Results tagged ‘ Timber Rattlers ’

2016 Organizational Opening Day Rosters

What follows are the announced rosters for the parent club Milwaukee Brewers as well as each of the full-season minor-league affiliates of the same, broken down by position group.

Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Parent Club (Twitter: @Brewers)

Manager: Craig Counsell

25 Total Players (excluding disabled list)

Pitchers (12)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

Disabled List (5)

SkySoxPrimary

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @skysox)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

BiloxiShuckersOnWhite

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @BiloxiShuckers)

Manager: Mike Guerrero

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (4)

Infielders (7)

Outfielders (4)

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

28 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (5)

Brewers Announce 2016 Affiliate Coaching Staffs

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced their Minor League coaching staffs for the 2016 season. In addition, the team announced several changes to the team’s Player Development department.

Eduardo Brizuela has been promoted to assistant farm director after spending the previous three years as director of Latin America scouting and operations. In his new role, Brizuela will be based out of the Brewers Maryvale, Arizona complex year-round.

In addition to his duties as Assistant to Director, Player Development, Tony Diggs will add the title of roving outfield coordinator. Diggs will continue his role as manager as well, but will move from Rookie Helena to Rookie Arizona. This marks his return to the team that he managed from 2008-12, which included an Arizona League championship in 2010.

The entire coaching staff at Triple-A Colorado Springs will return for a second straight season. The team will be managed by Rick Sweet and will be joined by Pitching Coach Fred Dabney, Coach Bob Skube, Athletic Trainer Aaron Hoback and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Andrew Emmick.

The Double-A Biloxi Shuckers, who advanced to the Southern League Championship Series in their first year of play, will have a new manager. Former Brewers First Base Coach Mike Guerrero will lead the Shuckers in 2016. This marks his return to the Double-A level, where he served as manager of the Huntsville Stars from 2010-11.  Pitching Coach Chris Hook, Coach Sandy Guerrero, Athletic Trainer Steve Patera and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Nate Dinewill all return to the staff.

Joe Ayrault returns for his fifth season as manager of the Class-A Brevard County Manatees. He is joined by Pitching Coach David Chavarria, Coach Ned Yost IV, Athletic Trainer Tommy Craig and Strength and Conditioning SpecialistJonah Mergen, who are all returning. Edwin Maysonet joins the staff as the newest coach. He retired from playing at the end of last season after spending 12 seasons in the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers systems. Maysonet reached the Major Leagues in 2008 and 2009 with the Astros and played 30 games for the Brewers in 2012.

There will be three new members on the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers staff next season. Manager Matt Erickson will return for his sixth season along with Pitching Coach Gary Lucas, Coach Chuckie Caufield and Athletic TrainerJeff Paxson. Coach Al Leboeuf moves from the Rookie Arizona Brewers to take the same position with the Timber Rattlers. Ben Mendelson joins the T-Rats as the strength & conditioning specialist. He previously served in the same role with the Arizona League Brewers last year.

The Helena Brewers will feature an entirely new staff in 2016. The team will be led by Manager Nestor Corredor, who served as the Arizona Brewers Manager last season. He is joined by Pitching Coach Mark Dewey, who also serves as the Brewers assistant pitching coordinator, and Coach Liu Rodriguez, who served as coach for Wisconsin in 2015. Reggie Williams joins the staff as a coach after serving in the same role for Brevard County last year. Jeff Bodenhamerwill become the team’s athletic trainer. This will be his first season with the Brewers after spending the previous 11 seasons in the Texas Rangers organization. Alistair Matthews rounds out the staff as the strength and conditioning specialist. He served in the same role with the DSL Brewers in 2015.

Rolando Valles and Steve Cline will join Tony Diggs’ staff as pitching coaches at Rookie Arizona. Valles joins the Arizona crew in Maryvale as pitching coach after serving in the same position with Helena last season, while Cline will return for his 16th season with the team. The team will feature Coach Hainley Statia, who joins the team after retiring from playing following last season. Statia played 10 seasons professionally with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Brewers. Matt Deal has been named the Arizona Brewers athletic trainer. Deal spent the 2015 season with the DSL Brewers and was an athletic training intern with the Major League club in 2014.

Victor Estevez moves from coach to manager and will lead the DSL Brewers in 2016. He is flanked by Pitching Coach Geraldo Obispo and returning Coaches Luis de los Santos and Joan Abreu. Jose Pena will move from manager to coach. Alex Mena returns as the team’s athletic trainer for the second straight season and will be joined by new Strength and Conditioning Specialist Sam Hoffman.

