Grazing on the Farm

Tough news to take for OF Monte Harrison. During Tuesday night’s game, the 19-year-old prospect broke his ankle.

In the first inning of Rookie-level Helena’s 5-1 over Orem, Harrison walked, stole second base and was rounding third on a single by Steven Karkenny when, according to the Helena Independent Record, he appeared to slip on wet grass. Harrison’s foot was pointing in the wrong direction following the fall, the newspaper reported. He was carried from the field on a stretcher but was in good spirits after receiving treatment.

Despite the injury, the ever positive Harrison maintains an uplifting outlook on the bad news.

It’s really unfortunate for Harrison who had recently built up some solid performances in Helena after struggling for the first half of the season for the Timber Rattlers. Through 28 games for the H-Brewers, he was batting .299 with a .410 on-base percentage and 14 steals in 16 attempts. Harrison has had six games with at least two hits, including a five-hit performance on July 3.

Speedy recovery, Monte!

You remember this guy right?

1B Jason Rogers was among the major league leaders in pinch hits before he was sent back to Triple-A Colorado Springs July 5th. But the return to the minor leagues has done nothing but motivate the slugger. Rogers has safely reached base in 19 straight games with the club and collected a hit in 17 of 19 games played with the Sky Sox. Overall, he’s slashing .366./465/.662 with 18 runs, 6 home runs, 18 RBI and 14 walks.

RHP Wily Peralta made his 3rd rehab start, and 2nd with Biloxi on Tuesday. He tossed 5 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits with a walk and 5 strikeouts. He threw 74 pitches, 48 for strikes. Overall Peralta has is 0-0 with a 1.59 ERA (11.1ip, 2er) with 2 walks and 12 strikeouts over his rehab assignment. Peralta has been on the DL since the latter part of May with an oblique strain.

INF Nate Orf came up with the game winner for the Shuckers Tuesday in the 9th inning.

During the All-Star Break, Biloxi was named the best Minor League team over the first half of the season. The Suckers own the best record in the Southern League at 54-38 and boast some of the top prospects in the Brewers’ system.

At the deadline to sign players from the June draft, the Brewers inked LHP Nathan Kirby from the College World Series Champion Virginia Cavaliers. He was selected #40 overall and went 5-3 with a 2.53 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts in his Junior Season and has been on the Brewers radar since his sophomore year of high school. He picked up the final six outs in the clinching game over Vanderbilt punching out 5. Kirby will be assigned to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

In Brevard County, LHP Wei Chung Wang has been unreal since being designated for assignement by the Brewers. Over his last 5 starts since June 24th, Wang hasn’t allowed any more than 1 ER (3 total earned runs) in 32.2 IP. He’s 7-2 with a 4.15 ERA overall in 17 starts and takes the mound Wednesday at Port St. Lucie (NY Mets).

High Class-A has treated RHP Cy Sneed well. After a poor(ish) debut, Sneed has been unstoppable. The 3rd rounder in 2014 turned in a 7-inning complete game for the Manatees Tuesday night in game one of a double header. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with a walk and 5 strikeouts. Over his last 3 starts, Sneed is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA (21ip, 4er) with a walk and 14 strikeouts.

Little known prospect OF Joantgel Sovovia in the Arizona League collected 4 hits Tuesday night. The native of Venezuela and 2013 signee finished 4-for-4 with 2 runs, a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. He is on a league-leading 20-game hitting streak. During that span, Segovia is batting .410 (32-78) with 16 runs, a double, 7 RBI, 10 walks and a .483 OBP.

And we’ve talked about OF Demi Orimoloye a few times on the blog, but his play on the field warrants more praise. He’s on a 7-game hitting streak and has reached base in all but one of his 15 games with the AZL Brewers. The first ever pro baseball player from Nigeria hit his third homer Tuesday and is slashing .328/.348/.594 with 10 stolen bases and 10 RBI overall…at 18 years old!

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@JLevering4

Brewers First Half Minor League All-Stars

While the Big Leaguers and Triple-A teams are on the All-Star Break, the rest of the Brewers’ Minor League system is still in full swing.

Did you have a chance to watch the Future’s Game on Sunday? The top prospect in the Brewers’ system, SS Orlando Arcia, made arguably the play of the game.

I like the GIF version too…

Arcia hit his league-leading 24th double of the season on last Thursday…he also recorded his 100th hit of the season on Friday night against 13-year MLB veteran Rafael Soriano (making his way back to the big leagues with the Cubs) and was the first in the Southern League to the century mark in hits. And while Arcia went 0-for-2 in the World Team’s 10-1 loss to the US squad Sunday, he’s 2nd in the Brewers system with a .318 average, leads in runs scored (51), and is 2nd in RBI (46). He’s made just 8 errors in 343 total chances, good for a .977 fielding percentage (2nd in the Southern league).

OF Victor Roach, the Brewers 1st rounder in 2012 out of Georgia Southern, is starting to figure out Double-A pitching.

Nearly half of his hits with Biloxi have gone for extra bases and he leads the system in homers (13).

1B Nick Ramirez is continuing his break out campaign with Biloxi.

The 4th round pick out of Cal State Fullerton is leading the system with 56 RBI and is tied for 2nd in homers (12). His average currently sits at .278, the highest mark of his career.

