Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

Rattler Radio Podcast – March 16, 2015

Kyle Lobner & I got together to record the final podcast of this offseason.

The main topic this week is his latest Frosty Microbrew on the main website, which is about Trey Supak, David Denson, & the changes in the Brewers organization.

We also discussed the state of the field after the renovation. Despite all the rain, there is no standing water on the grass.  Here’s a picture:

Looking Green....Looking Good.

Looking Green….Looking Good.

Here’s the podcast:

Arcia Checks in at #3

MLB Pipeline is working their way up to their top 100 prospects by releasing the top 10 prospects at each position.  Last night they unveiled their Top 10 Shortstop Prospects and former Timber Rattler Orlando Arcia is rated #3.

Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

Orlando Arcia as a Rattler in 2013.

From Jim Callis:

[Arcia] had established himself as one of the premier defenders in the Minors entering 2015, and now he’s considered one of the game’s very best prospects after batting .307/.347/.453 in Double-A at age 20. Arcia is a potential Gold Glover and .300 hitter with some developing pop. He’s yet another player on this list with baseball bloodlines, as his brother Oswaldo plays for the Twins.

There is video at the link, but you will have to go there to watch it.

It is mentioned in the video that Arcia has improved the “quality of his contact” and that he led the Southern League in doubles with 37 is proof of that.

Timber Rattlers fans will remember that he always made contact. As an 18-year-old for most of the 2013 season with Wisconsin, Arcia struck out just 40 times in 486 plate appearances. That was just 8.2% of the time. That went up a bit in his Southern League season as a 20-year-old during 2015, Arcia struck out 73 times in 552 plate appearances, just 13.2% of the time. Still, pretty impressive contact rate.

I have brought up this stat in the past and will do so again here:

He struck out twice or more in a game just five times in 2013. There was an eight-game stretch (August 2-9) where he went 32 straight plate appearances without striking out. He also had at least one hit in the first seven of those games and was 9-for-29 (.310) during the stretch. By the way, he turned 19 on August 4, 2013. That would be right near the start of that impressive streak.

Impressive..

Appleton Pro Baseball Birthday – January 28:
Don Ruzek – 58

Don Ruzek played eight games with the Foxes in 1983. This card is from the Lodi (CA) Dodgers.

Don Ruzek played eight games with the Foxes in 1983. This card is from the Lodi (CA) Dodgers.

VIDEO: Michael Reed at the MLB Rookie Development Program

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association run something called the MLB Rookie Development Program each January.

The Players Association and Major League Baseball each January bring together several of each club’s top prospects to take part in the Rookie Career Development Program, a private, four-day gathering in which the players get to know each other and learn about life in the big leagues.

Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Michael Reed was there and MLB Pipeline caught up with him.

This page at MLB.com has video of the players at the program and this highlight video is there, too.

Appleton Professional Baseball Birthdays:

January 16:
Juan Sanchez – 29
Matt Renfree – 31
Jon Nelson – 36

Jon Nelson

Jon Nelson in 2003

January 17:
David Denson – 21
Dan Floyd – 33
TJ Bohn – 36
Jay Andrews – 45
Dave Yobs – 57

Denson and Meyer August 25

January 18:
Brett Lawrie – 26
Michael Pineda – 27
Justin Thomas – 32
John Thompson – 43
Cesar Bernhardt – 47
Ramon Murillo – 60
Rich Severson – 71
Mickey McGuire – Born 1930

 

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Photo Credit: WM. Glasheen

Rattler Radio Podcast with Kyle Lobner – January 12, 2016

This week’s episode is with Kyle Lobner, who will have a Frosty Microbrew about Monte Harrison on the Timber Rattlers website on Wednesday.  We talk about that, a little David Bowie, and a lot of baseball.  Plus, if you are going to NXT Milwaukee on Thursday, maybe you will see Kyle and me there!

TO THE PODCAST!

Appleton Baseball Birthdays – January 12:
Casey Craig – 31
Juan Sandoval – 35
Blake Bone – 37
Richie Leblanc – 50
Larry Allen – 52
Tim Hulett – 56
Mike Trujillo – 56
Paul Gilliford – 71
Ivan Siegfried – Born 1923

Juan Sandoval in action with Diablos Rojos del Mexico during the summer. Photo Credit: HERE

Juan Sandoval in action with Diablos Rojos del Mexico during the summer of 2013.

