How Big League Moves Effect the Minor Leagues

Greetings from the road in New York!
IMG_3986

Call it a “trickle down” or a “roster shuffle”, but when a transaction happens, at any level, nearly every team in the system is effected. When a move happens in the big leagues, even more teams feel it.

For instance, yesterday Brewers shortstop Jean Segura was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right pinky finger. Hector Gomez, likely, will play a good amount at short in Segura’s stead, but the Brewers will need a man for the bench…

Welcome in Luis Sardinas. The native of Venezuela, acquired from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade in January, was hitting .288 (9th best in the system) with 18 RBI, 7 doubles, 3 triples and 6 stolen bases with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Sardinas can fill in at short (31 of 32 games played with the Sky Sox at short) and second base. We also saw him play a little third in spring training. So, Sardinas is up with the Brewers. Who takes his spot in Triple-A?

That would be Yadiel Rivera from the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers. He’s hitting .322 (2nd in the system) while playing the lion’s share of games at second base (See: Orlando Arcia), a handful at third and a few at shortstop.

The Shuckers are manned with enough guys, Nick Shaw mainly, that can fill in for Rivera for the time being so Brevard County and Wisconsin won’t lose any players in this particular transaction. And, since Biloxi was down a man on the roster, C Tyler LaTorre was transferred from the Helena roster to provide additional depth.

So that’s a very brief look at the anatomy of a transaction. Obviously, there are more moving parts, travel itineraries and communication routes involved, but that’s the general idea. Where one piece is removed, it needs to be filled and it takes a lot of people to do it. .

Minor League Struggles Can, Sometimes, Be Good

Despite a 24 game funk that has seen one of the top prospects in the Brewers’ System, Monte Harrison, slump to a .155 average and 44 strikeouts in 84 at-bats, the 19-year-old is still staying upbeat about his performance.

He recently said in an article from the Omaha World-Herald, “Sometimes you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good that comes next. It’s happening now to me. That’s good, I feel like.” You can read the full article here.

A former three-sport STAR in high school, Harrison admittedly has said that baseball was not his number one sport. He was all signed up (roommate and everything) to play football at Nebraska. But baseball was his passion and he’s been diligently learning what it takes to be a pro.

Below is our conversation in April on how he tries to learn something new every day.

Biloxi Report

Those “Homeless Shuckers” will soon have a place to unpack their suitcases. Per our last post, MGM Park is coming along in Biloxi.

And whether the club has a home park or not, it hasn’t made much of a difference to RHP Damien Magnifico. He tossed another scoreless frame Thursday, allowing one hit and striking out one. The recently dubbed “team barber” has not allowed a run in his last 10.1 IP (9 games) and all but one of his 10 appearances have been scoreless outings.

And finally, who doesn’t like a good dubsmash? Sky Sox reliever, and frequent twitter/dubsmash-er, Tim Dillard is pretty strong in the dubsmash game. Take a look for yourself.

Thanks for reading and, as always, Go Brewers!

Jeff
@jlevering4

The ‘Homeless Shuckers”

We’ve talked about this before, but, with their new stadium still under construction, the Biloxi Shuckers don’t have a place to call home. So they’ve taken to calling themselves the “Homeless Shuckers” while they embark on what will be at least a 55-game road trip.

ESPN recently did a feature piece on how the Shuckers cope with being vagabonds, for now. The below is Part I of the story.

View the video here

While the 55 game trip is daunting, it pales in comparison to what the 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees had to deal with.

An entire season on the road. Six different venues hosted Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees games in 2012 while the Yankees permanent home at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania underwent a massive $40 million dollar reconstruction. The Yankees played 37 games at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York, 10 games at Alliance Bank Stadium (Now NBT Bank Stadium) in Syracuse, New York, eight games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, seven games at Dwyer Stadium (New York/Penn League) in Batavia, New York, six games at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, New York and four games at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. AND THEY WERE A PLAYOFF TEAM!

The hotel life as, so far, has treated the Shuckers well. They are 20-13 (tied for the best record in the league) and in first place of the South Division by 1.5 games.

Earlier today, they outlasted the Jackson Generals 14-10 and banged out 20 hits while going 11-for-19 with runners in scoring position (WOW!!). Their 3-4-5 hitters, Orlando Arcia, Nick Ramirez and Michael Reed went a combined 9-for-15 with 4 RBI and 8 runs scored.

Keep on keeping on, road warriors! MGM Park will be ready soon.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff
@jlevering4

The Weekend in the Minors

Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

I trust everyone celebrated with mom/grandma/wife/daughter etc. and did their fair share of “honey-do’s” over the weekend.

