Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions of 2014.
That was their third Championship in the last five years. The last time the Giants were this successful was back in the early 1920’s. John McGraw managed the New York Giants to four straight National League pennants from 1921-1924 with wins over the New York Yankees in 1921 and 1922 and losses to the Yankees (1923) and Washington Senators (1924).
There is a slight Appleton tie to that Giants dynasty. Travis Jackson played for the Giants briefly in 1922 and saw more playing time in 1923 and 1924.
During the 1920s and 1930s the New York Giants captured seven National League championships. While they had great outfielders like Mel Ott and Ross Youngs as well as solid pitching, most prominently Carl Hubbell, it was their infield that anchored the team in its success. George Kelly, Fred Lindstrom, and Bill Terry each had a hand in many of the successful Giants campaigns during this era. They, along with several other prominent teammates including Frankie Frisch and Rogers Hornsby, were recognized for their play; each was selected to the Hall of Fame.
Over time, recognition of how the Giants arrived at their success gained a different perspective. It dawned on those invested with selection to the Hall of Fame that these Giants infielders had one factor in common from the early 1920s through the mid-1930s: their shortstop, Travis Jackson. That realization, almost belatedly made, crystallized in 1982 when the Veterans Committee elected Jackson to the Hall. While a solid hitter, Jackson was not in the mold of a Hornsby or Terry, but he was considered by his peers as the defensive anchor for his team and one of the best at his position, if not the best.
Unfortunately, Timber Rattlers fans – along with the rest of the fans in the Midwest League – have not had a chance to see many of the Giants players when those players were in the minor leagues. The Giants have not been affiliated with a Midwest League team since 1996 when they wrapped up a two year deal with the Burlington Bees.
According to MWLGuide.com, The San Francisco Giants were affiliated with a MWL team from 1956 to 1996. They were with the Michigan City White Caps (1956-59), Quincy Giants (1960-61), Decatur Commodores (1962-74), Cedar Rapids Giants (1975-79), Clinton Giants (1980-93), and Clinton Giants (1994).
There was also one year (1954) when the Giants were affiliated with a MWL team by the name of the Danville Dans.
For a more local – as in Northeastern Wisconsin – flavoring of Giants baseball, look back to the old Wisconsin State League. The New York Giants were affiliated with Oshkosh’s WSL franchise in 1942 and – once the league restarted after World War II – again from 1946 through 1953, when the WSL folded.
The Oshkosh Giants won the Wisconsin State League title in both 1949 and 1950.
Speaking of the old Wisconsin State League, here is another photo of that Papermakers Pen that was mentioned in yesterday’s post.
Corby Heckman (’95) – 31
Manny Parra (’11) – 32
Craig Anderson (’00) – 34
Tom Poquette (Manager, ’92) – 63
Mark Tanner (’73) – 64
The Royals forced a Game Seven in the 2014 World Series with their 10-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Lorenzo Cain (’09) played his part:
It also shouldn’t be surprising to Timber Rattlers fans that Yordano Ventura pitched as well as he did last night. Ventura was a member of the Kane County Cougars in 2011 and was 4-6 in 19 starts. But, in his two starts against Wisconsin Ventura had no record, but allowed no runs on four hits with two walks and 15 strikeouts in nine innings.
It also wouldn’t surprise Rattlers fans that Mike Moustakas is hammering the baseball out of the yard in the World Series. Moustakas was a Burlington Bee in 2008 and in 16 games against the Timber Rattlers he was 22-for-61 (.361) with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, and twelve RBI. Plus, he walked ten times while striking out eleven times.
Still playing a little catch up from the hiatus and this story has been sitting in my inbox for a bit.
The Country Today, a newspaper based out of Eau Claire, did a story on the Timber Rattlers Vegetable Garden.
A new stream of fresh vegetables is flowing to a Fox Valley food program thanks to a triple play by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball organization, GreenStone Farm Credit Services and the Freedom FFA.
As of Aug. 20, volunteer efforts of those three groups had made possible the donation of 79 pounds of fresh vegetables through the “Grow a Row for St. Joe” project from a 30-by-20-foot garden behind the left-field bleachers at Neuroscience Group Field of the Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton.
