Legends of the Field Giveaway

 

So there’s this one former Brewer who is coming to town this weekend with the team he manages. Ring any bells? His number is retired by the team and adorns the Miller Park roof track façade. He’s a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Need another hint? Okay, how about a visual instead.

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Look familiar? How about a personally signed photo of in-game action that looks sneakingly similar to that which they must have based the Brewers based the upcoming Molitor bobblehead?

Molitor’s hustle is well-documented and now you have a chance to own this autographed photo, signed in person by Paul Molitor himself during his public appearance at Legends of the Field’s store in Delafield back in January of this year.

In order to qualify to win it, make sure you go RT this tweet…

…You also must be following @BrewerNation and the supplier of this excellent giveaway item, Legends of the Field (@lotfautographs) on Twitter in order to qualify.

Brewers Officially Announce Three Draft Pick Signings

(The text between the —‘s and the photo of Trent Clark signing are from the Brewers official press release.)

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the signings of three selections from the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. The signings include 15th pick outfielder Trent Clark, right-handed pitcher Cody Ponce (second round, 55th pick) and right-handed pitcher Nash Walters (third round, 90th pick). The announcements were made by Vice President of Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager Ray Montgomery.

Trent Clark (Photo credit: Scott Paulus)

Trent Clark (Photo credit: Scott Paulus)

Clark, 18, batted .552 with 3 HR, 24 RBI and 11 stolen bases during his senior season at Richland (TX) High School.  He bats left-handed and plays center field.  Clark was ranked as the number 10 prospect entering the draft according to Baseball America. He was scouted by area scout KJ Hendricks and national crosschecker Steve Riha.

Cody Ponce (Photo credit: Dave Coggin)

Cody Ponce (Photo credit: Dave Coggin)

Ponce, 21, recently completed his junior year at Cal Poly Pomona, going 5-3 with a 1.44 ERA in 13 starts.  The 6’6 right-handed pitcher struck out 67 and walked 14 on the season. Ponce entered the draft as the number 36 prospect according to Baseball America. He was scouted by area scout Josh Belovsky.

Walters, 18, attended Lindale High School in Texas. The third-round draft pick was a 2015 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-America and a member of the Texas-All Region First Team.  He was scouted by KJ Hendricks.

Here’s the audio from their introductory press conference, recorded earlier tonight at Miller Park.

2015 Helena Brewers Preliminary Roster

While this is subject to some possible additions/changes if and when more 2015 draft picks sign, here is the preliminary roster for the short-season Rookie level affiliate Helena Brewers.

Pitchers (12)

  • Bubba Blau
  • David Carver
  • Marcos Diplan
  • Milton Gomez
  • Nate Griep
  • Donnie Hissa
  • Brock Hudgens
  • J.B. Kole
  • Cody Ponce (UPDATED: Ray Montgomery said Ponce will join Helena right away.)
  • Chad Reeves
  • Junior Rincon
  • Jordan Yamamoto

Catchers (2)

  • Kevin Martinez
  • Milan Post

Infielders (6)

  • Blake Allemand
  • Luis Aviles
  • Jose Cuas
  • Steven Karkenny
  • Jake Gatewood
  • Edwin Maysonet*

Outfielders (4)

  • Carlos Belonis
  • Omar Cotto
  • Monte Harrison
  • Troy Stokes

* – Player/Coach

2015 BrewerNation Post Draft Recap Extravaganza Podcast

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Here it is!

We talk all things 2015 Brewers Draft including a pair of draft pick interviews as well as touching base with the first Brewers draftee interview I ever did for the podcast. I also sit down with Nick Faleris of PerfectGame.com and BaseballProspectus.com for his tuned in take on the Brewers draft.

The Day 1 audio I recorded at Miller Park is included as well so you’ll hear from the general manager Doug Melvin, and the director of amateur scouting Ray Montomgery and his staff on the first three picks.

Enjoy!

Official Release: Brewers Make First Selection in 2015 Draft

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MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Brewers selected outfielder Trent Clark out of Richland (TX) High School with their first pick (15th overall) of the First-Year Player Draft. Vice President of Amateur Scouting/Special Assistant to the General Manager Ray Montgomery made the announcement.

“We are excited to have Trent in the organization,” said Montgomery. “He has proven to be a team leader and is one of the better bats in the draft. He is a potential five-tool player and we are excited to get that type of player with the 15th selection”

Clark, 18, batted .552 with 3 HR, 24 RBI and 11 stolen bases during his senior season. He bats left-handed and plays center field. He was scouted by national crosschecker Steve Riha.