Well, Sunday was especially good to Martin Maldonado and his mom, Jeanette. Tying the game in the 7th and hitting a walk-off homer in the 11th isn’t a bad way to celebrate!
051015_mil_walkoff_med

Onto the Farm Report

First, we start with some moves…and there were plenty of them over the weekend and even this morning.

Today’s Roster Moves (5/11):
RHP Chris Leroux has been placed on the Colorado Springs DL.

RHP Tim Dillard has been transferred from the Helena roster to Colorado Springs.

INF Brandon Macias will be active for Biloxi tonight.

C Tyler La Torre has been transferred to the Helena roster.

Yesterday’s Roster Moves (5/10):
RHP Victor Diaz has been placed on the Wisconsin DL, retroactive to 5/7.

1B David Denson has been transferred from Wisconsin to Helena. He will travel to Phoenix today and join the extended spring training program.

1B Alan Sharkey and RHP Joshua Torres will be transferred to Wisconsin. Both players had been participating in extended spring training.

Strong Performances

None better than Biloxi Shuckers’ starter Jorge Lopez. The native of Puerto Rico, and 12th best prospect in the system, dazzled on Mother’s Day pitching in Pearl, Mississippi (as the home team during the 55 games road trip to start the season) against the M-Braves. He had a no-hitter going until the 6th when he allowed a single, and, to that point, he’d only hit a batter who was subsequently caught stealing, so he’d faced the minimum as well. Lopez went on to throw a season high seven innings of shutout ball allowing just one hit, did not issue a walk and hit the one batter. He also struck out a season high (career high matching) eight and threw just 90 pitches (61 for strikes).

After he had two sub-par starts to begin the season, Lopez is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA (2ER/23IP) with 6 BB and 23 K’s over his last four outings. In yesterday’s gem, Lopez also collected his first career base hit and RBI to help himself in a 2-0 victory.

He woke up Monday morning feeling pretty well, I’d say.

Magnificato!

RHP Damien Magnifico of Biloxi not only has one of the best names in baseball, but he also has been pitching great in 2015. He converted his third save of the season Sunday and has not allowed a run in his last 9.1 IP (8g). All but one of his 10 appearances have been scoreless outings. Magnifico owns a 1.59 ERA (2ER/11.1 IP) with just three walks issued.

As a whole, the Shuckers pitching staff owns a 2.53 ERA which leads the Southern League by half a run and, at 18-12, they are in 1st place by 1/2 a game over the Mobile BayBears.

Pflugerville…Ahem, Bless You?!

Not only is this the city that the popular TV Show Friday Night Lights was filmed, but it’s the home of Brevard County Manatees reliever LHP Trevor Seidenberger. In 12.1 innings this year, the former Horned Frog of TCU has allowed only four hits & three walks, while striking out 15 in his seven games. Opponents are hitting just .093 (4-for-43, 4th in the Florida State League), strikes out 10.9/9 IP and allows just 5.84 base runners/9 IP (3rd in the FSL).

PEORIA - March 2014: Trevor Seidenberger of the Milwaukee Brewers during a spring training game against the San Diego Padres on March 24th, 2014 at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Brad Krause)

PEORIA – March 2014: Trevor Seidenberger of the Milwaukee Brewers during a spring training game against the San Diego Padres on March 24th, 2014 at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Brad Krause)


The Haus that Tucker Built

3B Tucker Neuhaus of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers is on a NINE game hitting streak, batting .351 (13-37) with 3 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR and 6 RBI in that span. He has reached base in all but one game this season after getting a later start because of vision problems.

And you wonder why this kid hits so well? His hitting coach in high school at Wharton HS in Tampa, FL was none other than Wade Boggs.

To read more on Tucker and why the Brewers like him so much, click here.

#PitchersRake

Matt Garza had a single in yesterday’s game for the Brewers, and we all know that Wily Peralta takes huge hacks, but pitcher’s do take a lot of pride in their ability to hit. We’ve seen Biloxi starters Tyler Wagner AND Brooks Hall homer already. But Sky Sox starter Tyler Cravy also went deep last week.

And a couple of days before Tyler Thornburg laced a triple in Memphis.

Look at those swings! Those aren’t pitcher’s cuts…those are simply good baseball swings.