“We’ll keep on doing it throughout the fall too as long as vegetables are to be harvested,” said Jerrad Radocay, corporate marketing manager for the Timber Rattlers, a Midwest minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The St. Joseph Food Program is a nonprofit that for 32 years has made weekly distributions of fresh food and non-perishable items to the elderly, working poor and temporarily unemployed in the Fox Valley.
The team is looking at expanding the garden for 2015.
Circling back to the opening image of the post. That is a pencil giveaway from the Appleton Papermakers in either the 1940’s or 1950’s…It’s all sorts of cool.
If you have something like this – or any piece of Appleton Professional Baseball meorabilia in your basement, storage unit, attic, garage, or…I don’t know…. kitchen???…. feel free to bring it into the ballpark. We can either take a picture of it to document it and share on the blog, or find a place to display it at the stadium.
I have been waiting for awhile to use the material in this post. Today seemed like a good day.
First, a brief time lapse video of the grounds crew prepping the field.
My choice of music for that video would have been Yaktey Sax…but that’s just me. Either selection works.
The other section of this post is material that was collected by Jay Grusznski in the second half of the 2014 Timber Rattlers season.
Jay did a lot of searching through the pages of the teams in the different independent leagues and came up with a list of former Timber Rattlers playing in those leagues.
Some of these players spent time in both affiliated ball and the independent leagues this season. If I had a heart, these guys would hold a special place in it. Why? Because – as some of you may remember – I spent three seasons as a radio announcer for the Duluth/Superior Dukes in the Northern League of Professional Baseball. Maybe one day I will share some of my photos of the stadiums of the league at the time.
Kansas City T-Bones:
TJ Mittelstaedt (’11)
Bryan Sabatella (’06)
St. Paul Saints:
RJ Seidel (’09)
Brent Dean (’13)
Alan Williams (’11, ’12, ’13)
Gerardo Avila (’06, ’07, ’08)
Seth Lintz (’11, ’12)
Grand Prairie AirHogs:
Tom Keeling (’11)
Johan Limonta (’06) – All-Star
BROCK! Kjeldgaard (’09)
Zack Braddock (’11)
Cody Scarpetta (’09)
Sugar Land Skeeters:
Travis Scott (’06)
Dan Meadows (’09)
Jeff Dominguez (’06)
Mike Wilson (’05)
Long Island Ducks:
Brett Lorin (’08)
Denny Almonte (’08)
Emiliano Fruto (’02)
Joe Dunigan (’08)
Kalian Sams (’07)
Les Capitales de Quebec:
Sebastien Boucher (’05)
New Jersey Jackals:
Joe Dunigan (’08)
Taylor Mangum (’13)
Chad Robinson (’10)
Chad Robinson (’10)
Lake Erie Crushers:
Juan Sanchez (’09)
Kyle Dhanani (’09, ’10)
Managed by Jeff Isom (’09, ’10)
Adam Giacalone (’13)
Tyler Roberts (’11, ’12, ’13)
Chadwin Stang (’11, ’12)
Santo Manzanillo (’10, ’12)
Fort Worth Cats:
Jose Duran (’09)
Not Independent League, but this seems like a good place to mention these players
Japan Central League:
Yokohama Bay Stars:
Jorge Sosa (’01)
Wladimir Balentien (’04)
Fall/Winter Baseball is almost in full swing now. Arizona Fall League, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Mexico are all going strong. The winter leagues in Puerto Rico and Australia both start their seasons on October 30.
Time to check in on Rattler alumni.