The complete Minor League coaching staffs are listed below (new staff members/assignments are in bold):

The complete Minor League coaching staffs are listed below (new staff members are in bold):

COLORADO SPRINGS SKY SOX (AAA)

SkySoxPrimaryManager – Rick Sweet

Pitching Coach – Fred Dabney

Coach – Bob Skube

Athletic Trainer – Aaron Hoback

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Andrew Emmick

 

BILOXI SHUCKERS (AA)

Biloxi_Primary_ColorManager – Mike Guerrero

Pitching Coach – Chris Hook

Coach – Sandy Guerrero

Athletic Trainer – Steve Patera

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Nate Dine

 

 

BREVARD COUNTY MANATEES (A)

BC ManateesManager – Joe Ayrault

Pitching Coach – David Chavarria

Coach – Ned Yost IV

Coach – Edwin Maysonet

Athletic Trainer – Tommy Craig

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Jonah Mergen

 

 

WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS (A)

Wisconsin Timber RattlersManager – Matt Erickson

Pitching Coach – Gary Lucas

Coach – Chuckie Caufield

Coach – Al LeBoeuf

Athletic Trainer – Jeff Paxson

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Ben Mendelson

HELENA BREWERS (R)

helena brewers logoManager – Nestor Corredor

Pitching Coach – Mark Dewey

Coach – Liu Rodriguez

Coach – Reggie Williams

Athletic Trainer – Jeff Bodenhamer

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Alistair Matthews

 

ARIZONA BREWERS (R)

Manager – Tony Diggs

Pitching Coach – Steve Cline

Pitching Coach – Rolando Valles

Coach – Hainley Statia

Athletic Trainer – Matt Deal

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BREWERS (R)

Manager – Victor Estevez

Pitching Coach – Geraldo Obispo

Coach – Luis De Los Santos

Coach – Jose Peña

Coach – Joan Abreu

Athletic Trainer – Alex Mena

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Sam Hoffman

Coordinator – Manuel Vargas

2015 Brewers Organizational Opening Rosters

What follows are the announced rosters for the parent club Milwaukee Brewers as well as each of the full-season minor-league affiliates of the same, broken down by position group.

Milwaukee Brewers
MLB Parent Club (Twitter: @Brewers)

Manager: Ron Roenicke

25 Total Players

Pitchers (12)

Catchers (2)

Infielders (6)

  • Scooter Gennett (@Sgennett2)
  • Hector Gomez
  • Luis Jimenez
  • Adam Lind
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Jean Segura

Outfielders (5)

Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @skysox)

Manager: Rick Sweet

28 Total Players

Pitchers (15)

Catchers (3)

  • Nevin Ashley (@nevin_ashley)
  • Juan Centeno
  • Robinzon Diaz

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @BiloxiShuckers)

Manager: Carlos Subero (@csubero)

27 Total Players

Pitchers (14)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

BC Manatees

Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)

Manager: Joe Ayrault

28 Total Players

Pitchers (15)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)

Manager: Matt Erickson

28 Total Players

Pitchers (15)

Catchers (3)

Infielders (6)

Outfielders (4)

Brewers Announce 2015 Affiliate Coaching Staffs

OFFICIAL RELEASE

The Milwaukee Brewers today announced their Minor League coaching staffs for the 2015 season. Each staff of the organization’s top three levels remain the same from last year.

Gary Lucas joins the Brewers organization as pitching coach at Class-A Wisconsin. He spent the past 15 years as a pitching coach in the Twins organization, most recently at Class-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League in 2014. Also joining the Timber Rattlers staff is Liu Rodriguez. The former middle infielder was a coach with the Rookie Arizona Brewers last season. Steve Timmers begins his first season as strength and conditioning specialist at Wisconsin following two seasons in the Minor League system of the Braves.

The coaching staffs at Rookie Helena and Rookie Arizona remain the same from last season with the exception of Rodriguez, who is now at Wisconsin. Jose Ramos joins the Rookie Dominican Summer League Brewers as a pitching coach. He previously worked as a scout with the Brewers in the Dominican Republic. Alex Mena joins the staff as athletic trainer and Alistair Matthews begins his first season as strength and conditioning specialist.

