ST. PETERSBURG -- Now that the Brewers know with whom their Arizona Fall League participants will be teamed, they can begin the complicated process of choosing which prospects will actually play in the circuit, which has long proven a springboard to the big leagues.
The Brewers have been assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs with farmhands from the Orioles, White Sox, Tigers and Dodgers. Double-A Huntsville pitching coach Chris Hook will serve on the Desert Dogs' staff.
Now comes the tricky part.
"There will probably be conference calls for the first 15 days of August to figure out who is going to play," said Brewers senior director of baseball operations Tom Flanagan, who has been part of those calls in the past with farm director Reid Nichols and other club officials. "It starts with determining priority positions for each team, and then you build around that."
Players at those priority positions are ensured greater playing time. Last year, it was outfielder Mitch Haniger, whose strong performance helped get him to Major League Spring Training camp. This year, it could be another outfielder, Brewers No. 2 prospect Tyrone Taylor, though that has yet to be finalized.
"Pitching is fine, there are enough spots," Flanagan said. "But if another team says, 'Our priority guy is a shortstop,' chances are you don't want to send a shortstop. … There's strategy involved to make sure the guy gets the most out of the experience."
The six-team Arizona Fall League begins play Oct. 7 with one new venue: The Cubs' new Spring Training home in Mesa