Arizona Fall League:
Glendale Desert Dogs (7-8-1):
Clint Coulter (’13, ’14): 3 games, 3-for-11, HR, 3RBI
Nick Ramirez (’11, ’12): 11 games, .167/.222/.405, 3HR, 5RBI
Tyrone Taylor (’13): 11 games, .289/.347/.333, 0HR, 4RBI
Shawn Zarraga (’09): 5 games, 5-for-17, 0HR, 0RBI
Brooks Hall (’11): 4 games, 0-0, 1.50ERA, 6.0IP, BB, 4K
Mike Strong (’12, ’13): 5 games, 0-0, Save, 3.00ERA, 6.0IP, 2BB, 7K
Tyler Wagner (’13): 5 games, 0-0, Save, 2.25ERA, 8.0IP, 4BB, 5K
Wei-Chung Wang (’14): 3 games, 3 starts, 2-0, 2.00ERA, 9.0IP, BB, 3K
Aguilas del Zulia (12-2):
Eric Marzec (’11): 4 games, 2 starts, 1-0, 1.93ERA, 9.1IP, BB, 6K
Bravos de Margarita (5-11):
Tyler Cravy (’11, ’12): 2 games, 2 starts, 0-2, 7.36ERA, 7.1IP, 3BB, 6K
Greg Holle (’11): 6 games, 0-0, Save, 4.50ERA, 4.0IP, 2BB, 0K
Cardenales de Lara (2-13):
Jose Escalona (’06, ’08): 4 games, 0-0, 3.60ERA, 5.0IP, 2BB, 4K
Cesar Jimenez (’03): 3 games, 3 starts, 0-1, 7.56ERA, 2.1IP, 2BB, K
Navegantes del Magallanes (5-8):
Carlos Maldonado (’97, ’98, ’99): 7 games, 3-for-20, 0HR, 2RBI
Tigres de Aragua (8-4):
Renee Cortez (’02, ’03): 6 games, 0-0, 1.59ERA, 5.2IP, 3BB, 4K
Dominican Winter League:
Aguilas Cibaenas (5-2):
Edward Paredes (’08): 3 games, 0-1, 0.00ERA, 0.1IP, BB, K
Juan Sandoval (’03): 4 games, 0-0, 5.40ERA, 3.1IP, BB, 2K
Estrellas de Oriente (4-3):
Juan Diaz (’07, ’08): 5 games, 6-for-18, 0HR, 4RBI
Ryan Rowland-Smith (’02, ’03): 2 games, 1 start, 0-0, 3.60ERA, 5.0IP, 3BB, 3K
Tigres del Licey (1-7):
Carlos Triunfel (’07): 5 games, 1-for-7, 0HR, 1RBI
No Rattler alumni are playing in Mexico this winter….yet.
Marwin Vega (’06) – 28
Denny Stark (’97) – 40
Pete Vuckovich (’74) – 62
Lee Stange (’59) – 78
Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis take a look at the Brewers prospects in the Arizona Fall League with a special focus on former Timber Rattlers Tyrone Taylor (’13) and Clint Coulter (’13, ’14):
Glendale, the team with the Brewers prospects, are 7-6-1 and leading the West Division. Glendale hosts Salt River today at 2:35pm CDT. According to the scoreboard page, Mike Strong (’12, ’13) is a scheduled reliever for Glendale today. Click that link later today for the rest of the starting lineup.
I’ll have a more complete winter league update on Monday, but looking at yesterday’s action in the AFL saw Glendale win 2-1. Wei-Chung Wang (’14) earned the win. Tyler Wagner (’13) got the save.
Time to take a look at the Timber Rattlers Alumni as batters with the Brewers.
Khris Davis (2010): 144 games, .244/.299/.457, 22HR, 69RBI
Scooter Gennett (2010): 137 games, .289/.320/.434, 9HR, 54RBI
Carlos Gomez (2012): 148 games, .284/.356/.477, 23HR, 73RBI
Jonathan Lucroy (2012): 153 games, .301/.373/.465, 13HR, 69RBI
Martin Maldonado (2009): 52 games, .234/.320/.387, 4HR, 16RBI
Jason Rogers (2012): 8 games, 1-for-9, 0HR, 0RBI
Marco Estrada (2013): 3-for-32, 2RBI
Mike Fiers (2009): 1-for-17
Jimmy Nelson (2011): 3-for-21 with a double off Clayton Kershaw?!
Hunter Brown (’02) – 35
Eric Morgan (’95) – 42
Daryl Robinson (’88, ’89) – 47
Tyler Roberts (’11, ’13) – 24
Clint Nageotte (’01) – 34
Gerald Eady (’98) – 39
Kevin Hickey (’79) – 58
Don Eddy (’69) – 68
Richard Hunt (’60) – 74
Robbie Dominguez (’08) – 29
Chad Fillinger (’04, ’05) – 32
Harry Chappas (’76, ’78) – 57
Alan Kristowski (’66) – 71
What do you think of my new office/summer home?
