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Old 08-12-2018, 07:47 PM   #201
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Los Angeles steals a win in Jacksonville in extras in Game 3 of the 1966 World Series. Spinners shortstop Phillip "Seymour" Hoffman (okay, that's not really his nickname, but that's what I always call him and I keep meaning to go in and edit his profile) starts the game with a first inning lead-off homerun and hits another one in the top of the 10th inning which proves to be the game-winner. Former Brewer Mark Compton hit another big 3-run HR to tie the game in the 8th inning.
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:20 PM   #202
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Jacksonville claims a fairly easy victory to tie up the series at 2-2.
(I love that bit about Mike Mansaray in the game report:" "Like I've always said, I'm the straw that stirs the drink", Mansaray said (again.)" It's that (again) that kills me.)
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:53 PM   #203
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The Los Angeles Spinners were feeling generous in Game 5 of the World Series, dispensing souvenirs to the Jacksonville fans. In the form homerun balls mostly. The Spinners hit four long ones into the seats on the day, including back-to-back-to-back jacks in the third inning (first superstar thirdbaseman Jesus Hernandez, then former Brewer Mark Compton with his second of the day, finally slugging leftfielder Chad Jones.)
All the power would help them to a 7-3 victory and a 3-2 series lead heading back to L.A.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:00 AM   #204
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And for the second year in a row the Jacksonville Wolf Pack and Los Angeles Spinners will need a Game 7 to decide the WPK Champions. Last year the Spinners fought back to force a Game 7 on the road which Jacksonville won to take the title. This year it is Jacksonville's turn to get a must have road win in Game 6 to force a Game 7 on the road. Will L.A. be able to finish it off at home the way Jacksonville did last year? Or will Jacksonville be crowned WPK Champions two years in a row?
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:27 AM   #205
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Apparently the Jacksonville Wolf Pack were not yet ready to relinquish the title of WPK Champions and the Los Angeles Spinners were not quite up to the task of wresting it from them. In the end they made it look easy behind the solid pitching of Juan Soto and the hitting of series MVP Mike Mansaray (you know, the straw who stirs the drink).
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:10 AM   #206
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The article is a bit short on specifics, but I guess this is part of why Brewers' secondbaseman Tanner Yurek is a fan favorite.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:25 PM   #207
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The off-season has seen the Brewers make a few trades already.
First, (and sorry, forgot to post about this previously), on October 15th the Brewers sent relief pitcher/sometime starter Logan Dunbar along with a couple of veteran players who were in the minors this past season and two very borderline younger prospects, including Cody Otis who received a September call-up to the Brewers this season, to the Phoenix Speed Devils.
In return, the Brewers received veteran (30 year old) thirdbaseman Steve Cutrer, a pair of young minor leaguers, and $70,000 in cash.

Late in the summer, after the trading deadline, Dunbar had requested a trade as he felt he should be in the starting rotation and team management definitely didn't see it that way. The team wasn't in a big hurry to accommodate him but assured him that he wasn't likely to still be in a Brewers uniform in 1967.

Cutrer, meanwhile, has struggled at the plate the past two years although he is a solid defensive thirdbaseman and a hard worker who was very popular with the Phoenix fans and whose acquisition created some positive stir among Denver fans. With A.J. White showing significant defensive decline this season and plans being made to transition him mostly to firstbase in the 1967 season, it was decided that Cutrer was worth a gamble. There are some hopes that Cutrer might bounce back at the plate as well, as he is thought to have above average power (gap and HR) as well as a very respectable eye at the plate. Regardless, Cutrer is eligible for free agency at the end of the 1967 season and might just be a stopgap as the Brewers wait for at least a few young players who are potential future thirdbase starters to develop (Jamie Ledbetter and Jose Careaga, in particular.) Then again, if Cutrer plays well the team might make it a priority to re-sign him for a another season or two.
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Old 08-16-2018, 11:51 PM   #208
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Then on October 24th, Denver sent 22-year old starting pitcher Chris Montefusco (along with minor league pitcher Luis Acosta) to the Milwaukee Cadets for 26-year old relief pitcher Miguel Solis and a bit of cash.
Montefusco has suffered frequent injuries in the past two seasons (though none terribly serious or long lasting) and although he has often pitched well when healthy the emergence of youngster Abel Pennington as a solid number 5 starter in the rotation left Montefusco without a role on the team. Plus, rumors have it that the team tried to negotiate an extension with Montefusco during the season (he was arbitration eligible at the end of the season) and the young righthander made what team officials considered unreasonable demands and showed no signs of a willingness to negotiate in good faith. If the rumors are to be believed, team leadership decided then and there that Montefusco wasn't likely to return for another season in a Brewers uniform.

