Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

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.

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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

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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)

Possible Future Rattlers – October 3, 2014

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:

Bill Mitchell on the Arizona League Chat:

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.

Bill Mitchell also had the Pioneer League Chat:

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.

In the AL Division Series games, last night, the Orioles won big and the Royals won in extra innings.

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:

Hitters:
Orioles:
Adam Jones (’04): 159 games, .281/.311/.469, 29HR, 96RBI

Blue Jays:
Brett Lawrie (’09): 70 games, .247/.301/.421, 12HR, 38RBI

Red Sox:
David Ortiz (’96): 142 games, .263/.355/.517, 35HR, 104RBI

Blue Jays:
Jeremy Jeffress (’10): 3 games, 0-0, 10.80ERA, 3.1IP, 3BB, 4K

Yankees:
Shawn Kelley (’07, ’08): 59 games, 3-6, 4 saves, 4.53ERA, 51.2IP, 20BB, 67K

Rays:
Jake Odorizzi (’10): 31 games, 31 starts, 11-13, 4.13ERA, 168.0IP, 59BB, 174K

Oh, an Odorizzi pitching highlight?

Yankees:
Michael Pineda (’08): 13 games, 13 starts, 5-5, 1.89ERA, 76.1IP, 7BB, 59K

Yankees:
Matt Thornton (’99, ’00): 46 games, 0-3, 2.55ERA, 24.2IP, 6BB, 20K

Orioles:
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

Top 20 in the MWL – October 1, 2014

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:

Clint Coulter #7 on BA list. Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

Clint Coulter #7 on BA list. Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

#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:

Angels:
Raul Ibanez (’94): 57 games, .157/.258/.265, 3HR, 21RBI

That was hit number 2,000 for Ibanez in his MLB career.

Mariners:
Michael Saunders (’06): 78 games, .273/.341/.450, 8HR, 34RBI

Rangers:
Shin-Soo Choo (’01, ’02):
123 games, .242/.340/.374, 13HR, 40RBI
One of his hits this season was #1,000 in his career:


Rangers:
Nate Adcock (’07, ’08):
7 games, 0-0, 4.50ERA, 10.0IP, 5BB, 9K

Rangers:
Ryan Feierabend (’02):
6 games, 0-0, 6.14ERA, 7.1IP, 2BB, 4K

Athletics:
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.

Mariners:
Felix Hernandez (’03): 34 games, 34 starts, 15-6, 2.14ERA, 236IP, 46BB, 248K.

Take a bow, King Felix!

Alumni Birthdays:
Erik Komatsu (’09) – 27
Tom Johnson (’87) – 49

Komatsu2_2009wag

Erik Komatsu as a Timber Rattler in 2009. Photo Credit: Wm. Glasheen

Friday Prospect Information

For the past few Fridays, I have had some photos of the field to give you a view of how the melt is going.

This Friday, that is impossible.  I am in Arizona…where the only snow is in the mountains…probably…

I will be reporting from Minor League Camp on past and future Timber Rattlers.  I will also reporting from four Timber Rattlers Spring Training Games.  There should be reports on the Timber Rattlers website, here on the blog, and @CMehring throughout the weekend and into Tuesday morning when the eventual tweet: “Missed my plane…damn.” will be seen.

By the way, yesterday’s post on the 2014 Specialty Jerseys got a lot of traffic – more traffic than the traditional Walkup Music post, but not as much traffic as a Snow in April post.  Since WTMJ’s WI-Sports & Uni Watch have both posted links…traffic is heading that way again today.  Thank you for the clicks!

The Timber Rattlers front office was busy with field stuff while I was on the plane out of the Fox Cities yesterday. Just call them “Two Tarps”:

Making progress with 13 days to go.

There were a few Brewers Prospect stories that were published this week and – in case you missed them – I thought this would be a good place to share:

MLBPipeline rates their top 20 Brewers Prospects

Plenty of former Timber Rattlers on this list.  Jimmy Nelson and Tyrone Taylor are 1-2.  Click that link for the full list AND scouting reports on all 20.

Bernie Pleskoff asks How do Brewers’ prospects fit Milwaukee’s needs?

