Hiram Burgos was once a budding pitching prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
The Brewers sixth round selection in 2009 made waves in the organization for his breaking pitches and rapid progression through multiple levels of the Brewers organization which led to a 2013 appearance at Miller Park.
But, after a series of injuries, the 27-year-old has found his way back to Advanced A Brevard County.
The same team he made 24 appearances for in 2011, seven in 2012 and one in 2013 before solidifying his role with the Nashville Sounds in 2013 and 2014.
Burgos’ most prolific season came in 2012 when he accumulated a 10-4 record in three stops through the minor league system, Brevard County, Double A Huntsville and Triple A Nashville.
In his 27 combined games in the three levels, he struck out 153 hitters and walked 49 in 171 innings, and allowed 37 earned runs for a meager 1.95 ERA en route to a Brewers’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor.
However, after enduring an injury while a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, and rehabilitation stops with Single A Wisconsin, Brevard County and Nashville, he was limited to nine total games.
In his nine games, he compiled a 1-5 record with a 3.93 ERA in 36.2 innings.
Seeking rejuvenation, Burgos returned to his native Puerto Rico, where he played for Indios de Mayaquez for the fourth straight offseason.
The right-hander bounced back in 38.2 innings for Mayaquez, where he allowed just six earned runs on 25 hits. He struck out 35 hitters compared to 12 walks.
Upon his return to the Brewers in 2014, injuries hampered him again, making just four appearances for AAA Nashville last season.
Now, after Burgos was declared a free agent following the season, the Brewers opted to retain him on a minor league contract without an invitation to Spring Training this season.
Burgos has demonstrated some promising signs at the early portion of the Manatees season, picking up two victories, including an April 14 1-0 pitchers duel against the St. Lucie Mets.
He held the Mets to one hit in seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking one to pick up his first win almost a year to the day of previous win.
Prior to his initial win of 2015, he picked up an April 17, 2014 win while a member of AAA Nashville against Memphis. He struck out 10 Redbirds, allowed three earned runs on five hits and walked two through five innings of work.
He did not have to wait as long for his next win, notching a six-inning quality start May 7 against the Tampa Yankees, where he struck out seven and held the Yankees to two earned runs on six hits.
Also on the Manatees is last season’s Rule V grab Wei-Chung Wang.
The 23-year-old left-hander was picked from the Pittsburgh Pirates, but league rules indicated he needed to spend a season on the Major League squad, or be given back to Pittsburgh.
Stashed at the bottom of the Brewers’ relief corps last year, he was limited to 17.1 innings due to inexperience beyond the Rookie League.
The Brewers hope was to assign him to the minor league system for further development following the 2014 campaign, where he allowed 21 earned runs, 30 hits, six home runs and eight walks.
After an injury led him to a minor league rehabilitation the remaining four months of the season, he strung together seven solid performances with the Arizona Brewers, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Manatees.
Despite favorable rehabilitation appearances, Wang has struggled to find his rhythm with the Manatees this season.
In six starts, spanning 27.1 innings, he has allowed 18 earned runs and 36 hits, and walked 14.
Wang’s sole win came on his initial appearance April 10 against Daytona, where he held the Tortugas scoreless through six innings, allowing five hits and walking two. He also struck out six.
He was pulled in the second inning of his next start at St. Lucie April, allowing eight earned on six hits, and walked five and departed with no strikeouts.
The 23-year-old starter will likely need an additional year of development within the Brewers organization after his season with the Brewers.
Former Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year Hiram Burgos ended his regular season in the Puerto Rican Winter League with a bang.
Burgos, 26, allowed just eight earned runs through 38.2 innings with Indios de Mayaguez to lead the league with a meager 1.40 ERA.
In addition, the pitcher captured two victories in his final two starts where he held opponents scoreless and allowed just five hits through 11 innings to end his season with a 2-2 record.
Burgos exhibited promising signs of control allowing no walks compared to six total strikeouts to cap off his regular season.
Burgos made a statement
After Burgos endured an injury shortened season where he made just 15 total starts between three different levels of professional baseball, he needed the additional work.
His performance in his native Puerto Rico should solidify his spot in a potentially loaded starting rotation for the 2014 Nashville Sounds.
Furthermore, due to his experience at the Major League level he could be one of the frontrunners to be recalled to Miller Park if any of Milwaukee’s starting pitchers spend time on the Disabled List.
Given the unsuccessful stints produced by Johnny Hellweg at the Major League level, it might give Burgos priority over the Brewers third ranked prospect.
Additionally, the Brewers will be hard pressed to recall top prospect Jimmy Nelson due to long-term implications of placing the Florida native on the 25-man roster.
Potentially recalling Nelson to fill any injury voids during the 2014 season will cause the prospect to become closer to arbitration eligible.