Most Improved Farm Systems for 2016

I am still catching up on a few things from my Christmas Hiatus.  One of the articles that I wanted to share was this Jonathan Mayo piece on the most improved farm systems in baseball.  The Brewers made his list.  Here is what he had on Milwaukee:

The best deal for the Brewers may have been the one they didn’t make at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. When the reported trade sending Carlos Gomez to the Mets fell through, they ended up making an even better deal, at least in terms of rebuilding their farm system, with the Astros. It brought in four prospects that landed in their Top 30, including Top 100 prospects Domingo Santana (since graduated) and Brett Phillips. Josh Hader should join them after a strong season and even stronger Arizona Fall League campaign. Adrian Houser threw well following the trade, too.

Zach Davies came in a Deadline deal as well, from Baltimore in return for Gerardo Parra, and he made six starts in the big leagues at the end of the year. That gave the Brewers immediate return in both deals, with Davies and Santana both looking like members of the 2016 Opening Day roster, along with some future star-caliber prospects.

Smaller deals at the start of the year (Yovani Gallardo) and at the very end (Jason Rogers) also netted Top 30-caliber prospects, but aside from the Gomez deal, it was the 2015 Draft that has helped restock the prospect shelves the most. The successful haul brought in four Top 30 players, with the Brewers getting high-ceiling talent like Trent Clark and Demi Orimoloye as well as intriguing college arms like Nathan Kirby (a first-round talent who had injury issues) and Cody Ponce. Add in the advancement of homegrown players like Orlando Arcia and Jorge Lopez and the Brewers have turned around their pipeline as quickly as any team.

Appleton Baseball Birthdays – January 9:
Ken Cloude – 41

Ken Cloude was a member of the 1995 Timber Rattlers.

Ken Cloude was a member of the 1995 Timber Rattlers.

MiLB.com’s Brewers Organization All-Stars

MiLB.com is….well….I will let them explain.

This offseason, MiLB.com will be honoring the players — regardless of age or prospect status — who had the best seasons in their organizations. We’re taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League baseball

The link at the top of the post leads to their All-Stars in the Brewers organization.

The biggest moves for the organization came off the field when the Brewers hired 30-year-old David Stearns as their new general manager, succeeding Doug Melvin. Stearns had been assistant GM for the Astros and helped their rebuild, which began, of course, with the farm system. Stearns dismissed former farm director Reid Nichols, replacing him with Tom Flanagan, who started as a Brewers batboy in 1990 and had spent the last decade as the club’s director of baseball operations. He takes over a system on the way up.

Spoiler Alert: No one on the list played for the Timber Rattlers in 2015.  However, there are several Rattlers from past seasons who made the list….Like Orlando Arcia:

This year Arcia showed why he is the Brewers top prospect with a breakout season — and he has the MiLBY to prove it. The 21-year-old led the system with 157 hits while posting career highs in homers (eight), RBIs (69) and average (.307).

“He is a natural leader, not necessarily a kid that has to be loud, but just the way he goes about the game. It speaks for itself, all players look up to him,” Subero said. “If it’s a tight ballgame in the seventh, you want Orlando up. He wants to be up there and he’ll deliver. So that’s the type of player he is, he’s a kid that, with help and God-willing, he’ll definitely be an impact at the Major League level soon.”

Chris McFarland:

After repeating the Midwest League, McFarland found success at the next level. The 22-year-old hit .274 with a career-high 46 RBIs and 28 walks. McFarland ranks second in the organization with 150 hits, while topping second basemen with 183 total bases.

A shortstop in high school, the Texas native continued to work on his defense as he transitioned to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League this past season. McFarland will look to cut the errors down as he enters his fifth campaign as a second baseman in 2016.

Jorge Lopez:

Lopez turned his Double-A introduction into an eventual Major League debut with an organization-leading 137 strikeouts and 12 wins. The 22-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA and finished the year with three straight Brewers Pitcher of the Month honors en route to being named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher.

“I was able to see him turn from a kid into a man in terms of baseball savvy and on the mound, working with his pitches,” Subero said. “Just a kid who’s hard-working, great competitor with three pitches — all three are plus pitches — and he would even show plus command at times during the game. That’s what got him over edge and definitely made him one of our top guys in the whole system.”

