The 2017 Arizona Fall League season gets underway this Tuesday and the Milwaukee Brewers will be represented, with eight players lined up to participate for the Salt River Rafters on a team that also features prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins.
Outfielders Corey Ray and Monte Harrison, infielders Lucas Erceg and Jake Gatewood (pictured) and pitchers Adrian Houser, Nate Griep, Jon Perrin and Quintin Torres-Costa were all selected to play against some of baseball’s top minor league prospects over the next seven weeks.
Ray, 22, was Milwaukee’s first-round draft choice last season, but suffered a knee injury during instructional league that slightly delayed the start to hi 2017 season. The former Louisville Cardinal spent all of 2017 at Advanced-A Carolina, where he hit .238/.311/.367 with 29 doubles, four triples and seven home runs in 112 games with the Mudcats.
Harrison, 22, turned in his best season as a pro, splitting time between Low-A Wisconsin and High-A Carolina, hitting a combined .272/.350/.481 with an OPS of .832. The former second-round draft choice belted 21 total home runs while also stealing 27 bases and scoring 73 runs in 122 games.
Erceg, the Brewers’ second pick in 2016, put together a strong spring, and like Ray, was assigned to Carolina this year. In 130 contests between Carolina and Triple-A Colorado Springs, the 22-year-old third baseman posted a line of .259/.310/.421, including 15 home runs.
Gatewood, 21, was taken by the Brewers out of high school in 2014 and is in the midst of his best season as a pro in 2017. After beginning the year with Carolina, Gatewood earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi in early August, and in 134 combined games between the two levels, the versatile Gatewood had an OPS of .775, with 40 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs.
Houser, 24, was acquired in a 2015 trade with the Houston Astros and made his MLB debut that same season. He opened 2016 at Double-A Biloxi but underwent Tommy John surgery which sidelined him for the second half of last season as well as much of 2017. He returned to the mound in late July, pitching for Milwaukee’s Arizona League team in Maryvale, then joined the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, where he finished out the season.
Griep, 23, was an eighth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2015 and has worked exclusively out of the bullpen the past two seasons. He racked up 23 saves as a member of the Timber Rattlers in 2016, then followed that up by converting 30 of 33 save opportunities this season with Advanced-A Carolina. In 45 appearances for the Mudcats, Griep posted a record of 3-1 with a 2.37 earned run average.
Perrin, 24, turned in an strong 2016, posting high strikeout and low walk totals between three different levels. He spent all of 2017 at Double-A Biloxi, but saw his innings limited on a staff full of talented arms. Perrin appeared in 23 games for the Shuckers, starting 12 of them, and wound up going 5-3 with a 2.91 earned run average, allowing just 21 free passes in 105.1 innings of work.
Torres-Costa, 23, was a 35th-round pick in 2015 out of Hawaii, but the left-handed reliever has continued to impress as he climbs his way up the Milwaukee ladder. He opened up this season at Advanced-A Carolina, going 6-4 with a 3.77 ERA before earning a promotion to Double-A Biloxi in July. In 18 appearances with the Shuckers, he went 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA and he finished the season with a combined WHIP of 1.38 between the two levels.
The 2017 schedule features a 30-game season with the Fall League Championship slated to take place on Saturday, November 18th at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Rafters open up their season at Surprise, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 PM CST.