Earlier this week, Baseball America released their 2014 Draft Report Card for the Milwaukee Brewers. The details are behind the paywall. But, I wanted to share their rankings for some of these potential future Timber Rattlers. For the full report on each player, subscribe to BA:
BEST PURE HITTER: OF Monte Harrison (1s)
BEST POWER HITTER: SS Jacob Gatewood (1s)
FASTEST RUNNER: OF Troy Stokes (4)
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Harrison needs reps but has a chance to be a young Torii Hunter caliber defender in center field.
BEST FASTBALL: RHP Brandon Woodruff (11)
BEST SECONDARY PITCH: The best-case comparison for Medeiros, a strong-bodied, athletic, low-slot lefthander, is Madison Bumgarner.
BEST PRO DEBUT: Harrison hit .261/.402/.339 and led the AZL with 32 stolen bases, being caught just twice. Stokes hit .262/.363/.331 there with 19 steals in 22 tries. C Greg McCall (9) hit .326/.375/465 in 86 at-bats at Rookie-level Helena.
BEST ATHLETE: Harrison
MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Medeiros and RHP Cy Sneed (3)
CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: The Brewers hope to develop the younger Sneed as a starter but were judicious with his innings after he was Dallas Baptist’s ace in the spring, tossing 104 innings.
BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Woodruff
The city of Appleton finished 5th in all of MiLB cities as one of America’s Best Minor League Baseball Towns.
GRAND CHUTE, WI – SmartAsset.com recently rated all of the cities that host a minor league baseball franchise and released their Top 25 Minor League Baseball Towns in America. Based on the criteria surveyed, Appleton – home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – was rated as #5 out of all minor league baseball.
There were five factors SmartAsset.com used to rate quality of life in each minor league city: Violent Crime per 100,000 residents; Property Crime per 100,000 residents; Disposable income – difference between average income and average monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment; Unemployment rate; and Dining & Entertainment establishments per 100,000 residents.
Three factors were also taken in to account for the baseball experience in each city: Team winning percentage during 2014 season; Stadium Experience – the rating of the home ballpark on StadiumJourney.com; and Minor League Class – the level at which each team plays.
Appleton and the Timber Rattlers finished fifth in the rankings behind only Portland, Maine (Portland Sea Dogs); Alexandria, Virginia (Potomac Nationals); Pearl, Mississippi (Mississippi Braves); and Frisco, Texas (Frisco RoughRiders).
You may have noticed I left the Brewers out of the MLB Alumni Reports that were done by division. I wanted to save those for later in the offseason…Like right now.
Here are the pitching alumni who were on the mound for the Brewers in 2014. Hitting alumni will be added in tomorrow.
Marco Estrada (Rehab, 2013): 7-6, 4.36ERA, 39 games, 18 starts, 150.2IP, 44BBs, 127K
Mike Fiers (2009): 6-2, 2.13ERA, 14 games, 10 starts, 71.2IP, 17BB, 76K
Jim Henderson (2009): 2-1, 7.15ERA, 14 games, 11.1IP, 4BB, 17K
Jeremy Jeffress (2010): 1-1, 1.88ERA, 29 games, 28.2IP, 7BB, 25K
Martin Maldonado (2009): 0-0, 0.00ERA, 1 game, 1IP, 0BB, 0K
Jimmy Nelson (2011): 2-9, 4.93ERA, 14 games, 12 games, 69.1IP, 19BB, 57K
Wily Peralta (2009): 17-11, 3.53ERA, 32 games, 32 starts, 198.2IP, 61BB, 154K
Tyler Thornburg (2011): 3-1, 4.25ERA, 27 games, 29.2IP, 21BB, 28K
Cip Garcia (’02, ’03) – 36
Pat Bailey (’87) – 50
This was the most horrifying thing I saw on my vacation:
Great trip. Great view of the game…well except for this one:
Totally worth it:
Now…on to baseball.
The World Series is the Kansas City Royals vs. the San Francisco Giants. There are no former Timber Rattlers/Foxes on the Giants. As for the Royals: Raul Ibanez played for the Foxes. Mike Jirschele coached the Foxes. Lorenzo Cain, the ALCS MVP in 2014, was a Timber Rattler in 2009:
I guess it’s “Go, Royals!”
I left off on the regular season alumni report after the NL Central. So, here are the Timber Rattlers alumni to play in the NL East in 2014.