The Brewers have two more draft picks tonight, coming in Competitive Balance Round A (#40 overall) and in the second round (#55). The Draft will resume tomorrow at 12pm CT with rounds 3-10. Day three of the Draft will begin at 11am CT with rounds 11-40.

TrentClark

Official Release (with quotes) Regarding Tyler Wagner’s Promotion

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TYLER WAGNER PROMOTED TO MILWAUKEE, BECOMES FIRST SHUCKER IN THE MAJORS

Wagner will make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park in Milwaukee

CHATTANOOGA, TN – In concordance with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Biloxi Shuckers are thrilled to announce that starting pitcher Tyler Wagner will be the first Biloxi Shucker to play in the big leagues, when he makes his Major League debut on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT for the Brewers against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park. Wagner will make the start for the “Brew Crew” in game three of the weekend series.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to know how much you have worked to get to this point in your career and everybody that has helped you along the lines, said Wagner after learning that he would be promoted from the Shuckers to Milwaukee. “It’s a surreal feeling right now.”

In nine starts for the Shuckers this season, the 24-year-old was 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA, posting 38 strikeouts and 15 walks in 53.2 innings and a 1.12 WHIP. The Brewers’ fourth round selection in 2012 out of the University of Utah ranked third in the league in ERA and tied for second in wins. He has paced a starting rotation for Biloxi that has gone 18-12 with a 3.37 ERA this season.

Shuckers’ manager Carlos Subero announced the news to the entire clubhouse.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” added Wagner. “I believed I was ready for the moment but you never expect something like that. He built it up quite a bit and my heart was pumping a lot and then he finally broke the news that I was going up.” Everybody was cheering and happy for me and it was great to have the support from the clubhouse.”

The Las Vegas, NV native is rated by Baseball America as the Milwaukee Brewers’ No. 9 rated prospect and was a 2014 mid-season and postseason Florida State League All-Star. On May 14, infielder Yadiel Rivera become the Shuckers’ first position player to be promoted to Triple-A, but Wagner becomes the first to play in the big leagues.

“That’s an awesome honor to have,” Wagner stated on being the first Shucker to play in the Majors. “Hopefully it’s not too soon before someone else gets the call from this team.”

The parent club of the Shuckers are currently 16-32 on the young season. Wagner will be just the sixth Brewer to start a game this season.

“There is a whole bunch of emotions going through my head,” said Wagner. “Just thoughts of what I am going to do and how I am going to act – what I am going to wear – what kind of cleats I will wear. But, it all comes down to controlling what you can control and living in the moment.”

Wagner became the Southern League’s first four game winner after an 8-2 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on April 27, and followed it up with two consecutive seven inning outings that yielded no decisions.

The preceding press release was provided by the Biloxi Shuckers.

Segura Latest to Hit Disabled List for Brewers

In the time leading up to Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers alerted everyone that their posted lineup would be changing. Jean Segura, who had been set to play shortstop and lead off for Craig Counsell, would no longer be participating in that evening’s contest. The given reason was soreness in Segura’s pinky finger on his right hand.

Scorebook pages were swapped out or updated with the new player and the new batting order, but beyond that nobody gave it another thought, really. Well, until this morning anyway.

That’s when a pair of tweets hit the interwebz from the Brewers official account. The first alerted us that Segura’s finger soreness was being understandably caused by a fracture.

The second filled us in on how the Brewers would be managing the roster in light of the news.

While it’s obviously terrible news that “Seggy” will miss time, that he will is an unavoidable certainty. Therefore, let’s not dwell on that part of things. Instead, let’s focus on the latter half of this transaction news.

Luis Sardiñas, who will turn just 22 years old on Saturday, is a switch-hitting infielder who hails from Venezuela. He is the same switch-hitting Venezuelan infielder acquired from the Texas Rangers over the off-season in the Yovani Gallardo trade.

So far this season, Sardiñas has slashed .288/.324/.386 for Triple-A Colorado Springs. That includes seven doubles and three triples but no home runs. He’s struck out just 19 times in 141 plate appearances, but also walked but seven.

Defensively capable at shortstop, third, and second, Sardiñas is a true shortstop first and foremost. That’s been reflected in his defensive log with the Sky Sox inasmuch as he’s played in 31 games at shortstop with just one appearance at the keystone and zero at the hot corner.

Sardiñas made his Major League debut in 2014 for the Rangers, appearing out of necessity after that team suffered an ridiculous amount of injuries at the big league level. That’s how he gets his next opportunity as well, though his time was certainly coming at some point regardless of why.

