Brewers AFL

The baseball season might have ended for Milwaukee in mid-October, but there were still games to be played for a handful of Brewers prospects.

The Arizona Fall League was back in 2021 and eight Milwaukee farmhands saw action for the Salt River Rafters, which also had players from Arizona, Colorado, Detroit and the New York Mets. Salt River went 10-20, the worst record in the league.

Here’s a look at each Brewers prospect at this year’s AFL, which wrapped up its season Sunday.

C Mario Feliciano

Perhaps best remembered by Brewers fans for his brief callup this season then walking and scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning in his only appearance May 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Feliciano, who turned 23 on Nov. 20, played in just 32 games for Triple-A Nashville, slashing .210/.246/.314, missing half of June and all of July due to injury. The 2019 Carolina League MVP and No. 13 Milwaukee prospect according to MLB Pipeline got into 13 games for Salt River and batted .318/.348/.432 with five doubles, the latter of which were tied for the team high with Brett Baty, who had twice as many plate appearances. Feliciano’s .780 OPS was good for fifth on the team.

RHP Taylor Floyd

A 19th-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2019, Floyd spent this past season pitching for Single-A Wisconsin and Double-A Biloxi. In 33 relief appearances with the Timber Rattlers, he had a 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. Floyd pitched in 7 1/2 innings for the Shuckers, allowing no runs no four hits with two walks and 12 whiffs. As with many of the Brewers pitchers in the AFL, Floyd struggled a bit with his control. In 8 2/3 innings he gave up nine runs – seven earned – on 11 hits with six walks, two hit batters and 10 strikeouts.

OF Joe Gray Jr.

Milwaukee’s second-round pick in 2018 turned some heads at Low-A Carolina this season, hitting .289/.407/.632, before being promoted to High-Wisconsin. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter struggled with the Timber Rattlers, though, batting just .219/.306/.381, although he did hit eight home runs in 215 at-bats. The hitting woes continued in the AFL where Gray, the Brewers’ No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, went just 4-for-58 with 24 strikeouts. On the good side, he did walk 10 times and was noted for making a number of excellent defensive plays.

SS David Hamilton

The speedy Hamilton, an eighth-round pick in 2018, combined to steal 52 bases – with just nine caught stealings – in 101 combined games with Wisconsin and Biloxi. He also hit .258/.341/.419 with 19 doubles, 11 triples and eight homers. Playing second base for the Rafters, Hamilton, the Brewers’ No. 16 prospect, batted .293/.453/.463 in 14 games, knocking three doubles and two triples while walking 12 times – with only six strikeouts – and stealing four bases. His .453 on-base percentage and .916 OPS led all Salt River players who appeared in at least 10 games.

RHP J.T. Hintzen

A 10th-round pick in 2018, Hintzen pitched out of the bullpen for Biloxi in 2021, appearing in 36 games with one start. He recorded a 3.88 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 79 strikeouts in 58 innings, although he did allow 11 home runs. Hintzen made 11 relief appearances for the Rafters, allowing nine runs – eight earned – on nine hits with five walks and 16 strikeouts. His 0.98 WHIP was second lowest on the team and his .184 opponent batting average third (among those with more than one inning pitched).

RHP Justin Jarvis

Another 2018 draft pick – Jarvis was selected in the 15th round – the right-hander might have been a surprise AFL addition after posting a 5.40 ERA and 1.55 WHIP with just under one strikeout per nine innings in 17 starts for High-A Wisconsin. Jarvis made seven appearances for the Rafters with five starts Walks (14 in 17 2/3 IP) burned him more than anything. He gave up just 13 hits (.206 OBA) and fanned 15 but allowed 12 runs (11 earned) for a 5.60 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.

RHP Abner Uribe

The 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic and No. 26 Brewers prospect via MLB Pipeline pitched in 33 2/3 innings for Carolina, posting a 4.01 ERA and 1.46 WHIP but .195 OBA and 52 strikeouts. While Uribe did not fare well – he allowed 14 runs (13 earned) and 17 walks in just nine innings – he did strike out 16 and was Milwaukee’s lone (healthy) representative on the AFL All-Star team but did not pitch.

OF Joey Wiemer

Our choice for Brewers minor league hitter of the year, Wiemer mashed all season, batting .295/.403/.556 with 27 home runs, 86 runs, 77 RBI and 30 steals (with just six caught) in 109 games between Carolina and Wisconsin. Milwaukee’s No. 23 prospect and a fourth-round pick in 2020, Wiemer kept slamming the ball in Arizona. A thumb injury limited him to nine games but in his brief time he raked to the tune of .467/.568/.667 with a couple of steals. His average, slugging percentage and OPS were tops on the team – a team which included former No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson (who hit .450/.607/.550 in seven games). Wiemer was named an AFL All-Star but couldn’t play.

DH Weston Wilson

A little older than most players in the AFL – Wilson turned 27 in September – the former 17th-round pick missed most of the final two months of the season after being diagnosed with a blood clot. In his 70 games with Triple-A Nashville, he batted .267/.354/.548 with 16 home runs. Getting in some work with Salt River, Wilson went 3-for-14 with a double and three walks.

RHP Jolon Zhao

An intriguing prospect, Zhao is from China who pitched in just 8 1/3 innings in 2018 and underwent ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which caused him to miss the 2019 season. After a 2020 in which the minor leagues were canceled, Zhao managed to appear in six games in the Arizona Complex League, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts. Zhao got into nearly as many innings at the AFL than he did in the 2021 season – seven. He gave up six runs – four earned – on six hits and seven walks with four strikeouts.