Let’s start the hashtag again…#PitchersRake

A Look Ahead

Some good arms will be on display tonight in the Brewers System. RHP Taylor Jungmann is coming off his best two appearances of the season and he gets the call for the Sky Sox in Iowa against the I-Cubs in Des Moines. And RHP Brooks Hall (4-0, 1.32 ERA) gets the call for the Shuckers in Jackson, TN against the Generals (Seattle Mariners) and former 1st rounder LHP Danny Hultzen.

Podcast Brewers On Tap

This week’s podcast will feature a conversation with Colorado Springs Sky Sox closer Corey Knebel as well as Miller Park Organist (and legend really) Dean Rosko. If you’d like to ask Dean question, you can get involved using the #BrewersOnTap on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Ueck Gets Saved; More Minor League News

Bob Uecker, his wife Judy, Joe Block, Kent Summerfeld (broadcast producer/engineer), Mary Burns (Former Commissioner Bud Selig’s assistant) and myself all got to enjoy each other’s company without the ability to leave the broadcast booth on Wednesday night.

If you hadn’t heard the news, and I’ve heard it was on the Today Show Thursday, there was a malfunction with the handle on the home radio booth door which did not allow anyone to open it from the outside OR the inside. Mary and myself tried everything from plastic baseball card covers and pencils to Leatherman tools (thanks Kent) and kitchen knives. Nothing was working.

Ballpark operations came up and slid an Allen Wrench under the door for us to remove the handle, but we still couldn’t get the lock button to move enough to pry the door open.

There was only one thing left to do…take the door off its hinges from the inside. And the only way to get from outside the booth in, was through the window.

And here is Joe Block’s account of the event as well.

No one was harmed in the lock removal process. A little grease on the fingers of both Mary and me, but other than that, we’re all good!

Minor League Notes

Did you hear about what the Brevard County Manatees are doing this weekend? This weekend is aptly named “Kennedy Space Center Weekend” at Space Coast Stadium. Last night, tonight and Saturday, the team changes its name to the “Space Explorers,” while wearing caps and jerseys designed by Kennedy Space Center employee Angela Krenn. Both feature images from the Hubble Telescope, which was launched from, yes, the Kennedy Space Center.

“The shirt design uses images from the Hubble Space Telescope to show the Comet ISON against a backdrop of distant galaxies and stars,” said Krenn. What NASA Cryogenics Engineer gets quoted for a minor league baseball promotion?

The front of the cap displays the 10,000-mile-wide storm front that is Jupiter’s “Great Red Spot.” The game-worn “Space Explorers” jerseys will be sold as part of an online charitable auction, while a limited number of the Jupiter caps are available now.

Manatees Assistant General Manager said, “We have always wanted to do something with Kennedy Space Center, as KSC and NASA have [made] a strong community impact. Our foul poles at the stadium have the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger on them. The May 9 game will be educational, as we will have [KSC employees] here doing demonstrations, handing out information and building model rockets.”

Good news too, the Manatees…ahem, the Space Explorers are 1-0 as they beat the Tampa Yankees on Thursday 8-4. Wouldn’t it have been fun, though, is the Jupiter Hammerheads would have been the opponent?!

On a personal note, I can’t think of space exploration without thinking of this…

OF Clint Coulter picked up two more hits yesterday is on a 5-game hitting streak and has safely reached base in 10 of his last 11 games. He leads the organization with 7 HR and 23 RBI and is among the FSL league-leaders in several categories including HR (T-1st, 7), RBI (1st, 23), slugging pct. (1st, .615), total bases (1st, 64), hits (T-2nd, 35) and extra-base hits (T-1st, 13).

Biloxi Shuckers

SS Orlando Arcia snapped his hitting streak at 7 G. He batted .375 (12-32) in the streak with 5 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI and 2 SB. He leads the organization in average with a .370 mark. He reached base via a walk and is on an eight game on-base streak.

INF Yadiel Rivera has gone 7-for-12 in his last three games including a 4-for-5 night Wednesday. He’s got his average back up to .337, tied for 3rd in the Organization with Clint Coulter.

RHP Brooks Hall continues to roll too. After his win on Wednesday (6IP, 2 ER, 2 BB 5 K), he is second in the organization in ERA, T-1st in wins and 2nd in strikeouts. In his last 4 starts he is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA (24ip, 3er) with 4 BB and 20 K. Hall has not lost a game since April 4, 2014, his first start last year and is 6-0 with a 1.77 ERA (56ip, 11er) with 12 BB and 42 K since then.
Brooks Hall
And, despite the Shuckers 4-0 loss to the Mississippi Braves Thursday night, RHP Tyler Wagner continues to impress. The Las Vegas native tossed seven shut out innings, allowing 6 hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. He has tossed 7 innings with 7 strikeouts in each of his last two starts and owns a 1.50 ERA (36ip, 6er) on the season, 4th best in the Brewers Organization. Wagner has allowed only one run in his last 16 IP.