Pending Milwaukee’s decision to give Tyler Thornburg the final spot in the starting rotation, Burgos could be the Sounds number three pitcher.
Potential Nashville Rotation
- Johnny Hellweg
- Jimmy Nelson
- Hiram Burgos
- Taylor Jungmann
- Ariel Pena/Johnnie Lowe
Former pitching prospect Hiram Burgos continued his stretch of productive outings in the Puerto Rican Winter League after capturing his first victory of the season December 22.
Cumulatively, Burgos has allowed six earned runs through 33.2 innings pitched with 32 strikeouts and 12 walks.
Burgos pitched six scoreless innings where he allowed two hits and no walks while snapping a winless streak dating back to June 27 when he was a member of the Triple A Nashville Sounds.
The 26-year-old pitcher defeated the Oklahoma City Red Hawks in his June 27 victory where he struck out five batters in five innings and allowed no earned runs.
The right-hander struggled through his final two appearances with Nashville before the Brewers’ organization shut him down the remainder of 2013.
His victory with Nashville was part of a whirlwind tour of rehabilitation appearances when Milwaukee placed him on the 15-Day Disabled List with a right shoulder impingement.
Burgos made one appearance for Single A Wisconsin but came away with a tough loss allowing an earned run through two innings while striking out three at Beloit’s Pohlman Field June 13.
Subsequently, Milwaukee opted to reassign the Puerto Rico native to High A Brevard County following his sole appearance with the Timber Rattlers.
Burgos had difficulty producing in his appearance with the Florida State League when he was yanked after the fourth inning allowing two earned runs and received a No Decision.
With four games remaining on the schedule for Burgos’ Indios de Mayaguez, he will likely be given another appearance before heading into a short one month hiatus before arriving to Spring Training in February.
Burgos’ glimmer of hope will give new Nashville Manager Rick Sweet a desirable option in the Sounds’ 2014 starting rotation.
Unfortunately, his chances of making a return to Miller Park is limited due to four of five starting rotation spots secured.
Tyler Thornburg is considered the frontrunner for the final rotation spot in a competition with Milwaukee’s top rated prospect Jimmy Nelson along with Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year Johnny Hellweg.
All Hiram Burgos had to do was return home to reclaim some of the form he had when being named Milwaukee’s 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Following several injury setbacks during the 2013 season including a six game stop with Milwaukee, Burgos is demonstrating signs of life with Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League.
The 26-year-old Puerto Rican native has allowed just six earned runs in six starts (nine total) for the Indios and is starting to show command with his breaking balls for the first time in more than a year.
Burgos has walked just 12 batters while striking out 29 in 27.2 innings pitched and has an earned run average of 1.95 despite a 0-2 record.
In his last appearance December 17, he struck out five batters and walked just one at home against Leones de Ponce but came away with his second loss of the season.
The last time Burgos sported an earned run average with command was his award-winning season in 2012 when he split time between three different levels of the Brewers’ organization.
Additionally, he compiled a 10-4 record with a similar ERA of 1.95 with Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville.
The ride was not nearly as smooth during the 2013 when he summoned to Milwaukee to provide pitching help in the midst of a injury-ravaged Brewers’ season.
Milwaukee made the decision to recall Burgos from Triple A Nashville April 18 after making just three appearances for the Sounds in 2013.
Burgos posted three consecutive solid performances including his first career victory in his first career Major League appearance April 20 against the Chicago Cubs.
However, he imploded in his final three appearances allowing an outing where he allowed ten earned runs in three innings at Cincinnati.
Milwaukee determined the cause was a right shoulder impingement which necessitated a stint on the 15-Day Disabled List in May 2013.
Consequently, he went from the team’s 11th ranked prospect entering the 2013 season to falling off the radar screen by MLB.com.
Herrera trudging along in Dominican Republic
Utility player Elian Herrera is struggling to regain form in the Dominican Winter League batting .286 with no stolen bases.
The fleet-footed Herrera was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers in November and placed on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.
In 665 career games in the Dodgers’ organization, he has 149 steals with 48 caught stealing and a .365 On Base Percentage.
After a strong start in the off-season league, he has gone hitless in 15 at bats for the Estrelles de Oriente.
Kentrail Davis snapped a home run drought of 231 at bats with his first career blast as a member of the Nashville Sounds in Thursday’s 9-5 loss at Albuquerque.
The 25-year-old Davis’ last home run was June 13 against Chattanooga where he batted 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
It took the 2009 first round selection from Tennessee 37 games as a member of the Triple A club to break the drought.
Despite the power shortage, the outfielder is consistently getting on base with a .350 On Base Percentage and has stolen ten bases between Double A Huntsville and Triple A Nashville in the span of 63 games.
Since his promotion to Triple A he has been the Sounds’ primary leadoff hitter after spending all of last season batting fifth for the Huntsville Stars.