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 49 games, .229/.312/.389, 5HR, 21RBI
Greg Dobbs (’02): 15 games, .077/.077/.077, 0HR, 0RBI
Greg Dobbs (’02): 21 games, .214/.233/.250, 0HR, 2 RBI
Philippe Aumont (’08): 5 games, 0-1, 19.06ERA, 5.2IP, 5BB, 6K
Cesar Jimenez (’03): 16 games, 0-0, 1.69ERA, 16IP, 7BB, 8K
Rafael Soriano (’00): 64 games, 4-1, 3.19ERA, 32 Saves, 62IP, 19BB, 59K
Matt Thornton (’00): 18 games, 1-0, 0.00, 11.1IP, 2BB, 8K
Anthony Varvaro (’07): 61 games, 3-3, 2.63ERA, 54.2IP, 13BB, 50K
Alumni Birthdays for October 20:
Parker Berberet (’12, ’13) – 25
Fabian Williamson (’07) – 26
Harvey Pulliam (’87) – 47
Joe Costello (’64) – 69
The Arizona Fall League begins today. The Milwaukee Brewers Prospects will be playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs.
The former Rattlers on the Desert Dogs roster include:
Catcher: Shawn Zarraga
Infielder: Nick Ramirez
Outfielder: Tyrone Taylor
Pitching Coach: Chris Hook
Glendale hosts the Mesa Solar Sox today at 2:35pm CDT. According to this boxscore, Taylor will leadoff and play center and Nick Ramirez will bat seventh and play first base for Glendale.
The Arizona Fall League will be used as a laboratory for the new Pace of Game Initiative. Click that link to read the full story. A few of the rules:
A hitter must keep one foot inside the batter’s box throughout his plate appearance. Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip, a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter’s box, a request for time out being granted, a wild pitch or a passed ball and several others.
Intentional walks will no longer include the pitcher lobbing four balls outside the strike zone. Instead, the manager will signal to the home-plate umpire and the batter will take first base.
Each team will be permitted three “timeout” conferences covering any meeting involving pitchers and catchers, managers, coaches and batters. Timeouts during pitching changes and those that result from an injury or other emergency will not be counted toward the limit.
More at the link.
As someone who had some experience with a pitch clock – many years ago in the Northern League -this is all well and good…But, it all comes down to enforcement. And as someone who has experienced the “Keep One Foot In” rule….oh, brother…From Top Five Tuesday: Weird Endings…
1.) April 30, 2007 – Backstory: Before the 2007 began, Minor League Baseball tried to initiate some policies that would speed the game. Umpires, players, and coaches were informed before the start of the season that if a batter needed a little time between pitches, they could only move one foot out of the batter’s box. If a batter walked completely outside the box with both feet, a strike would be called. Now, let’s fast forward to the bottom of the ninth inning at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium in late April of 2007. Leury Bonilla, who had homered in the bottom of the seventh inning off Dragons reliever Pedro Viola, stepped to the plate with Wisconsin trailing 3-1. Bonilla was the tying run in the bottom of the ninth due to Ogui Diaz reaching first on a two-out error on Dayton third baseman Juan Francisco. Bonilla was down in the count 0-1 to start. Plate umpire Alex Ortiz called the next pitch from Viola a strike to run the count to 0-2. Bonilla thought it the pitch should have been called a ball. He decided to collect himself instead of saying anything to Ortiz. Unfortunately, Bonilla took a couple of steps out of the right-handed batter’s box as he walked up the third base line. Ortiz immediately called a strike on Bonilla. That strike just happened to be strike three. The final out of the game came on a called third strike that was never even thrown to the plate.
Yeah. Let’s NOT have that happen again.
I am going to be taking some time off from work. I will be gone the rest of this week and all of next week. The next post on the blog will be on Monday, October 20. Some of the features on the website will be returning that week, too.
The Timber Rattlers alumni in the NL Central (Not including Brewers):
Luis Valbuena (’06): 149 games, .249/.341/.435, 16 HR, 51 RBI
Manny Parra (’11): 53 games, 0-3, 1 Save, 4.66ERA, 36.2IP, 18BB, 34K
Henry Pawlowicz (’65) – 68
Danny Rourke (’69-’71)- 67
Dan Head (’01, ’02) – 36
Hunter Morris (’10) – 26
The Royals and Orioles completed sweeps in the ALDS setting up an ALCS matchup that is interesting. Imagine, if you will, it’s 1976 to 1983. Imagine how much fun an Orioles-Royals ALCS would have been in that timeframe. But, they were never opponents. The Royals won the AL West from 1976-1978 (losing to the Yankees each time), again in 1980 (Beating the Yankees), and in 1984 (Losing to the Tigers). The Orioles won the AL East in 1979 (Beating the Angels) and 1983 (Beating the White Sox).