Colorado Springs

After been optioned to Triple-A, RHP Tyler Thornburg has been starting for the Sky Sox. Thursday in Memphis, he threw a season high five innings allowing a run on two hits while walking three and striking out two. He also tripled (the first of his career) and drove in a run in a 2-1 defeat.

While the walk numbers were high on Thursday, he threw just 70 pitches (44 strikes) to stretch himself out. Remember, Thornburg was a reliever in Milwaukee to begin the season and was getting his arm strength built up for a bullpen role in spring training as well as rehabbing from a partially torn UCL tendon in his right elbow. So, vamping up the pitches as a starter makes him more versatile for the Brewers should they need him in the future.

And Taylor Jungmann, who was a guest on the Brewers Podcast this last week was spot on in his last outing on Wednesday night. Out of the bullpen, because of Jim Henderson making a start for his rehab assignment, Jungmann threw six scoreless innings in Memphis allowing just three hits and striking out a season high six. He lowered his ERA nearly two full points and has put back to back quality appearances together; 12 innings, 3 ER, 7 hits and 10 strikeouts.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

SS Jake Gatewood suffered a knee injury last week and has been unable to play for the Timber Rattlers since April 29th. It is being reported that he will miss several weeks with a knee bruise. But the good news is that he won’t need surgery and avoided any ligament damage after his knee buckled making a play for Class-A Wisconsin earlier this week.

Gatewood, ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization by MLB.com, ranged to his right to field a ground ball while playing shortstop when his knee buckled as he planted to throw. Gatewood underwent an MRI in Milwaukee last Friday that revealed a bruise but no torn ligaments.

Angel Ventura is a name you wont find on many prospect lists, but the right hander has been brilliant in the season’s first six weeks. The numbers first, 1-0 with a save. 0.90 ERA (2 ER/20 IP), 14 hits, 11 walks and 18 strikeouts. But when you dig deeper, Ventura has allowed just ONE run over his last 19 innings pitched including a three inning save in-which he did not allow a hit with five punch-outs against Peoria on April 24th.

Roster Moves

Yesterday, RHP Rob Wooten was optioned to Colorado Springs. Today, RHP Brandon Kintzler has been selected from Colorado Springs. OF Monte Harrison has been placed on the temporary inactive list at Wisconsin after the passing of his grandmother.

INF Francisco Castillo has been transferred from the Helena roster to Wisconsin. All moves announced by the Brewers.

We’ve got the Cubs in town over the weekend. Should be a fun, and spirited, set of games! And Mother’s Day is on Sunday…Here’s your reminder husbands/sons/brothers!

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Brewers Announce Minor League Players of the Month

Congratulations are in order to OF Clint Coulter and RHP Brooks Hall who have been named the Brewers Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, for the Month of April.

Player of the Month – Clint Coulter, the Camas, WA native appeared in 20 games for the Manatees during April and hit .325/.429/.649 with 13 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 10 BB and 3 SB. This included a six-game hitting streak from 4/16-21, where he went .522 (12-23) with 6 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI and 3 BB. Coulter was selected in the 1st round of the 2012 draft.

Pitcher of the Month – RHP Brooks Hall, the Anderson, South Carolina native, went 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA (22ip, 3er) in the month with 5 BB and 18 K with the Biloxi Shuckers. Overall on the year, Hall is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA (28ip, 3er) with 5 BB and 24 K. He leads the organization and Southern League in ERA, is tied for second in wins and tied for third in strikeouts. Hall was selected in the 4th round of the 2009 draft.

Well done gentlemen!

In roster news, Scooter Gennett had his rehab assignment terminated and has been activated by the Brewers. Gennett went 4-for-13 with a pair of doubles, a walk and a stolen base in four games for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. To make room for Gennett on the 25-man roster, Logan Schafer was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The outfielder was hitting .182 (6-for-33) with three doubles in 22 games with the Crew and dazzled, as usual, on defense.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff
@jlevering4

Brewers New Manager, Craig Counsell

As announced by Milwaukee Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Doug Melvin, Craig Counsell has been tabbed as the 19th manager in Brewers history.

Ron Roenicke was relieved of his managerial duties late Sunday night after the club began the season at 7-18. It wasn’t just the month of April that determined the fate of Roenicke, but a larger sample size of inconsistencies spanning the last 100 games where the Brewers were 28 games under .500.

