January 2011

Season two, Episode five of The Offseason

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of January 12, 2010

Venezuela:

@Caracas 5, Aragua 2

Caracas:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 2-for-3, 2 RUNS, 2RBI

Puerto Rico:

@San Juan 5, Carolina 4

Carolina:
Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): pinch hitter, 0-for-1

A bobblehead to remember

This is happening!

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have taken the lemon from a snowed out Opening Day in 2010 and turned it into a one-of-a-kind collectable for Opening Day, 2011. The Rattlers and Time Warner Cable will give away a bobblehead to all fans attending their game against the Kane County Cougars on Thursday, April 7. The bobblehead is titled Scooter vs. The Snowman.

The bobblehead is based on a picture of Scooter Gennett, a top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system and a 2010 Midwest League All-Star, taking a swing at a snowman built by the players just after the first game of last season was called off due to snow on April 8, 2010.

Right now, you can guarantee the bobblehead (AND get a free Opening Night ticket) for yourself by ordering a 10-game ticket package.

Pictures:

IMG_0002.jpg

IMG_0004.jpg

IMG_0008.jpg

The basis for the bobblehead

Thumbnail image for Scooter vs Snowman.jpg

Thoughts on prospects

Jim Breen of Bernie’s Crew, who recently had a Best.Day.Ever., takes a look at the composite rankings of Brewers Prospects.  That would be the top ten prospects in the Milwaukee system as rated by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com, and The Hardball Times.

Click through for the math and stuff.

Meanwhile over at Brew Crew Ball, Kyle has a post titled: Rebuilding from Within: Eight Players Who Could Improve the Brewers Organizational Rankings.

Head over for the Kyle’s thoughts on former Rattlers, Taylor Green, Eric Arnett, Kentrail Davis, and Cutter Dykstra.  Also included are Zelous Wheeler and Logan Schafer.

The excerpts below involve possible future Rattlers Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg:

When Dylan Covey didn’t sign, Nelson became the Brewers’ top remaining pick in the 2010 draft. Even before signing, Nelson was a little controversial: There was a brief uproar when it was discovered that a pre-draft scouting report compared him to Jeff Suppan. There doesn’t appear to be much to the comparison, though: Nelson throws much harder (can hit 96) and appears to be able to strike batters out.

Obviously, we don’t have much of a sample size to analyze at this point with Nelson, who made just 12 appearances (six starts) for Helena after signing. But he’s a likely candidate to open the season in Wisconsin and if he continues striking out batters at his early pace, he’ll climb the prospect rankings pretty quickly.

Like Jimmy Nelson, Thornburg is a 2010 draft pick who hasn’t spent much time in the organization yet. But, despite the fact that he was drafted after Nelson, Thornburg was dominant in his brief time with the H-Brewers and has drawn a much more favorable comparison: I’ve seen Tim Lincecum’s name come up in conversations about him several times now.

Like Nelson, Thornburg is expected to open the season in Wisconsin, and if he’s successful there good news will likely travel fast.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of January 11, 2010

Venezuela:

Caracas 10 @Caribes 6

Caracas:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 1-for-5, RUN
Carlos Maldonado (’99): 2-for-3, RUN

Puerto Rico:

San Juan 6 @Carolina 1

San Juan:
Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 0-for-4

Dominican Republic:

@Toros 2, Escogido 1

Toros:
Martin Maldonado (’99): 0-for-2

@Estrellas 6, Gigantes 4

Gigantes:
Tim Harikkala (Foxes, ’94): 5.1IP, 5H, 2R, ER, BB, Loss

Lets chat

Tom Haudricourt did a chat at Baseball America.com yesterday.

Unfortunately, the chat is behind the subscriber wall.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of “Where would this guy have rated if XXXX had happened?” Or, “THE SKY IS FALLING!  THE SKY IS FALLING!” or, “Will XXXXX be rated in the Top 30 for the 2011 Handbook?”

So, I’m just going to pull a few Q’s & A’s as they relate to Rattlers from 2010.

Steaky (Mass): What’s your assessment of Hunter Morris, and how close to your top 10 list did he rank?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers think Morris’ bat will take him through the system quickly. They even gave him some playing time at third base in the Arizona Fall League. I don’t have the list I submitted originally to BA, so I’m not sure where Morris will rank. I believe he was 10-20, somewhere in there.

Tex (Houston, TX): Khris Davis – prospect or suspect?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers’ love Davis’ bat. They just aren’t sure exactly where to play him to keep moving him through the system. They’ve had that problem with players before and eventually figured it out. Davis was given consideration for my Top 30 list but didn’t quite make it.

