Biloxi Shuckers

Brewers’ trades should bolster Biloxi pitching

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Phil Bickford from the San Francisco Giants on Monday. He will start out at high-A Brevard County (Fla.).
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Phil Bickford from the San Francisco Giants on Monday. He will start out at high-A Brevard County (Fla.). Associated Press

The Biloxi Shuckers should have plenty of pitching talent on the way following a pair of trades by their parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, prior to the deadline on Monday.

The Brewers traded veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Jeremy Jeffress to Texas for a pair of minor leaguers, outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-hander Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named later.

The other trade sent Milwaukee left-handed reliever Will Smith to the San Francisco Giants for their top prospect, right-hander Phil Bickford, and another minor leaguer, catcher Andrew Susac.

Ortiz is the lone newly-acquired prospect who will land in Biloxi immediately.

Bickford may not be far behind in joining Ortiz with the Shuckers. He is set to join the roster at high-Class A Brevard County (Fla.).

Brinson, a first-round pick by the Rangers in 2012, and Susac, a second-round pick by the Giants in 2011, will both start their time in the Brewers' organization at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Ortiz is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound hurler from Sanger, Calif., and a former first-round selection by the Rangers in the 2014 draft.

Ortiz has split time this season between Double-A Frisco (Texas) and Class-A High Desert (Calif.). He is a combined 4-6 in 16 appearances, 14 starts, this season. At the Double-A level, Ortiz is 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine appearances. Multiple reports describe Ortiz as a good control pitcher with a fastball, slider and change-up.

MLBpipeline.com immediately rated Ortiz as the fifth-best prospect in the Brewers organization on Monday prior to the top prospect, shortstop Orlando Arcia, being promoted to the big leagues late Monday night.

Bickford, who was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect for the Giants, checked in behind Ortiz at No. 6 in the new Brewers rankings.

Of the 12 players in MLBpipeline.com's rankings of the top Brewers prospects, seven were acquired through trades. Ortiz and outfielder Brett Phillips were the lone current members of the Biloxi roster on the list.

Bickford is currently a starting pitcher, but some believe he could make the transition to the bullpen by the time he reaches the majors.

Bickford has pitched at the Class A level all season and is 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts. He has 105 strikeouts and 27 walks with a pair of complete games in 93 innings.

If Bickford makes the climb to Biloxi this season, he could add some durability to the rotation. Shuckers pitchers haven't registered a complete game all season.

The 21-year-old Bickford played for the USA squad in this year's All-Star Futures game on July 10 in San Diego. He pitched an inning in the game, striking out a pair of batters.

Bickford, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound native of Ventura, Calif., was a first-round selection by the Giants in the 2015 draft.

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