“This has been a difficult start to the season, something that we certainly didn’t anticipate,” Melvin said. “Over roughly the last 100 games, we have not performed at the level that we should. It’s all about wins and losses, and after the first month of play this year we didn’t see the progress and improvement we had hoped for. We appreciate all that Ron has done for our organization, and he has handled his duties with great professionalism and dedication. The reasons for our disappointing start are many, but we determined that it’s in the best interests of the club to make this move.”

With Counsell, the Brewers are following a trend that has been rather popular in Major League Baseball in recent years; hiring a manager with little to no managerial experience. Look at the recent hires of Robin Ventura (White Sox), Matt Williams (Nationals), Brad Ausmus (Tigers) and Mike Matheny (Cardinals) and you’ll see a common theme; leadership. Counsell is not far removed from the field (four seasons actually) and was teammates with a number current Brewers. Familiarity with the organization was a key factor in bringing in the Whitefish Bay native.

“Craig has many years of Major League playing experience, and his three-plus years of learning all aspects of baseball operations helps prepare him for this managerial position,” said Melvin. “There will be challenges, but Craig has never shied away from leadership responsibilities on the field as a player or in his most recent role. I believe his on-field success as a player and his awareness for preparation should resonate in the clubhouse. Growing up in Milwaukee, it is very important for him to bring a winning culture and team success to Brewers fans.”

Said Counsell, “I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to manage the team that I rooted for, played for and worked for in the front office. In the 10 years that I have been a member of the organization, I have grown to feel a great responsibility to baseball in the city of Milwaukee. This has been a difficult time for the Brewers, and we all share the responsibility. I understand the work ahead to be the team our fans deserve. We have challenges ahead of us and I look forward to working tirelessly to achieve our goals.”

The 44-year-old Counsell joined the Brewers front office on January 17, 2012 as special assistant to the general manager. He enjoyed a 16-year Major League playing career, batting .255 with 42 HR, 390 RBI and 103 stolen bases in 1,624 games with Colorado (1995, ‘97), Florida (1997-99), Los Angeles (1999), Arizona (2000-03, 2005-06) and Milwaukee (2004, 2007-11). He was a member of World Series championship teams with Florida (1997) and Arizona (2001), and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2001 National League Championship Series.

Counsell not only tied the game for the Marlins in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, but he also scored the game winner on Edgar Renteria’s RBI single.

The Craig Counsell era in Milwaukee begins. And tonight he faces the reigning NL MVP and Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. And tomorrow…he gets Zack Greinke.

You may be asking, how does this effect the minor league system? In just a couple words, it doesn’t. If anything, it makes the whole system more stream lined. Counsell has been helping Melvin and Co. for the last three years. He’s sat in every meeting with player development. He’s gone to the team’s academies in the Dominican Republic. He knows the personnel as well as anyone. So, Counsell is a double threat in the best possible way; the combination of having been a player for 16 years in the major leagues and having the chops in Player Development. Craig Counsell as the new manager just makes so much sense.

Checking in on the Farm

Some moves to report first. As most know, Carlos Gomez (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list and to make room for him on the active roster, the Brewers designated INF Luis Jimenez for assignment. He was claimed by the Boston Red Sox and, it’s being reported, he’ll be with Boston as they start a series with Tampa Bay tonight.

Rehabbing reliever Jim Henderson has moved up to Colorado Springs with his assignment. He’s pitched in a total of seven minor league games allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out eight in eight inning of work.

It is still to be determined what the move will be when Scooter Gennett (left hand laceration) finishes his rehab assignment with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers as someone else will either have to be DFA’d or optioned to the minor leagues. In 3 games with Wisconsin, Gennett is 3-for-8 with a double and an RBI.

Colorado Springs

Slugging first baseman Matt Clark has continued to swing a hot bat and he rung in May with a big day going 4-for-6 with a pair of homers, four RBI and four runs scored. Clark is hitting .312 (4th in the organization) with 5 homers (4th, 3 players tied with 6) and 17 RBI (T-3rd). And in his 23 games, Clark has 11 multi-hit efforts.

Outfielder Matt Long has reached base in all 22 games he’s played. He’s hitting .279 with a homer, nine RBI and a team leading three triples.

And INF Luis Sardinas is 2nd in the Organization with his .315 average and 13 RBI (5th). He also tops the Sky Sox with five stolen bases.

Biloxi

With the glut of prospect in Biloxi, it has been 1B Nick Ramirez that has stolen some head lines. He blasted two more homers Sunday against Mobile, his first career multi-homer game, and is tied for the system lead with six long balls on the season. He has lifted his average up to .270 and ranks 2nd in the organization with 18 RBI.

