Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’
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.
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.
Bill Smith’s 1983 baseball card with the Foxes:
Alumni Birthdays for February 26:
Rich Graham (’93) – 45
David Howard (’88) – 48
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:
And now a look at the MLB projections of former Timber Rattlers pitchers:
Take those projections for what they are…projections.
Alumni Birthdays for February 5:
Eric O’Flaherty (’04, ’05) – 30
Jason Heath (’95) – 44
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!
Alumni Birthdays for February 3:
Luis Figueroa (’98) – 38
Mike Marchiano (’98) – 40
Whitey Gluchoski (Manager, ’46 & ’47) – Would have been 92
The Milwaukee Brewers held their On Deck event on Sunday afternoon. The Timber Rattlers had some representation:
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!!!!
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 25, 2015
Alumni Birthdays for January 24:
Tyler Wagner (’13) – 24
Joseph DeLuise (’64) – 69
Sandy Valdespino (’58) – 76
Ed Lewee (Manager, 1910) – Would be 142
Alumni Birthdays for January 25:
Eric Arnett (’10, ’11) – 27
Jimmy Maness (’66) – 70
Alumni Birthdays for January 26:
Josh Prince (’09) – 27
Ryan Rowland-Smith (’02, ’03) – 32
Mike Pazik (Coach, ’82) – 65
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:
[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, 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.
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
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:
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 16, 2014
And what did they talk about? Jim Paschke had this tweet:
For those asking- A Rod’s message to Bucks well received. Talked about starting at 19, being called frugal is good and drive a normal car.
— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) November 17, 2014
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
Photo is from the excellent Baseball in Wartime website.
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.“
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
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 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
Keep your eyes on this link to Baseball America. They should be announcing the Top 20 Prospects in the Midwest League soon. Since the team has a subscription to the print magazine, I can see the list before it’s on the web…which is so….odd.
Only one Timber Rattler made the list:
#7 Clint Coulter. The partial scouting report from the magazine.
While Coulter does have a great batting-eye, his swing isn’t picture-perfect, as it involves a large load and a powerful cut that makes it hard to always control the barrel. That leads to swings and misses on pitches in the zone, but when he does connect, Coulter drives the ball.
Peoria pitcher Alex Reyes was #1 in the MWL. The full list and capsules on each of the players on the list should be at the link later.
I would have thought that Taylor Williams might have made the list, but it’s tough in a 16-team league.
In last night’s AL Wild Card game, the Kansas City Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings. Former Timber Rattler Lorenzo Cain drove in a pair of runs last night, including the first run of Kansas City’s comeback in the eighth inning:
Today is the first day of the season review of Timber Rattlers in MLB during the 2014 season. Here’s a quick look at the former Rattlers….and one former Fox who spent time in the AL West this year:
Raul Ibanez (’94): 57 games, .157/.258/.265, 3HR, 21RBI
That was hit number 2,000 for Ibanez in his MLB career.
Michael Saunders (’06): 78 games, .273/.341/.450, 8HR, 34RBI
Shin-Soo Choo (’01, ’02): 123 games, .242/.340/.374, 13HR, 40RBI
One of his hits this season was #1,000 in his career:
Nate Adcock (’07, ’08): 7 games, 0-0, 4.50ERA, 10.0IP, 5BB, 9K
Ryan Feierabend (’02): 6 games, 0-0, 6.14ERA, 7.1IP, 2BB, 4K
Eric O’Flaherty (’04, ’05): 21 games, 1-0, 1 save, 2.25ERA, 20IP, 4BB, 15K
The save was the first of his MLB career.
Felix Hernandez (’03): 34 games, 34 starts, 15-6, 2.14ERA, 236IP, 46BB, 248K.
Take a bow, King Felix!