Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

Photos from Spring Training – March 20, 2015

Day Two of Mehring in Arizona – or the cooler title of Mehring in Maryvale that I didn’t come up with but is on the media wall image – is up on the main website.  Here are some photos from today at minor league camp.

March 20 2015 001

Kodi Medeiros takes the mound for a defensive drill.

Kodi Medeiros takes the mound for a defensive drill.

Batting Practice Group #1 gets ready.

Batting Practice Group #1 gets ready.

Devin Williams makes a pitch in the first inning on Friday.

Devin Williams makes a pitch in the first inning on Friday.

Monte Harrison at the plate.

Monte Harrison at the plate.

Jake Gatewood takes a swing on Friday.

Jake Gatewood takes a swing on Friday.

Gilbert Lara at shortstop.

Gilbert Lara at shortstop.

Gian Rizzo gave up a leadoff double in the ninth, but retired the next three hitters for a scoreless inning.

Gian Rizzo gave up a leadoff double in the ninth, but retired the next three hitters for a scoreless inning.

 I think that home run would – well, seem fairer and feel fouler.

I think that home run would – well, seem fairer and feel fouler.

Alumni Birthdays for March 20:
Javier Salas (’14) – 23
Dana Williams (Hitting Coach ’02-’04, ’07) – 52
Donn Koch (’82) – 56
Paul ‘Frosty’ Francis (’51) – Would have been 86

`Frosty” was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Middletown, The Choate School and a 1950 graduate of Wesleyan University. Upon college graduation, Francis pursued his dream of becoming a professional baseball player. He pitched in the St. Louis Browns organization until an injury forced him to pursue his other dream of coaching basketball. After two years as the head basketball coach at the Saint James School in Hagerstown, MD, “Frosty” accepted the head basketball coaching duties back in CT at the Kingswood School. At Kingswood, for 25 years he was a teacher, coach, Director of Athletics, and finally Director of Finance and Development. Among his many accomplishments as a coach were two Class “B” New England basketball titles, in 1956 and 1957, and the establishment of what is now, the “Frosty” Francis KIT (Kingswood Invitational Tournament) in 1963, the longest running prep basketball tournament in New England.

In the Pipeline

MLB Pipeline has released their Top 30 Prospects in the Brewers organization.

I count 17 former Timber Rattlers on that Top 30 List.

#1 is Orlando Arcia

Orlando Arcia in 2013.

Orlando Arcia in 2013.

#2 is Tyrone Taylor

Tyrone Taylor in 2013.

Tyrone Taylor in 2013.

Click the link up top to see the whole list.

Of note for fans of the Timber Rattlers, I count three players in the top ten who will most likely be in the Fox Cities this season and two other players in the top ten who COULD be with the Rattlers in the future…if not in 2015.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has the writeup on the 2015 Brewers Top 30 List:

[I]f you’re looking for high-risk, high-reward players, the types of lottery tickets the Brewers hadn’t purchased in the past, the 2014 Draft took care of you. Scouting director Bruce Seid, in what proved to be his final Draft as he tragically passed away last September, had one of the most daring first nights of the Draft in recent memory. High schoolers Monte Harrison, Jake Gatewood and Kodi Medeiros are all in the Top 10, and they bring some added excitement about what they can become in the future. Add in international signee Gilbert Lara and Milwaukee has four teenagers in the Top 10 now.

At the top of the list are two longer-standing Brewers prospects, both with considerable upside themselves. Shortstop Orlando Arcia is the lone representative in the Top 100, but it wouldn’t surprise many to see outfielder Tyrone Taylor join him at some point in the future.

Alumni Birthdays for March 12:
Wick Udy (’03) – 36
Victor Martinez (’99) – 37
Jesus Marquez (’93, ’94) – 42
Donald Young (’90) – 48
Doug Bock (’88) – 49
Gary Keeton (’83) – 54
Steve Noworyta (’82, ’83) – 55
Tommy Toman (’75, ’76) – 59
Johnny Ellen (’61) – 75

This seems like a great idea

Bill Smith was the General Manager of the Appleton Foxes from 1983-1985.  He has moved up in the Minnesota Twins organization, where he was the GM from 2008-2011, and is presently an assistant to the president and GM for the Twins.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Bill Smith at the Twins Spring Training Complex. Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Why do I bring this up today?