The complete Minor League coaching staffs are listed below (new staff members are in bold):

COLORADO SPRINGS SKY SOX (AAA)

SkySoxPrimaryManager – Rick Sweet

Pitching Coach – Fred Dabney

Coach – Bob Skube

Athletic Trainer – Aaron Hoback

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Andrew Emmick

 

BILOXI SHUCKERS (AA)

Biloxi_Primary_ColorManager – Carlos Subero

Pitching Coach – Chris Hook

Coach – Sandy Guerrero

Athletic Trainer – Steve Patera

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Nate Dine

 

 

 

BREVARD COUNTY MANATEES (A)

BC ManateesManager – Joe Ayrault

Pitching Coach – David Chavarria

Coach – Ned Yost IV

Coach – Reggie Williams

Athletic Trainer – Tommy Craig

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Jonah Mergen

 

 

WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS (A)

Wisconsin Timber RattlersManager – Matt Erickson

Pitching Coach – Gary Lucas

Coach – Chuckie Caufield

Coach – Liu Rodriguez

Athletic Trainer – Jeff Paxson

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Steve Timmers

HELENA BREWERS (R)

helena brewers logoManager – Tony Diggs

Pitching Coach – Rolando Valles

Coach – Jason Dubois

Athletic Trainer – Luke Greene

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Tim Gifford

 

ARIZONA BREWERS (R)

Manager – Nestor Corredor

Pitching Coach – Steve Cline

Coach – Al LeBoeuf

Athletic Trainer – Greg Barajas

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE BREWERS (R)

Manager – Jose Pena

Pitching Coach – Geraldo Obispo

Pitching Coach – Jose Ramos

Coach – Luis De Los Santos

Coach – Victor Estevez

Coach – Joan Abreu

Athletic Trainer – Alex Mena

Strength & Conditioning Specialist – Alistair Matthews

Brewers Extend Class-A Affiliation

image

Official Release:

The Milwaukee Brewers have announced a four-year player development contract extension with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League through the 2020 season. The announcement was made jointly by Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin and Timber Rattlers President Rob Zerjav.

“We thoroughly enjoy the professional working relationship that President Rob Zerjav and the Timber Rattlers provide to the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Melvin. “This long-term relationship continues to show the trust and confidence that we have in working together as we continue to develop future Major League players.”

The 2015 season will mark the seventh season of affiliation between the Brewers and Timber Rattlers. The partnership officially began on October 1, 2008 as part of a four-year agreement. The organizations announced a four-year extension through the 2016 season on June 29, 2011.

This past season, the Timber Rattlers went 72-67 during the regular season and qualified for the postseason after clinching a second-half Wild Card berth in the Midwest League’s Western Division. It marked Wisconsin’s second postseason appearance over the past three seasons (also 2012 when they won the Midwest League championship).

“Our relationship with the entire Brewers organization has been a special one for the Timber Rattlers, for the local business community in the Fox Valley and, most importantly, for our fans,” said Zerjav. “The Brewers provided us the team that brought home the first Midwest League championship in Timber Rattlers history and it has been great to see the success of former Rattlers now making an impact at the big league level in Milwaukee. We look forward to many more years of this great partnership both on and off the field.”

The Timber Rattlers play their home games at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Official Release: Ratterree Awarded Gold Glove

image courtesy TimberRattlers.com

image courtesy TimberRattlers.com

You might remember me mentioning Michael Ratterree as a name to remember following his tremendous first professional season when he won the 2013 Pioneer League Most Valuable Player Award as a member of the rookie-level affiliate Helena Brewers.

Well, Ratterree was at it again in 2014. And by “it” I mean winning a major individual award in recognition of his play on the baseball field. He won the Gold Glove Award, presented by Rawlings.

The Rice University product played the majority of the 2014 season with the Class-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, seeing some time with the Class-AA Huntsville Stars as an injury fill-in. The Timber Rattlers play in the Midwest League’s Western Division whereas the Stars are members of the Southern League’s North Division.

“So where did Ratterree earn his accolade?”, you may be asking.

Well, that’s just it. There isn’t a Gold Glove for each division, or for each league, or even for each level in the minor leagues. There are nine. One for each defensive position.

Michael Ratterree was awarded the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove for Minor League Baseball right fielders. All of them. That’s certainly worth trumpeting.