Orlando Arcia, who has “struggled” a bit of late (3 for his last 14), is still hitting a system best .375. He only has one home run, but he’s never really been considered a big home run type of player. So this article on FanGraphs is a little misleading despite all the research and charts.

Brooks Hall is dominating on the mound. The right hander is 3-0 with a Southern League best 0.96 ERA (3 ER in 28 IP) including 24 strikeouts and just five walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .173 against him. Hall was a 4th round pick in 2009 out of high school in South Carolina. He battle an elbow issue in 2014 and did not pitch after April 26th.

And reliever Austin Ross, despite allowing a run in his last appearance, has given up just two earned runs in 14.1 innings (1.23 ERA) while striking out 22 and walking just a pair.

The Shuckers at 15-9 are just 1/2 game behind in the Southern League South Division.

Brevard County

The Manatess continue to be the Clint Coulter and Victor Roache show.

Coulter is now at .315 with six homers and 17 RBI. In games where he’s driven in runs, he’s plated multiple runs in seven of the nine. When Coulter gets going, he does it early. He owns a .389 (7-for-18) average in the 1st inning of games this season. And he’s been impressive in the clutch as he’s hitting .357 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
coulter
For Roache, he leads the system with 21 RBI and is hitting .303. He’s also launched six homers, tied with Coulter and Nick Ramirez for the organization lead.
victor-roache-2013-bm-300x211
And 3B Taylor Brennan, while not on prospect lists, is putting together a very strong season. He’s on a Florida State League leading 22 game on-base streak after collecting three hits last night. He finished the game going 3-4 with a run and a walk. Over his 22 game stretch, he is batting .313 (26-83) with 19 R, 3 2B, 3B, 9 RBI, 17 BB and is reaching base at a .426 clip.

Wisconsin

Catcher Carlos Leal leads the Timber Rattlers offense with a .377 (20-for-53) mark. All this while converting to being a position player for the first time. In 2014, Leal was a pitcher taken in the 34th round and went 0-0 with an 8.53 ERA (6 ER in 6.1 IP) in the Arizona Rookie League. Now he’s catching (sharing time with Greg McCall) throwing out 9 of 19 would be base stealers (47.4%, 2nd in the Midwest League) and RAKING at the plate.

The Crew is on a 10-game homestand against the Dodgers, Cubs and White Sox so we hope to see you out at Miller Park over the next week and a half!

And, finally, May the “Fourth” be with you.

Thanks for reading,

Jeff
@jlevering4

Visit to Colorado Springs

IMG_3950 (1)

Welcome to Colorado Springs, where homers fly and the air is dry.

I mentioned in the last post that Security Service Field is the highest elevated (6,531 feet) professional ballpark in all of North America. So, you can understand why offensive numbers and pitching numbers may be skewed. But, as I chatted with Manager, Rick Sweet, the Sky Sox pitchers try not to focus so much on the elevation.

And while the numbers haven’t corresponded with the new approach in the season’s first month, pitchers are getting more comfortable.

Talking with one of the top prospects in the Brewers system, RHP Taylor Jungmann, he’s had a tough month for the Sky Sox (10.26 ERA in 4 starts to this point), but he doesn’t put any blame on the conditions in Colorado Springs.

We’ve heard a lot about the addition of the clocks in between innings at the major league level, but in Triple-A, pitchers have an actual clock that they have to worry about. Jungmann says it doesn’t really effect him or the other Sky Sox pitchers.

You’ll hear the longer versions of these interviews on next week’s edition of Brewers On Tap.

For those of you who have never been to Colorado Springs, it is gorgeous! I would highly recommend making the trip, not only to see the Sky Sox, but the surrounding area as well. Below are a few shots of the ballpark and nearby Rocky Mountains.

IMG_3940

Rocky Mountain Sunset

Rocky Mountain Sunset

The view from the press box

The view from the press box

Panoramic shot

Panoramic shot

IMG_3949

Not too far from the Rockies

Not too far from the Rockies

"Must be in the front row..."

“Must be in the front row…”

At 6-13 and a roster influx with the injuries with the Brewers, the Sky Sox are hopeful that the wins will start to pile up soon. This club has too much talent, both on offense and on the mound.

In other Minor League news, Orlando Arcia continues to light up the Southern League with Biloxi. Jake Seiner of MiLB.com wrote a piece recently highlighting some of the 20-year-old’s skills.

