PHOENIX -- Right-hander Hiram Burgos was busy with Puerto Rico's advancing entry in the World Baseball Classic when the Brewers optioned him to Triple-A Nashville on Saturday.
The move was expected for the 25-year-old Burgos, the Brewers' reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year and ranked as the team's No. 13 prospect by MLB.com, who will fit in near the top of a prospect-rich Sounds starting rotation. The Brewers had previously optioned hard-throwing 24-year-olds Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg.
Candidates for the remaining spots include right-handers Josh Stinson and Alfredo Figaro, assuming they don't win jobs in the big league bullpen, or journeymen Frankie De La Cruz and Zach Kroenke.
If Stinson winds up in that rotation, he deserves to be lumped with the "prospects," even though he's entering his eighth professional season. He just turned 25 on Thursday and is coming off a debut season with the Brewers in which he posted a 3.16 ERA in 24 starts and five relief appearances at Nashville, then allowed only one earned run in 9 1/3 late-season innings with the Brewers.
"He's got really good stuff, he's down in the zone really good, and not counting [Friday], the two previous [outings] were really easy for him," Roenicke said. "[On Friday], command was the issue. He gets up in the zone and walks people. So for him, it's about being more consistent with his good stuff. When he's pitching right, this should be a good Major League pitcher."