Biloxi Shuckers

Brewers a team in transition headed into 2016

JEFF CHIU/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Yadiel Rivera, right, throws to first base after forcing out Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story (27) on a double play ball hit by Carlos Gonzalez Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
JEFF CHIU/ASSOCIATED PRESS Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Yadiel Rivera, right, throws to first base after forcing out Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story (27) on a double play ball hit by Carlos Gonzalez Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP

The Milwaukee Brewers are a team on the cusp of a youth movement.

Some of the organization's top prospects have made their way up to the big leagues while many will likely hang back in Double-A and Triple-A to start the 2016 campaign.

Baseball fans on the Coast will get a look at a Brewers team in transition when they take on their Double-A affiliate, the Biloxi Shuckers, in an exhibition game at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday at MGM Park in Biloxi.

Some of the Brewers' names will be familiar to Coast baseball fans while others will likely require a closer look at the game program.

Just as he has been for the last nine seasons, Ryan Braun is the biggest star on the Brewers' roster.

The six-time All-Star and 2011 MVP is coming off a 2015 season that included a .285 batting average, 25 homers and 84 RBIs.

He is on pace to be in the Brewers' lineup for opening day on Monday after missing time in the spring recently with a sore back. He returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing eight days.

Braun's health is crucial to Milwaukee's success in 2016.

Milwaukee's second-best power hitter behind Braun is Chris Carter, who batted .199 with 24 homers and 64 RBIs last season for the Houston Astros. He hit a total of 90 homers in three seasons as the starting first baseman in Houston.

The rest of the Milwaukee infield is third baseman Aaron Hill, shortstop Jonathan Villar and second baseman Scooter Gennett.

Braun will be joined the outfield by center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and right fielder Domingo Santana.

The Brewers are strong behind the plate in veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who has been one of the better hitting catchers in the big leagues over the last five seasons.

The Louisiana-Lafayette product, who was named an All-Star in 2014, batted .264 with seven homers and 43 RBIs in a season filled with injuries in 2015.

Lucroy, who has been the subject of trade chatter in recent weeks, set an MLB record for doubles by a catcher in 2014 with 53. He batted .301 and hit 13 homers that season.

The man who could soon replace Lucroy as the Brewers' starting catcher, Jacob Nottingham, will start the season with Biloxi, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

Nottingham was acquired in February through a trade with the Oakland A's. He batted .316 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs last season at Class A.

Many of Biloxi's stars from the 2015 campaign, including shortstop Orlando Arcia, pitcher Jorge Lopez and outfielder Michael Reed, will likely start the season at Triple-A.

There's a good chance that Lopez and Arcia could finish their seasons in Milwaukee as two of the best prospects in the organization.

One former Shucker to lock down a spot on the opening day roster for Milwaukee is utility infielder Yadiel Rivera.

Former Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Chase Anderson will be the starting pitcher for the Brewers Saturday and the Shuckers will go with left-hander Josh Hader, who had a 2.79 ERA in seven starts in Biloxi last year.

Craig Counsell is entering his second season as the Brewers' manager. He went 61-76 last year after taking over on May 4 for Ron Roenicke, who led the team to a 7-18 start to the 2015 campaign.

Carlos Subero, who served as the Shuckers' manager last season, is on Counsell's staff this season as the infield coach and first base coach.

The man replacing Subero in Biloxi is Mike Guerrero, who was the first base coach in Milwaukee last year.

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