“The first thing you need to know about Orlando Arcia is that he’s an outstanding defender at shortstop. If you follow Minor League Baseball or the Brewers, you likely know this already. In this piece, I’ll primarily focus on Arcia’s bat, but in reality, Arcia is mostly interesting because his glove is so good.” To read the full article, click here

Arcia had two more hits last night, another Biloxi victory, to boost his average to a system leading .387 (24-for-62) with 10 RBI and 14 runs scored.

Arcia at third with Shuckers Manager Carlos Subero

Arcia at third with Shuckers Manager Carlos Subero


Yadiel Rivera has had four straight multi-hit games for the Shuckers, he’s reached base in all 19 games he’s played and is 2nd in system with a .369 average.

Jorge Lopez, who checks in as the 12th best prospect of the system, dazzled for his second straight start Wednesday night. His six shutout, two-hit innings in Pensacola added to his impressive run that has seen him not allow a run over his last 11 innings on just four hits. The native of Puerto Rico was a 2nd round pick by the Brewers in 2011.

And for the Timber Rattlers in the Midwest League, a club that began the season at just 3-12, they’ve hit their stride winning five of their last six games.

Catcher Carlos Leal leads the club in average (.340, 16-for-47) and slugging (.511, 3 2B, 3B and HR).

Dustin DeMuth continues to shine. He hit his first homer of the season a couple days ago in wild fashion, and a moment I’m sure he’ll never forget.

And, finally, brand new to the Timber Rattlers is third baseman Tucker Neuhaus, a former 2nd round pick in 2013 by Milwaukee. In just his second game with the club, he made fast friends going 3-for-5 with a triple, a homer, three RBI and two runs scored. But how he got to Wisconsin was rather circuitous. Click Here to hear how!

At the big league level….We hope to see a lot more of this!
042915_Braun_GrandSlam_med

Thanks for reading and Go Brewers!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Welcome to the New Blog

Hi Brewers faithful!

My name is Jeff Levering, the newest member for the Brewers Broadcast team. I’ll be filling in for Bob Uecker on the radio on some select road trips, so basically, I’m his pinch hitter.

For those of you that didn’t know me before, Hello!

Along with the broadcast element of my job, I also host a weekly podcast, Brewers On Tap (available on brewers.com/podcasts and on iTunes) and will now be writing this new blog focusing on the Brewers minor league system. A minor league segment exists on the podcast already, so this blog will be more of a long form version of that with added quotes, stories and video. Think of it as bonus coverage.

If you’re a fan of following the Brewers minor league system, this is the place to be.

I’ll have a chance to visit each of the Brewers affiliates during the spring/summer and have interviews, video and photos to share from each spot. I’ll start with Colorado Springs later this week, as a matter of fact.

Here’s the deal, we all know that the Brewers are struggling out of the gate this season. It’s frustrating for everyone; players, coaches, front office members and fans. Just know that it will get better. Bounces will start going the Brewers way. Instead of “seeing eye” singles against our pitching staff, they’ll be ground outs. It will get better!

With that being said, the focus on this blog will be on what’s happening within our system and how those players can contribute to the Milwaukee Brewers in the future.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox

The newest affiliate of the Brewers (moving on from Nashville after a 10 year run) is the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Off to a slow start at 6-11, the club has excelled on offense, but the pitching has been less than ideal. The team owns a batting average of .280 and scores 5.4 runs a game led by the outfield duo of Matt Long and Shane Peterson.

Long was acquired by the Brewers in the offseason in a trade with the Dodgers and Peterson was claimed off waivers from the Cubs right before the turn of the New Year. Long (slashing, which is batting average, on base and slugging percentage .317/.405/.476) was a spring training stand out as a non-roster invite. Had he been on the 40-man roster, he may have won a job on the Brewers Opening Day Roster. His versatility to play all three outfield positions as well as third and second base makes him very valuable to the Brewers.

Peterson, originally drafted by St. Louis out of Long Beach State (then traded to the A’s for Matt Holliday back in 2009) check in with a .305/.397/.508 slash line. Of his 18 hits so far, seven have gone for extra bases. He plays all three outfield positions and has a decent amount of time at first base too.

And Matt Clark, who Brewers fans got to know last September,

He leads the Sky Sox offense with three homers and 12 RBI and his hitting .296 (21-for-71).

As mentioned, the pitching staff has struggled to start the year owning a team ERA of 6.03 through 17 games. But, you might just chalk that up to playing in Colorado Springs, which has the distinction of being at the highest elevation (6,531 feet) of any North American professional baseball park.

