Brewers minor-league stars of the year

Like the major-league club, the Milwaukee Brewers' affiliates largely struggled this season. Excepting the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, who are set to play in the Southern League Championship Series, the minor-league teams went 167-250 overall (.400 winning percentage).

Offense and pitching were sometimes up and often down, and individual players weren't consistent. Each week, we tracked performances and, disregarding the Shuckers again, there weren't many performers who showed up regularly as their team's Minor-League Stars.

But there is some talent in the Brewers' farm system, especially at Double-A but also in other places. Here, we honor the top player and pitcher of the year at each level of the organization.

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Record: 62-81; 4th place in Pacific Coast League American Northern

Player of the year: Matt Clark

2015 regular-season stats: .291/.367/.492, 20 HRs, 77 RBI

Highlights: The 28-year-old first baseman spent all season with the Sky Sox but saw his numbers dip slightly from 2014. Still, he showed off his enticing power once again. The team leader in doubles, home runs and RBI, he was eighth, tied for 11th and tied for 12th in the PCL in those categories, respectively. Clark earned a September call-up last year and hit three homers in 16 games for the Brewers, but he was not promoted this season. After eight years in the minors, he's in a bit of no man's land as a prospect.

Pitcher of the Year: Hiram Burgos

2015 stats: 3-4, 3.35 ERA, 80 2/3 innings, 65 K, 28 BB

Highlights: Tyler Cravy (7-7, 3.97 ERA) was worthy, but Burgos gets the nod here for having the best numbers on a mostly unremarkable staff. Burgos started the season at Single-A, was promoted to Double-A in May and reached Colorado Springs on June 21. There, the 28-year-old right-hander started 15 games and became the club's best pitcher.


Record: 78-59; first-half Southern League South champion

Player of the Year: Orlando Arcia*

2015 stats: .307/.347/.453, 37 2B, 69 RBI

Highlights: Arcia showed why he's the Brewers' top prospect with his glove and his bat this season. The 21-year-old shortstop led the Sky Sox in at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, total bases and RBI. In the Southern League, he was top-5 in nearly all of those categories. He tied for the team lead in stolen bases (25) and tied for second in home runs (eight), as well. In the playoffs, Arcia is now performing at his best under the brightest lights, with eight hits during Biloxi's three-game sweep of Pensacola to advance to the Southern League Championship Series.

Pitcher of the Year: Jorge Lopez

2015 stats: 12-5, 2.26 ERA, 143 1/3 innings, 137 K, 52 BB

Highlights: This award easily could have gone to Tyler Wagner, who put up identically stellar numbers (11-5, 2.25 ERA, 152 1/3 innings, 120 K, 45 BB) to Lopez. But the 22-year-old right-hander became the staff ace with 37 more strikeouts and 25 fewer hits in nine fewer innings, which gave him a miniscule WHIP of just 1.10 WHIP to Wagner's also-excellent 1.15. Both, however, proved they have major-league talent.


Record: 55-80; 6th place in Florida State League North

Player of the Year: Garrett Cooper

2015 stats: .294/.356/.436, 32 2B, 54 RBI

Highlights: The Manatees were offensively challenged in 2015, but Cooper was productive. Among regulars, the 24-year-old third baseman led Brevard County in batting average, OPS and doubles, and tied for second in RBI. Right fielder Clint Coulter had 13 home runs and 59 RBI, both team highs. On Sept. 1, Cooper went 5 for 5 in a win over Mississippi.

Pitcher of the Year: Jorge Ortega

2015 stats: 9-9, 2.41 ERA, 141 2/3 innings, 72 K, 11 BB

Highlights: Though his record reflects the disappointing year the Manatees had in the standings, Ortega was very good. The 22-year-old right-hander had the lowest ERA and tied for the lowest WHIP (1.04) among qualifying pitchers in the Florida State League. Ortega is not a strikeout pitcher, but he showed deft control with just 11 walks in 20 starts. He also pitched six complete games and had two shutouts.


Record: 50-89; 7th place in Midwest League Western

Player of the Year: Carlos Leal

2015 stats: .309/.367/.397, 15 2B, 29 RBI

Highlights: This was a season to forget for the Timber Rattlers, and they especially struggled at the plate. Among regulars, Leal was second in batting average and OPS, fifth in hits and doubles and sixth in RBI, despite playing in far fewer games (76) and getting fewer at bats (282) than many of his teammates. The 24-year-old catcher led his team in on-base percentage and slugging and probably earned more playing -- and a promotion -- time next season.

Pitcher of the Year: Angel Ventura

2015 stats: 7-6, 3.09 ERA, 122 1/3 innings, 126 K, 46 BB

Highlights: Ventura led the staff in innings and strikeouts (sixth in the Midwest League in the latter category) and his ERA was second-best among starters. The 22-year-old right-hander only started half of his 28 games and also had a couple of saves in three opportunities. In a July 25 win over Clinton, Ventura pitched a gem: six innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and two walks, while striking out a career-high 11 batters.

*Overall top Brewers minor leaguer of 2015.

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