Damien Magnifico:

Along with the promotion to Double-A, Magnifico was sent to the bullpen. The right-hander started out as a middle reliever, but after rebounding from a tough outing, Subero saw a closer in Magnifico. The University of Oklahoma product allowed three inherited runs without registering an out against Mississippi on May 10. Instead of letting him fester over it, the manager threw Magnifico back in the fire the following day.

“He performed and saved the game, and ever since, we called him our closer,” Subero said. “It’s just really electric stuff with good sink on it, mid-90s to upper-90s and is developing a slider, which has been very impressive, in the Fall League.”

Click the link up top for the whole list.

Top Ten Brewers Prospects for 2016

Baseball America released their Top Ten list of 2016 Milwaukee Brewers Prospects yesterday.

1. Orlando Arcia, ss
2. Jorge Lopez, rhp
3. Trent Clark, of
4. Brett Phillips, of
5. Gilbert Lara, ss
6. Kodi Medeiros, lhp
7. Tyrone Taylor, of
8. Clint Coulter, of
9. Cody Ponce, rhp
10. Devin Williams, rhp

Seven of the ten played for the Timber Rattlers. Two of the remaining three players (Trent Clark and Gilbert Lara) on that list could be Timber Rattlers at some point during the 2016 season.

 

Since the majority of the information on the players is behind the BA paywall, I will limit what I share here to Clark, Lara, and the three players (Medeiros, Ponce, and Williams) who were Rattlers during 2015.

Clark:

The Brewers were surprised to find Clark available at No. 15 in the 2015 draft. They ponied up $2.7 million, the second-highest bonus in club history, to sign him away from Texas Tech. Clark ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League…He is polished and mature for his age, showing bat speed, a real understanding of hitting and leadership skills. He understands the strike zone and is tough to whiff. At times, he can be too patient, but he became more aggressive as his debut progressed. Clark hit just two homers in 2015 but should develop power as he matures and gains experience…A potential five-tool talent, Clark looked so smooth in a 12-game trial at Rookie-level Helena that he probably will head to low Class A Wisconsin at the outset of 2016.

Lara:

The Brewers dedicat[ed] their entire international budget to sign Lara for $3.1 million in July 2014. He made a big impression in instructional league after signing…He has tremendous power potential if he can keep his swing quick and direct, but he hit only one home run in the AZL. Lara also must improve his plate discipline after recording a lopsided walk-to-strikeout ratio. He has no real speed on the bases and is not a threat to steal. Given Lara’s tall, physical build, scouts have pegged him as a future third baseman…Given that Lara faded down the stretch in the AZL, the Brewers might push him only to Rookie-level Helena in 2016. That would require spending time in extended spring training.

Medeiros:

The Brewers gambled that he could handle the jump to low Class A Wisconsin in 2015, and they were right. Medeiros struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings and allowed Midwest League opponents to hit just .228, though he pitched just 33 innings in the second half as the Brewers regulated his workload…Many clubs believed that Medeiros would profile as a reliever because of his low arm slot. The Brewers believe his ability to induce groundball contact will keep him alive as a mid-rotation candidate, and he’s ready for high Class A Brevard County in 2016.

IMG_0341

Ponce:

Ponce rocketed up draft boards in 2015, when the NCAA Division II Cal Poly Pomona junior ranked as one of the top college arms in his class…Because he pitched well in his debut, Ponce probably will begin 2016 at high Class A Brevard County. Some scouts consider him bullpen material, but the Brewers believe his repertoire and competitiveness will allow him to stay in the rotation.

July_5_147

Williams:

[Williams] improved as the season progressed and pitched to a 3.31 ERA in 14 second-half appearances, recording a 57-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 innings…could be just a few small tweaks away from a breakthrough. He seems destined to begin 2016 at high Class A Brevard County as he reaches for a ceiling of mid-rotation starter.

June_27_105

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel did a chat with BA subscribers yesterday, too. The chat is also behind the paywall, but here are a few bits that I can share.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Do you think the Brewers got a potential steal in [Demi] Orimoloye? Also, do you believe he’s ready for full season ball?

