Rolling Out the Barrel: Biloxi, Denson and Hope for the Future

I was able to watch a majority of the Brewers’ three-game series against Miami this week, including a Monday night trip to a mostly-empty Miller Park, and if you caught any of it yourself, you’ll understand why this week’s Rolling Out the Barrel is solely dedicated to the organization’s prospects. With the major-league club stumbling through it’s worst season in a decade, it’s hard not to direct the bulk of our collective attention toward the rapidly improving farm system. Let’s jump right in:

ESPN || On The Road Again… (8/17/15)

David Fleming (@FlemESPN), who was embedded with the team, shares the incredible story of Double-A Biloxi’s two-month road trip to begin their inaugural season, as they awaited the completion of their stadium. There are emotional moments throughout the piece, from the sudden sickness of Josh Fellhauer’s mother to the short-lived call-up of Tyler Wagner, so pack your tissues. In our world of constant distractions, it’s easy to skip a 6,000 word piece about a minor-league ball club, but this article is beautiful and absolutely worth your time. There’s a gimmicky chapter-video thing here if you want it, but it’s just an aggregation of videos which can be found in the story itself that have been edited down to minute-ish long snippets, and you can safely skip it. Fleming’s piece, however, is mandatory.

Minor League Ball || Prospect breakouts: Ruddy Giron and Jorge Lopez (8/15/15)

Sticking with the Shuckers, Scott Mowers with SB Nation’s Minor League Ball taps Jorge Lopez, a participant in last year’s Future’s Game and currently the Southern League wins leader, as one the National League’s breakout prospects for 2015. Mower also talks a bit about Lopez’ son, who is dealing with a series of finally-diagnosed conditions (Fleming’s piece above talks about this as well). Also featured: a shortstop prospect from the Padres organization whom A.J. Preller has probably just traded for an outfielder.

FanGraphs || The Future of David Denson (8/17/15)

In the days following David Denson’s announcement that he is gay (JS Online mercifully turned comments off for that article), the internet was predictably flooded with takes uncountable from across the spectrum of human decency. If you’re from the “just shut up no one cares what you do in the bedroom” crowd, please feel free to stop reading here and log off the internet forever — only after your final tweet about Aaron Rodgers’s and Olivia Munn’s pre-game “activities,” of course. If you’re looking for the thinkpieces you can find easily find them on your own (ours, from Jack Moore, is here). Chris Mitchell (@_chris_mitchell) at FanGraphs uses his own projection system, KATOH, to examine Denson’s potential to reach the big leagues. He concludes that things don’t look particularly rosy for the 19-year-old, who struggled mightily at Class-A Wisconsin before being demoted back down to Rookie-level Helena. Still, Denson has said that the strain of living behind a mask has weighed on him heavily, and there’s no projection system that can account for his personal journey. Here’s hoping that Denson can get back on track with this weight off his shoulders.

MLB Daily Dish || The Brewers appear to be narrowing their serach for a new GM (8/20/15)

There’s been plenty of speculation on who might fill Doug Melvin’s hopefully-scorpion-free shoes as Milwaukee’s ninth General Manager, with most of the early money coming in on Brewers’ amateur scouting director Ray Montgomery. Today, a pair of tweets from Jerry Crasnick set off speculation that a couple of other names might be on that short list: former Angels GM and current Red Sox advisor Jerry Dipoto and former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. The former was run out of Anaheim after a public spat with Mike Scioscia, the latter run out of Boston after a string of ill-fated acquisitions left the Sox with an bloated, aging roster. How truly responsible either ultimately was for issues that lead to their demise is subject to debate, and either would be a fine choice to replace Melvin.

FanGraphs || The 2015 In-Season Prospect Update (8/19/15)

Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) delivers FanGraphs mid-season, post-trade deadline update of the top prospects in baseball. He broke it down in four categories: “The Top Prospects,” “Minor League Pop-Up Guys” (players that were outside of the top 200 who have made significant jumps forward), “The Crop of New Pro Talent,” and “The (Many) Graduated Prospects.” Milwaukee has exactly one representative on each list, and I just bet you can name each one.

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