Jim Callis notes Brewers banking on wealth of prospects at lower levels.  In which he has three questions with Victor Roache, notes that his camp standout this season is Mitch Haniger, and his breakout candidate is Orlando Arcia.

Jim also has more Brewers coverage on his blog with notes on possible future Rattlers Tucker Neuhaus and David Denson.

The Brewers also announced releases yesterday and – unfortunately – there were a lot of former Rattlers on this list.

Friday News & Notes

Baseball America released their list of the Top 20 Prospects in the Midwest League earlier this week.  That list contained no Timber Rattlers.

There are 16 teams in the MWL and there is no guarantee that every team is going to have at least one player in that Top 20 list…Especially in a year where some teams are loaded – from a prospect standpoint.  For example:  Cedar Rapids (4), Quad Cities (3), and Kane County (3) took up half of the 20 spots on the 2013 MWL list.

JJ Cooper handled the “Why no Rattlers?” question in his chat (No link. Subscribers only) content:

Mike (Milwaukee, WI): I’m a bit surprised not to see a single TimberRattler make your list, specifically Tyrone Taylor, Orlando Arcia or Victor Roache. Was it simply a matter of not having room for them, or are their ceilings just not as high as those who did make it?

J.J. Cooper: Promised on Twitter that I would answer this one. All three were among prospects considered for the list. Taylor came the closest to making it. I’d say he was in the 21-30 range. Pretty universally scouts liked Taylor more than Roache because of a better hitting approach, better defense, plays a premium position and is more athletic. In Taylor you have a solid center fielder while Roache was considered adequate in LF. Taylor was probably the third best CF prospect in the league behind Toles but ahead of Mallex Smith. Arcia often looked overmatched this year at the plate, but scouts think he’ll improve as he matures. He has a solid swing but he’s just not strong enough to do anything with that swing yet.

Photo Credit: Ann Mollica

Tyrone Taylor just missed Baseball America’s Top 20 list.

The Toles that Cooper mentions is Bowling Green’s Andrew Toles, who won the MWL batting title at .326.  Toles was placed at #19 on BA’s list.

Also from earlier this week, Adam McCalvy had this surprise in his twitter timeline:

  The surprise part is that last note about 2013 Timber Rattlers All-Star Pitcher Austin Blaski retiring.

2013 Timber Rattlers All-Star Austin Blaski has retired.

2013 Timber Rattlers All-Star Austin Blaski has retired.

Blaski’s last game with the Timber Rattlers was on June 13 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field. Blaski allowed one run on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts to pick up the win in a 2-1 defeat of the Snappers. He was a late addition to the 2013 MWL All-Star squad and was scheduled to pitch in the game at Dayton. But, he was scratched from making an appearance. That game was on June 18. Blaski had surgery one month later – July 18.

Now, he’s retired.

Good luck, Austin.

Possible Rattlers listed as Prospects

Baseball America has started to list their Top 20 Prospects for each of the leagues in MiLB.

Michael Ratterree, the MVP of the Pioneer League, was listed as a Top 20 Prospect in the league by Baseball America. (Photo Credit: Helena Brewers)

Michael Ratterree, the MVP of the Pioneer League, was listed as a Top 20 Prospect in the league by Baseball America. (Photo Credit: Helena Brewers)

The Brewers prospects listed so far are:

Arizona League:
RHP Devin Williams

Pioneer League:
OF Michael Ratterree
RHP Barrett Astin
C Dustin Houle

Williams, Milwaukee’s 2nd round pick (54th overall) in the 2013 draft, was 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA for the AZL Brewers.  He appeared in 13 games and made six starts.  He was a high school selection out out of Hazelwood West in Missouri.  Williams struck out 39 and walked 22 over 34-2/3 innings.  Baseball America put him at #12 on their list of Arizona League prospects.

Ratterree, a 10th round pick in 2013, was the Pioneer League MVP this season.  The product of Rice had a slashline of .314/.391/.585, hit 12 home runs, and drove in 58 runs.  BA has him at #16 on their list of Pioneer League prospects.

