The MLB lockout continuing to drag on into March has resulted in both major league spring training and regular season games being delayed. Frustrating as this is, it does give us more time to focus on Brewers prospects/minor league players.
In case you missed it, the Brewers started a build-up camp for younger prospects/recent draft picks. Those in Arizona currently are select players who are not on the 40 man roster. The remaining minor league pitchers and catchers are arriving today March 5th. Position players report March 11th and 12th. Highlights out of camp so far have been fun to follow and include several great stories.
With minor league baseball players arriving to camp, now is a good time to look at three prospects who will be attempting to get back on track in 2022.
1) LHP Antoine Kelly
Kelly was the Brewers second round pick out of the 2019 draft. The hard throwing 6’6″ left handed pitcher immediately became one of the Brewers top five prospects, but has since dropped to 10th. Unfortunately for Kelly, it has been tough sledding since he became a professional baseball player.
His 2020 minor league season never happened due to COVID, and in fact he was being treated for a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome during that time. The condition affected his throwing arm and was causing it to go numb. He eventually underwent surgery for it late in 2020 and didn’t pitch in a live game again until July 13th 2021. After struggling mightily upon returning in 2021, Kelly is looking to get back on track in what hopefully will be his first full minor league season.
2) RHP Alec Bettinger
Prior to the 2021 season, Alec Bettinger was a rising minor league pitcher who the Brewers added to the 40 man roster in order to protect from being taken in the Rule 5 Draft. On May 2, 2021 he made his MLB debut, which went about as bad as it could go. In four innings, he gave up 11 earned runs against the Dodgers.
After a brief stint in the major leagues, Bettinger went on to pitch primarily in the minors the remainder of the year. With the Nashville Sounds, he made 18 starts and finished with a 4.75 ERA. At 26 years old, he is looking to carve out a roll on the major league roster. The Brewers do have openings in their bullpen and once big league camp starts he will be competing for a spot. Since he is on the 40 man roster, Bettinger currently is not in Arizona for camp.
3) RHP Lucas Erceg
In 2021, the former second round pick from the 2016 draft experimented with being a two-way player. With a cannon of a throwing arm, transitioning to becoming a pitcher seemed like a logical idea. Now in 2022, Erceg is committed to being a full time pitcher.
Deciding to make this switch at 26 years old and manage to make it to the majors does seem like a long shot. However, Erceg has an entire organization supporting him for he announced that he is now 20 months sober. With getting mentally and physically healthy, Erceg is hoping he can use this to perform to the best of his ability and finally accomplish the goal of making it to the bigs. He is one of many players to root for this season.
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