It wouldn’t shock me if Sardiñas is given the opportunity to start some over the next two weeks. As mentioned, he’s a switch-hitter which gives Craig Counsell another player for whom he needn’t worry about late-game matchups.

All that said, let’s look at one more potentially impacted part of the Brewers organization by way of this promotion. The Sky Sox don’t exactly have another true shortstop on their roster. Donnie Murphy and Pete Orr could fill in (and maybe Chris Nelson too, though I don’t know if he’s played short and I don’t have time to check right now), but this seems like the right time to promote from within.

The Brewers are currently carrying two true shortstops at Double-A Biloxi in the persons of Yadiel Rivera and top prospect Orlando Arcia. They carry surprisingly similar stat lines to this point, for what it’s worth. Also, when a spot opened at Double-A last year, Rivera was promoted first. Granted he’s older (having turned just 23 in his own right on May 2nd) and has been a professional longer (by a year) than Arcia, but that doesn’t always amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme.

Doug Melvin should use this opportunity to see what he’s got in one of these Double-A shortstops. I’d guess they’d opt to move Rivera first.

Either way, there exists a chance to make the most of this unfortunate situation. Sardiñas gets his call back to The Show and someone should, in my humble opinion, be given the chance to ply their trade just one step away from Milwaukee.

Brewers Bullpen Prepares Through Communication

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Monday night I sent out this tweet.

It wasn’t the first time I saw Francisco Rodriguez more or less holding court. The other three high-leverage pitchers were huddled by the veteran closer’s locker (to be fair, the lockers of Will Smith and Jonathan Broxton aren’t exactly far away from that of Rodriguez, and Jeremy Jeffress need only come down a handful himself) and were locked in a pointed discussion. That is to say that this looked to be more than your light-hearted postgame celebratory chat.

Tuesday, I decided to confirm my presumption and get a bit more insight from some of the men involved and find out what kind of leader the bullpen has in K-Rod and what kind of advice can be gleaned from the veterans who have combined to pitch in parts of 26 MLB seasons.

I first asked lefty Will Smith, the possessor of the Slider of Death, why it’s valuable to have those guys around him. For the record, Smith’s locker is between Broxton’s and K-Rod’s.

“In my case, I ask (Rodriguez & Broxton) because obviously they’ve had a lot of success. They know what they’re doing. So, my thought process: Why not use them as a learning tool?”, said Smith. “We’ll sit and we’ll break down ABs and what you threw to (a certain hitter).”

But what about the fact that they’re right-handed and he’s a southpaw? Does that matter in breaking down hitters? Smith offered that it doesn’t.

“Just because these guys are right-handed doesn’t mean anything. They still help out a tremendous amount with me and (Jeffress) the most, for sure.”

For his part, Jeffress echoed much of Smith’s sentiment when I asked him what exactly they talk about in those mini-meetings.

“We just break down each one of our outings. What we can learn from it. What we can do better. Just how we attack each and every hitter each day.”, Jeffress said. “Then it’s all about coming together as one because we’re all in this together. And at the end of the day we gotta go home and face what we’ve just been through.”

Jeffress then went bigger picture on me by saying that, “We (Smith and Jeffress) pick their brains so much because we know that this game doesn’t last forever for everyone. The next guy is right there so we just wanna take what they learned and what they taught us and just put it in play for the next couple years.”

I brought it back with a question about huddling early in a series because while you may not face the same guy you did last night, you might face who your teammate did. Jeffress responded about Broxton as his fellow power righty. “(Broxton) will tell me that ‘I didn’t pitch him this way, (or) the best way to go about him is that way.’ Just execute your pitches.”

Broxton told me that their huddles are a multi-directional conversation. It’s not just Smith and Jeffress asking for advice. “We just like to sit down and talk and try to pick each others brains. I may try to pick Will’s or K-Rod’s, or K-Rod wants to know what was our thought process out there. We just try to go over it,” Broxton said. “You’re out there trying to read batters and swings and trying to see what each other’s doing and their thought process too.”

As for his having a fellow veteran like Rodriguez in the clubhouse to bounce his own questions off of, Broxton said “That’s what makes (K-Rod) so great. You can sit down and talk to him about anything. Basically just asking him what is he seeing and get his thought process and (then) put yours together and you can come up with a game plan.”

Game plans are all well and good, but when it comes down to it, each guy still has to go out there and execute. Jeffress said that the veterans show faith in the less-experienced to perform every time it’s their name that’s called.

“They give me a lot of trust,” said Jeffress. “They give everyone in the bullpen a lot of confidence, a lot of trust to believe in their self to go and do the job.”

