Hunter Morris Puts Together Breakout Season





BEST PLAYER: The Brewers expected first baseman Hunter Morris to be a big league prospect when they selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Auburn. But he stepped forward in a big way in 2012 at Double-A Huntsville.

Morris finished the season hitting .303/.357/.563, leading the Southern League with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs, and ranking second with 40 doubles. Morris, 23, also improved enough to be voted the best defensive first baseman in the league by managers and coaches. His breakthrough year had many wondering if he might be the Brewers' starting first baseman as early as 2014.

BEST PITCHER: Righthander Hiram Burgos began the season at high Class A Brevard County, going 2-1, 1.90, including a gem in which he lost a no-hitter against Clearwater in the ninth inning. Promoted to Huntsville, he continued to shine, going 6-1, 1.94. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he went 2-2, 2.91 in eight starts. Altogether, he went 10-4, 1.95 with 153 strikeouts and 49 walks in 171 innings.

Burgos, 25, lacks overpowering stuff, but he knows how to move his fastball around and has outstanding command of his pitches.

KEEP AN EYE ON: The Brewers always have liked the offensive potential of outfielder Khris Davis, a seventh-round pick in 2009 out of Cal State Fullerton who has some pop in his bat. He was set back at the outset of this season, however, by a calf injury that he re-aggravated by returning too soon.

Finally healthy, the righthanded hitter tore it up at Huntsville, batting .383/.484/.641 with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 154 at-bats before hitting .310/.414/.522 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 140 at-bats at Nashville.

Though Davis, 25, has improved defensively, he projects as a left fielder only in the majors. The Brewers have reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun in left, so it will be interesting to see what happens with Davis, whose bat should soon get him to the majors.

MICROBREWS


• Righthander Santo Manzanillo, who missed much of the season with shoulder issues related to an offseason auto accident, was assigned to the Arizona Fall League with hopes of making up some lost innings.

• Outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard was slated to play for Canada in a World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament in Germany before reporting to the Arizona Fall League.