By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
In under one month Milwaukee will be faced with tough decisions regarding the long-term futures of many players eligible for the Rule V draft.
The deadline for adding players to team’s 40-man rosters for the December 12 draft will be November 20 and will include two of Milwaukee’s Minor League Players of the Year, Hunter Morris and Jason Rogers.
Both players signed following their 19th birthday and have been part of the Brewer organization for four seasons and will be exposed to other teams if the Brewers’ leave them off the 40-man roster.
The Rule V draft is designed to prevent Major League organizations from stashing prospects for a long period of time.
Consequently, it forces teams to make quick decisions regarding players sitting within one organization without any significant advancement and allows minor leaguers to latch on to other teams to further their careers.
The November 20 deadline allows teams to re-assess players’ futures upon the completion of the Arizona Fall League where some players are in “sink or swim” mode, and prepares teams for vacancies within each organization entering the General Manager meetings in December.
Morris, Rogers are near locks
Morris, 25, still possessed near identical power numbers and ability to produce extra base hits in 2013 compared to his Most Valuable Player campaign with Double A Huntsville in 2012.
After enduring tough times at the plate batting .247 with a .310 On Base Percentage, he managed to belt 24 home runs to place him second among Pacific Coast League leaders, just four shy of his 2012 mark.
In conjunction, he collected 26 doubles and legged out three triples for the 2013 Sounds and was 14 away from his 2012 Huntsville season.
While Morris’ overall percentage marks were below his personal expectations, he ended the season on a high note and will warrant a look as a first base option with Milwaukee in 2014.
Milwaukee is giving Rogers every opportunity to succeed in the organization after playing the entire season at first base – a position which Morris will be playing with Nashville.
Following Rogers’ highly regarded season with Huntsville where he blasted 22 home runs and drove in a league leading 87 runs batted in, the Brewers awarded him the 2013 Minor League Player of the Year.
Rogers is playing both corner outfield positions with the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League and is in the midst of a hot streak.
In the ensuing hot streak, he is batting 9-for-23 (.391) with a hit in six of his last seven games including hit first home run of the Fall League October 24.
Rogers pounded out five hits in nine at bats along with four runs scored, two home runs and two RBI in the last two games.
It also should be noted the 2013 Huntsville first baseman spent time playing third base in the Fall Instructional League after the prior to the start of the Arizona Fall League in October.
With Rogers’ recent diverse fielding experience, there will be no doubt the team will add him to the 40-man roster.
Cravy for a roster spot
Cravy is producing a near perfect Arizona Fall League performance allowing no earned runs and just four hits through 9.1 innings with the Saguaros.
In his last two appearances, he has struck out three batters in each game spanning four innings.
The 24-year-old pitcher emerged as a pitcher worth a look following the injuries of several pitching prospects with the Brevard County Manatees, including first round draft selection Jed Bradley.
Cravy should be projected as a member of the Double A Huntsville Stars in 2014 and he will earn a serious look by other Major League organizations if left exposed in the Rule V Draft.
Bucci faced a similar situation when he compiled a successful but small-sample sized season with the Manatees and Arizona Brewers in 2012.
The stark contrast between the two is Cravy’s durability and injury history, or lack of a history. Bucci was added to the 40-man roster following Tommy John Surgery and his 2013 was short with just 0.2 innings pitched with the Rookie Arizona League Brewers.
Consequently, Milwaukee outrighted Bucci off the 40-man roster early in October to open up a roster spot.
Could they be making way for Cravy? Quite possibly. They did not send Cravy to the Arizona Fall League to audition for other teams.