Astin, a 3rd round pick out of Arkansas in 2013, was 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA.  He appeared in 12 games – eight starts.  Astin struck out 31 and walked 11 in 31-2/3 innings for Helena.  He is #17 on the Baseball America list of Pioneer League Prospects.

Houle, an 8th round pick in the 2011 draft, is the only Brewers prospect on these lists to play with the Timber Rattlers.  Houle, a high school pick out of Brookswood Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, joined Wisconsin very briefly – seven games – and was 6-for-23 with an RBI.  Most of his time was spent with Helena where he hit .250/.290/.311 with a home run and 19 RBI.  He was the #19 prospect in the Pioneer League.

Time will tell if all of these players will be with the Timber Rattlers in 2014.

Speaking of the Timber Rattlers…The Midwest League list will be released on Monday.  We will see how many Rattlers will make that Top 20 List.

Here’s Ratterree with Jason Rogers on the Brewers broadcast from last week at Miller Park.

This is a video report on Williams just after the draft.

Big home runs and other news over the weekend

Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the old single-season home run record in Japan with his 56th homer. Then, he hit another home run later in the game to give him 57.

Balentien57

From the Japan Times:

As soon as Wladimir Balentien’s bat made contact with Daiki Enokida’s fastball there was no doubt: Japan had just crowned a new home run king.

And the new king’s first decree was that his record total wasn’t high enough yet.

Balentien set the NPB single-season record with his 56th home run of year in the first inning, then hit No. 57 in his next at-bat of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday night at Jingu Stadium.

“I feel so relieved right now,” Balentien said. “Lot of emotions. Just to get this is something unbelievable. This is (something) that nobody was able to do for 49 years. For me to do it, I can’t even explain what I’m feeling right now.”

The 29-year-old Curacao native broke a four-way tie with Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes, and Alex Cabrera, who all have 55, to stand alone as the new record holder.

“It’s amazing that he’s homered at a pace of about once every two games,” Oh said in a statement. “This is far beyond a new NPB record and an overwhelming number. I want to enjoy how far he can take it over the next 18 games with the fans.”

Meanwhile in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, former Timber Rattlers first baseman Sean Halton hits a game winning home run to beat the Cincinnati Reds!

With nothing left to play for themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers have fully embraced the role of spoiler over the last month.

That never-say-die attitude was on full display Sunday afternoon at Miller Park when they overcame a poor start by Yovani Gallardo to score five times in the final three innings.

The ninth was especially exciting, with Carlos Gomez robbing Jay Bruce of a go-ahead home run at the center-field wall in the top half and rookie Sean Halton belting a one-out, walk-off homer off Zach Duke in the bottom half to cap a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’ve had a couple (walk-offs, in the minor leagues), but nothing comes close to this one,” said Halton. “Especially against a team that’s playing well and in the hunt. We’ve been playing that spoiler role lately, and hopefully we continue that the next couple weeks.”

Since, Todd Rosiak’s story mentioned the catch by Gomez….

The other news was from Adam McCalvy’s blog post that notes all of the players that will be taking part during instructional league in Arizona. Rattlers manager Matt Erickson will be in charge of a team down there.

Add the fall instructional league to Brewers prospect Jason Rogers’ busy schedule.

Rogers and top 2013 Draft picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus highlight the list of players reporting Sunday to Maryvale Baseball Park for an instructional program that gets underway Monday morning. Rogers, who manned first base at Double-A Huntsville this season, will work a bit at third base before primarily playing left field in the Arizona Fall League as the Brewers increase his versatility for 2014.

Fifty-three players in all are listed on the Brewers’ instructional league roster — 42 on the regular roster and 11 more on an advanced roster. They include 20 of the team’s 2013 First Year Player Draft picks, and eight players from MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Brewers prospects: outfielder Tyrone Taylor (No. 4), shortstop Orlando Arcia (No. 6), outfielder Victor Roache (No. 8), right-hander Williams (No. 9), catcher Clint Coulter (No. 11), infielder Neuhaus (No. 13), and right-handers Drew Gagnon (No. 15) and Damien Magnifico (No. 19).

Also participating are shortstop Franly Mallen and outfielder Nicolas Pierre, who received record-setting bonuses in the Dominican Republic in July.