2B Chris McFarland has been a mainstay at the top of the Brevard County Manatees lineup all season. Over his first tour in High-A, McFarland is hitting .285 (8th in org.) with 3 HR, 37 RBI, 17 stolen bases and 41 runs scored. With his 88 games played, he’s on pace to shatter his career high of 100 set in 2014 with Low-A Wisconsin.

SS Gilbert Lara is hitting .368 over his first 18 games in the Arizona League. The 17-year-old has yet to go deep in a game, but has a pair of doubles, three triples and has a hit in all but three games this year. His 16 RBI and 15 runs scored pace a very impressive, and YOUNG, AZL team.

OF Trent Clark, the Brewers #1 pick last month, had sustained a scary injury June 21st crashing into the center field fence head long, but he returned to action just 13 days later. Since, he’s gone 11-for-34 with a homer, six RBI and 10 runs scored. He even hit for the cycle July 9th and his first homer of his career was a grand slam. Clark has a keen eye sporting an OBP of .419 with 5 walks against just 8 k’s.

RHP Devin Williams, 2nd round in 2013, had a late start to the season, but has been a dominant force in the Wisconsin rotation. Over 12 starts, he’s just 2-6, but owns a 3.36 ERA with 54 k’s in 56.1 IP.

Williams has allowed just 1 homer on the season and opposing Midwest League batters are hitting .214 against him. He hasn’t allowed 3 ER or more in any start since May 26, a span of 9 outings.

LHP Kodi Medeiros, 1st rounder in 2014 and just 19-years-old, sports a 4-2 record with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games, 11 starts. He’s been pitching out of the bullpen of late in an effort to keep his work load down. His 73 strikeouts (in 70.1 IP) are the 2nd most in the system, he’s yet to allow a homer this season and batters are hitting .226 against the southpaw.

RHP Jorge Ortega is 2nd in the organization in ERA with a 2.16 mark while tossing for Brevard County. He’s allowed 3 ER or more just three times in 2015, and only once since May 6th. Ortega has only 49 strike outs in 100 innings, but he’s doled out 7 walks ALL YEAR (only 2 since May 12th). The walks, or lack thereof, have been the most impressive part of his season. Talk about pitching to contact!

RHP Jorge Lopez: At 8-3, he paces the system in wins and ranks 2nd in strikeouts (86) and 5th in ERA (2.58) while pitching for the Biloxi Shuckers. Lopez has allowed 2 ER or fewer in every start since the beginning of June holding a 5-1 record with a 1.34 ERA (7 ER/47 IP) in his last 7 starts. He’s walked 13 and struck out 43 over that span. And if you take out the 1st inning (where he’s allowed 11 ER in 16 innings), Lopez has a total ERA of just 1.81. Impressive stuff!

RHP Cy Sneed, 3rd round in 2014, was promoted to High-A Brevard County in early July, and after giving up 4 ER in his debut, chucked 7 innings of one-run ball in his 2nd start. Sneed has racked up 73 K’s over 88.1 innings combined and his 2.85 ERA is good for 6th in the system.

RHP Cody Ponce: Drafted in the 2nd round this past June, Ponce’s learning curve has been shallow. The big (6’6″) righty has already moved from Helena to Wisconsin and hasn’t skipped a beat. Ponce hasn’t allowed a run in the Midwest League (2 games, 1 start, 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and even picked up his first career save July 10th. In his four overall appearances, Ponce has allowed just 2 ER in 12 innings on 7 hits with 10 k’s. The sky is the limit for this youngster out of Upland, California.

1B David Denson: After struggling in an early season look with Class A Wisconsin, David Denson was demoted back to Rookie-level Helena, where he’s been a world beater through his first 15 games. The 20-year-old is batting .327 with four homers and a 1.051 OPS so far, including a breakout last week that featured three of his four home runs in the Pioneer League. The 2013 15th-rounder also sprinkled in a pair of three-hit games and collected 10 total bases while homering twice on Sunday. He was named the Pioneer League Hitter of the Week last week.

OF Monte Harrison: A move to Helena was just what Harrison, 2nd round in 2014, needed to get himself going at the plate. After battling in the Midwest League (.148, 77 k’s in 162 AB), the Pioneer League has much more kind to the 19-year-old. Through 19 games, Harrison is hitting .274 with 3 HR, 13 RBI and 8 steals.

He’s not only hitting fastballs…

But breaking pitches have become less trouble for him too…

A little confidence goes a long way in this game, just ask Clint Coulter or Chris McFarland who followed a similar path as Harrison.

These are just a few of the many players that have had stood out thus far, but the Brewers system features more talent than the ‘baseball pundits’ given them credit for. Fans may see a number of these quality players in Milwaukee in the very near future.

Enjoy the All-Star break!

Thanks for reading.

Jeff
@jlevering4

Impressive Play from the Weekend

To begin, can the Brewers system play a nine inning game?!

In Sunday’s action, of the five teams that had games, THREE went 11 innings. Colorado Springs fell to Memphis 4-3, Brevard Country dropped a decision to Bradenton 4-3 and Wisconsin lost to Clinton 6-5…all in 11 innings.

