Rolling Out the Barrel: Brett Phillips and Flipped Bats

Good morning! And welcome back to Rolling Out the Barrel. While the MLB playoffs have gone fully off the rails, the season for the Brewers organization rolls on only in Arizona, where Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, et al., are participating in the Arizona Fall League. I really hope you were able to catch the madness on Wednesday, but if you weren’t you’ll have to settle for reading about it. Let’s get started:

SB Nation || Every reason why Blue Jays-Rangers Game 5 was one of the best, weirdest games ever (Oct. 15, 2015)

For six innings, game five between the Blue Jays and Rangers was an tight, entertaining winner-take-all playoff game. The Rangers took an early lead, and the Blue Jays chipped away at the lead to tie the game. In the seventh inning the baseball game ended and was replaced with a Lovecraftian horror; the Rogers Centre was pulled from Toronto and airlifted to Miskatonic County, dropped into Arkham as the Old Ones descended. Unable to process what they were seeing, Blue Jays fans tossed their beer cans at the monsters to defend themselves from madness. Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) stared into the abyss and came back changed. His description of Jose Bautista’s bat flip heard ‘round the world is white-hot fire: “Jose Bautista used his bat to pull the soul from the baseball and eat it. He watched the empty shell sail over the wall. And he discarded the bat, disgusted that it didn’t send the ball even farther.” It’s some of the best sportswriting you’ll ever see.

Disciples of Uecker || Personal List: Brewers End-of-Season Top 15 Prospects (Oct. 15, 2015)

In his debut at Disciples of Uecker, Kyle Lesniewski (@brewerfan28) – who is now required by law to write for every Brewers blog – unveils his Top 15 prospect list for the Brewers organization. This is the first write-up of Brewers top prospects that I’ve seen that includes Cody Ponce, though plenty of scouts and members of the baseball blogosphere have been raving about the Brewers’ 2015 second round draft pick. It will not be the last. Ponce runs it up to the high 90s,  has a head-turning stable of pitches, and at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, he’s an imposing presence on the mound. The rest of the list is populated with the usual suspects from David Stearns new arsenal.

Baseball America || Instructional League Notes: Brewers’ Gatewood Tries Third (Oct 9, 2015)

Jacob Gatewood was added as part of the Brewers’ high-risk, high-reward draft class of 2014. He hasn’t quite lived up to expectations thus far, though there is still plenty of time for the young infielder, who just turned 20 last month. Primarily a shortstop, Josh Norris (@jnorris427) talks about Gatewood’s move to the hot corner at instructs in Arizona. While the typical shortstop prospect wouldn’t have the kind of power and hit tools necessary to stick at third base, Gatewood is far from a typical shortstop prospect. Drawing comparisons to Troy Tulowitzki at draft time (for his bat, not his glove), Gatewood burst onto the national stage with a 13 home run outburst during the junior home run derby at the 2013 All Star Game, and he posted a .203 ISO in 54 games at Rookie-level Helena this season. He strikes out too much (a 28.6 K% at Helena in 2015), but if he can get that figured out, he could rise quickly in a Brewers system that is entirely bereft of talent at third base – and is loaded at shortstop.

MLB || Brewers’ Phillips building off strong season heading into AFL (Oct. 13, 2015)

Spender Fordin (@SpencerFordin) chatted with Brett Phillips, whose long baseball journey this season has arrived at its final destination. Phillips, the headliner of the Carlos Gomez/Mike Fiers trade with Houston in July, started his year at Single-A Lancaster in the Astros organization, was bumped up to Double-A Corpus Chrsti, traded and assigned to Double-A Biloxi (a team that knows a thing or two about being displaced), and is now playing with the league’s top prospects in the Arizona Fall League. His last stop comes with a bit of familiarity, as he’s joined by six other Brewers prospects – five of whom played with him in the Southern League playoffs – and Biloxi’s manager Carlos Subero, who is managing the Surprise Saguaros.

Hardball Times || Jose Bautista’s bat flip is right up there with baseball’s other memorable celebrations (Oct. 15, 2015)

NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) joins the cacophony of sportswriters chiming in on Bautista’s savage bat flip from Wednesday evening, comparing it to a host of other big moments in baseball history that were memorable not only for the scope of the play in context, but also for the iconic celebrations that accompanied them.  The Brewers of recent history have come under fire for their celebrations from time to time, most notably the “untuckers” of the 2008 outfield, the Fielder blast that ended with a “bomb” at home plate (mentioned in Calcaterra’s article), Tony Plush, and the many antics of Carlos Gomez. Of course, all those players are gone now. At some point, it seems like a lot of people forgot that baseball is a game, and games are played for fun.

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