Not to be deterred though, Corey Knebel, acquired from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade in January this year, has lit it up saving both games he’s had the chance to. He’s allowed just one run in his seven appearances and has struck out nine of the 25 batters he’s faced.

Biloxi Shuckers

This has to be one of the most prospect-laden clubs in the system. SS Orlando Arcia, OF Tyrone Taylor, 2B Yadiel Rivera, OF Kyle Wren, OF Michael Reed, RHP Tyler Wagner, LHP Hobbs Johnson and RHP Brooks Hall are all Shuckers at the moment.

As a club, they lead the Southern League South Division at 12-6. Pitching has been dominant with a 2.28 team mark and the offense he been enough to pull out close games.

The pitching, in a word, amazing. I mentioned Johnson, Hall and Wagner above. They are a combined 8-0 with a 1.46 ERA (9 ER/55.1 IP) with 45 strikeouts and just 18 walks. And, to boot, both Hall and Wagner have HIT homers at the plate.

And Austin Ross, making the conversion from starting to relieving full time, added two more scoreless innings on Monday to lower his ERA to 0.90 (1 ER/10 IP) and has struck out 15, while walking only two batters. He has not allowed a run in his last four appearances covering eight innings of work.

Orlando Arcia, the 20-year-old #1 prospect in the system, has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s made just two errors at shortstop and is hitting .386, slugging .544 and owns an OBP of .456. He’s reached base in all but two of the games he’s played in so far.

Yadiel Rivera, on the Brewers 40-man roster, has reached base in every game he’s played (17) while batting .357 with a home and eight RBI. He’s also stolen five bases while starting games at 2B (14), SS (2) and 3B (2).

And Michael Reed, a 5th round pick in 2011 out Leander High School in Texas, is hitting .327 with a homer and 11 RBI.

Just to make things really interesting, the Biloxi Shuckers haven’t played a home game yet! And they won’t until June. Their brand new ballpark, MGM Park, is not complete yet. That will force the team to play it’s first 55 games on the road. Now, they have been home team in a few of those games, but have not played in Biloxi yet. The just get to wear their home whites in another teams ballpark. Their previous home, Huntsville, Alabama, will serve as a “home ballpark” until June 6th, the tentative date for the ballpark’s opening. A 55-game road trip?! Yikes!

Brevard County Manatees

The Manatees are 9-9 led on offense by OF’s Clint Coulter and Victor Roache.

Coulter, the 2014 Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year, leads the organization in homers (6) and is 2nd in RBI (15). All this while hitting .338, slugging an organizational leading .690 and making the transition from catching to playing the outfield. Coulter is rated as the 4th best prospect in the Brewers system according to MLB.com.

Roache, checking in at No. 14 on the prospect list, also has gotten off to a quick start in 2015. He leads all Brewers’ minor leaguers with 18 RBI, has slugged five homers and is hitting .329. Roache is the owner of a nine game hitting streak and reached base in 14 straight games.

While INF Paul Eshleman may not be on the “prospect watch”, he’s opening some eyes in the Florida State League. He was named the FSL’s Player of the Week for April 20-26. Eshleman joined the Manatees active roster last Tuesday and came out swinging. In his first game of the season, he hit a walk-off home run to guide the Manatees to an 8-6 victory over Lakeland. In six games last week, Eshleman posted a slash line of .440/.481/.840 with 2 HR and 6 RBI.

And, I suppose, off days in Florida supply lots of opportunities to take in the “sights”, scary or not. Just ask Taylor Brennan.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Out to a slow start at just 6-12, the Timber Rattlers have the youngest team in the Midwest League. With top prospects from the 2014 draft, LHP Kodi Medeiros (18-years-old), SS Jake Gatewood (19) and Monte Harrison (19) starring in Appleton.

Medeiros, the 12th overall pick last year, could not have started any better as he tossed six no-hit innings while issuing just one walk and striking out seven in his season debut on April 12. Read the full article of Medeiros start here…http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20150412&content_id=117915844&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_l118&sid=l118

Both Gatewood and Harrison have been slow to get going with the bats (each hitting under .200) but have been showing flashes of their potential.

Another player not on the prospect rankings, but one opening eyes nonetheless, is Dustin DeMuth. The 5th round pick out of Indiana University in 2014, is hitting .345 with a homer and six RBI while playing both third and first base. DeMuth was a two-time All-American with the Hoosiers.

So, that’s a little bit of what this blog is all about. Future entries might not be as long, but the content will continue to grow with videos, photos and audio interviews.

Off to Colorado Springs next.

Thanks for reading and Go Brewers!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.