Solis, meanwhile, is coming off an all-star season and has put up good numbers the past two years. While the Brewers were hoping for a good lefthanded bullpen option (and will likely be targeting at least one free agent to fulfill that role) Solis was too tempting a young arm to pass up and it is hoped that he will vastly improve a pen that was the weakest area for the team in 1966.

(So, this trade tested me in terms of how to approach fairness in game play. It is my desire to never unrealistically take advantage of another team/the AI. And this one might cross that line. One way that I justified it in my mind was weighing the relative importance of a starting pitcher against that of a reliever. At this stage of the WPK good starting pitching is becoming a more sparse commodity and it may make even a back-end of the rotation guy like Montefusco relatively more valuable. In addition, I had noticed that several of the trade offers received prior to the trading deadline targeted Montefusco. So, there was some sense that he might be attractive to multiple teams. Of course, his fragility is an argument on the other side of the coin: the AI might not be as aware as it should be, as I am, of how much of a negative this is. But ultimately I guess my decision came down to this- after such a horrible 1966 season this one trade isn't likely to suddenly turn the Brewers into a contender and, well, I can use a little help right now. Even if that help comes in the form of a somewhat questionably favorable trade.)
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Old 08-16-2018, 11:58 PM   #209
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Youngster Erik Shelton got a little post-season love for his fine rookie season with the Brewers, finishing 4th in the MGL Rookie-of-the-Year voting.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:01 AM   #210
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Ah, there is the other shoe dropping and the details that were missing earlier regarding Tanner Yurek's off-field altruism. Well, of course the Brewers will make a contribution (though given our owner's stinginess it might be a modest one.)
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Old 08-17-2018, 11:20 PM   #211
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Having lost one lefthanded pitcher with the last name Brown to free agency (well, not so much lost Joey Brown as decided not to keep him) the Brewers sign another- David Brown- to fill a very important gap (the lack of a single lefthander) in the bullpen. Along with the recently acquired Miguel Solis, and hopefully with the continued maturation of Armando Cruz and a likely bounce back for Bill Roache, the Brewers pen looks like it should be much better in 1967 then it was in 1966. Then again, it couldn't really be much worse.

Another positive note here is that with San Antonio signing Joey Brown the Brewers get a first round supplemental draft pick in the upcoming draft. That on top of getting the #5 pick overall should hopefully yield some decent prospects for the future.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:30 PM   #212
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When the calendar flips to a new year and the next baseball season still seems a long ways away (OOTP alternate universe time, of course) and especially when your team just suffered through a long, losing season and you can't be sure that won't happen again in the upcoming campaign, it is natural to look forward a bit to the future, say, 3-5 years ahead.
And to wonder, what could be? To be both hopeful but also to think practically about what steps might be needed to make the future a brighter one.

So the next several posts will be exactly this: a glimpse into the possible Denver Brewers future and a look at both the potential strengths and weaknesses of that possible future.