This story about renovations to the Twins spring training complex in Florida was passed along to me and I liked it for a lot of different reasons.

The first was the connection to Smith, since this nearly $50 million project was his baby…to put it one way.  The second was this:

The centerpiece of the…project was the minor league player development academy. The gleaming three-story building was designed to house, feed, teach and train prospects year round. The Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates each have on-site dormitories for minor leaguers elsewhere in Florida, but what the Twins have now is unparalleled in the majors.

“There are going to be guys who are going to point to the academy as far as an important part of their development,” President Dave St. Peter said.

The overall goal was to better prepare Twins prospects for the majors, from nutrition to education to equipment.

For the many Spanish-speaking players from Latin American countries, there are English lessons. For the drafted players who left college before graduation, there are spaces and resources for completing degrees online. For everyone, there are healthy meals professionally prepared on site.

“They don’t even allow cookies over there,” general manager Terry Ryan said, adding: “They can go out and get what they want if they want to, but it’s important to us that at least they have been educated about what we want them to put in their bodies.”

There’s no soda, either, but comforts abound. The 54 double rooms have plush queen beds, refrigerators, desks, dressers and bathrooms, each unit decorated with photos of the Twins players who wore the number of the room. Justin Morneau and Mudcat Grant, for example, provide the backdrop for No. 33.

Plenty more at the link.  But here’s a photo of one of the dorm rooms.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Bill Smith’s 1983 baseball card with the Foxes:

We need a bigger card.

GM’s had cards in those days.

Alumni Birthdays for February 26:
Rich Graham (’93) – 45
David Howard (’88) – 48

1993 Classic Best Appleton Foxes #9 - Rich Graham - Courtesy of COMC.com
1993 Classic Best Appleton Foxes #9 – Rich Graham

Prospect Projections

This article by Jake Seiner was published on MiLB.com on Monday.  It looks at Prospect Projections within the NL Central.

There are a few issues with the Brewers entry…mainly that Shawn Zarraga is no longer in the organization.  BUT, overall, worthwhile to take “a look at rookie-eligible players who could make an impact in the Majors.”

The projections are:

analysis regarding who could make an impact, as well as Steamer projections (taken with gratitude from Fangraphs) for those players. For those who don’t know, Steamer is a projection system that uses statistics, age, level and other factors to predict player performance. The system makes for a fun point of reference in trying to gauge which prospects could play the biggest short-term roles.

Each team is broken down into hitters and pitchers. So, a look at the writeup on hitters in Milwaukee’s organization doesn’t have anything on former Rattlers.  But, here are how they project a few ex-Rattlers to perform in the Majors based on that formula:

Brewers POS PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld WAR
Jason Rogers 3B 600 16 6 .247 .308 .390 .310 93 -13.7 0.2
Yadiel Rivera SS 600 8 11 .225 .263 .320 .260 59 0.0 -0.5
Jason Rogers rounds third and heads for home in this 2011 game. (Photo Credit: Ann Mollica)

Jason Rogers rounds third and heads for home in this 2011 game. (Photo Credit: Ann Mollica)

And now a look at the MLB projections of former Timber Rattlers pitchers:

Brewers W L ERA GS G IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
David Goforth 2 3 4.65 0 65 65 8 1.47 6.5 3.9 4.70 -0.6
Michael Strong 3 4 4.61 0 65 65 8 1.48 7.0 4.3 4.65 -0.6
Brooks Hall 3 5 5.42 0 65 65 10 1.55 5.0 3.7 5.32 -1.1
Johnny Hellweg 3 5 5.62 0 65 65 8 1.69 6.1 5.7 5.42 -1.2
Photo Credit: Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

David Goforth as a Timber Rattler in 2012.

Take those projections for what they are…projections.

Alumni Birthdays for February 5:
Eric O’Flaherty (’04, ’05) – 30
Jason Heath (’95) – 44

Number 88

MLB’s Pipline announced their Top 100 Prospects heading into the 2015 season.

Former Timber Rattlers shortstop Orlando Arcia checks in at #88:

Arcia’s advanced defensive skills are ready for higher levels now. He has outstanding range and soft hands to go along with a very strong arm. There is no question he will stay at the premium position long-term. Arcia continues to improve at the plate to the point where he’s no longer a glove-only type of middle infielder. He makes consistent contact, to all fields, rarely striking out. He even has a little extra-base pop coming from his very quick swing, which was on display particularly during his winter ball stint. He uses his speed to be a basestealing threat as well.

