January 2011

A Brewers Top 20 Prospect List

John Sickels from MinorLeagueBall.com posted his Top 20 Brewers Prospect List on Thursday.  Click over to read his grades and a quick capsule on each player…and to see the entire list.

Eleven of the 20 players on his list are former Timber Rattlers.  Six of the 11 former Rattlers played for Wisconsin in 2010.  For each of the 2010 Rattlers, I have included the information the John provided.

The ex-Rattlers on his list are:

2.) Cody Scarpetta

3.) Kentrail Davis: Grade B-: Good tools, hits for average, I think he’ll get on base. But what about power?

5.) Kyle Heckathorn: Grade B-: Huge ground ball specialist, another future fourth starter?

6.) Wily Peralta

7.) Scooter Gennett: A very good hitter, needs to polish defense but could make a lot of noise in ’11. Keep close track of him.

10.) Erik Komatsu

12.) Hunter Morris: Grade C: Plenty of power potential, but something makes me wonder if
he’ll fully live up to expectations. I might be underrating him.

13.) D’Vontrey Richardson: Grade C: Outstanding tools, extremely raw. Can he refine them?

16.) Khris Davis: Good power production in the Midwest League, but a bit old for the
level. Grade will rise if he hits in Double-A. . .might be able to pull a
Jerry Sands.

18.) Dan Merklinger

19.) Mike Fiers

If you are interested in another prospect list, Baseball America’s Top 10 Brewers prospect list is coming out on Monday.

Former Rattlers pitchers in the news

ESPN reports that agent Scott Boras thinks that client Rafael Soriano (’00) would be a great fit for the Yankees!

Free-agent closer Rafael Soriano led the majors in saves last year, but he would consider being a setup man for one team in baseball — the New York Yankees.

“That door is open for a number of different reasons,” Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, told ESPNNewYork.com.

The possibility of putting together a shutdown bullpen by pairing Soriano in the eighth inning with closer Mariano Rivera could be an alternative plan for the Yankees after failing to lure Cliff Lee to the Bronx.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Rafael Soriano will not go to the Yankees!

Heard this: As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, the Yankees are not interested in Rafael Soriano. They’ve seen a lot of $ squandered on set-up men.

Soriano would have to make himself absurdly cheap — on a very short-term (1-year or 2-year deal) — before NYY would even consider him.

Brian Fuentes (’97) spent last year with the Angels and Twins.  Now, he is a free agent and he wants to close!  He wants to close because…

Fuentes telling teams he would like to close, source says. Not a shock. That’s where the money is.

Lookout Landing has a look at what to expect from Michael Pineda (’08).

I think we can project a healthy Michael Pineda to throw something like 100-120 innings as a Seattle Mariner next season. What should we expect to see over those 100-120 innings?

We’ll see Pineda dominate at times with a mid- to high-90s tailing fastball, of which he has pretty good command. He likes to work up in the zone, leading to a lot of swinging strikes, and that’s a good foundation for any starting pitcher. If you can get batters to swing through your fastball, you’re probably going to generate a lot of strikeouts and limit run-scoring opportunities.

Between his fastball and slider, Pineda should have little problem working against right-handed batters pretty much from the minute he first steps on a Major League mound. No one’s immune to making mistakes and on occasion he’ll get burned, but he should nevertheless be highly effective.

The struggles, I imagine, will come against lefties. And though that doesn’t seem like a critical issue, since left-handed bats are greatly outnumbered by right-handed bats, many teams will have enough lefties around to stack their lineups. The Rangers will probably start four. The Angels will probably start four or five. The A’s will probably start five or six. Felix has faced 53% lefties over the course of his career, and I’d expect Pineda to see a similar breakdown.

Read it all. Because, it’s not like they expect Pineda to be terrible against lefties.

Meanwhile over at the home page

Just doing a little honorable mentioning.  Here are six games that could have made the list of the top five Timber Rattlers games of 2010…if I hadn’t made up my mind on what the top five Timber Rattlers games of 2010 were.

You can take a poll at the home page to select which of these games should (could) have been in the top five.

Rattlers Alumni Report: Games of January 6, 2010


Adelaide 6 @Melbourne 3

Jamie McOwen (’07): 0-for-5

Also, the Australian Baseball League twitter feed asked for a favorite player (past or present).  Daniel Floyd, a Rattler in 2001 and 2002, is the answer.  He was a good kid with the Rattlers AND he had the Claxton Shield winning hit for the Perth Heat a couple of years ago.  Floyder is not a bad choice.

Let them know.  Make sure to include @TimberRattlers when you let them know.

Thursday Program cover post (1974)

The 1974 program cover is the same as the 1972 program cover.  The only difference is that the ’72 cover had a blue tint, while the 1974 cover had the red tint you see below.  Click all images for a larger, um, image.

74Cover.jpgHere is the schedule page from the 1974 program:


This picture of the handsome devils that made up the 1974 team is from the 1975 program, but I am including it here because…well, it belongs here.


Timber Rattlers Managers

Matt Erickson becomes the tenth manager in Timber Rattlers history.

Here are the regular season records of the previous nine men to have held the position:

Manager (Seasons) .........W…..L...PCT
Scott Steinmann (’05)
Gary Varsho (’97, ’98)
Gary Thurman (’00-’02)
Mike Goff (’95, ’96)
Daren Brown (’03)
Steve Roadcap (’99, ’04) 129
Jeff Isom (’09, ’10)
Terry Pollreisz (’08)
Jim Horner (’06, ’07)
TOTAL (1995-2010)
......1,056 1,148...479

Matt Erickson CAN come home again.

Mike Woods, who goes by the twitter handle of @FloridaGators59, has the story on the new manager of the Timber Rattlers.