Let's start with perhaps the biggest question mark on the horizon- the Brewers starting pitching staff.
This is the area of the team that is oldest and most likely to need complete overhauling in the next 3-5 years. Although Jason Lawson has been pretty solid these last two seasons (in fact, was one of the best pitchers in the WPK in 1965, and finished 1966 with the third best ERA in the MGL), he is 38 years old and showing some signs of decline, though thankfully thus far not steep decline. Still, 3-5 years down the line he will surely be comfortably retired. Jeff Burdick, the very first Brewer, has not been as advertised during his time with the team, and at 35 years old he is not likely to ever be the ace the team expected him to be.
More positively, Steve Alonso, who was picked up in the Mark Compton trade from L.A. this past season is just shy of 30 and should be a stable mid-rotation starter for at least the next two seasons (after which is FA eligible). Whether he will still be a Brewer 3-5 years from now is an open question.
Alex Burley has been the greatest stabilizing force in the rotation the past two seasons. At 35 Burley isn't showing any obvious signs of decline yet and is a true workhorse. So it is possible that in 3-5 years he might still be a Brewer as the veteran of the staff, probably pitching mid-to-back-end of the rotation. Possible. Not a sure thing.

In terms of young pitchers, Abel Pennington at age 24 is already a member of the rotation and shows potential for at least a mid-rotation spot in the future. Plus, he is a great influence in the clubhouse and could be one of the most important leaders on the team going forward.
There aren't many great starting rotation prospects in the minors at this point. The best among them is 19 year old Rob Ibarra who will need his potentially spectacular changeup to start developing soon or he will likely be relegated to the bullpen once he makes the bigs. At this stage of his development, Ibarra looks like he could have a future ranging anywhere from being a staff ace to being a mediocre middle reliever.

In summation, when it comes to the future of the Brewers rotation there are a whole lot of questions and ifs. If Alex Burley ages well and just keeps doing what he has thus far, if Steve Alonso continues to develop and the Brewers decide to (and can) keep him beyond the 1968 season, if Abel Pennington proves to be the solid mid-rotation starter it looks like he has the potential to be, if Rob Ibarra can develop his potentially lethal changeup and turn into a top-notch big league starter, then, well, the rotation has some hope. I just realized I haven't even mentioned flame-thrower Miguel Campos who is just now coming back from the shoulder (torn labrum) injury he suffered early in the 1966 season and is now considered a fragile pitcher with much lower stamina then pre-injury. At this point, if he can stay relatively healthy, Campos looks like he could have a bullpen role but if everything breaks just right (not likely) it is always possible he may work his way back to the rotation and that would be a great boost.
But mostly, this is an area that the Brewers will continue to focus on in terms of the new player draft and trades. And, of course, should other aspects of the team work out for the best, it is always possible that an investment might be made in the next 2-4 years for a free agent staff ace.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:51 PM   #213
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The biggest downfall for the Brewers in the 1966 season was the bullpen. They finished last in the MGL in bullpen ERA and gave away a great many potential wins. One bright spot was the emergence of young flame-thrower Armando Cruz. And towards the end of the season the Brewers got some decent appearances from two relievers picked up in mid-season trades: Billy Tanner and Josh McEwen. But Bill Roache, who was nothing short of spectacular in 1965, took a huge step backwards in the 1966 season. And Ben Malzone, who seems to have at least decent middle-relief potential, still has not shown the ability to get hitters out at the major league level.

