mid-2019, he then spent 2020-2021 with the Marlins, even getting 5 MLB PAs (with 2 hits!) in 2020 (likely from Covid roster decimation). 2021 was a relative bright spot for his bat, as he posted a .681 OPS in 211 PAs across AA and AAA, including 9 homers.

Clearly, Mr. Navaretto is a Defense-First catcher, with caught stealing rates of 33% (2021), 29% (2019), 39% (2018), 54% (2017), 52% (2016), 56% (2015), 59% (2014) and 34% (2013).

Great guy! Very good catcher. Very strong arm. Certainly looks the part of a guy who should hit, big, strong, nice approach at the plate, just has never been able to hit with any consistency. 

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5 hours ago, ARobsBrewCrew said:

The Brewers have released RHP Braden Webb. It has also come to light that Webb pitched the entirety of last season with a torn ACL and meniscus.

Wow. The Braden Webb comes untangled. I remember when Webb was a mildly interesting prospect when he had that stint pre-COVID and was promoted all the way to Double AA. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Joey Wiemer is my Spirit Animal
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On 3/22/2022 at 11:36 PM, ARobsBrewCrew said:

The Brewers have released RHP Braden Webb. It has also come to light that Webb pitched the entirety of last season with a torn ACL and meniscus.

RHP Braden Webb, a 26-year old Oklahoman, was a 3rd round Brewers’ draft pick in 2016 out of the University of South Carolina, signing for $700,000. A starting pitcher who featured in the Brewers’ mlb.com Top 30 Prospect List for some time, Braden threw 271.2 innings from 2017-2019, about half of which was in High-A Carolina, with a 4.21 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 9.24 K/9.

 After the 2020 washout, he moved to the bullpen in 2021 at AA Biloxi, striking out an encouraging 67 batters in 49 innings (12.3 K/9), though with a 4.59 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. A solid winter ball in Puerto Rico (12.3 K/9, 3.07 ERA, 1.43 WHIP in 29.1 innings) suggested this relief focus is paying off, but he’s now undergone ACL surgery and been released by the team. However, this baseball journey is far from over for Braden, who tweeted: “I know that if I can compete with a damaged knee and dominate, my time in this game isn’t over.” Wishing you a full recovery and short road to the majors, Braden. Good luck!

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From the players' individual mlb.com pages, I've noted six cuts on the minor league side:

  • OF LG Castillo
  • 1B/3B Chad McClanahan
  • RHP Nate Peden
  • RHP Justin Miller
  • RHP Ramon Carrasco
  • RHP Santiago Elizondo
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8 hours ago, CheeseheadInQC said:

Am I forgetting someone or does that just leave Perdomo, Lindblom and I guess Reetz among the NRIs?

You haven't forgotten anyone. Luis Perdomo, Josh Lindblom, and Jackson Reetz remain in big league camp as of Monday.

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On 3/28/2022 at 4:44 PM, damuelle said:

From the players' individual mlb.com pages, I've noted six cuts on the minor league side:

  • OF LG Castillo
  • 1B/3B Chad McClanahan
  • RHP Nate Peden
  • RHP Justin Miller
  • RHP Ramon Carrasco
  • RHP Santiago Elizondo

22-year old New York OF Leugim “LG” Castillo was a 17th round pick of the Brewers in 2017 out of Lancaster High School NY for a presumably modest signing bonus. After a short 2017 stint in Arizona, he put up respectable numbers for an 18/19-year old in Helena in 2018 (.707 OPS in 271 PAs). 2019 was a down year (.509 OPS in 285 PAs principally in Low-A), but he had a nice bounce-back in 2021 at High-A Wisconsin: .761 OPS in 257 PAs, with 9 home runs and 7 stolen bases, though supported by a possibly unsustainable .399 BABIP. In 1388.1 innings across 4 seasons, he played 1369.1 as a corner outfielder, 18.0 at first base and 1.0 in center field.

Given his age and the promise he showed in 2021, this looks like a pure numbers crunch move. Some of us had speculated last year that we’d likely move some of our MILB outfielders in the offseason or lose them in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, but instead we’re likely doing right by Mr. Castillo, who deserves a shot in AA but wasn’t going find many opportunities alongside Mitchell, Wiemer, Lutz, Howell, Gray and Lujano.  Good luck LG!

24-year old Arizona 3B/1B/OF Chad McClanahan was an 11th round pick of the Brewers in 2016 out of Brophy College Prep in Phoenix AZ, signing for the tidy sum of $1.2 million. After two modest seasons in Arizona and Helena (.638 OPS in 436 PAs), he had a decent breakout in Helena in 2018 (.923 OPS in 212 PAs) but struggled in Low-A Wisconsin for the next 1.5 seasons (.553 OPS in 538 PAs). 2021 in High-A Wisconsin was a relative bright spot for Chad (.662 OPS in 296 PAs with 8 home runs, though with a ratio of 37 walks to 117 strikeouts), but not enough to earn a shot in AA Biloxi this season.

We wish Mr. McClanahan best of luck in his future endeavors, whether it’s fulfilling his potential in another organization or pursuing other areas of interest.

23-year old Florida RHP Nate Peden was a 13th round pick of the Mets in the 2017 out of University HS Orlando. After struggling for 3 seasons, the Mets released him in May 2020 and played independent ball. Clearly intrigued, the Brewers signed Nate in July 2021 and put him to work: 48.0 innings, predominantly in Low-A Carolina. With the Brewers, he posted a 5.25 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and 9.9 K/9, but this was not enough for him to earn another shot in Low-A or High-A with the Brew Crew this year. We wish Mr. Peden success in his next project, whether in baseball or elsewhere.

23-year old California RHP Justin Miller was a 12th round pick of the Phillies in the 2016 draft out of Central HS Fresno CA. After struggling for 3 seasons, the Phillies released him in March 2019, after which he played independent ball. The Brewers saw enough to sign him in June 2021, though he proceeded on another difficult stretch, posting an 11.33 ERA, 1.96 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 in 27.0 innings, split between Rookie AZL and Low-A Carolina. Good luck to you Mr. Miller!

19-year old Mexico RHP Ramon Carrasco was signed by the Brewers in June 2019, after which he threw 7.2 innings in the DSL. Making the jump to the Arizona Complex League in 2021, Ramon pitched in 13 games, throwing 33.0 innings with an ERA of 6.00, WHIP of 1.70 and K/9 of 5.7. On the bright side, he threw a few innings in the Mexican Winter League, so hopefully Ramon is able to leverage that experience to locate another opportunity in the near future. Good luck Ramon!

22-year old Mexico RHP Santiago Elizondo was signed by the Brewers in August 2017. He had a solid 2018 debut (4.42 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) in 53.0 innings in the DSL, then again held his own in Rookie Arizona in 2019 (1.74 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 7.8 K/9) in 20.2 innings. However, the 2020 Covid washout and an injury limited his opportunities in 2021, during which he posted a 7.88 ERA, 2.00 WHIP and 13.5 K/9 in just 16.0 innings whilst again playing in Rookie Arizona ball. Despite the 2021 difficulty, perhaps the recent up-tick in strikeouts and earlier success as an 18/19-year old will enable Santiago to garner another opportunity. We wish him nothing but success along his path.

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