A Minute in Maryvale: 3.3.17

There has now been a full week of games played in Arizona during Spring Training 2017. The excitement is in the air from Arizona over to Florida.

There’s been a week’s worth of Cactus League games that have already been played . That’s exciting enough already.

However, a lot more noteworthy news comes off the field at Spring Training rather than on it. Sure, it’s nice to go onto MLB.com and see actual scores of actual games featuring actual players, but there’s a whole lot of moving and shaking by the coaching staffs in order to make a 25-man roster.

On top of the logistics, there’s a whole of extracurricular fun that goes on. We’ve been highlighting the games themselves the past few days, so we wanted to take a step back and showcase some of the fun, as well as the games.

First and foremost, it’s not new news anymore that the Milwaukee Brewers have a quite a solid and quite a deep farm system. As part of the rebuilding effort taking place up in Wisconsin, the Brewers have taken advantage of some good drafting and some well-executed trades to reach the No. 5 ranking in the MLB Pipeline’s list of MLB farm systems.

Here’s their recap on Milwaukee’s system. Sky Sox fans should recognize several names on the list, as well as look forward to several names possibly making an appearance in Colorado Springs in 2017.

Now that Spring Training has started up, Brewers on Tap — the Milwaukee Brewers podcast–is back up and running. Two of the past episodes have featured chats with Brewers GM David Stearns, as well as players Wily Peralta and Lewis Brinson, both of whom spent time in the Springs during the 2016 season.

A few of those aforementioned news and notes that have surfaced over this first week revolves around the Milwaukee pitching staff, which has thrown one shutout this week and was involved in a handful of pitcher’s duels out in the desert.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell made one newsworthy point Thursday in his daily talks with the media.

That’s right. Two guys who weren’t in the starting rotation last spring are already making a statement to the coaching staff. The two starting pitchers combined to appear in 12 games during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but they both spent considerable time in the big leagues.

Guerra, the splitter specialist, appeared in in 20 games for the Brew Crew in 2016, going 9-3 with a 2.81 earned run average. The Venezuelan began the 2016 season with the Sox before being promoted to Milwaukee on May 3. He went back down to Colorado Springs on a rehab assignment after suffering inflammation in his right elbow, but soon made it back to Wisconsin on September 2.

Davies, meanwhile, made the trip from Colorado to Wisconsin a couple times during the 2016 summer, but still managed to post an 11-7 record with a 3.97 ERA over 28 starts.

The righty spent a little over a week in Colorado Springs to start the season before his first promotion on April 17. He spent a few months at Miller Park before being sent back to the Springs on July 6. The second stint didn’t last long, as he was back in navy blue and gold in 11 days.

The other intriguing story from the Brewers bullpen is position player turned pitcher Nick Ramirez. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native has spent the last two seasons in Double-A Biloxi, where his average went from .243 down to .206 in a season’s time. Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt wrote this story on his recent re-birth.

The Brew Crew also has had a little bit of fun this past week as well. Brett Phillips and Josh Hader have second careers in acting if this baseball thing doesn’t work out.

Of course, it’s no secret that the king of Brewers show business is Sky Sox relief pitcher Tim Dillard (@DimTillard). He’s posted quite a few of his famous dubsmashes this week. Here you go. You’re welcome.

Meanwhile, there was a game to be played Friday afternoon in Tempe. For the second time in a week, the Brewers headed east to Tempe Diablo Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Angels. Domingo Santana hit two home runs in his first two at-bats to back Junior Guerra’s second solid start of the spring, but the Angels remained undefeated this spring, thanks to a walk-off single from minor league prospect David Fletcher.

Milwaukee heads home for a pair of games this weekend at the Maryvale Baseball Park. The Texas Rangers comes Saturday afternoon for the second meeting of the week, while Sunday brings the Colorado Rockies to West Phoenix. Both games start at 1:05 MT.

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