For the T-Rats, RHP Cy Sneed made his first start since being the team’s lone representative in the Midwest League All-Star Game and he didn’t disappoint, per usual. The former 3rd round pick out of Dallas Baptist in 2014 tossed six innings of one run ball allowing just a walk with six punchouts. After the game, Sneed was promoted to High Class-A Brevard County. Very well deserved after he posted a 2.68 ERA in 15 games/13 starts with 67 strikeouts in 77 innings. Opposing batters hit just .239 against Sneed and he allowed no more than four earned runs in any start, something that occurred just twice.

Sneed’s former teammate OF Brandon Diaz has been raking at the plate lately. The 19-year-old (8th round pick in 2013) has had back to back three hit games (6-for-8) with a homer, three RBI and four runs scored. Since the 19th of June when Wisconsin played at Miller Park (Diaz homered there too), Diaz has gone 11-for-22 with two homers, six RBI and eight runs scored. He’s also provided fine defense all season.

Florida State League All-Star 2B Chris McFarland continued his solid season at the plate. The 22-year-old collected his second straight 3-hit performance Sunday finishing 3-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base (15 on the year) for the Manatees. He raised his average to .289 (86-298) on the season with 13 doubles and 29 RBI. Over his last four games, McFarland is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with three runs and three RBI.

Last week we chronicled RHP Jorge Ortega’s historic run through the Florida State League. We can add another gem to the mix as the recently turned 22-year-old Venezuelan spun five innings of one-run ball Sunday. He did, however, snap his streak of not issuing a walk at five starts. Ortega walked just one batter Sunday; the first time he’d done that since May 12th, and the SIXTH walk allowed all year. Maybe we should cut the kid some slack though…it was his first start in 13 days because of the All-Star Break.

The Biloxi Shuckers are the top team in the Brewers system (record wise at 46-26 and 1st half champions) and they are getting contributions from, literally, EVERYONE.

INF Nathan Orf finished 2-for-3 with 2 runs, a double, a home run, a walk, a stolen base, was hit by a pitch and collected 4 RBI for the Shuckers in Sunday’s win in Jacksonville. He’s safely hit in 6 of his last 7 games and 10 of his last 12. He is batting .310 (26-for-84; 18 runs, 4 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 9 BB) with a .410 OBP in 22 games in June.

And don’t forget, Orf has some serious position versatility.

RHP Jorge Lopez dominated on Saturday night as he picked up his 3rd win in as many starts. He tossed 8 innings and allowed a run on 3 hits with 4 walks and 8 strikeouts. After losing each of his first two starts, Lopez is 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA (63.2 IP/15 ER) with 22 walks and 61 strikeouts. Lopez has made four starts in June and is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA (27 IP/3 ER) with 8 walks and 23 strikeouts.

Shuckers 1B Nick Ramirez had an at-bat that he’ll never forget as he launched a two-run homer off of Marlins rehabbing ace Jose Fernandez on Saturday afternoon.

Ramirez is having a breakout season in Double-A. He’s hitting .287 with a team leading 10 HR and 48 RBI (3rd most in the Southern League too). In his first three full seasons in the minor leagues, Ramirez never hit higher than .258 (2013 with Brevard County). The power and run production has always been there, 19 HR’s each of the last two seasons and 81 and 82 RBI, respectively. And he’s even cut down on his strikeouts, only 59 in 247 at-bats this year compared to 152 in 490 last season.

And SS Orlando Arcia is on a 7-game hitting streak, batting .324 (11-for-34; 7 runs, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 SB, 6 RBI) in that span. He leads the Shuckers with a .313 average, ranking 7th in the Southern League and is 3rd in the league in runs scored with 46.

RHP Cody Ponce, a 2nd round pick just a couple weeks ago, made his professional debut on Friday for Helena. It could not have gone better for the 6’6″ right out of Cal Poly Pomona: two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts.

2B Blake Allemand has played in 10 professional games in his career and he has a hit in all of them. The former Aggie from Texas A&M is hitting .348 (16-for-46) with a pair of doubles, 5 RBI and 3 steals.

And, finally, 1B Steven Karkenny has made a name for himself early on with Helena. The 19th round pick earlier this month is hitting .283 (13-for-46) with two homers and a team leading nine RBI so far. He’s picked up hits in six of his 11 games and five of those efforts have been multi-hit games.

Karkenny went to The Master’s College located in Santa Clarita, California (about four miles from Six Flags Magic Mountain) with an enrollment of just over 1,000. Karkenny excelled athletically and academically during his collegiate career, becoming the program’s all-time leader in hits (255), total bases (430), RBI (187), doubles (64), hit by pitches (54) and at-bats (751). His 33 home runs landed him the No. 2 spot on The Master’s career home run list. Karkenny also earned GSAC & NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors for the last two years, was named to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-America College Division Baseball Team and was a two-time recipient of the Capital One Academic All-District Baseball team award.

In 2015, he paced the club in six offensive categories: runs (57), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.669), on-base percentage (.488), OPS (1.157) and stolen bases (30) while hitting .350.

Footnote: I played against The Master’s once in college…went 0-for-2 with a walk against back on May 1, 2002. My teammate took a no-hitter through 8.1 innings though. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.
1366

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@JLevering4

Brewers Prospects Standing Out

When you look at the Brewers “Top Prospect” lists, a few names stick out. The likes of SS Orlando Arcia, OF Clint Coulter, LHP Kodi Medeiros and SS Jake Gatewood. All are young and supremely talented. Arcia and Coulter were all-star starters in the Southern League and Florida State League, respectively. And Mederios threw a no-hitter through 5.2 innings at Miller Park last week.

