Projecting Milwaukee’s Slew of Late-September Call-Ups

On Monday night, the Biloxi Shuckers, the Brewers Double-A affiliate, fell to Chattanooga in the Southern League championship. Following the loss, the Brewers rewarded several members of the Biloxi squad with promotions to the big leagues. Among Tuesday’s call-ups were: outfielder Michael Reed, infielder Yadiel Rivera, and right-handed pitchers Yhonathan Barrios, Adrian Houser, Jorge Lopez and Tyler Wagner. Let’s have a look at what the data have to say about these prospects. (Note: WAR figures represent projected WAR totals through age-28 season, according to KATOH system.)

Michael Reed, 4.5 WAR

Michael Reed opened the year with Double-A Biloxi, and was promoted to Triple-A on August 1st. He was later reassigned to Double-A for the playoffs to get a few more reps. All told, the 22-year-old hit a respectable .270/.377/.408 on the year with an impressive 27 stolen bases.

As you likely inferred from his triple slash line, Reed draws lots of walks. Specifically, he walked in 14% of his plate appearances this season. But he’s not one of those hitters whose minor league success is entirely driven by his copious walk totals. Reed complemented those walks with a healthy amount of power, belting 47 extra-base hits this year. Let’s look at some Mahalanobis distance comps for Reed’s somewhat rare combination of power, speed and walks.

Michael Reed’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name PA thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 1.07 Cesar Crespo 291 0.0
2 1.30 Aaron Hicks* 886 1.4
3 1.51 Eric Young Jr.* 1,273 2.1
4 1.52 Esteban German 444 0.9
5 1.83 Ray McDavid 48 0.0
6 1.83 Jarred Ball 0 0.0
7 1.83 Andy Machado 81 0.0
8 1.96 Sheldon Fulse 0 0.0
9 2.15 Dante Powell 85 0.0
10 2.18 Prentice Redman 27 0.0
11 2.24 Bert Hunter 0 0.0
12 2.25 Jeremy Hazelbaker* 0 0.0
13 2.36 Chuck Carr 1,648 3.9
14 2.38 Blake Tekotte 91 0.0
15 2.54 Ray Holbert 229 0.0
16 2.78 Delino DeShields Jr.* 443 0.9
17 2.94 Peter Bourjos* 1,649 10.3
18 2.96 Dave Krynzel 54 0.0
19 2.98 Bernie Williams 3,650 23.2
20 3.06 Tyler Saladino* 235 0.5
*Yet to play age-28 season
Outfielders colored in blue


Jorge Lopez, 3.1 WAR

Jorge Lopez was rock solid for Biloxi this year. He posted a sparkling 2.26 ERA in 24 regular season starts, and somehow managed to top that figure with a 2.16 mark in the playoffs. His 3.36 FIP suggests his true talent level isn’t quite as amazing, but even so, his 24% strikeout rate bodes very well for the future. Overall, not too shabby for a 22-year-old in Double-A.

Prior to this year, Lopez’s numbers had been largely mediocre. His 4.81 ERA suggested he was destined for a career as a high-minors pitcher. But following a 2015 breakout, it seems the lanky right-hander might ultimately carve out a role in the big leagues, even if its in a bullpen capacity. Here are his comps.

Jorge Lopez’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name IP thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 0.46 Keyvius Sampson* 44 0.3
2 0.49 Anthony Ranaudo* 54 0.0
3 0.59 Esmerling Vasquez 168 0.1
4 0.60 Steve Montgomery 84 0.0
5 0.74 Tyler Clippard 420 4.6
6 0.76 Jordan Zimmermann 892 17.3
7 0.87 Brian Bevil 67 0.5
8 0.90 Micah Bowie 71 0.0
9 0.90 James Baldwin 920 9.3
10 0.92 Jesus Colome 251 0.0
11 0.93 Cedrick Bowers 0 0.0
12 0.94 Justin Miller 40 0.7
13 0.94 Henry Owens* 51 0.4
14 0.94 Victor Santos 423 2.5
15 0.95 Donnie Elliott 35 0.0
16 0.96 Kip Yaughn 0 0.0
17 0.98 Ed Martel 0 0.0
18 1.02 Eric Ludwick 74 0.0
19 1.18 Jorge DePaula 27 0.1
20 1.18 Gary Rath 8 0.0
*Yet to play age-28 season


Yadiel Rivera, 1.4 WAR

Yadiel Rivera split 2015 between Double-A and Triple-A, where he hit a punchless .263/.306/.343 with 12 steals. Defensively, he split time between second base, third base and shortstop. Frankly, Rivera isn’t much to get excited about. He can make some flashy plays on defense, but lacks the contact, power and speed to make any sort of impact offensively.


Adrian Houser, 1.3 WAR

Adrian Houser, 22, was one of the players who came over from the Astros in the Carlos Gomez blockbuster. He split the year between High-A and Double-A, where he pitched to a 4.31 ERA and 4.28 FIP. Houser struggled a bit following his promotion to Double-A, but pitched markedly better once he joined the Brewers organization at the trade deadline. In seven starts with his new organization, Houser turned in a 2.92 ERA and 3.55 FIP on the strength of a 21% strikeout rate and 4% walk rate.

Houser throws in the mid- to high-90s, which automatically makes him interesting. But his stats to date don’t suggest he’s destined for very great things. When I wrote up Houser two months ago at the time of the trade, his list of comps wasn’t pretty — It was basically Bryan Shaw, Matt Perisho and a bunch of career minor leaguers. I’m saying this because I’m too lazy to run his data through the Mahalanobis machine again and format the results. But I’d bet his list of comps would likely look very similar, even following his uptick in performance.


Tyler Wagner, 1.3 WAR

Save for one spot start with Milwaukee back in May, Tyler Wagner pitched exclusively at Double-A this season. Like Lopez, he recorded an excellent ERA (2.25) and slightly less excellent FIP (3.27) in a full season of work. But unlike Lopez, Wagner, 24, was a little old for the Double-A level — and, more importantly, he didn’t achieve his success by way of an above-average strikeout rate. Wagner’s Double-A numbers weren’t bad. In fact, they were pretty good. But you expect to see a little more from a 24-year-old pitching in Double-A, especially in the strikeout department.


Yhonathan Barrios, 0.6 WAR

The Brewers acquired Yhonathan Barrios in July in the trade that brought Aramis Ramirez back to Pittsburgh. Barrios has been known to touch 100 mph on occasion, but you’d never know it by looking at his strikeout numbers. For a 23-year-old Double-A reliever, that doesn’t bode well.

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

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8 years ago

Thanks Chris