Good to see!

Orlando Arcia as a Timber Rattler in 2013.

Orlando Arcia as a Timber Rattler in 2013.

Alumni Birthdays for February 3:
Luis Figueroa (’98) – 38
Mike Marchiano (’98) – 40
Whitey Gluchoski (Manager, ’46 & ’47) – Would have been 92

First Rattler to start in an All-Star Game.

First Rattler to start in an All-Star Game.

All Time Leader in Walkoff Hits by a Timber Rattler.  All FIVE happened in 1998.

All Time Leader in Walkoff Hits by a Timber Rattler. All FIVE happened in 1998.

 

 

Good day at On Deck

The Milwaukee Brewers held their On Deck event on Sunday afternoon.  The Timber Rattlers had some representation:

FangAtBrewersOnDeck

RattlersAtBrewersOnDeck2
FangAtBrewersOnDeck2

RattlersAtBrewersOnDeck
Michael Sears of The Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel caught this photo of former Rattlers Clint Coulter and David Goforth:

GoforthCoulter

Full size photo at this photo gallery.

There was alumni news from the event.

The Journal-Sentinel caught up with Jimmy Nelson (’11), who is ready to succeed in the Milwaukee rotation:

When the Milwaukee Brewers traded established starter Yovani Gallardo to Texas and committed to unproven Jimmy Nelson in their starting rotation for 2015, it was an admitted gamble.

Nelson’s goal is to prove it was smart money.

“I’m excited about it. I feel like I’m ready,” the 25-year-old right-hander said during a break Sunday at Brewers On Deck, the team’s annual fan festival in downtown Milwaukee.

What raised concerns among many fans about that move was the way Nelson struggled during his 2014 debut season. He went 2-9 with a 4.93 earned run average in 14 games (12 starts), eventually pitching his way out of the rotation as the Brewers faltered down the stretch.

It was a far cry from how Nelson performed at Class AAA Nashville before being summoned. In 17 outings there, he went 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA, striking out 114 hitters in 111 innings. Nelson was so impressive over that period he was named Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year despite missing most of the second half.

For Nelson, it was a matter of a lesson learned.

“The problem was when I got to the big leagues I got away from my game plan,” said Nelson. “The things I was doing to be successful, I got away from that when I got up here.

“I’ve got to learn from that and stick to what was working. I know why it happens. There’s no specific reason you can put a finger on. I just got away from the way I pitched in Triple-A.”

Brewers.com has news that Jim Henderson (’09) and Tyler Thornburg( ’11) are aiming for Opening Day to return from injury:

Thornburg, who has avoided Tommy John surgery for a compromised ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, is already throwing bullpen sessions. Henderson, who underwent surgery to “clean up” bone spurs and tissue damage in his right shoulder, is scheduled to throw his first proper bullpen session on Tuesday. If that goes well, he will repeat the exercise on Friday.

“I can probably give you a better answer in maybe two to three weeks, but the rehab’s gone well,” said Henderson, who was penciled in as Brewers closer before experiencing shoulder weakness last spring. “I feel strong. I’ve had no problems, no setbacks. I pushed it as far as I could go last year, trying to come back and rehab, so that I could be ready this year.”
 
Asked whether his Opening Day goal was realistic, Henderson said, “Yep, 100 percent. We’re going to get 10 bullpens in here before Spring Training, and then you’ve got all of Spring Training as well. …

Personally, I am excited for the new Barrel Man mascot and T-Shirt!!!!

Alumni Birthdays for January 24:
Tyler Wagner (’13) – 24
Joseph DeLuise (’64) – 69
Sandy Valdespino (’58) – 76
Ed Lewee (Manager, 1910) – Would be 142

IMG_0449

Alumni Birthdays for January 25:
Eric Arnett (’10, ’11) – 27
Jimmy Maness (’66) – 70

Eric Arnett Wisconsin Timber rattlers 2010

Alumni Birthdays for January 26:
Josh Prince (’09) – 27
Ryan Rowland-Smith (’02, ’03) – 32
Mike Pazik (Coach, ’82) – 65

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Ryan Rowland-Smith from 2003.