Kade Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): What do you think of Erik Komatsu and Cam Garfield? Also,any chance Arnett turns it around? Thanks.

Tom Haudricourt: Komatsu is a guy to watch because after an injury-plagued 2009, he played very well last season. The Brewers think he’s going to be an on-base type guy and therefore a future leadoff hitter. Garfield has to continue to catch, get experience and prove he’ll hit enough to be more than a projected backup. As for Arnett, let’s just say that 2011 is a mighty big year for him.

Shane (Miami): Tom – My condolences on having to put together this list; however, I am one that believes the Brewers used their system properly in making their deals for Greinke and Marcum, if they feel they can contend. What are your thoughts about Gennett sticking at second?

Tom Haudricourt: Second base is definitely the position for Gennett in the future because he comes up a bit short defensively at shortstop. He’s one of those gritty kids who does what it takes to win. Gotta like anybody named “Scooter,” right?

There are a few other Timber Rattlers noted in the chat.  TH thinks that Del Howell may wind up back in Wisconsin to start the 2011 season.  He also thinks that it is too early in the career of Kentrail Davis to compare him to Caleb Gindl.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of January 10, 2010

Venezuela:

@Caracas 8, Zulia 5

Caracas:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 3-for-5, RUN
Carlos Maldonado (’99): 2-for-4, RUN, 2B, HR, 2RBI

Dominican Republic:

@Gigantes 6, Estrellas 5 (11 innings)

Gigantes:
Edward Paredes (’08): .1IP, H, 0R, WIN

Toros 9 @Escogido 7

Toros:
Martin Maldonado (’09): 0-for-4, RUN

Baseball Americas Top 10 List

It’s Prospectmas!

Another list about the prospects in the Brewers system.  This one is from Baseball America.

Pitcher Mark Rogers is the #1 prospect in the organization.  Numbers 2-5 are all ex-Rattlers

2.) Cody Scarpetta
3.) Wily Peralta
4.) Scooter Gennett
5.) Kentrail Davis

Kyle Heckathorn is the other ex-Rattler on the list and he checks in at #9.

Two of the players on the list were in Helena last season.  They may be Rattlers in the near future.

#6 is Pitcher Tyler Thornburg, who was a 3rd round pick out of Charleston Southern in 2010.  Baseball America likes him as a closer in the future.  But, they note that he will probably stay a starter and begin 2011 with the Rattlers…with a chance to move on to High A at some point during the season.  From behind the subscriber wall: Thornburg’s fastball sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 98, though it
doesn’t feature much of life. Some scouts think his power curveball is
his best pitch. He flashed an improved changeup in pro ball, so he may
have the requisite three pitches to remain a starter

Thornburg was 1-0 with a save and a 1.93ERA in nine games (six starts) for Helena last season.  He struck out 38 and walked 11 in 23.1IP.  The link on his name takes you to his MiLB.com page.  This link right here will take you to his page at Charleston Southern.

#8 is Pitcher Jimmy Nelson, a 2nd round pick out of Alabama in 2010.  According to the scouting report behind the subscriber wall: Nelson can hit 96 mph with his fastball, but he has learned that he’s
more effective when he throws a two-seamer in the low 90s with heavy
sink. He complements his fastball with a hard 84-86 mph slider that will
give him a second plus pitch if he gains more consistency.

BA mentions that the Brewers will “turn him loose” in Wisconsin this year.

Nelson was 2-0 with 3 saves and a 3.71ERA in 12 games (no starts) for Helena last season.  He struck out 33 and walked 13 in 26.2IP.  The link on his name is to his MiLB.com page.  This link will take you to his page of Alabama.

Other notes of interest at the BA link:

Best Tools.  Click through for the whole list, but here are the Rattlers from 2010 who BA like:

Power Hitter: Hunter Morris
Athlete: D’Vontrey Richardson
Control: Hiram Burgos
Outfield Arm: D’Vontrey Richardson

Baseball America‘s projected lineup for the Brewers in 2014 includes, Scooter Gennett at second base and Cody Scarpetta as the #5 starter.*

*Take note that their 2014 lineup also has Rickie Weeks in center and Prince Fielder at first base.

The reports of the demise have been greatly exaggerated

Tom Haudricourt had this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday.

Brewers say farm system not depleted by trades

After the Milwaukee Brewers traded away several highly rated prospects to acquire starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke this off-season, some analysts suggested they had “gutted” their minor-league system.

