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March 23, 2016 6:00 am

Notes from the Field: Milwaukee Brewers Arms


Adam McInturff and Craig Goldstein

Notes on Cody Ponce, Zach Davies, Jorge Lopez and more.

Cody Ponce, Brewers, RHP
The hulking Ponce—all 6-foot-6, 245 pounds of him—was Milwaukee’s second-round pick in the 2015 Draft. He was a somewhat-late bloomer, growing into more strength and velocity later in his college career at Cal Poly Pomona. He put himself on the map with a strong Cape Cod League showing the summer prior to his draft year, displaying velocity from a physical frame and mixing in a quality cutter. Size, velocity, and the ability to get good action on his cutter are still Ponce’s calling cards—overall, though, Ponce’s control and usage of secondary pitches had improved since my looks at him as an amateur.

Ponce’s delivery seemed stronger through its balance point, leading to a more linear drive down the mound and increased ability to fill the strike zone. In his three innings of work against Team Germany, the fastball worked between 91-94 (sitting 93-94) with natural, heavy burst when angled to the lower third. His primary non-fastball remained a potentially above-average cutter in the high 80s, but it was encouraging to see Ponce trust a more complete arsenal of pitches the second time through the lineup. He showed more feel for a circle-change at 82-85 than in previous viewings; showing turnover action down and to his arm-side. Ponce leaned on his change more to left-handed bats, as you might expenct, consistently avoiding the heart of the plate with it. His breaking ball is a curveball between 77-79 mph. Readers shouldn’t expect the pitch to ever play legitimately above-average, but he showed between 45-grade and average shape on the pitch.

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A year and change has seen this farm system go from bargain brand to craft brewed.

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The Brewers have plenty of pitching help that could be close, but without a potential ace in the bunch.

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