Brewers prospects to watch

This USA Today article is from last Wednesday, but I just found it.  And since three of their four Brewers prospects to watch have been Timber Rattlers within the last two seasons, I thought it was relevant enough to share here.

They name Tyrone Taylor (’13), Orlando Arica (’13), Clint Coulter (’13, ’14), and Taylor Jungmann.

Here is a quick taste of what they say about the three former Rattlers:

Taylor:

[T]he center fielder has shown all the qualities needed to be a leadoff hitter as he’s risen through the minor leagues, despite being among the younger players at each level. Taylor, 21 this month, spent most of last season at High Class-A Brevard County (Fla.), where he hit .278/.331/.396 with 22 stolen bases.

Arcia:

Arcia, 20, is an excellent defender who hit .289 with a .346 on-base percentage and 31 stolen bases last season at High Class-A Brevard County. A natural shortstop, Arcia performed equally well defensively while learning second base last season.

Orlando Arcia as the Timber Rattlers shortstop in 2013.

Orlando Arcia as the Timber Rattlers shortstop in 2013.

Coulter:

He tied for the Midwest League home run title and had a league-best .930 OPS on his way to becoming the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. He split his time almost evenly between catcher and designated hitter in 2014, but at age 21 he should have ample time to transition to the outfield, where he played exclusively in the Arizona Fall League.

Alumni Birthdays for January 23:
Brandon Moorhead (’03, ’04) – 35
Cornelio Garcia (’86) – 50

Garcia went on to have a great career in the Mexican League and is a member was elected to Mexican Baseball’s Salón de la Fama in 2003, the first year he was eligible for the honor.

Cornelio Garcia's baseball card with the 1986 Appleton Foxes.

Cornelio Garcia’s baseball card with the 1986 Appleton Foxes.

Fall League Wrap – November 18, 2014

Jim Callis of MLB.com has this complete review of the players who stood out from the crowd in the 2014 Arizona Fall League.

This is what he notes about a pair of Brewers prospects:

Best Performance: Left-handed reliever Michael Strong recorded a 1.98 ERA, two saves and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He isn’t especially physical at 6 feet and 195 pounds, but he can run his fastball up to 94 mph and backs it up with a hard curveball.

Best Prospect: Outfielder Tyrone Taylor posted a .271/.315/.306 slash line and was the AFL’s toughest player to strike out, with one whiff every 13.3 plate appearances. His biggest assets are his speed, center-field defense and line-drive hitting.

In random…and I do mean random…alumni news over the past weekend.  Look at who turned up to talk to the Milwaukee Bucks before their game against the Heat in Miami on Sunday:

And what did they talk about?  Jim Paschke had this tweet:

There was a Jersey Chaser winner yesterday.

Mehring Monday looked at The Traded, the four 2014 Timber Rattlers to be traded by the Brewers this year.

The Mascots recreated a scene from A Christmas Story…really.

Alumni Birthdays for November 18:
Michael Reed (’13) – 22
Tony Butler (’07, ’10) – 27
Mike Hrynio (’04) – 32
David Ortiz (’96) – 39
Tom Gordon (’88) – 47
Don Carr (’85) – 52
Diego Melendez (’80) – 56

Tom Gordon at Goodland Field in 1988.

Tom Gordon at Goodland Field in 1988.

David Ortiz in 1996

David Ortiz in 1996

Veterans Day and All-Stars – November 11, 2014

Photo is from the excellent Baseball in Wartime website.

306th Bomb Group

306th Bomb Group in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.

This link is to Those Who Served and were baseball players.  Thank you to all who served.

MiLB.com has been announcing their All-Stars for each Major League organization for the last few weeks.  Yesterday, they announced the Brewers organizational All-Stars.

Ten of the twelve positions were filled by players who played with the Timber Rattlers.  Yes. Twelve. The eight defensive positions, a utility position, right-handed starting pitcher, left-handed starting pitcher, and relief pitcher.

Click the link for the whole list and for comments on each player from Reid Nichols, the Director of Player Development for the Brewers.  I’ll excerpt the write-ups on the players who were Timber Rattlers in 2014.

