MINOR LEAGUE MAILBOX: APRIL 2017

We’ve had a couple of weeks of game action now among the Brewers top four affiliates and have had some emails coming in with questions about several Brewers prospects. Today we’ll take a look at some of those questions regarding Kodi Medeiros, Mario Feliciano, Eric Handhold and others in our latest installment of the Minor League Mailbox.

“What’s the deal with (Kodi) Medeiros? I keep seeing tweets about how filthy his stuff is but every time I check the box scores he’s getting lit up. Last year the excuse was his age now he’s repeating a level and it doesn’t seem like he’s getting any better. He’s looking more and more like a bust.” – John

Three games into the season is a little bit quick to be making any type of judgement about a player, but the issues with Medeiros seem to be the same as always. He has the tools and gets wicked movement on his pitches but sometimes they move too much and he either has problems throwing strikes, or is putting the ball in spots where opposing hitters can take advantage. Despite repeating at High-A, Medeiros is still very young (he won’t turn 21 until next month) and it’s a little early to be writing him off as a bust. The Brewers and their fans are going to need to display some patience, but you can’t just give up on a 20-year-old lefty with a low-to-mid-90’s fastball and wicked movement.

“Mario Feliciano is looking like the steal of last year’s draft so far. I wasn’t a fan of them drafting Ray in the first round, but Feliciano could make up for that move if he keeps going at this rate. What are the chances he turns out to be the best player in that draft class.” – Robert

Again, we’re talking about a really small sample size, but it’s been a fantastic start to the season for Feliciano. Looking back even as recently as a month ago I would bet there are very few people who predicted he’d be at Wisconsin to start the season. And not just playing, but playing well. This is why sometimes it pays to push young guys and see how they respond. We’ve seen it go the other way at times with guys having to head back to Helena from Wisconsin but by all accounts, Feliciano is holding his own with the bat and the glove. I would disagree with you on your assessment of Corey Ray, who I think will turn out to be a solid big leaguer for many years to come, but he and Feliciano combined could make the 2016 draft class a very special one for the Brewers.

“Noticed Eric Hanhold getting some starts for Carolina. Never thought of him as much of a prospect, but the Brewers must think fairly highly of him if they are taking starts away from some of the other guys on that Carolina staff, right?” – Mike

With so many talented young arms in the Brewers system, Hanhold flies under the radar a bit, but he’s a former sixth round pick out of Florida with a mid-90’s fastball and the makings of a plus slider, so he’d definitely worth keeping an eye on. At 6’5″, 220 he has the frame to log a lot of innings and work deep into games, but opposing teams have made solid contact against him throughout his pro career. That, combined with the fact that he is already 23 years old, might be why he gets overlooked at times, but as we saw with Brandon Woodruff last season, things can change in a hurry when you have plus stuff and it all comes together. I wouldn’t get too worried about the piggybacking, especially early in the season, as these things tend to work themselves out and if the Brewers see potential in a player, they will make sure he gets all of the innings he needs to develop.

“When Brad was on with Matt Pauley a few weeks ago I heard him mention a couple of guys (Lindell, Garcia, McClanahan) but haven’t seen them playing anywhere. Are they injured or do you know the status of their whereabouts? Thanks!” – Charlie

“I used to be really high on Nicolas Pierre’s potential but didn’t hear any mention of him this spring and he’s not playing anywhere. Any idea what’s up with him? Did the Brewers cut him?” – Garrett

All four of the guys mentioned are currently in extended spring training in Maryvale and should join one of the Brewers rookie league teams when they start play in June. Nic Pierre stayed back in the Dominican to work there during spring training but came over shortly after the full-season affiliates broke camp. When actual games start getting played in April it’s sometimes easy to forget about the younger guys who will fill out the Helena and AZL rosters but they are still working, playing 5-6 games a week in Arizona and getting ready for a little bit later start to their season.

“Have you guys thought about doing more with Twitter and/or Facebook? You have a great site with so much content for Brewers fans who like to learn about the prospects but I’ve noticed your Twitter and Facebook accounts are rarely updated. I think do more there might drive more traffic your way.” – Kelvin

“When you changed locations you mentioned a podcast I would love that!!!” – Shane

“Last year Around The Horn was published the morning following games I recall. Could it go back to that? Right now it’s published without any game info in it, so I have to remember to keep it unread in my RSS feed until later in the evening or the next morning. Plus I liked reading the previous day’s action the following morning.” – KF

“Since you dropped the On Deck posts and are just doing ATH again each day have you given any thought about changing it back to a morning post instead of updating it throughout the day?” – Devin

We’re constantly taking a look at the best way to do things and trying to do as much with the feedback we get as possible while balancing the wants of our loyal established readers with those of new potential followers. Our social media has been pretty terrible and we could definitely use some help in that area. As a Twitter user, I know I get sick of reading the same thing tweeted out by six different outlets, and so I know I’m guilty of sometimes neglecting to tweet things because I assume everyone is already aware. I saw a tweet from an NFL writer the other day that said “Breaking Schedule News”. I clicked on the link and it was just a post saying the schedule would be released on Thursday. I had already known that for days and it annoyed me that I wasted time clicking the link. That’s a big part of the reason I tweet very sparingly. In addition, while we get occasional help, we’re basically a two-man show here with full-time jobs and families and lives so it’s tough to keep up in all the areas we need to. That being said, if anyone is interested in lending a hand, we’re always looking for new writers and would very much welcome someone who would like to contribute on the social media side of things as well. The podcast is something we still hope to put together, but the guy who handles that for us has other responsibilities and lives in another city so scheduling has been an issue to this point. I’m still hopeful we’ll get that rolling in the next few weeks though. Around the Horn is probably the post that draws the most feedback and while we have seen our numbers increase some this year, we’ve also heard from plenty of folks who liked the old way and so that’s something we’re taking a hard look at. KF brings up a great point with the RSS feed and I can also see where a new reader might come to the site, see very little in the daily post if it’s prior to the games, and dismiss it. We’ll probably let it ride out as it is currently through April and then make a decision. I know we’re dealing with a lot of change, but the lion’s share of that is done with out readers in mind so we appreciate you having patience with us and continuing to follow us and provide us with your feedback.

Thanks, as always, for all the great emails. If you have questions about any of the Brewers prospects, feel free to email us at millerparkprospects@gmail.com or tweet us @BrewersMPP and we will pick a few of your questions to use in next month’s edition.