Again, this “think tank” approach is not new to a clubhouse featuring Francisco Rodriguez, nor is it closed to just the four men who got together yesterday. I’ve seen him talking to Brandon Kintzler after games last year, in particular there was a game where Kintzler struggled pretty badly and it looked to me as though Rodriguez called him over to discuss the outing. K-Rod was talking to him about pitch execution and how pitching Kintzler’s game to the best of his ability would be good enough to get the job done.

Suffice it to say, it has piqued my curiosity a few times over the past couple of seasons. After a particularly rough outing for Broxton it felt right that he would be leveraging the experience of Rodriguez, if for no other reason that K-Rod had a much smoother outing the same night.

So finally, I went to the man himself to understand where this activity came from. I had more presumptions. K-Rod confirmed them.

“That’s something that I just learned coming up. I got the opportunity to have one of the best in the game teach me (in) Troy Percival,” Rodriguez said about his mentor with the Angels. “He told me when I was coming up, when he was teaching me everything, to make sure when I get to this stage and I’m a vet to make sure to teach the young guys how to prepare themselves and how to attack and how to compete out there every night. That’s something I do every single day with the young guys. It’s something I like.”

Rodriguez went on to say that he makes sure he talks to anyone in the bullpen after a game in which they pitched. If it’s a good outing, they talk about it. And if it’s a not so good outing? That’s right — they talk about those too.

Pitchers succeed in baseball more often than they fail. After all, even the best hitters are put out more than 65% of the time. But this approach that I suspect happens in far more places than Milwaukee is no doubt a key to those successes and to overcoming any failures.

Preparedness is half the battle in baseball. For a clubhouse with Francisco Rodriguez in it, that preparation is an ongoing, recurring, everyday thing.

(This article originally appeared on Today’s Knuckleball and was republished here with permission.)

BREAKING NEWS: Craig Counsell Named Nineteenth Manager in Brewers History

CounsellManager

After Ron Roenicke was relieved of his managerial duties late Sunday evening by the Milwaukee Brewers — and once the requisite hot takes about whether the firing was the right move died down — chatter sparked up about who would replace the man who has been at the helm of this club since taking over prior to the 2011 season.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to go on record late last night, quoting a source who said that the new manager will be former Brewers player and of late member of Doug Melvin’s front office Craig Counsell. (For what it’s worth, I was able to independently confirm the same earlier Monday morning.)

Rosenthal wasn’t the first person to suggest that Counsell could be the choice. Speculation was running rampant on social media as everyone tried to determine who made the most sense. Names like Ron Gardenhire and even *shudder* Dusty Baker were offered as out-of-work managerial types who weren’t all that busy over the weekend. In the end, Counsell got the nod.

General Manager Doug Melvin told reporters last night that the decision to relieve Roenicke and go in another direction was made following the series loss in Cincinnati during the just completed road trip. It then took a couple of days to ask and subsequently negotiate a deal. Roenicke nor his coaches were informed of the decision until Sunday evening and while the rest of the coaching staff is being retained for the rest of the season (for now anyway), Roenicke’s firing could signal the beginning of much bigger changes on the horizon.

Counsell is another in a recent trend of hirings at the Major League level of former players who lack managerial experience. Mike Matheny has had the most success in St. Louis to this point but Brad Ausmus in Detroit and Robin Ventura with the White Sox, Walt Weiss in Colorado, Matt Williams with Washington. There are only 30 of these jobs, after all.

Counsell has signed a three-year contract to manager the Brewers.

Following is the official press release:

The Milwaukee Brewers have named Craig Counsell the 19th manager in franchise history, signing him to a three-year contract through the 2017 season. Counsell replaces Ron Roenicke, who was relieved of his duties last night. The announcement was made by President – Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“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.”

Counsell, 44, joined the front office on January 17, 2012 as special assistant to the general manager. The former infielder 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.

“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,” said Counsell. “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.”

Counsell, a 1988 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School and 1992 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, resides in Whitefish Bay with his wife, Michelle, their sons, Brady and Jack, and daughters, Finley and Rowan. His father, John, worked in the Brewers front office as director of the speakers bureau (1979-85) and director of community relations (1986-87).

BREAKING NEWS: Roenicke Relieved of Duties

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that Ron Roenicke has been relieved of his duties as manager. The announcement was made by Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.

“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.”

The Brewers will announce Roenicke’s replacement at a press conference tomorrow at 10:30 am.

In four-plus seasons under Roenicke, the Brewers finished with a 342-331 regular season mark, including 7-
18 this year.

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