On the other hand, this is probably the area where the Brewers have the most minor league prospects with big impact potential. We will focus on that a bit more in the next post.
But for now, let's look at the more short-term future and some of the pitchers who will be in the 1967 pen who might still be relevant 3-5 years from now. The reality is that the pen is very young. Cruz is only 21, Tanner still just 20, McEwen 22, Malzone also 22 and might spend most of 1967 at AAA perfecting his craft, and Roach the old man at 24. And that's not even mentioning the two quality relievers picked up in the offseason, nearly 27 year old Miguel Solis, and 31 year old David Brown. Solis and Brown should really help to stabilize the pen this coming season and Solis, in particular, might still be an important member of the pen 3-5 years down the line. So, with only one player over 30 in the mix, and with some very talented young pitchers not yet playing up to their potential, the Brewers bullpen could be much more competitive in 1967 and beyond. And that isn't even factoring in yet the handful of good to great potential guys in the minors.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:02 PM   #214
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The best of the Brewers minor league relievers are all still at least a few years away from the bigs. Some earlier prospects- Zach Barr (he of the great 1965 AFL season, including a no-hitter) and Brad Schmidt (who has some big league experience in a Brewers uniform) are both at AAA and took steps backwards in 1966. Neither are looking like they have a significant future in the WPK.
Two pitchers expected to compete at the single A level this season, Mark Amundson and Jaden Francis, are solid middle-relief or possibly set-up candidates. Francis was originally selected with the Brewers first round draft pick in 1965 (#16 overall) as a starting pitcher but as he is mostly a two-pitch pitcher he is most likely to emerge as a reliever. Both Amundson and Francis have spectacular stuff potential but are likely to struggle a bit with control.
Also expected to compete at single A Bainbridge this year is Denver native Dave Harder. Harder already has tremendous movement on his pitches and is expected to develop his stuff to be far above average. If he can get his control just into the average range he has great potential as a set-up man or even as a premiere closer. However, much will also depend upon the development of his second pitch, which is right now a very mediocre slider to go along with his very fine sinker.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:16 PM   #215
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Even further from being major league ready are 1965 2nd round draft pick John Dugas and 1966 1st round draft pick Justin Bismark.
Dugas was being used a starting pitcher in the minors up until recently and was faring very poorly. It seemed that his prospects for the future were quickly dimming. The organization now has decided to accede to the inevitable and bring him in exclusively out of the bullpen and the thought is that this may be reviving him as a prospect.
Bismark is a youngster with outstanding stuff potential but who really needs to develop better movement before he can be considered a true premium prospect.

So, in summation regarding the bullpen, the 1966 reality was dismal but the future looks, potentially at least, quite bright. And with young arms already on the Brewers and a great many in waiting even if some burn out there should be enough options to form a good bullpen nucleus.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:39 PM   #216
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Turning now to position players.
The catching position should be well-manned for some years going forward by team captain, Sam Rogers, who at 27 is entering the prime of his career. Rogers is no hall-of-famer in the making but he is a great leader of men and a very solid contributor on the field with both his glove and his bat. It is quite probable that 3-5 years in the future he will still be leading the team as the veteran captain.
It is unclear whether his 1967 backup will be the defensive-minded Tony Silmon, who shows very little major league batting ability and unfortunately also has a sub-par throwing arm, or Franklin Jimenez, who is also a solid firstbaseman and a slightly better hitter. Neither are thought to be long-term starter material.
There are a few solid defensive catchers in the pipeline who could emerge as solid backups but with mediocre (at best) offensive skills. (Jonathan Viramontes and Justin Lesslie to name the two most likely to make it, based upon performance thus far and their great character traits.) But the most intriguing minor league prospects at this position are youngsters drafted in the 1966 new player draft who have great offensive upside but questionable defensive skills. If there was such a thing as a designated hitter in the WPK, 18-year old Johnny Samson would have potential to become a pretty good one. Samson is expected to develop into a pretty fine hitter, especially if he develops a bit better plate discipline, but is expected to be a mediocre defensive catcher at best and this may curtail his future career.
19-year old Tomas Lara profiles as at least a slightly above average defensive catcher and displays a good eye at the plate but not as much overall offensive upside as Samson.
In summation, this is Sam Rogers position to lose. And he's not likely to lose it anytime soon. The Brewers have a plethora of mediocre catching prospects in the minor league system, a number of whom have some major league potential, but not a single prospect who looks likely to wrest the job away from The Captain.
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:55 PM   #217
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Moving around the infield, let's look at firstbase.
Veteran A.J. White is expected to play more at first this year than his customary thirdbase partially due to the acquisition of Steve Cutrer but also due to the aging White's rapidly deteriorating defensive skills. White had a great year at the plate in 1966 and finished with the top OBP in the MGL (3rd in all of the WPK). And he still has a very strong throwing arm. But he is basically a statue at third at this point and while he will also be a defensive liability at first it is hoped that his bat is still potent enough to merit a good deal of playing time.
Young Erik Shelton will split time with White at first and provides a much better defensive alternative plus a decent bat.
But really they are both just keeping the position warm for the Brewers top prospect, Bobby Erbakan. There are some who feel that Erbakan has been rushed up the ladder too quickly (he is expected to start at AAA Chester this coming season) but others who point out that his numbers have, if anything, just gotten better as he has moved up and that his competitive nature led him to have very low morale while playing for the weak single A Bainbridge team and the horrendous AA Nashville squad. It is hoped that playing for AAA Chester, the reigning AAA champs, will make him much happier and that he will develop even more quickly in that environment and under a solid hitting coach and very good manager.