Following is the official press release.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., announced today Minor League Baseball’s recipients of the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for defensive excellence at their positions. The honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season Minor Leagues. Each player will receive his own Rawlings Gold Glove Award, modeled after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players, during the 2015 season.

“Congratulations to the nine outstanding Minor League Baseball players who deservedly won the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award,” said Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of baseball for St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Minor League Baseball is and will always continue to be a great partner of Rawlings, and we knew the Rawlings Gold Glove Award would be a popular goal for many young players when we decided to rekindle this award platform in 2011.”

“Each year, it is a privilege to join in the announcement of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and help recognize the top defensive players in Minor League Baseball,” said Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball. “All nine of these players displayed extraordinary skills at their positions this season, and on behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate them on this outstanding accomplishment.”

The 2014 Minor League Baseball recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® are as follows:

2014 Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winners
POS PLAYER TEAM(S) MLB ORG
1B Jordan Lennerton Toledo DET
2B Tony Kemp Lancaster/Corpus Christi HOU
SS Hanser Alberto Myrtle Beach/Frisco TEX
3B Jason Esposito Frederick BAL
LF Chad Wright Lakeland DET
CF Breland Almadova South Bend/Visalia ARI
RF Michael Ratterree Wisconsin/Huntsville MIL
C Roberto Pena Lancaster HOU
P Josh Geer San Antonio SD

First baseman Jordan Lennerton earned this honor for a second time with his perfect 1.000 fielding percentage through 121 games. He posted 1,058 putouts with 69 assists in 1,127 total chances and turned 107 double plays. Lennerton was also named a Rawlings Gold Glove Award® winner for his defensive excellence in 2013.

Tony Kemp put up a .987 fielding percentage through 120 games split between Corpus Christi and Lancaster. The second baseman had 225 putouts with 292 assists and 67 double plays.

Frisco RoughRiders shortstop Hanser Alberto posted a .980 fielding percentage over a 114-game span, with 190 putouts and 346 assists. Alberto began the 2014 season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach where he split time between shortstop and third base.

Third baseman Jason Esposito of the Frederick Keys had a .960 fielding percentage with 83 putouts and 257 assists through 118 games. The Connecticut native turned a league-leading 19 double plays.

Chad Wright put up a .990 fielding percentage over 102 games as a left fielder for the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He had 191 put outs with nine assists and turned three double plays.

Center fielder Breland Almadova posted a .995 fielding percentage over 131 games while splitting the season between South Bend and Visalia. He had 345 putouts while only committing two errors.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers right fielder Michael Ratterree put up a .992 fielding percentage with 252 putouts and 10 assists over 126 games. Ratterree completed two double plays and committed only two errors on the season.

Roberto Pena, catcher for the Lancaster JetHawks, posted a .996 fielding percentage in 93 games. He had a league-leading 755 putouts with 84 assists and allowed only seven passed balls. Pena also topped the league in double plays (9) and runners caught stealing (52).

Right handed pitcher Josh Geer of the San Antonio Missions posted a perfect fielding percentage with six putouts and a league-leading 36 assists. With a quick delivery to the plate, Geer combined with his catchers to throw out 12 of 25 runners attempting to steal.

To be eligible to receive the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, players must have participated in one of the 10 domestic-based, full-season leagues, and show outstanding defensive skills. The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® was re-introduced to Minor League Baseball in 2011 after an almost 50-year hiatus.

About Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with Major League Baseball clubs through their farm systems. Fans are coming out in unprecedented numbers to this one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found at Minor League Baseball ballparks. In 2014, Minor League Baseball attracted 42.4 million fans to its ballparks to see the future stars of the sport hone their skills. From the electricity in the stands to the excitement on the field, Minor League Baseball has provided affordable family-friendly entertainment to people of all ages since its founding in 1901. For more information about Minor League Baseball, visit http://www.MiLB.com.

About Rawlings
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is an innovative manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods worldwide. Founded in 1887, Rawlings is an authentic global sports brand, trusted by generations of athletes of all skill levels. Rawlings’ unparalleled quality and expert craftsmanship are the fundamental reasons why more professional athletes, national governing bodies and sports leagues choose Rawlings. Rawlings is the Official Ball Supplier and Batting Helmet of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball of Minor League Baseball™ and the NCAA®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. For more information, please visit Rawlings.com or by phone at (314) 819-2800.