Arcia will be headed to Cincinnati to represent the Brewers in the Future’s Game this year, the only participant from the Milwaukee system.

For full rosters of both the US and the World Future’s Game click link below:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2015-futures-game-world-capsules/
http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2015-futures-game-u-s-capsules/

The Biloxi Shuckers have been the best team in the Southern League through the first half and were well represented at the All-Star Game in Montgomery.

They could have had 12 players in the All-Star game, but promotions to Triple-A prevented more participation.

Jake Gatewood started out the season in the Midwest League in Wisconsin and has since been moved to Short Season Helena. The 19-year-old went just 1-for-15 in his first 3 games with the Brewers, but has gone 5-for-12 with 4 doubles, including Wednesday’s 3-for-4, 3 2B, 3 Run, 3 RBI and stolen base effort.

Also in Helena, RHP Marcos Diplan (acquired in the Gallardo trade) shoved again. This time he tossed 7 innings allowing just 2 ER on 6 hits while walking just 1 and striking out 7. In two starts, Diplan has allowed just 3 ER in 12 innings with 15 k’s.

The Sky Sox are on the road in Oklahoma City at the moment, but the lower elevation has not hurt their offensive attack. 40-man roster member and prospect INF Yadiel Rivera dealt the decisive blow to the Dodgers Wednesday.

The three-run, go ahead shot was Rivera’s 1st in Triple-A. In the 34 games since his promotion from Biloxi, Rivera boasts a .287 average with 16 RBI and three stolen bases. Overall, he’s hitting .303 in 66 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Fans remember SS Gilbert Lara right? How about the start to his young career in the Arizona League, 7-for-17 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI in 4 games. Wednesday he went 4-for-5 with a triple, 2 runs and all four RBI. He’s ranked as the #5 prospect in the system according to Baseball America.

How about LHP Wei-Chung Wang? In his first start in 9 days after being designated for assignment, Wang tossed 7.2 shutout innings allowing just four hits with 2 BB and 2 K’s in a no-decision on Wednesday. In June, Wang is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 3 starts (18.2 IP/6 ER).

RHP Devin Williams has gotten on a roll since May 31. Over his last five starts with the Timber Rattlers, the 20-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA (6 ER/26.2 IP) and has not allowed anymore than 2 ER in any of those starts while allowing just 17 hits with 24 k’s. Williams ranks #7 on mlb.com’s prospect list.

Fans looking to the future of the Brewers, here are a few promising stars to get you excited!

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@JLevering4

Minor League Updates; Injury Scare in AZL

Coors Field from the Rooftop Deck

Coors Field from the Rooftop Deck

A week has passed since our last post, but trips to Kansas City and Colorado provided some nice visuals to share. I hope everyone enjoyed their Father’s Day Weekend too.

Kaufmann Stadium at Sunset

Kaufmann Stadium at Sunset

Literally, a mile high.

Literally, a mile high.

Not too far from where the Brewers were in Denver over the weekend, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox have been on a roll lately thanks to recent waiver claim, 3B Matt Dominguez. The lefty swinging Dominguez was a 1st round draft pick back in 2007 by the Marlins out of high school (Chatsworth HS, and teammates with Kansas City 3B Mike Moustakas) and traded to Houston for former Brewer, Carlos Lee in 2012. Dominguez slugged 37 HR and drove in 134 runs over the last two seasons with the Astros before losing his starting job to Luis Valbuena in spring training.

In the three games since joining the Sky Sox, Dominguez is 4-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI, including the go ahead two-run two bagger on Saturday against New Orleans.

In other Sky Sox news, the Pacific Coast League announced that Colorado Springs pitching coach Fred Dabney has been selected as the league’s pitching coach for this year’s 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The game will take place on Wednesday, July 15 starting at 7:05 PM CST and will be broadcast live on MLB Network.

Dabney, 47, is in his first season as pitching coach for the Sky Sox and his 12th overall season with the Brewers. He joined the organization as pitching coach at Class-A Huntsville in 2004, spent seven seasons in the same capacity at Brevard County from 2005-11 and spent the last three seasons with Triple-A Nashville as their pitching coach. During the 2010 season, Dabney served as interim bullpen coach for the Brewers from April 23 to May 23. He took the place of Stan Kyles, who underwent surgery in April.

During his three plus seasons as a pitching coach in the Pacific Coast League, Dabney has twice coached the PCL’s Pitcher of the Year (Jimmy Nelson -2014, Johnny Hellweg – 2013) and helped lead Triple-A Nashville to the league’s lowest ERA in 2014.

In Biloxi, the Shuckers won back to back games with walk-off victories. First by Taylor Green on Friday night, then the newest Shucker, Victor Roache on Saturday night in the 15th inning.


For Roache (1st round, 2012 from Georgia Southern), he’s been in Biloxi for all of four games since his promotion from Brevard County and is 4-for-14 with a pair of extra base hits. Between his two stops, he’s hitting .261 with 11 HR and 37 RBI in 66 games. He would have been a Florida State League All-Star, but he was promoted prior to the the game this past weekend.