The full list is available at that post. There are a lot of former (and future) Timber Rattlers on that list.

Some of those players are still playing with the Helena Brewers. Helena lost Game One of the best-of-three Pioneer League Championship Series at Idaho Falls on Saturday.

The first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series featured a championship caliber pitching performance from each side. Jonathan Dziedzic and a trio of Idaho Falls relievers out dueled Anthony Banda and Tristan Archer as the Chukars beat the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Dzidezic picked up the win after limiting the Brewers to just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

Josiel Martinez allowed an unearned run in the seventh and Glenn Sparkman relived him in the eighth and struck out three in 1.2 innings.

Kyle Bartsch faced just one batter, pinch hitter Jalen Harris, and struck him out to close out the game and earn the save.

Banda kept the Brewers in the game as he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Archer allowed no runs in two frames.

Game Two is tonight in Helena. Go, Brewers!

Lastly, the Midwest League season came to an end on Saturday night in Davenport, Iowa. The Quad Cities River Bandits swept the South Bend Silver Hawks in the best-of-five Championship Series to win the MWL Pennant for the first time since….2011.

Josh Hader isn’t even old enough to legally drink the champagne that was being splashed around the Quad-Cities River Bandits dressing room Saturday night.

He was more than happy just to wear some of it.

A little more than six weeks after being traded from his hometown Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros organization, Hader helped put the finishing touches on the River Bandits’ second championship season in three years.

The slender 19-year-old left-hander shut out the South Bend Silver Hawks on three little singles through seven innings as the Bandits completed a sweep of the Midwest League championship series with a 4-2 victory in front of a lively crowd of 3,607 at Modern Woodmen Park.

Hader, who went 2-0 in just five appearances with the Bandits in the regular season, also went 2-0 in the postseason and he was never in any sort of serious trouble Saturday. He allowed only four baserunners, only one of whom got as far as second base. He also struck out eight Silver Hawks.

Decorations around the ballpark

When you come out to a game at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium this season – and there will be games at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium this season — you will see some new things.

I am not talking about the club level and the suites and the other renovations around the stadium.  I’m talking about the decorations.  The Wall of Fame came down because of the renovations, but that is just temporary.  To make sure there wasn’t just a blank concrete block wall when you walk into the ballpark, we hung the most recent championship banners of Appleton Professional Baseball:

The Foxes Banners from 1982-1984 and the 2012 Timber Ratters Pennant.

The Foxes Pennants from 1982-1984 and the 2012 Timber Ratters Pennant.

There are some banners on the outside of the stadium.  We selected a group of former Timber Rattlers players who are either Brewers prospects or are currently with the Brewers.

Khris Davis

Khris Davis

April 11 2013 004

Wily Peralta

April 11 2013 007

Jim Henderson

Hiram Burgos

Hiram Burgos

Hunter Morris

Hunter Morris

Tyler Thornburg

Tyler Thornburg

Scooter Gennett

Scooter Gennett

April 11 2013 010

Yadiel Rivera

Mitch Haniger

Mitch Haniger

There are a few others, but you’ll just have to come out to the stadium to see who they are.

This is the part I really like.  This old photograph of Goodland Field from the days of the Appleton Papermakers is on the wall behind the registers in the new Snake Pit Team Store.  It is awesome.  Sadly, the location is not lit properly for a good photo to be taken.  Also – if you’ll remember – I am a bad photographer.

The light pole in foul territory cracks me up every time.

The light pole in foul territory cracks me up every time.

A closer look at the left side of the photo.

A closer look at the left side of the photo.

A closer look at the right side of the photo.

A closer look at the right side of the photo.

Look at the bat rack outside the dugout in the last picture.  Heck, look at the dugout in that last picture.  There are plenty of details in this photo on the wall.  When you come out to the team store, look at it and sees what grabs your attention. 

In case you missed it, the Rattlers were rained out again.  Thursday is the third straight game at home that has been rained out.  This weather….ugh.  I had to give the penguin the day off.  He was out enjoying this weather and wouldn’t check in with me.  Jerk.

However, Fang & Whiffer both got out in the elements to sing and dance and emote their fuzzy hearts out.  Enjoy:

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