Brewer Nation Interview Series: Mitch Haniger

haniger_trats

As you all know, I like to interview players shortly after they’re drafted in an effort to help the fan base get to know them as well and learning more about them than just the numbers from college or high school say or what’s in a scouting report. I interviewed the Brewers’ 2013 11th round draft pick Andy Hillis back in June this year, for example.

I also like to follow up with the players every now and then, and that’s what I had the pleasure of doing yesterday with 2012 1st Round draft pick Mitch Haniger.

(If you missed my original interview with Haniger in 2012, you can find a link to it here.)

In the conversation we talk about his 2013 season which was split between Class-A Wisconsin and Class-A Advanced Brevard County, his being selected as the Brewers priority exception to the 2013 edition of the Arizona Fall League, and what his off-season plans are.

Please take a listen, learn a little bit more about an up and coming outfield prospect in the Brewers system, and get to know Mitch Haniger a bit better.

Thanks again to Mitch for his time. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @M_Hanny19

Prospect Pilgrimage Audio – Taylor, Roache, McFarland

tyrone_taylor

As you’re aware if you follow me on Twitter (@BrewerNation), I was up at the Timber Rattlers game on Saturday evening for my annual prospect pilgrimage. I want to get up there more often, but it didn’t happen last year. Hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish that goal here in 2013.

Regardless, when I have gone up I’ve been fortunate enough to get a media credential and have access for some one-on-one time with the players. Last year I chatted with three guys who I had interviewed before on the phone in Mitch Haniger, Nick Ramirez and Chad Pierce. I also got the single greatest quote out of Timber Rattlers’ manager Matt Erickson when it comes to player development vs. trying to win a game on a given night.

This year, with some talented individuals on the roster, I had to limit myself to just three players quite frankly because there is only so much time between batting practice and first pitch. I think I did alright with the choices.

Here you can listen to my interviews with Tyrone Taylor, Victor Roache and Chris McFarland.

Enjoy!

victor_roache

 

chris_mcfarland

Another Opening Day

Tonight, the full-season affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers (and other organizations as well, but you’re here for a reason so let’s focus) begin their respective regular seasons for 2013. The Brewers have four such affiliates so let’s give you a quick rundown of each one along with some quick hit info.

Nashville Sounds – Class-AAA Affiliate

The Nashville Sounds begin their 34th season of play and their 9th season as the Brewers’ top affiliate. Last year the Sounds got off to a poor start both at the plate and on the mound, but turned it around a bit as the season advanced. They technically wound up with a second-place finish in their Pacific Coast League, American Conference, Northern Division, but only sporting a 67-77 record for the campaign and falling well short of the playoffs.

While the Sounds had just one All-Star in 2012 (current Brewers reliever Jim Henderson), plenty of the parent club’s current players have made a stop in Music City, U.S.A. on their way to The Show. One man who has already debuted in the big leagues but is hoping to eventually carve himself out a permanent spot on Milwaukee’s pitching staff is the Sounds’ 2013 Opening Day starting pitcher: Tyler Thornburg.

Thornburg had an interesting 2012 as a professional with a run of oddly timed promotions which threw off his schedule and a shift in role which threw off his routine and ultimately led to some physical problems. With what is expected to be a full season of starting games again, the Brewers are hoping Thornburg can once again show the form that resulted in an 8-1 first-half record with Huntsville compete with a selection to the Double-A All-Star Game.

Thornburg will be followed in the Sounds’ rotation by 40-man rosterees Hiram Burgos and Johnny Hellweg, Zach Kroenke as the four, with Frankie De La Cruz rounding things out.

For more on Tyler Thornburg, check out his profile in my “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series: #63 Tyler Thornburg

Filling out the batting order are such recognizable names as Scooter Gennett, Blake Lalli, Hainley Statia, Caleb Gindl, and Southern League (AA) MVP Hunter Morris. The Sounds have a nice mix of up-and-comers along with guys on the precipice of MLB service time.

The same can be said for the bullpen which is likely to be anchored by Donovan Hand who almost won a spot in the Brewers ‘pen to begin the season.

Huntsville Stars – Class-AA Affiliate

***UPDATE: The Stars’ opener was rained out tonight. Nelson will start tomorrow.***

Starting on the bump for the Stars tonight will be Jimmy Nelson, he of the 2010 draft class (second round). Nelson began the 2012 season with the High-A Manatees and was advanced up the ladder during the summer. Combined in 2012, Nelson posted a 6-8 record with an ERA of 2.83 in 127.1 innings across 23 starts. With his success in High-A, Nelson made himself the primary candidate to move up when promotion time came around and Huntsville had an opening.