Lorenzo Cain (’09) had a some great catches – again – to help the Royals move on with their Game Three win over the Angels:
Meanwhile, the Orioles beat the Tigers 2-1 to gain the ALCS. Adam Jones (’04) loves it! BUT, he also realizes that they aren’t done yet.
In news involving more recent Timber Rattlers, The Baseball America Chat about their Top 20 Prospect for the MWL was held on Friday (Link is behind subscriber wall). There was only one question involving a 2014 Timber Rattler and it was about pitcher Taylor Williams, who did not make the list:
Curious (Wisconsin): What did evaluators see that kept Taylor Williams off this list?
J.J. Cooper: He might have made the list in a thinner league. Just the depth of the league. He’s a future power reliever in a league where relievers have a real tough time making the list.
In instructional league this fall, the Brewers have begun a long-discussed position change for Coulter. Director of player development Reid Nichols said Coulter has settled into right field and has also seen time at first base and third base.
One of Coulter’s best tools has always been his strong arm, which Nichols said is one of the reasons a switch to right field can work.
“He’s picked it up well,” Nichols said. “He gets good jumps on balls off the bat, which is unique for a guy going out there for the first time.
“He fits the best there of everywhere we’ve seen him.”
There is more at that link on some possible future Timber Rattlers players.
Here’s a look at Timber Rattlers Alumni who played in the NL West this year:
Adam Moore (’06): 9 games, 2-for-10, 2B, 0HR, RBI
Rene Rivera (’03): 103 games, .252/.319/.432, 11HR, 44RBI
Carlos Triunfel (’07): 12 games, 2-for-15, HR, RBI
JJ Putz (’00): 18 games, 1-1, 6.59ERA, 13.2IP, 6BB, 14K
Ryan Rowland-Smith (’03): 6 games, 0-0, 4.91ERA, 7.1IP, 4BB, 9K
The Baseball America chats about their Top 20 lists for the Pioneer League and Arizona League happened earlier. The Q & A of the Brewers farmhands:
Jacob Gatewood (Nearby): It’s my 19th birthday today. A spot on your top 20 list would have made for a nice present. Just sayin’. Anyway, do you see me being able to improve my plate discipline next year as Joey Gallo did this year?
Bill Mitchell: Jacob Gatewood, the Brewers compensation round pick, shows plus raw power at the plate and the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got some swing mechanics to work on and needs to make better contact in order to get to his power potential. Definitely a work in progress. But I wouldn’t want to compare Gatewood to Joey Gallo at this point.
Ben (Leland Grove): Medeiros and Touki had their struggles in the AZL, from what I’ve read. Who would have ranked higher for you, and who will climb through the minors faster?
Bill Mitchell: Both first-round picks (Arizona’s Touki Toussaint and Milwaukee’s Kodi Medeiros) struggled at times in their pro debuts, mostly with commanding their pitches and trying to do too much out of the gate. I probably would have ranked Touki the highest of the two. While Medeiros will be given every chance to start, there are still a significant number of scouts that believe his future will be in the back end of the bullpen.
Dave (Appleton, Wi): How close were the Brewers other top picks Medeiros and Gatewood from making the list?
Bill Mitchell: I’ve already addressed Medeiros and Gatewood in previous questions. To clarify, Medeiros came up just a fraction of an inning short of having enough playing time to qualify for the list but likely would have ranked in the 11-20 range. Gatewood was on my 21-30 group of prospects this year.
Steve (Madtown): I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Brewers that you got a good look at not on the list. Medeiros, Gatewood, Denson (if you saw him on rehab), Lara? Thanks
Bill Mitchell: I’ll briefly divert from AZL discussion to address one name you mention— Gilbert Lara — primarily because I think he could be a player that we’ll be talking about on next year’s chat. Lara is a 16-year-old shortstop who signed with the Brewers for just over $3 million in July. He’s playing with the Brewers instructional league team right now and has been the talk of Arizona so far. Still very raw approach at the plate and the swing needs lots of work, but this kid has some serious pop.