The thought is that in the next 3-5 years Erbakan will not only emerge as the starting firstbaseman for the Brewers but also as one of the best players on the team and even as a star in the league.
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Old 08-18-2018, 02:06 PM   #218
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The Brewers are probably all set at secondbase for the foreseeable future with fan favorite, 25-year old Tanner Yurek. Yurek is a solid all-around player with a great work ethic and the reputation for great loyalty.
Utility-man Jose Bravo, who can play a multitude of positions with above average defense and is a spectacular defender at second base, will likely continue to be the primary back-up for at least the next few years.

There aren't many potential replacements in the minor league system, though there are a few with some potential at the lowest levels of the minors. Among them, probably the one who shows the most current potential is 18-year old Felipe Medina.

But for now, it is probably not a position of priority for the Brewers as Yurek should own it for several years in the future.
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Old 08-18-2018, 02:20 PM   #219
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The Brewers hope that 20-year old Chad Brown continues to develop as the starting shortstop and that 3-5 years down the line he will be one of the better at that position in the league. Brown, especially down the stretch this past season, shows flashes of great defensive brilliance though he also needs to work on cutting down his error total. Unfortunately, his inability to work a walk is looking like it might limit his offensive potential, which previously was thought to be quite high indeed. He will continue to be a superior base-runner though and could be a very good base-stealer as well.

There are a few very fine defensive shortstops in the low minors who could eventually make the bigs but who would need to develop a bit more offensive skill to ever be valuable starters at that level. The two most likely to at least have back-up careers in the WPK are 19-year old Ryan Williamson and 19-year old Eric Woodall (who is currently also being looked at as a potential thirdbaseman). Williamson does have the advantage of what is considered a potentially exceptional eye at the plate. He is also thought to be highly intelligent but there are concerns about his work ethic. Woodall, on the other hand, has the reputation of being a very hard worker in addition to being very smart, but does tend to keep to himself and has very low leadership ability.
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Old 08-18-2018, 02:32 PM   #220
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For at least the 1967 season, thirdbase will be manned by veteran Steve Cutrer who was acquired in an off-season trade. Cutrer will be a free agent at the end of the season and there is a great likelihood that this will be his only season wearing Brewer Purple.
For the next few years it is possible that thirdbase could be split between 20-year old Jamie Ledbetter (a natural shortstop) and 22-year old defensive specialist Hector Uribe.
Brewers management is hoping though that they are all just keeping the position warm for prospect Jose Careaga. Careaga has emerged as a great hitter in the minors though will need to make more progress in that area to be anything more than an average major league hitter. He is likely though to be a very fine defensive thirdbaseman with a cannon for an arm and if he does continue to develop his batting skills it is thought he has a chance to be an above average major leaguer someday.
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