In 38 games for the Sounds he is batting .276 with an On Base Percentage of .367 and has scored 20 runs.
Velez on a tear for Nashville
How about infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez’s stint with Nashville after being claimed off waivers from the Toronto organization.
Velez has been on a major hot streak including his involvement with walk-off victory for the Triple A Nashville squad.
In a span of 25 games for the Sounds, the speedster has stolen seven bases and tabulated an On Base Percentage of .446.
The most telling of is his present 11-game hitting streak and reached base safely in nearly every game since he moved from Buffalo of the International League to the Sounds.
Velez has been a key utility player for the Sounds due to Milwaukee recalling second baseman Scooter Gennett and outfielders Caleb Gindl, Sean Halton and Khris Davis during the parent club’s injury ravaged season.
Frustrating season for Morris
Nobody wishes for a productive season more than Hunter Morris especially after a blazing 2012 campaign where he earned the Southern League Most Valuable Player along with the honor of being Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year.
The organization’s seventh best prospect has shown some flashes of greatness in his first full season with Nashville. His power numbers are still there, but the rest has declined.
Morris could be pressing considerably during the final stretch of the season where he struck out nearly every game and notched a career high with 117.
“I certainly want to play better than I am,” Morris told Brewers Farm Report earlier in the month.
Nashville has attempted multiple interventions to get his bat moving again which includes dropping to fifth in the batting order and removing him at the tail end of games for defensive replacements or pinch hitting.
Third baseman Stephen Parker has been summoned to take over late in games and has been able to provide a short-term fix for Nashville Manager Mike Guerrero.
An off-season break might serve the 24-year-old first baseman best after accruing more than 700 plate appearances in 2012 which includes his time with the Arizona Fall League.
Nashville Manager Mike Guerrero had little options to douse the flames in the Sounds’ 20-2 loss against Round Rock August 19 and led multiple pitchers absorbing innings.
With a handful of pitchers on the disabled list for an extended period of time and a long end to the regular season with no days off, Guerrero needed to get the most innings out of lefty Aaron Laffey, Tim Dillard, Donovan Hand and Brent Leach.
Laffey allowed 11 earned runs through 3.1 innings before handing the ball off to Dillard who gave up three runs in a 1.2 innings.
Nashville has been without number 11 prospect Hiram Burgos since July 7 due to being sidelined with injuries and multiple rehabilitation stints between Single A Wisconsin, High A Brevard County and Nashville.
In addition, the team will be without left-hander Chris Narveson and RJ Seidel for what could be the remainder of the season.
Nashville purchased the contract of right-hander Dustin Molleken from the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Foreign League to fill gaps in the pitching staff.
Molleken, 29, has held opponents scoreless in his five appearances with Nashville. The pitcher has been primarily a reliever through his entire career dating back to 2003 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
In an effort to bring a thorough review of Milwaukee’s top 20 prospects according to mlb.com, Brewers Farm Report is working to add player cards to the mix to better inform fans and followers.
While it remains a work in progress, here are the top 15 of 20. There will be further additions to the cards once the entire 20 is completed.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Huntsville at Chattanooga
Four top 20 prospects are set to take the mound tonight for the Brewers farm system headlined by Huntsville’s Jimmy Nelson.
The ninth rated prospect in the system, will attempt to give the Stars an opening night victory after last night’s contest was rained out in Chattanooga.
Nelson finished the 2012 season with a 6-8 record and 2.83 earned run average in 23 starts between High A Brevard County and Double A Huntsville.
New Orleans at Nashville
After a spectacular pitching display in the World Baseball Classic representing his native Puerto Rico, Hiram Burgos (No. 13) will be on the hill for Nashville tonight.
Burgos posted a 10-4 record with a sub-2.00 earned run average as he sped through three levels of the Brewers’ organization last season. In 27 starts, the right-hander struck out 153 batters in 171 innings.
Nashville will attempt to maintain a steady beat after first base prospect Hunter Morris put the Sounds to an early 2-0 lead in last night’s 5-4 victory against New Orleans.
Daytona at Brevard County
The Sea Cows of Brevard County will be sending number 14 rated prospect Drew Gagnon to the hill at Space Coast Stadium in Florida State League action.
Gagnon remained consistent last season posting a 7-3 record with an earned run average of 2.83 with Single A Wisconsin and High A Brevard County.
With legitimate run support, Gagnon could prove to be a sleeper prospect in the Brewers’ minor league system. After being rated below the Top 20 entering the 2012 season, the right-handed pitcher jumped to No. 14 with solid command of his pitches.
Wisconsin at Peoria
Wisconsin will send fireballer Damien Magnifico (No. 20) to face off against Midwest League rival Peoria tonight. The Rattlers are loaded with top position prospects including catching prospect Clint Coulter and outfielders Tyrone Taylor and Mitch Haniger.