Catcher — Clint Coulter, Wisconsin (126 games): After an injury-plagued 2013, Coulter improved across the board, playing in 56 more games than the year before while boosting his OPS by 216 points. The 2012 first-round pick led the organization with 22 homers and 89 RBIs while batting a solid .287 for the Timber Rattlers.

“He made a big improvement,” said Reid Nichols, the Brewers’ director of player development. “I think he’ll make more next year. He was a little more selective at the plate. He’s learning how to slow it down. He was a little too firm and hard on his stride and he’s learned to soften it up a bit, and it’s really helped him.”

Though there’s a good chance you’ll see the Brewers’ No. 7 prospect on this list next year, it almost certainly won’t be at the same position, Nichols indicated.

“His catching didn’t get a whole lot better and we moved him to right field for now,” he said of Coulter, who has continued his season in the Arizona Fall League. “He’s working in the outfield and he’s made a pretty good adjustment.”

Second baseman — Chris McFarland, Wisconsin (100 games): Repeating at Wisconsin, McFarland increased his batting average by 46 points and saw his OPS rise from .656 to .719. The 21-year-old also increased his stolen base total from seven to 30, tying for 12th in the Midwest League.

“I really think he came in more focused,” Nichols said. “Different approach at the plate, more business-like. I think he started getting a bit more serious about his job.”

Nichols attributed the rise in steals to an organizational emphasis.

“We [used to have] a roving baserunning instructor and we went without one this year, and I think everyone took it to heart that it was their job, too,” he said of the coaches at each level. “Our teaching was to be more aggressive on the basepaths — we didn’t care if you got thrown out, we just wanted to see if you could steal or not. I think it’s paid off. We were happy with the improvement in the basestealing, although that’s not the focus; we just want the guys to be more aggressive.

June29_FaithDay_038

Chris McFarland running the bases for the Rattlers in 2014.

Outfielder Michael Ratterree, Wisconsin (125 games), Huntsville (seven games): After winning Pioneer League MVP honors in 2013, Ratterree made the jump to full-season play and showed promise, despite a .228 average. The 23-year-old tied for second in the organization with 19 homers and tied for fourth with 76 RBIs. Ratterree helped balance out his low average with patience at the plate, drawing 79 walks, including 75 at Wisconsin to rank second in the Midwest League. He also received some postseason hardware, earning a Minor League Gold Glove.

“Anytime you get a young hitter who can take walks, he’s gonna do something later,” Nichols said. “While he didn’t have a really good batting average, his on-base was good and that will turn into a good batting average later, in my opinion. And he won a Gold Glove for the Minor Leagues, which is kind of cool. Same as all these guys — focus up the middle and be selective at the pitches you swing at early in the count. It’s kind of the formula for hitting in general. He’ll get it.”

Alumni Birthdays for November 11:
Michael Cox (’04) – 34
Jose Herrera (’01) – 35
Jim Horner (’97, Manager: ’06, ’07) – 41
Kyle Towner (’95) – 42
David Lawson (’93, ’94) – 42
Ryan Smith (’94) – 43
Chuck Hernandez (’83) – 54
Kim Girkins (’76) – 60
James White (’63) – Would have been 74
Jim_Horner

94lawson

 

 

Back on October 20 – October 7, 2014

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:

Pitchers:
Brooks Hall
Mike Strong
Tyler Wagner
Wei-Chung Wang

Tyler Wagner in 2013

Tyler Wagner in 2013

Catcher: Shawn Zarraga

Infielder: Nick Ramirez

Outfielder: Tyrone Taylor

Tyrone Taylor in 2013

Tyrone Taylor in 2013

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):
Hitter:
Cubs:
Luis Valbuena (’06): 149 games, .249/.341/.435, 16 HR, 51 RBI

Pitcher:
Reds:
Manny Parra (’11): 53 games, 0-3, 1 Save, 4.66ERA, 36.2IP, 18BB, 34K

Alumni Birthdays:
Henry Pawlowicz (’65) – 68
Danny Rourke (’69-’71)- 67
Dan Head (’01, ’02) – 36
Hunter Morris (’10) – 26

Hunter Morris rounds the bases after one of his nine home runs with the Timber Rattlers in 2010. (Credit: PSB Photo)

Hunter Morris rounds the bases after one of his nine home runs with the Timber Rattlers in 2010. (Credit: PSB Photo)

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