Tom Haudricourt: I indeed think Orimoloye was a steal in the draft. His tools are unbelievable. You don’t see that many guys that big who are so athletic. I’m guessing the Brewers will give him a shot at low Class A Wisconsin next year and if he can’t handle it, he can drop back to Helena as Monte Harrison and Jake Gatewood did last season.

Phil (Milwaukee): Any update on Monte Harrison’s rehab? Any reason not to expect him 100% for spring training?

Tom Haudricourt: Harrison’s injury indeed was a bad one but barring setbacks he is expected to be ready to play in the spring. Speed is a big part of his game, so we’ll see how compromised he is upon his return. The good thing is he still has youth and athleticism on his side.

EdgarDiazRocks (Seattle): Any idea how player development will change under the new regime? I would guess that the aggressive level starts of players like Gatewood and Harrison would be a thing of the past.

Tom Haudricourt: I’m not so sure of that. I think it’s OK to take chances on high-reward players at times as long as you think they can handle struggles mentally. It’s not for everybody. You go case by case. Look at Trent Clark. He handled low rookie ball so well he was moved to high rookie ball. He showed he could handle it.

Spencer (Tosa, WI): I’m wondering if Ponce could fly through the minors as he is an “older” prospect and flourished in Low A already last year. What do you think Tom?

Tom Haudricourt: Good chance of it happening. That’s why he is ranked so high. Took an immediate liking to pro ball? Has the big body and big arm to move through the system. The Brewers think he was a steal in the second round.

Larry (Vault 857): What type of power can we expect from Trent Clark? Will his golf style grip limit him to below average power?

Tom Haudricourt: I think it’s too soon to know because high school hitters, even advanced ones like Clark, often take time to develop their power. That may not be a big part of his game but he does everything else so well, that shouldn’t limit him.

Teddy (Granville): Hey tom, I live near Low a Wisconsin, and it seemed like a lot of there good players graduated, any players I should look forward to seeing next year

Tom Haudricourt: Well, look for Gatewood and Harrison to come back after starting there last year and then going down to Helena. I’m guessing you’ll see Trent Clark, Gilbert Lara, Marcos Diplan and Demi Orimoloye either at the start of the season or shortly thereafter. That’s four young studs right there. Cody Ponce might be past that stage. So, you should see plenty to top prospects at Class A Wisconsin next year, for sure.

Flashback Friday Supplemental: MWL Top Prospects of 1990

The season premier of Flashback Friday is available on the main website.  It’s a review of Appleton Baseball History from 1891 through 1990 and of the 1990 Appleton Foxes season from the 1991 Midwest League Yearbook.

This is the map that shows all the franchises in the league for 1991 and the various distances between the cities.  Click the image for full size.
1991 MWL Map

Curt Rallo’s list of the MWL’s Top 10 prospects of 1990 for Baseball America is on page nine of the yearbook.  There is also a list of the MWL Top Ten from 1985.  Just for fun, here are those lists.

Top 10 MWL Prospects of 1990:

  1. Reggie Sanders, OF, Cedar Rapids Reds
  2. Scott Bryant, OF, Cedar Rapids Reds
  3. Rafael Novoa, LHP, Clinton Giants
  4. Alan Newman, LHP, Kenosha Twins
  5. Lance Dickson, LHP, Peoria Chiefs
  6. Rich Tunison, 1B, Appleton Foxes
  7. Ramon Caraballo, SS, Burlington Braves
  8. Javy Lopez, C, Burlington Braves
  9. Troy O’Leary, OF, Beloit Brewers
  10. Damion Easley, SS, Quad City Angels

Top 10 MWL Prospects of 1985:

  1. BJ Surhoff, C, Beloit Brewers
  2. Eddie Williams, 3B, Cedar Rapids Reds
  3. Greg Maddux, RHP, Peoria Chiefs
  4. Alan Sontag, RHP, Kenosha Twins
  5. Edwin Correa, RHP Appleton Foxes
  6. Tony Mendez, RHP, Appleton Foxes
  7. Jim Fregosi, SS, Springfield Cardinals
  8. Miguel Roman, OF, Waterloo Indians
  9. Bill Mendek, LHP Wausau Timbers
  10. Bryan House, 2B, Peoria Chiefs
    Rafael Palmiero, OF, Peoria Chiefs
    Jackie Davidson, RHP, Peoria Chiefs

Three way tie for tenth in 1985.  Like no one could pick Palmiero over those other two guys on the Chiefs.

