Huntsville was able to minimize it by mixing his roles with the pitching staff in 2012 with 17 starts and 18 relief appearances. Due to his large frame, he has the capability of being a productive long reliever in the Major Leagues.
Scouts remain interested in his potential due to the combination of his size and hard-throwing abilities. In addition, Heckathorn does pitch with extreme passion and heart, but needs to calm down. The pitcher tends to get rattled after a tough inning on the mound.
P – Johnny Hellweg, Double A Huntsville Stars:
Hellweg was acquired from Anaheim along with two others (SS Jean Segura, Milwaukee; P Ariel Pena, Huntsville) and was reputed as having the higher prospect ceiling than fellow pitcher Pena in the trade.
Many Major Leaguers with Anaheim touted the minor league pitchers power pitching and Angels’ Vernon Wells coined Hellweg with the simple nickname “Gas.” Hellweg has a tall robust frame standing at 6′ 9” and has the ability to eat innings.
Prior to the trade, Hellweg was a routine starter for the Angels’ Double A affiliate in Arkansas but moved to Huntsville bullpen accruing just two starts.
The Fall League could provide Hellweg an opportunity to regain his starting pitcher form and put him back in the Brewers’ plans. Hellweg has proven more effective when given the starting nod over pitching in relief.
As for the plans of Phoenix in the Fall, Hellweg can only hope he can get the chance to re-establish himself.
P – Santo Manzanillo, Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:
Manzanillo was expected to be a part of the Triple A starting rotation in 2012 but a car accident hindered his abilities and was relegated to relief roles and rehabilitation on his road back to recovery. He was among the top pitching prospects but mightily struggled in three different levels of minor league in 2012 and pitched the majority of his games out of the bullpen.
Many scouts believe he could be an excellent closer in the Major Leagues with his triple digit heat and solid breaking pitches.
Given the extent of his injury, he will need a couple more seasons in the Minor Leagues to fully recover. Manzanillo did earn a save in the Midwest League Championship with the Rattlers in 2012.
P – Jimmy Nelson, Double A Huntsville:
Entering the 2012 season, Nelson was a highly rated pitching prospect and compiled a productive season between High A Brevard County/Double A Huntsville. The right-hander pitched effectively for Brevard County in his 13 starts and compiled a 4-4 record with a 2.21 earned run average.
Nelson was promoted to Double A Huntsville and made ten starts for the Stars. He has shown an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio in all levels of his minor league career.
With the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2011, Nelson pitched 146 innings and struck out a Midwest League high 120 batters and walked 65. He followed up in 2012 with 127 combined innings by fanning 119 and walking 62.
He made significant progress by reducing the amount of home runs allowed from nine in 2011 to five in 2012 against higher level batters.
The Fall League will present an opportunity for him to bolster his stock among the top Brewer prospects and maintain his consistency.
1B – Hunter Morris, Double A Huntsville Stars:
Morris was named the Brewers’ 2012 minor league position player of the year and nearly collected the hard to obtain Triple Crown with Double A Huntsville.
In the highly-celebrated season for Morris in his hometown, he also collected the Southern League Most Valuable Player and was tabbed a Southern League post-season All-Star along with teammate Scooter Gennett.
The left-handed first baseman belted 28 home runs and drove in 113 runs with the Stars and was just points shy of grabbing the batting title. In addition, he was one double away (40) from capturing the league leader.
The one significant area where Morris could improve would be reducing the amount of strikeouts and the Fall League could provide him the chance to refine his plate discipline.
Anything Morris does with Phoenix in the fall will set the tone for Morris’ 2013 season with Triple A Nashville.
SS – Josh Prince, Double A Huntsville Stars:
Playing in the shadows of a league Most Valuable Player and two All-Stars is never easy, but Prince was able to be an excellent table-setter for both Gennett and Morris. Without his ability to get On Base and advance himself to scoring position, Morris’ numbers could have been less.
Prince was second in the Southern League with 41 stolen bases, behind Pensacola’s Billy Hamilton (51 in Double A, 104 in Single A – Minor League record).
