Peralta, Schafer open holes in Nashville

September 27, 2012

By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report


For three consecutive years, Logan Schafer was drafted in the June amateur draft (2006-
08) and it took a third round selection by the Brewers in 2008 to make him sign on the dotted line.
After getting a taste of Major League coffee in 2011 appearing in eight games, Schafer has finally arrived in Milwaukee and will be on the 2013 Opening Day Roster.
With the Brewers planning to allow free agent Nyjer Morgan to look elsewhere, the team is turning to the former Nashville Sound to be the backup to Carlos Gomez.
Schafer’s departure leaves the Sounds with a void in centerfield for 2013. The hole in the outfield is not the only shoes needing to be filled for Nashville after pitcher Wily Peralta’s strong audition as a September call-up.
Burgos could be Sounds’ Ace
Expected to take on the role left by departing Peralta would be Minor League Pitcher of the Year Hiram Burgos.
The 25-year-old from Puerto Rico came on the Brewers’ radar screen with rapid development with successful outings at three different levels in the farm system.
Burgos began the season with High A Brevard County posting a 2-1 record with a 0.87 earned run average in six starts. Following up the strong performance with the Manatees he started 13 games with Double A Huntsville and came through with a 6-1 record before being promoted to Nashville.
Jimmy Nelson could be in the minds of Brewers Player Development to be promoted to Nashville. The right-handed pitcher has remained consistent through the duration of his Minor League career and was among the top ten Brewers prospects by several sources entering 2012.
If Nelson has a productive Arizona Fall League season, he will be a shoo-in as a member of the 2013 Nashville Sounds.
Next in line behind Nelson would be former first-round pick Kyle Heckathorn. The tall right-hander has produced solid outings but consistency and ability to maintain composure are two areas that need to be improved in order for him to be successful in Nashville.
Minimal options in centerfield
Milwaukee does not have many alternatives to fill Schafer’s position for 2013 due to a glutton of corner outfielders and no adequate contingency plans in the upper levels of the farm system.
Huntsville’s Josh Prince and Khris Davis are both playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and might be an audition for the starting spot.
Prince began his career as a shortstop but recently converted to the centerfield in 2011 after playing his first three seasons in the infield. Davis has no experience in centerfield after spending his entire career playing corner outfield positions.
Davis is offensively ready for Triple A while Prince needs to refine his skills and increase his ability to reach base safely.
The closest prospect would be last year’s first-round selection Mitch Haniger but the 19-year-old was lost for the season after just 12 games with Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Other alternatives would be Brevard County’s Reggie Keen, second in the Florida State League with 41 steals, but has a long way to go before being a serious consideration for Nashville.
Beloit facing tough road
Minnesota is the latest team to grow weary of the state of affairs in Beloit. The American League squad signed on with Cedar Rapids earlier in September after eight seasons for the same reason as Milwaukee.
Beloit has continued to struggle due to lagging community support and a tough economic climate in the Wisconsin/Illinois Stateline region.
Rockford, Ill. lost it’s Midwest League team decades ago after working with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Consequently, both factors have led both Minnesota and Milwaukee looking for a new Single A affiliate due to Beloit’s inability to come up with financing for a new or renovated Pohlman Field.
The Twins decision to find a new affiliate was not surprising due to geographic reasons and new front office officials.
After Milwaukee decided to agree with West Virginia following the 2004 season, Minnesota rescued Beloit due to strong local ties between the Twins and Snappers.
Janesville native and Twins’ General Manager Terry Ryan swiftly agreed with Beloit despite financing issues but eight years became too much for Minnesota.
Oakland was given Beloit by Major League Baseball after the Snappers and Burlington Bees were left out in the cold following the deadline to file new contractual agreements.
Owners remain mum on the possibility of selling the Snappers and moving them elsewhere. It will be a difficult decision to make but Beloit is guaranteed a team until 2020.
It is anybody’s guess after that. Times are tough for nearly all cities surrounding Beloit along Interstate 90/39 from Janesville through Rockford.

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