About the time Matt Erickson set foot back in Appleton, various members of the Milwaukee Brewers organization kept asking him the same thing:

“Are you interesting in managing?” And his answer was always the same: “Yes.”

On Wednesday, both of their wishes came true when the Brewers named Erickson manager of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for 2011.

“I told them I would like the opportunity, if it became available in Appleton,” said Erickson, an Appleton West graduate, who served as the Timber Rattlers hitting coach for the past two years.


Reid Nichols, the Brewers special assistant to the general manager/director of player development, said this was a move two years in the making.

“He expressed an interest in managing, pretty much as soon as he got here,” Nichols said. “We’ve been training him, and this is his time.

“No doubt we like what he’s doing. He managed our instructional league team a couple of years ago. He’s a good person, first. And he’s done a very good job in the position of hitting coach for us.”

Nichols believes Erickson, 35, has the right makeup and the right intangibles to succeed in his new position.

“He’s a good communicator and pays attention to the game,” Nichols said. “He’s always prepared and comes ready. Matt will be able to do whatever he sets his mind to do. He’ll do a good job as manager.

If I were capable of feeling emotion, I would say that I am happy for Matt and the Timber Rattlers. This is a good fit.

Here is the release from the Timber Rattlers website announcing the entire coaching staff for the 2011 season.

Also, best wishes to Jeff Isom, who moves on to Brevard County, Milwaukee’s affiliate in the Florida State League.

Rattler Alumi in Winter Leagues Update

Below are the up-to-date regular season stats for the former Rattlers in the various winter leagues around the globe:

In Australia, the regular season runs on for a few more weeks.

Jamie McOwen (’07): .330/.434/.553; 6 HR; 18 RBI

Craig Anderson (’00): 4G; 4GS; 3-1; 1.71ERA; 26.1IP, 5BB, 19K

In Venezuela, they are in the round robin part of their playoffs.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx (’06): 7G, 7GS, 2-2, 1.60; 33.2IP, 9BB, 19K

Blake Ochoa (’08): 3G; .222/.222/.222 0HR, 0RBI
Renee Cortez (’03): 24G; 1-2, SAVE, 3.62ERA; 27.1IP; 9BB, 15K
BOBBY! Livingston (’03): 2G; 0-0; 10.80ERA; BB, 2K
Justin Thomas (’06): 9G; 4GS; 1-2; 5.12ERA; 19.1IP; 10BB; 14K

Edilio Colina (’08): .319/.359/.353; 0HR; 14RBI
Alex Liddi (’08): .218/.301/.345 2HR, 12RBI
Oswaldo Navarro (’05): .306/.354/.405; 0HR, 21RBI
Michael Saunders (’06): .192/.323/.231; 0HR, 0RBI
Luis Valbuena (’06): .228/.363/..353; 4HR, 22RBI
Cha Seung Baek (’00): 3G; 3GS; 1-1; 5.91; 10.2IP, 4BB; 6K
Caesar Jimenez (’03): 17G; 1-1; 2.41; 18.2IP; 10BB; 19K
Juan Ovalles (’04): 9G; 0-0; 6.35ERA; 11.1IP; 6BB; 10K

Mike Wilson (’05): .277/.422/.554; 4HR; 14RBI

Carlos Maldonado (’99): .256/.359/.424; 5HR; 21RBI

Ivan Blanco (’05): 9G; 0-0; 4.66ERA; 9.2IP; 6BB, 8K
Jose Escalona (’08): 16G; 0-0; 5.63ERA’ 8.0IP; 5BB; K

In the Dominican Republic, they are also in the round robin portion of their playoffs.

Natividad Dilone (’08): 2G; 0-0; 4.50ERA; 2BB;0K

Leury Bonilla (’07): 7G; .600/.600/.600; 0HR; 0RBI
Juan Diaz (’08): 5G; .222/.300/.333; 0HR, 2RBI
Bryan LaHair (’04): 10G; .294/.368/..353; 0HR; 6RBI
Ryan Ketchner (’02): 10G; 9GS; 2-3; 3.18ERA; 45.1IP; 16BB; 22K

Tim Harikkala (Foxes, ’94): 3G; 0-0; 2.08ERA; 8.2IP; 4BB; 5K

Ogui Diaz (’07): G; 0-0; 9.00ERA; IP; BB; 3K

Carlos Peguero (’08): .253/.314/.418; 3HR; 9RBI
Carlos Triunfel (’07): .103/.103/.172; 0HR; 2RBI
Mike Wilson (’05): .231/.375/.462; 2HR; 7RBI
Jorge Sosa (’01): 10G; 6GS; 1-2, 7.57ERA/27.1IP; 18BB; 19K

In Puerto Rico, they are also in the round robin portion of their postseason.

Jeffrey Dominguez (’06): .281/.319/.437; 4HR; 15RBI

Johan Limonta (’06): .229/.311/.314; 2HR; 11RBI
Martin Maldonado (’09): .243/.293/..343; HR; 7RBI
Hiram Burgos (’10): 8G; 2GS; 0-1; 3.06; 17.2IP; 8BB; 16K
Mumba Rivera (’05): 12G; 0-0; 2.51; 14.1IP; 7BB; 10K

San Juan:
Rene Rivera (’03): .188/.272/.277; 2HR; 7RBI
Efrain Nieves (’10): 12G, 10GS; 3-5; 4.41ERA; 49.0IP; 22BB; 26K

And now back to regular programming

Sorry, about that.  We had an extended internet outage at the stadium.  The day of posts continues next.

Season two, Episode four of The Offseason

Fang takes a trip. What could go wrong?

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