And while RHP Brent Suter might not have “prospect status”, the former 31st round pick out of Harvard in 2012 has put together the finest season of his short career. He ranks second in the league with a 1.73 ERA over 12 games/8 starts allowing opposing hitters to hit just .231 against him with only ONE home run. He could probably finish a crossword puzzle in about 7 minutes too.

The Shuckers continue to be the class of the Southern League matching Chattanooga for the best record in the circuit at 43-25. The lead the league in team batting at .269 and are 2nd in team ERA (3.20) with the 2nd most strikeouts (531) and 2nd fewest walks allowed (217).

RHP Jorge Ortega of Brevard County is absolutely dominating the Florida State League, especially since May 12th. On Monday, Ortega shut out the Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami) on 93 pitches, walking none in the process. He is in the midst of a streak in which he has not walked a batter in 39 straight innings dating back to May 12th (5 starts). He has walked jut FIVE batters all season.

The effort was his 4th complete game of the season and his first shutout as a pro. He now has FOUR complete games (one 7 inning CG), but all three of his 9-inning complete games have taken under 100 pitches to finish. Saturday, he was the starting pitcher for the Northern Division in the Florida State League All-Star Game on his 22nd birthday.

He owns a 6-4 record with the 3rd best ERA in the league at 1.78 and has allowed no more than ONE earned run in any of his last 6 starts and opponents are hitting just .202 against him.

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are the youngest team in the Midwest League. But, Brewers’ fans got to see some of the future stars of the system at Miller Park on Friday night. Brandon Diaz, the 8th round pick of Milwaukee in 2013, homered in the third inning of the game to give the Timber Rattlers a 1-0 lead over the Beloit Snappers and would eventually go onto win 5-1.

Kodi Medeiros, 1st round 2014 and just 19-years-old, didn’t allow a hit over the first 5.2 innings of the game. The only hit he allowed was an RBI double that allowed an unearned run to score. Medeiros walked three and struck out seven to earn the win. Overall, the lefty is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games/10 starts with 64 strikeouts in 60 innings of work and he has not allowed a homer this season.

Zach Hirsch, 19th round 2014 out of Nebraska, pitched eight innings and allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts at Kane County on June 18 in a no decision. Hirsch is 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA, five walks, and 34 strikeouts over 50 innings this season in 8 starts.

RHP Cy Sneed, 3rd round 2014, will be participating in the 2015 Midwest League All-Star Game in Peoria on Tuesday. C Carlos Leal was selected to play in the All-Star Game, but will not participate due to injury.

The Helena Brewers got their season underway over the weekend. OF Monte Harrison smacked his first homer in Sunday’s game. A 5th round pick just a week ago, 2B Blake Allemand is taking to pro ball nicely going 7-for-18 with 4 RBI over his first four games. Allemand was a sports management major at Texas A&M and aspires to work in the front office of a major league team (once his pro career concludes of course). He also enjoys wake boarding, snowboarding and bird hunting in his spare time.

RHP Marcos Diplan, the 3rd player acquired for Yovani Gallardo this winter with RHP Corey Knebel and INF Luis Sardinas, made a stellar debut Friday night for the H-Brewers. Diplan threw five solid innings in a winning effort against the Missoula Osprey allowing just one run on three hits in his five innings while striking out eight.

In the Arizona League, the AZL Brewers also just began their season on Saturday. Scarily, 1st rounder from the draft two weeks ago, OF Trent Clark, suffered a scary injury in the game Sunday night.

Clark was tracking a deep fly ball, but stumbled as he got to the warning track. That was enough for him to reportedly topple head-first into the wall according to William Boor of MLB.com. Clark was down for 15 minutes and needed a stretcher to be carried off and left the stadium in a fire truck.

The good news is that Clark is coherent and moving. And per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and Brewers Assistant GM Gord Ash, Clark is ok.

Clark had just made his professional debut for Arizona on Saturday, going 1-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

Most important right now is for Clark to hopefully be alright. As more details are available, we’ll post them.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Weekend Wrap Up

Before we dive into the happenings over the weekend, a couple of notable moves took place.

On Friday, both SS Jake Gatewood and OF Monte Harrison were transferred from Low-A Wisconsin to Short Season-A Helena (who begins playing games June 20th). The pair of 19-year-old first year players have been struggling and a move from Wisconsin to Helena is not unprecedented.

Look back two years ago at another former 1st round pick, Clint Coulter. He was hitting .207 in Wisconsin over 116 at bats in 2013. He was sent to Helena before getting hurt. He rehabbed and played in the Arizona League before returning to Helena for the final 11 games of the year.

While it was a trying season for Coulter, the move was beneficial. It allowed the then 19-year-old a chance to move to level that featured players his age, get a better feel for the game and, most importantly, play with confidence. Coulter returned to Wisconsin in 2014 and was the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year hitting .287 with 22 HR and 87 RBI and is an All-Star this season in the Florida State League.

So, for Harrison and Gatewood, who have fallen into a similar situation as Coulter, this is a time for them to get their feet underneath them and have results they are accustomed to.

Harrison was hitting just .148 (24-for-162) over 46 games with 2 HR and 11 RBI while striking out 77 times. Yet though all the struggles, Harrison has remained positive.

Gatewood, on the other hand, tweaked a knee in late April which forced him to miss two weeks. Over the last month, he’s found his stroke and played better defense (3 errors in the last 22 games). At the time of being transferred to Helena, he was riding a 6-game hitting streak where he was 9-for-21.