 

Orlando Arcia as a Timber Rattler

IMG_1071

Earlier this week, MiLB.com announced the winners of their 2015 MiLBY Awards. One of the categories was Breakout Prospect and the MiLB.com staff chose Orlando Arcia.

“When [pitchers] first saw him, they just saw a skinny kid and thought they could just throw a bunch of fastballs by him,” [Biloxi Manager Carlos] Subero said. “Once he showed he could hit those, they gave him a lot of breaking pitches, and it took a while before he caught on, but he did. He had to grow and lay off the pitches that got him for a month or so, but that showed the great intagibles he has — a lot of players aren’t able to make those adjustments.”

By August and September, Arcia, who had participated in the All-Star Futures Game in July, was thriving once again and produced a .324/.356/.493 line with three homers, two triples and 11 doubles from Aug. 1 on over the final 36 games of the regular season and finished the season with an average over .300 (.307) for the first time as a pro while setting career highs with eight homers, seven triples, 37 doubles, 69 RBIs and 74 runs.

….

Arcia’s older brother Oswaldo, a 24-year-old outfielder in the Twins system with 219 games of Major League experience, went to see his brother play after his season came to an end with Triple-A Rochester and was immediately taken aback by what happened since he last saw his brother play live, when they were teammates in the Winter League back home.

“He was with us for three or four days, and he turned to me and said, ‘Wow, he’s turned into a big leaguer,'” [Biloxi Hitting Coach Sandy] Guerrero said. “So I looked back at him and said, ‘Shh — don’t tell him.’ We didn’t want to get things in his head yet.”

Others didn’t quite get the memo. MLB.com has moved him up from No. 88 among top overall prospects to his current spot at No. 12. The Brewers named Arcia their Minor League Player of the Year in mid-September, and later in the same month, Rawlings announced he had won the Minors’ version of the Gold Glove award. All the months of working with Mischik [sic] & Co. on arm angles and effort at shortstop had officially turned him from a plus defender into a mettalic [??] one.

“You need to work with this kid to understand it,” Subero said. “Just his willingness to get better is such a part of who he is. We told him he was the Minor League Player of the Year, and he was happy. To me, that’s a huge deal. But to him, he was even more excited for the Gold Glove. He knew the work he put in, and it paid off huge.”

The easy question now about Arcia is “What’s next?” The likely answer is an invitation to Major League Spring Training, a trip to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season and a likely Major League debut at some point in 2016, barring injury or trade.

Arcia was a Timber Rattler in 2013

IMG_8955

Heading into his 2013 season with the Timber Rattlers, Baseball America had rated him as the #17 prospect in the Brewers organization.

Arcia played 120 games at shortstop for Wisconsin in 2013. He hit .251/.314/.647 with 14 doubles, five triples, four homers, and 39RBI. The most amazing things about Arcia’s season with the Rattlers was that he struck out just 40 times in 442 at bats…as an 18-year old for most of the season.

Here is his game log from that 2013 season.  Take a really good look at it.

He struck out twice or more in a game just five times in 2013. There was an eight-game stretch (August 2-9) where he went 32 straight plate appearances without striking out. He also had at least one hit in the first seven of those games and was 9-for-29 (.310) during the stretch.  By the way, he turned 19 on August 4, 2013.  That would be right near the start of that impressive streak.

Put the ball in play indeed.

IMG_9416

Nice debut for Jorge Lopez

That was fun to watch!

Jorge Lopez (’13) earned the win in his Major League debut last night.

Sporting a fastball that touched 96 mph during a 1-2-3 opening inning that featured a pair of strikeouts, Lopez pitched through the fifth and was rewarded when Brewers shortstop Jean Segura hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth.

Lopez, the 12th player this season to make his Major League debut for the Brewers, was the second (with Taylor Jungmann) to win his first big league start. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits in five innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

“It’s gonna work,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s a great fastball.”

Here’s Lopez as a Timber Rattler in 2013.

IMG_0704

In 2013, Lopez appeared in 25 games – 22 starts – for the Rattlers.  He went 7-8 with a 5.23 ERA.  In 117 innings pitched with the Rattlers, Lopez walked 48 and struck out 92.

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