Those who oversee the drafting and developing of players for the Brewers consider that assessment a bit harsh.

“I’m very tired of hearing that,” said scouting director Bruce Seid. “We have work to do, but our fans can feel good about what the future holds for the Brewers’ system down the road.  “A lot of them are down lower in the system at present, but we have more athletic, big arms in the system than at any other time I can remember.”

The Brewers acknowledge that they surrendered some of their best prospects to get Marcum from Toronto and Greinke from Kansas City in trades two weeks apart in December. Second baseman Brett Lawrie, a first-round draft pick in 2008 who was an advanced offensive player at age 20, returned to his native Canada in a one-for-one swap for Marcum.

Lawrie was slated to be ranked as the No.?1 prospect in the Brewers’ system for 2011 by Baseball America. When Lawrie was traded, right-hander Jake Odorizzi – a supplemental first-round pick in ’08 – was in line to move up from the No.?2 spot.

But Odorizzi didn’t last long as the heir apparent. The weekend before Christmas, he was included in the six-player deal with the Royals that netted Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect entering 2010, also went to Kansas City along with centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, No.?8 on the 2010 list, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, a 2006 first-round pick slated to be the No. 3 prospect for 2011.

There’s no denying that the Brewers cut a wide swath through the top of their prospect list, but there were solid reasons they were willing to do so, not the least of which was improving a starting rotation that ranked near the bottom of the National League for two years.

The key takeaway quote from this article is this one from Gord Ash:

“We do have to be a development and scouting organization because we can’t go into the (free-agent) marketplace and sign whomever we want,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash.

“But that doesn’t mean you stockpile them. You use them to make your big-league team better, as (general manager) Doug (Melvin) has done. You can’t operate your farm system separate from your major-league club. There has to be a cooperative path between the two.

“If your team is positioned to win now, which ours is, you have to take advantage of that.”

Here are some names you may see on the back of Timber Rattlers jerseys in the near future.

Seid also thinks folks should keep an eye on four pitchers taken in the 2010 draft – Jimmy Nelson, Matt Miller, Austin Ross and third-rounder Tyler Thornburg, whose slight build and high-90s fastball has drawn comparisons to a younger Tim Lincecum.

“This past year, I’ve had several unsolicited compliments from player development directors, scouts and coaches who have seen these players we have infused into the system,” said Seid. “I respect those comments above anyone else who hasn’t seen these kids.

“These kids need time to develop, so patience is needed there. But some of these arms have front-line potential. There’s no way to predict what their roles will be in three to five years.  Time and development will reveal that, but I don’t remember us having this many power arms at one time.”

Time will tell.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of January 7-9, 2010

Australia:

FRI:
Adelaide 6 @ Melbourne 3

Adelaide:
Jamie McOwen (’07): 0-for-5

SAT:
Adelaide 9 @ Melbourne 2

ADL:
McOwen: 3-for-6, 2R, HR, 2RBI

SUN:
Adelaide 10 @Melbourne 7

ADL:
McOwen (’07): 4-for-6, RUN, RBI

Perth 4 @Sydney 1

Sydney:
Craig Anderson (’00): 7IP, 7H, R, BB, 4K, Loss

Venezuela:

Friday:

Aragua 3 @Caracas 2

Caracas:
Asdrubal Cabrera (’05): 1-for-3, RUN, RBI
Carlos Maldonado (’99): 0-for-3

@Caribes 4, Zulia 2

Zulia:
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): 0-for-3

Saturday:

@Margarita 1, Zulia 0

ZUL:
Navarro: 1-for-3

Sunday:

Caribes 5 @Caracas 4

CAR:
C. Maldonado: 1-for-3

@Margarita 4, Zulia 3

Margarita:
Renee Cortez (’03): IP, 0H, 0R, K

Zulia:
Navarro: 0-for-4

Dominican Republic:

Friday:
Gigantes 7 @Toros 5

Toros:
Martin Maldonado (’09): Defensive Replacement

Sunday:
Toros 8 @Gigantes 2

Gigantes:
Edward Paredes (’08): IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K

Puerto Rico:

Friday:
@Caguas 4, Carolina 0

Carolina:
Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): 1-for-3

Saturday:
|
@Ponce 6, Carolina 3

CAR:
Dominguez: 0-for-4

Sunday:

Ponce 7 @Carolina 1

CAR:
Dominguez: 1-for-4

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