Some time in Helena to really get in a groove and potential late season returns to Wisconsin could do both Harrison and Gatewood a lot of good for their confidence.

Congrats to the Shuckers

What a way to spend a truly passion testing first half of the season for the Biloxi Shuckers, a trip to the playoffs.

And the celebration was a extra special for All-Star OF Kyle Wren who spent half of 2014 as a member of the Mississippi Braves, the team and ballpark where the Shuckers clinched. Wren is hitting .397 (23-for-58) in the month of June to lead all Brewers’ minor league hitters and boost his personal average to .300 on the season.

Wei-Chung Wang Update

Brewers’ fans that were curious on how 2013 Rule-5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang is doing, here is your answer.

The 23-year-old is 4-2 with a 5.93 ERA in 12 starts in Brevard County and his ERA has dropped in each successive month.

And staying in Florida, RHP Johnny Hellweg (acquired with Jean Segura and Ariel Pena for Zack Greinke) is rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery. He made his 2nd start of the season Sunday for the Manatees tossing 3 innings of one-run ball while striking out 3. Overall, he’s allowed just one earned run in 5 innings with 4 strikeouts.

Scooter’s Return

We mentioned in our last post that Scooter Gennett was back in Milwaukee and he’s been nothing short of terrific at the plate since his return. A game winner on Thursday night. A pair of hits including a double on Friday. And a pair of doubles on Saturday with this rocket to right center.

He’s hitting with renewed confidence since the recall from Triple-A. And, as Craig Counsell says almost daily in his media session, playing with confidence is the key to this game.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

Welcome Back Scooter; More All-Stars

It was announced after the Brewers game Wednesday night in Pittsburgh that 2B Scooter Gennett would be on his way back to Milwaukee.

He hit .307 (23-for-75, 12 runs, 7 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB) and reached base in 14 of his 17 games with the Sky Sox. To make room for Gennett on the active roster, the Brewers optioned RHP David Goforth to Colorado Springs.

Scooter will look to improve upon what was a poor beginning to the 2015 season with the Brewers. He was hitting just .154 (10-for-65) over his 21 games at 2nd base and, after a stint on the disabled list with a cut on his left hand, he returned to go just 4-for-36 before being sent to the minor leagues May 18th.

With LHP Will Smith being reinstated from his 6-game suspension for Thursday’s series opener against Washington, Milwaukee’s bullpen was back to full strength making Goforth the odd man out. Goforth pitched in four games and did not allow a run over 2.1 innings. He hadn’t pitched since May 31st (the 17 inning game) against Arizona.

It’s a couple of days old now, but how impressive was Taylor Jungmann in his major league debut on Tuesday in Pittsburgh?! VERY!

Jungmann became the third pitcher in franchise history to throw at least 7 innings, allow 3 hits or fewer and earn the win in his Major League debut, joining Rickey Keeton (5/27/80 vs. Seattle; 7ip, 3h, 1er, 4bb) and Steve Woodard (7/28/97 vs. Toronto; 8ip, 1h, 0r, 1bb, 12k).

AND he became just the 4th Brewers’ pitcher to ever win his major league debut on the road; the first since Nick Neugebauer back on August 19th, 2001 against in Cincinnati.

Needless to say, Jungmann felt pretty good after his debut.

MORE ALL-STARS

Wednesday, the Southern League announced that 8 Biloxi Shuckers have been selected to represent the South Division in the 2015 Southern League All-Star Game. 1B Nick Ramirez (T-5th in league in RBI), SS Orlando Arcia (Leads league in hits, 4th in TB, and 5th in AVG), OF Michael Reed (6th in SL in AVG, 4th in SLG %, 5th in OBP), OF Kyle Wren (T-3rd in SL in stolen bases), LHP Hobbs Johnson, RHP Jaye Chapman (promoted to Colorado Springs June 3rd), RHP Damien Magnifico (5th in SL AVG Against, .196, 4th Fewest base runners/9IP and 5th lowest BB/9IP and RHP Tyler Wagner (3rd in SL in ERA, T-5th in wins) will represent Biloxi June 23rd at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, AL, home of the Montgomery Biscuits.

Now, a total of 14 players have been named to their league’s All-Star Games in the Brewers’ system.

While OF Tyrone Taylor was not named a Southern League All-Star, he’s been playing like one of late. The 21-year-old and former 2nd rounder in 2012 has launched his first two homers of the year in back to back games at MGM Park against Mobile. Over his last two games, he’s 4-for-7 with 2 doubles and 2 homers while driving in and scoring 4. Overall, he’s hitting .264 (52-for-197) with 15 extra base hits and 4 steals in 5 tries. Most impressive though, he’s struck out just 25 times in his first look at Double-A pitching.

In Wisconsin, Timber Rattlers starter RHP Devin Williams has put together back to back strong outings. Over his last two, he’s 1-0 allowing just 2 runs in 10.2 IP with 10 strikeouts. The 20-year-old former 2nd round pick in 2013 (9th best prospect in the Brewers’ system according to Baseball America) starts tonight in Dayton against the Dragons.

And since the draft has is concluded you can see a full recap of all the Brewers’ picks here.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

All-Star Honors and More

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

View from the radio booth at PNC Park in Pittsburgh

View from the radio booth at PNC Park in Pittsburgh


More photos from the road trip to follow when the Brewers come home Thursday.