The infielder by trade played a majority of his games in centerfield for the Stars in 2012 is indicative of his speed and range and has succeeded at every level of minor league baseball.
As the Fall League also provides players with the chance to demonstrate abilities at other positions, Prince will improve his versatility and be an essential part of the Triple A Nashville Sounds in 2013.
OF – Khris Davis, Triple A Nashville Sounds:
Davis rocketed his way through the Brewers system in 2012 and made his presence known at all three levels (Rookie, Double A, Triple A). The outfielder began the season with the Arizona Brewers on a rehabilitation stint and eventually made his way all the way up to Nashville in just 50 games.
In 44 games with Huntsville, Davis belted eight home runs and tabulated an on base percentage of .484 with a .383 batting average.
Much like Bucci above, Davis had limited playing time and should be able to clearly establish his role within the Brewers’ minor league system for 2013 with a solid Fall League showing.
OF – Brock Kjeldgaard, Double A Huntsville Stars:
Kjeldgaard has been organizational soldier for the Brewers since being drafted in the 2005 34th
round. The Canadian-born outfielder was a member of the Canadian Olympic team has been a work in progress for the Brewers but has the ability to hit in the clutch despite accruing a .211 batting average.
The Fall League will be crucial for Kjeldgaard as he fights for a spot within the Minor League system next season.
Phoenix Desert Dogs – 2012 Roster
Manager Aaron Holbert
Hitting Coach Darnell Coles
Hitting Coach Steve Livesey
Pitching Coach Charlie Corbell
Pitching Coach Don Schulze
Nick Bucci Brewers
Gary Daley Oakland
Grant Dayton Miami
Brian Flynn Miami
Shawn Haviland Oakland
Kyle Heckathorn Brewers
Johnny Hellweg Brewers
Brett Hunter Oakland
Chris Jones Atlanta
Lenny Linsky Tampa Bay
Santo Manzanillo Brewers
Scott McGough Miami
Jimmy Nelson Brewers
Cory Rasmus Atlanta
Chris Rearick Tampa Bay
C.J. Riefenhauser Tampa Bay
James Simmons Oakland
Zeke Spruill Atlanta
Kirby Yates Tampa Bay
Matt Kennelly Atlanta
Jake Realmuto Miami
Max Stassi Oakland
Nick Ahmed Atlanta
Tim Beckham Tampa Bay
Grant Green Oakland
Miles Head Oakland
Hak-Ju Lee Tampa Bay
Hunter Morris Brewers
Josh Prince Brewers
Edward Salcedo Atlanta
Richie Shaffer Tampa Bay
Khris Davis Brewers
Kyle Jensen Miami
Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay
Brock Kjeldgaard Brewers
Christian Yelich Miami
Phoenix Desert Dogs – 2012 Schedule
October 9: Scottsdale Scorpions 2:35pm
October 10: At Scottsdale Scorpions 8:35pm
October 11: At Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
October 12: Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
October 13: At Mesa Solar Sox 2:35pm
October 15: Salt River Rafters 2:35pm
October 16: At Salt River Rafters 8:35pm
October 17: At Surprise Saguaros 2:35pm
October 18: Surprise Saguaros 2:35pm
October 19: Mesa Solar Sox 2:35pm
October 20: Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
October 22: At Scottsdale Scorpions 2:35pm
October 23: Mesa Solar Sox 2:35pm
October 24: At Suprise Saguaros 2:35pm
October 25: At Salt River Rafters 2:35pm
October 26: At Surprise Saguaros 8:35pm
October 27: Scottsdale Scorpions 2:35pm
October 29: Salt River Rafters 2:35pm
November 1: At Salt River Rafters 2:35pm
November 2: Surprise Saguaros 2:35pm
November 5: At Surprise Saguaros 2:35pm
November 6: At Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
November 7: Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
November 8: At Mesa Solar Sox 2:35pm
November 9: Scottsdale Scorpions 2:35pm
November 10: Salt River Rafters 2:35pm
November 12: Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
November 13: At Peoria Javelinas 2:35pm
November 14: Surprise Saguaros 2:35pm