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Brewers Commit To Zavier Warren Behind The Plate



The Brewers finally got to see their five-man 2020 draft class wear their uniforms when instructional league opened in Arizona.

“For the guys who haven’t had anything yet, you feel good because you’re giving them some foundational perspective,” farm director Tom Flanagan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“They didn’t know what they didn’t know yet, so by being here they can kind of get brought up to speed on what’s expected of them in the future, while at the same time retaining a lot of this instruction.”

Center fielder Garrett Mitchell, drafted 20th overall out of UCLA this year, was not invited to participate in the alternate training site during the season, nor were any of Milwaukee's other four selections.

Mitchell suffered a quadriceps strain in the early going in instructional camp that prevented him from playing in games, though the injury was not considered serious.

Third-rounder Zavier Warren, a catcher from Central Michigan; fourth-rounder Joey Wiemer, an outfielder from Cincinnati and fifth-rounder Hayden Cantrelle, a shortstop from Louisiana-Lafayette, all saw action over the summer in “pop-up” independent leagues, with the Brewers’ blessing.

Second-rounder Freddy Zamora, a shortstop from Miami, was still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee suffered early in the year.

Warren, known more for his bat in college, is one to watch because he is a switch-hitter, which adds value at the catcher position. He saw a lot of action at shortstop in 2019 at Central Michigan, but the Brewers are committed to developing him behind the plate.

“(Catching instructor) Charlie Greene is already excited with what he’s seen out of him,” Flanagan said. “I think for this camp, he’ll probably see the bulk of his time catching. We had some video and watched what (he did over the summer), and it was impressive.

“Obviously, a switch-hitting catcher is valuable, and we’re really confident he can pull it off behind the plate. He’s an exciting guy.”

MICROBREWS

— At instructional league the Brewers got their first in-person look at the three young righthanders acquired in the Aug. 31 trade with the Phillies for reliever David Phelps. None of Brandon Ramey, Israel Puello or Juan Geraldo has pitched above the Rookie level.

“Just physically, they look the part. Good pitchers' frames,” Flanagan said. “Just getting them down here and getting eyes on them, I think it’s going to be huge heading into the offseason. Just so we know what we have and can kind of prep them accordingly.”

— Two outfielders taken early in the 2018 draft—Joe Gray (60th overall) and Micah Bello (73rd)—made favorable impressions with their play in the early games of instructional camp.

— Shortstop Brice Turang, who drew praise for his showing at the alternate training site in Appleton, Wis., was invited to instructional camp as well. The Brewers tried to get as much development as possible with their 2018 first-round draft pick.

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