Four Brevard County Manatees were selected to represent the North Division in the Florida State League All-Star game. OF Clint Coulter is tied for the league lead in home runs (9), leads the FSL with 22 extra-base hits and is fourth in slugging percentage (.455). OF Victor Roache is tied with Coulter for the league lead with 9 homers, is tied for third with 33 RBI and is tied for first in slugging pct. (.462). 2B Chris McFarland leads the Manatees with a .282 average. He had an 11-game hitting streak earlier this season, batting .489 (22-35) in the stretch. RHP Jorge Ortega is the final Manatees’ representative. Ortega ranks second in the system with a 2.03 ERA (62ip, 14er) and has struck out 35, while walking 5. He was the Brewers’ Pitcher of the Month for May.

The 54th Florida State League All-Star Game will be held on June 20th at 7:00 p.m. in St. Lucie, FL.

In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will have a pair of representatives, RHP Cy Sneed and C Carlos Leal. Sneed is just 2-7, but sports the 7th best ERA in the league (2.41) with 51 strikeouts in 59.2 IP. For Leal, a converted pitcher, leads the T-Rats in average (.304) with a homer and 11 RBI.

The 51st Midwest League All-Star Classic will be held on June 23rd at Dozer Park in Peoria, IL.

The Biloxi Shuckers opened up their brand new ballpark, MGM Park, in dramatic fashion on Saturday night bringing an end to the epic road trip.

And the MGM Park opener featured one of the coolest Go-Pro moments I’ve ever seen.

Colorado Springs starter Tyler Cravy, whom we talked about in the last blog after he made his big league debut against the Cardinals on Tuesday, tossed six more scoreless innings for the Sky Sox Sunday night in Omaha. He allowed 6 hits with 3 strikeouts. Cravy has won each of his last 4 starts with the Sky Sox, going 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA (25ip, 4er) in that span. He leads the organization in wins with 6 and is 7th in ERA (3.60).

Another Brewers Debut Coming

The Brewers will see yet another big league debut on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh as Taylor Jungmann will take his turn in the Wily Peralta spot of the Milwaukee rotation. He joins Tyler Wagner and Tyler Cravy making their major league debuts within the last 10 days.

Thanks for reading!

Jeff
@jlevering4

The “Cravy Train”; Player of the Month Awards

What an impressive major league debut by RHP Tyler Cravy Tuesday night.

Yes, he took the loss, but only because the Brewers couldn’t get their offense going against Lance Lynn.

His final line was strong: 7 innings, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts and 3 double plays behind him. He threw just 87 pitches/56 strikes. There was just ONE fly ball out against him, everything else either came by strikeout or ground out.

But what struck me as the best part of Cravy’s debut: 23 batters faced…19 1st pitch strikes. The two Cardinals that came to the plate in the 1st inning saw ball one first, then Cravy didn’t miss the strike zone to 18 straight hitters.

Lesson to all the young kids that read this blog or to parents with young kids learning how to pitch: THROW FIRST PITCH STRIKES. If you get ahead in the count as a pitcher, you dictate the at-bat. Cravy did that and he threw a heck of a ball game against the Cardinals. Get ahead, stay ahead!

Unfortunately, with Ryan Braun doing some maintenance on his right thumb with another dose of cryotherapy, Cravy was optioned back to Colorado Springs after his start. Shane Peterson was brought up to provide outfield depth with only two other true outfielders available for yesterday’s game in St. Louis (Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra).

Cravy must stay in the minor leagues for at least 10 days before being recalled (with the exception of if they need to return due to an injury). This is to prevent teams from bouncing one or two players up and down depending on the day of the week. With that said, it is unclear who will take that spot in the rotation when it is up again when the Brewers head to Pittsburgh.

Notable Minor League Performances

Biloxi RHP Jorge Lopez, native of Cayey, Puerto Rico (home of the Telemundo WKAQ TV Tower, the second tallest man-made structure on the island, thanks PR-Wiz Zach Weber) tossed 7 shutout innings Tuesday, allowing only 3 hits with 8 strikeouts. It was the third time this season he has struck out eight batters. Overall this season, Lopez has struck out 51, while walking 22. He ranks fourth in the organization in punch-outs.

OF Michael Reed continues to stay hot in his break-out 2015 season. Reed launched his 5th homer of the season yesterday in Birmingham and has taken over the Shuckers team lead in batting with a .331 mark (2nd in the Southern League). When Biloxi needs a big RBI, Reed is the guy as he’s hitting .421 (16-for-48) with runners in scoring position. And, he ranks 3rd in the league in both slugging (.530) and on base percentage (.414). Reed was the Brewers Minor League Hitter of the Month for May after hitting .380 with 3 HR with 17 RBI, 7 2B, 3 3B and 15 runs scored over 23 games.

RHP Jorge Ortega with Brevard County was named the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. He went 2-3 with a 1.54 ERA (7 ER/41 IP) with 22 strikeouts, only 3 walks allowed and THREE complete games. Overall, Ortega is 4-4 with a 2.03 ERA (14 ER/62 IP) with 35 strikeouts and only 5 walks. Opposing batters are hitting just .203 against him and he’s allowed 4 ER in a start once.