While he struggled early with Huntsville, not much should be read into it. Many baseball people concur that other than the jump from Triple-A to the bigs (of course), the step between High-A and Double-A is the biggest one that a professional player makes. That being said, a heavy ball plays so long as it can be controlled. Following a brief appearance in the Arizona Fall League where it was clear that he was worn out, Nelson enters this season with elevated expectations as he continues along his career track. The Brewers have confidence in him, he has confidence in himself, and with his ability those things ought to come together pretty well in 2013.

Brevard County Manatees – Class-A Advanced Affiliate

The Manatees of the Florida State League play their home games at Space Coast Stadium. That’s awesome. Their rallying cry is “Fear the Sea Cow”. That’s even more awesome. From a production standpoint, the FSL is notoriously brutal on hitters, but the Manatees only got mediocre production from some of their pitching last year. That was en route to a 63-72 record. Looking to start the turn around on the right foot will be Opening Day starter and 2011 1st round draft pick, southpaw Jed Bradley.

Bradley had a rough go of things in 2012 after starting off well initially. More on his 2012 season can be found in his BBt(J)N profile here: #77 Jed Bradley. If the Georgia Tech product can remain injury/issue free in 2013, he’ll hopefully be able to flash more of the ability which led to his selection as the 15th overall choice 22 months ago.

Joining Bradley (who spent all of 2012 with Brevard County) will be a bevvy of graduates from Matt Erickson’s prep school in Appleton, Wisconsin. All they did together was win their league championship last year. Hopefully the magic sticks with the players as they spend some time in south Florida to begin the season.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Class-A Affiliate

The 2012 Midwest League Champion Timber Rattlers will begin their title defense with a series in Peoria, Illinois before coming home for an April 8th tilt which features a bobblehead giveaway with the likeness of manager Matt Erickson holding the MWL Championship trophy. It’s sharp.

Off the field, the local owners of the facility pumped a bunch of money in and many structural improvements were made to the structure around the field. The press box was expanded, the broadcast booths were segregated and moved; it was a nice facility before, but now it’s even better.

On the mound, 2012 draft choice (4th round) Tyler Wagner gets the starting nod. It sounds like Erickson will once again be employing the “piggyback” technique where another starting pitcher knows he will be pitching for sure on a given day despite not starting in the first inning. To that end, Mike Strong will follow Wagner on the bump.

As for at the plate, the Timber Rattlers begin the year featuring a treasure trove of prospects. Most top choices from the 2012 draft (Clint Coulter, Mitch Haniger, Tyrone Taylor, etc) will be there right away. They’ll be joined by prospect darling Orlando Arcia with slugger Victor Roache expected to be not far behind as he gets a little time in extended spring training in Arizona.

There are many more names in the system that I could call out, but on this Opening Day I just wanted to highlight a few including the focus on the Opening Day starting pitchers for each affiliate.

While the Brewers system is widely panned by the experts — I think the highest rank I saw out of 30 was 23rd best — there are some pieces to be excited about. Follow along if you choose to, but rest assured that help is developing throughout the minor league affiliates which begin play tonight. After all, there is no substitute for game action in baseball.

Good luck to the Sounds, Stars, Manatees, and defending champion Timber Rattlers! Maybe the Brewers will have some more rings to give out before the 2014 season.

Brewers Protect Five From Rule V Draft

The Brewers announced this morning that they have added five players to their 40-man roster ahead of tonight’s midnight EST deadline for protecting players from the upcoming Rule V Draft.

The players protected are:

  • RHP Nick Bucci
  • RHP Hiram Burgos
  • OF Khris Davis
  • INF Scooter Gennett
  • OF Josh Prince

Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash was contacted for some quotes* about the players added today and said the following about how they arrived at these five names.

“They’ve all excelled at various times over the course of the season at different levels. Probably even more important than that are the tools and ability they possess. We want to manage and protect our assets. We didn’t want to lose any of the five.”

“We had some other guys we liked as well,” said Ash. “We did our due diligence. We started with a list of nine or 10 names and whittled them down. There are surprises (in the Rule 5) every year. You can’t protect everybody.”

