On the Upswing

By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report

As we are heading into the second half of the season there are a few prospects among the Brewers top 20 ranked prospects by Baseball America making waves in the system.

Some of them have been given a Major League look due to the offensive struggles and injuries sustained by the parent club Milwaukee Brewers.

Brewers Farm Report glances at prospects earning much needed attention and could move up the ranks at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

18. Damien Magnifico, RHP, Brevard County Manatees

ph_571911Magnifico earned his promotion to High A Brevard County after strong performances with Midwest League Wisconsin posting a 5-1 record.

In eight starts with the Single A Timber Rattlers, he posted a 3.83 earned run average striking 46 batters and walking 24.

The 23-year-old hardthrower has struggled with the Manatees since his promotion but has only appeared in three games and he has plenty of time to turn it around and find the right rhythm.

If his 2012 struggles in the rocky mountain environment in Helena are any indication – he should be able to bounce back and perform at a high level down the road.

17. Ariel Pena, RHP, Huntsville Stars

ph_516414Pena was known as the “other pitcher” in the 2012 Zack Greinke trade which also brought in Brewers’ All-Star Jean Segura from Anaheim.

The right-hander from the Dominican Republic was part of the Angels’ organization since 2007 leading up to the 2012 deal and was a solid performer for the Angels’ organization.

However, the remainder of the 2012 campaign drew struggles for the 24-year-old and was unable to translate the rhythm he had from Double A Arkansas to Huntsville.

Pena started 19 games for the Angels’ affiliate with an earned run average of 2.99 but came away with a 6-6 record in 114.1 innings.

In addition, he struck out 111 batters and walked 42 before struggling with Huntsville last season when he compiled an 0-2 record in seven starts for the Stars.

He has been able to bounce back with some success and promise in 2013 in 17 starts for the Double A Stars but has a 5-7 record due to meager run support.

In 90 innings with the Stars he has accumulated 82 strikeouts and allowed 32 earned runs for a 3.20 earned run average. In addition, he has been able to  keep his walk totals down to 48 and allowing 67 hits.

Pena should earn a promotion to Triple A Nashville either by the end of the season or make the 2014 Opening Day roster.

16. Caleb Gindl, OF, Nashville Sounds

ph_518725One of a handful of players recalled to Milwaukee following injuries including Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun, Gindl has been one of the bright spots in a struggling Nashville offense.

The left-handed hitter has belted nine home runs and driven in 43 for Triple A Nashville in 72 games batting in a variety of spots in the batting order – in an effort for the Sounds to find the right offensive chemistry.

In addition, he has collected 18 doubles and drawn 28 walks for an On Base Percentage of .353 for the Sounds.

Gindl, 25, saw limited action for Milwaukee appearing in 10 games with 22 plate appearances.

13. Tyrone Taylor, OF, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Taylor

Taylor

It was easy to overlook Taylor at the start of the 2013 when he was in the same outfield as two first-rounders (Victor Roache, Mitch Haniger) but he has thrived with Single A Wisconsin putting up tremendous numbers as a 19-year-old.

Taylor was selected by Milwaukee after the team selected both Roache and Haniger in 2012. Haniger was lost for the 2012 after a handful games due to a knee tear and was recently promoted to High A Brevard County while Roache has struggled to get into a rhythm.

Enter in Taylor – who has seized the opportunity and emerged as the Rattlers’ primary number three hitter in the lineup.

Taylor has played in 78 games for the Midwest League team and collected 24 doubles and belted seven home runs in 297 at bats.

He has demonstrated excellent plate discipline throughout the season striking out 34 times of the 297 at-bats and has walked 27 times for an On Base Percentage of .373.

In addition, he presently stands at 15 stolen bases and legged out a triple.

The highlight of Taylor’s season came July 5 when he belted a grand slam in a five RBI game to help the Rattlers defeat Cedar Rapids 8-7.

Given Taylor’s age and the recent struggles surrounding Haniger with Brevard County and Roache trying to reach his potential, Taylor should make a huge jump in the prospect rankings.

Milwaukee drafted Taylor for his speed, but has demonstrated the ability to hit for power in recent games.

Taylor was the first Wisconsin player to be selected as the Midwest League Player of the Month in June and remains consistent.

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