Warren (New London): I liked Brandon Diaz last year in the Arizona League. He got off to an excellent start here and then tailed off quite a bit, and I’m wondering what Pioneer League observers think of him.
Bill Mitchell: Brandon Diaz just missed the list. The 2013 8th round pick is a nice centerfielder with twitchy athleticism who barrels up the ball. He has above-average speed with good instincts on the basepaths. Diaz projects as a fourth or fifth outfielder, and I like his chances to getting there.
Dave (Appleton): What were the differences for Devin Williams this year as opposed to last year?
Bill Mitchell: Williams, the Brewers 2nd round pick in 2013, improved his slider this year, but the biggest change came with maturity and understanding the professional game. It was a real up and down season for the right-hander, but results improved significantly in the second half of the Pioneer League season. He still has a lot of work to do, especially in improving the fastball command, but his performance in August is a positive sign.
Dave (Appleton): Better pitching prospect for the Brewers, Devin Williams or Kodi Medeiros?
Bill Mitchell: Definitely Medeiros. His stuff is better, although like many young pitchers he’s got to get better command. I said in my recent AZL chat that many scouts still believe he will wind up in the back end of the bullpen, but he’s a starter for now.
Dave (Appleton, WI): What happened to Tucker Neuhaus this year? From just looking at his stats this year, it looks like he really struggled.
Bill Mitchell: I didn’t get favorable comments from scouts on Neuhaus’ performance at the plate and his name didn’t come up in prospect discussions with the managers. He’s gotten too big to handle shortstop, so there will be much more pressure on his bat to develop as a third baseman.
How about these catches by former Rattler Lorenzo Cain?
Former Rattler Chris Tillman (’07) was the winning pitcher for the Orioles and talks with the media after the game.
Here’s Tillman striking out the side first inning:
Looking at today’s playoff pitching matchups. There are a few of today’s starters who pitched against the Rattlers.
Yordano Ventura, who gets the start for the Royals tonight, pitched for Kane County in 2011. In two starts against the Rattlers, he did not allow a run on four hits and two walks over nine innings with 15 strikeouts. He did not have a decision in either game.
Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers tonight. He was a member of the Great Lakes Loons in 2007 and made one start against the Rattlers on May 8 at Great Lakes. Kershaw got the win as he allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over 5-2/3 innings. The Rattlers scored two runs off Kershaw in the second inning, but the Loons scored five – two earned – in the fourth off Steve Richard.
Time to take a look at Rattler Alumni in the AL East:
Adam Jones (’04): 159 games, .281/.311/.469, 29HR, 96RBI
Brett Lawrie (’09): 70 games, .247/.301/.421, 12HR, 38RBI
David Ortiz (’96): 142 games, .263/.355/.517, 35HR, 104RBI
Jeremy Jeffress (’10): 3 games, 0-0, 10.80ERA, 3.1IP, 3BB, 4K
Shawn Kelley (’07, ’08): 59 games, 3-6, 4 saves, 4.53ERA, 51.2IP, 20BB, 67K
Jake Odorizzi (’10): 31 games, 31 starts, 11-13, 4.13ERA, 168.0IP, 59BB, 174K
Oh, an Odorizzi pitching highlight?
Michael Pineda (’08): 13 games, 13 starts, 5-5, 1.89ERA, 76.1IP, 7BB, 59K
Matt Thornton (’99, ’00): 46 games, 0-3, 2.55ERA, 24.2IP, 6BB, 20K
Chris Tillman (’07): 34 games, 34 starts, 13-6, 3.34ERA, 207.1IP, 66BB, 150K
Gotta share these other Shawn Kelley videos:
Alumni Birthdays for October 3:
Peanut Williams (’98, ’99) – 37
Brent Matheny (’03, ’04) – 35
Alumni Birthdays for October 4:
Bill O’Donnell (’58) – 80
Delwyn Young, Sr (Hitting Coach, ’93) – 51
Francisco Laureano (’67) – 47
Emmerson Bello (’98) – 37
Brock Griffin (’03) – 35
Jose Sanchez (’10) – 26
Alumni Birthdays for October 5:
Frank Henderson (’88, ’89) – 46
Chad Weisner (’95) – 43
Russ Koehler (’97, ’98) – 40