Nick Bucci

Bucci is 21 years old and coming off of a very good 2012 season split between the Low- and High-A levels of the Brewers farm system. He posted combined numbers of a 1.90 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 9.3 K/9 in 42.2 innings over 10 starts. He missed time to begin the season coming off of an injury. His season debut was July 18th with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Bucci finished his year with a stint in the Arizona Fall League. Not only are the Brewers high on him, but after missing the amount of time he did, it was a way to help him get more innings before shutting it back down for the winter.

“I wouldn’t put much emphasis at the level he pitched at. That was mostly a rehab assignment,” said Ash. “He’s young and has a good arm, and a team could keep him as the 13th pitcher on the staff (if taken in the Rule 5 draft). For $50,000 (the draft price), you can’t replace that kind of arm. It might be a longer road for him but we like his upside.”

Hiram Burgos

Burgos, 25, rocketed through the system in 2012. He began the year with the High-A Brevard County Manatees, made a stop in Double-A with the Huntsville Stars, and finished as a Nashville Sound in Triple-A. There was even talk that he was being kept at the ready in late September should the Brewers have needed an extra arm later in their season. Quite the year. That is evidenced in his numbers which ended up at a 1.95 ERA (2.91 in AAA), 1.035 WHIP (only 128 hits), over 171.0 innings pitched in 28 games (27 starts).

“Everyone wants to put labels on him and he is a Shaun Marcum type,” said Ash. “He has great command and without overpowering stuff he still has a knack for missing bats. It’s hard to explain. He has command of the strike zone and a real knack for getting out of trouble as well. Those are some of the intangibles you look for in a pitcher.”

Khris Davis

Davis is a 6’0″, 195 lb outfielder who both bats and throws right-handed, turns 25 next month. Davis began his season with Huntsville before an injury and subsequent rehab assignment cost him some time. He came back to Hunstville in early July and was promoted to Triple-A on July 30th where he played out the remainder of the season. Davis played a total of 82 games in the regular season posting a combined line of .350/.451/.604 which includes a .310/.414/.522 line at Triple-A in 32 games. Davis was also assigned to the Arizona Fall League in order to get more at-bats but he didn’t fare as well in the desert the second time around. Still, he does appear to have a bat which could play at the MLB level one day.

“He’s a tremendous offensive player,” said Ash. “He’s a bit streaky but when he’s hot, he’s real hot. I saw him hit the longest home run I saw all year at Nashville. It went over the batter’s eye in center field. The ability is there and in the American League it’s easy to carry an extra hitter (as a Rule 5 pick). His bat is close to being big-league ready. We didn’t want to lose him.”

Scooter Gennett

Gennett’s addition to the 40-man roster was probably the easiest to guess (outside of Burgos because Melvin told us so in an interview awhile ago) because despite his small stature (5’9″, 164 lbs) his profile has been an elevated one. All he’s done is hit since signing with the Brewers after being drafted in the 16th round of the 2009 draft. Over .300 at both Low-A and High-A, Gennett continued his progression with a full season in Double-A which saw his average dip to .293 but he basically maintained his OBP including an increase to his walk rate. He is still learning second base defensively after being drafted as a shortstop, but those issues are getting farther away in his rear view with each inning. His errors decreased, his fielding percentage has gone up every season (I know…I know), and his Range Factor per Game has also increased every season.

Josh Prince

The final player who was added today (alphabetically, not necessarily reflective of ability) was tapped due to his incredible “season” in the Arizona Fall League. Josh Prince was just converting from infield to outfield defensively and after a pedestrian season at Double-A Huntsville (.251/.346/.360) the Brewers probably thought that they might be able to avoid protecting him for one more year. Then when Mat Gamel’s exemption request to play in the AFL was denied, the Brewers sent Prince instead and he absolutely rose to the occasion. Now, AFL offensive stats are often inflated but Prince even rose to the top of the inflation. He hit a team-best .404 which was good for second-highest overall in league. His OBP was .491 so he was still drawing some walks (a team-best 15, 5th-best in the AFL) and his slugging finished at .573 which gave him an OPS over 1.000 at 1.064.

“That (AFL) performance certainly put him over the top,” said Ash. “That kind of performance in that setting is something everyone notices. He was the talk of the league, and every scout from every team passes through there at some point. It’s hard to minimize that kind of performance. He solidified his place in the organization.”

With these additions, the Brewers 40-man roster currently sits at 39.

*Appreciation and credit to Tom Haudricourt at the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel for the quotes about the players from Brewers assistant general manger Gord Ash.

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