With a shade over three months until the opening pitch of the Milwaukee Brewers 2015 campaign, there have been many developments with the Brewers minor league system after the final out was recorded in last year’s World Series.
In addition to the the relocation of the Huntsville Stars to Biloxi, Milwaukee extended their Player Development Contract with the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers through the 2020 season, and have a new partner at Triple A, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Milwaukee’s extension with the Timber Rattlers was a natural fit for both organizations.
Here is a rundown of the changes within the Brewers Player Development system:
Welcome Sky Sox!
Milwaukee’s breakup with the Nashville Sounds may have come as a shock to some casual observers of the Brewers’ minor league system, but there was a history of discontent between the parent club and the Sounds.
When the Brewers extended their working agreement with the Sounds during their last negotiations, it was clear Milwaukee had a desire to have a new stadium for their players in Triple A, and essentially were “stuck with” Nashville by default after having no other options.
The tides turned at the tail end of the 2013 season when there was movement in Nashville to build a new stadium to replace the aging Herschel Greer Stadium. There was hope this movement could trigger an extension to the Player Development Contract, but the Nashville Sounds had other plans.
After the team endured three losing seasons in the last four years, and Milwaukee’s tough task of stocking the Triple A affiliate with ‘can’t miss’ prospects, Nashville may have opted to find a new partner to start a new era at First Tennessee Ballpark.
Since 2011, Milwaukee developed just a handful of players who are now every day starters at Miller Park: Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett, Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson, if the Brewers opt to deal one of their starters prior to Opening Day.
While players were being summoned to Miller Park, development below Triple A was stagnant, with players stuck in Huntsville as Milwaukee signed former Major League players Corey Patterson and career minor leaguers including Jordan Brown and Eugenio Velez.
Additionally, Nashville became crippled with injuries, including Johnny Hellweg, Hunter Morris and Hiram Burgos during portions of the 2014 season.
The PDC change could have been a change of scenery move which could benefit both Milwaukee and Nashville in the long-term future.
Enter in the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, which will be Milwaukee’s third Triple A affiliate in 11 years.
There could be construction delays at Biloxi’s MGM Stadium after Biloxi officials reached a final agreement to fund the new ballpark for the relocated Huntsville Stars during an 11th hour deal.
Huntsville officially jumped ship after the Southern League approved the measure after the 2013 Winter Meetings in Orlanda, Fla.
However, there were legal issues which hindered efforts to move sooner, including a stadium lease with Joe Davis Stadium and the City of Huntsville.
Preliminary reports indicate the Shuckers could start the season in Huntsville if MGM Stadium is not completed by their April 20 home opener against Jacksonville.