RHP Tyler Thornburg spun a gem in Colorado Springs Wednesday. Over his six innings, he allowed just a run on six hits while striking out seven against one of the top offenses in the Pacific Coast League, the Fresno Grizzlies (Houston Astros). Thornburg threw 101 pitches on the night.

RHP Mark Williams owns a 1.04 ERA (8.2ip, 1er) in four appearances since his promotion to the Manatees. He struck out a season-high six Tuesday, tossing 3.2 scoreless frames in relief allowing only one hit. Overall, the D-III standout from Marietta College, is 0-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 8 games (4 with Brevard County and 4 with Wisconsin) with 13 strikeouts in 13.1 IP. Back in 2012, he was part of a combo no-hitter with the Timber Rattlers.

1B Garrett Cooper is on a 12-game hitting streak with the Brevard County Manatees. He is batting .381 (16-for-42) during that stretch with 6 runs, 5 2B, 7 RBI and 4 BB. Cooper has safely hit in 18 of his last 19 games and is batting .285 (51-for-179) on the year with one HR and 25 RBI.

Little known LHP Clint Terry of the Manatees might be in the lime light before too long. Especially after his performance Wednesday against Daytona. The former 18th rounder out of Lee University (Cleveland, TN) tossed a career high seven innings allowing a run on just three hits while striking out a career best 10 Tortugas in a spot start. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 11 games, 3 starts with 32 strikeouts and just 5 walks in 34.2 innings of work.

And in Appleton, LHP Kodi Medeiros and RHP David Burkhalter combined to shut down Lake County Wednesday. Medeiros allowed two runs over five innings with four strikeouts and Burkhalter picked up his first professional win throwing four scoreless frames out of the bullpen with a career high seven punch outs.

Thanks for reading!

Go Brewers

Jeff
@jlevering4

Got Moves?

The 17 inning, five hour 49 minute (longest in Miller Park History), 7-6 win over Arizona was felt by EVERYONE in the system today.

Tonight’s scheduled starter, Matt Garza, chucked five scoreless innings of relief. So, he’s not available. Mike Fiers , instead starts a day ahead of schedule but on normal four days rest (he got pushed up to start Wednesday against the Giants in the place of Wily Peralta).

Tuesday will now feature RHP Tyler Cravy, up from Colorado Springs, more than likely to start against the Cardinals in HIS big league debut. That would be three major league debuts in the last week with David Goforth and Tyler Wagner pitching for the Brewers.

22 of the 25 men on the roster were used yesterday. Only Fiers, Jimmy Nelson (who started on Friday) and Michael Blazek (who pitched 2.2 innings on Saturday, and is a guest on Brewers On Tap Wednesday) did not appear in the game. Kyle Lohse was even used as a pinch hitter in the 12th.

Not only was the pitching decimated, but another move was announced earlier today. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has been activated from the disabled list (fractured big toe on his left foot). He was 4-for-16 with an RBI, 2 walks and 3 runs scored with Brevard County in 3 games. As for the corresponding moves throughout the system (the trickle down effect):

Today’s Roster Moves (6/1)
C Juan Centeno has been optioned to Colorado Springs.

Yesterday’s Roster Moves (5/31)
RHP Tyler Wagner was optioned to Biloxi.
RHP Tyler Cravy was selected from Colorado Springs and will join the Brewers today at St. Louis (7:15pm CT).
RHP Wirfin Obispo was transferred from Biloxi to Colorado Springs.
RHP Manny Barreda was transferred from Brevard County to Biloxi.
RHP Kaleb Earls was reinstated from the Brevard County DL.

As for some standout performances:

The Southern League announced that Biloxi SS Orlando Arcia has been named the Hitter of the Week for May 25-31. In 5 games last week, Arcia hit .471 (10-for-22) with 5 2B, HR, 6 R, and 5 RBI. Arcia turned in two three-hit performances in wins against Birmingham on the 25th and Chattanooga on the 30th. Arcia leads the league in batting at .341 and ranks amongst the league leaders in several offensive categories including 2B (1st, 17), hits (2nd, 62), extra-base hits (4th, 21), runs (2nd, 33) and total bases (4th, 90). He also has the lowest PA/SO ratio in the league at 12.63 plate appearances for every strikeout. Arcia becomes the first Shucker to ever to earn hitter of the week honors.

OF Clint Coulter went 3-for-5 with 2 runs and a double. It was his 13th multi-hit game of the season and his fourth three-hit game.

RHP Devin Williams, a former 2nd round pick in 2013 (1st pick by the Brewers), tossed five scoreless one-hit innings, allowing two walks and striking out seven yesterday for the Timber Rattlers (Low-A). The 21 year old has made just four starts this season after battling an injury in the spring.

Biloxi OF Michael Reed led the organization in hitting in May with a .380 avg (30-for-79) with 3 HR and 17 RBI. He ranked seventh in the month in AVG in Minor League Baseball. Reed is on an 8 game hitting streak (.467; 14-for-30, 5 runs, 4 2b, 2 3b, HR, 9 RBI, 3 walks).

Everyone was excited for Tyler Wagner’s debut yesterday in Milwaukee…Even his old buddy Victor Roache in Brevard Country and Damien Magnifico in Biloxi, who made good use of the rain delay in Chattanooga.

And RHP Tim Dillard is up to his old tricks.

Thanks for reading!

Go Brewers

Jeff
@jlevering4

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