Category: High A – Brevard County Manatees

Burgos endures long road back to Milwaukee

By Jason Arndtmanatees
Brewers Farm Report

Hiram Burgos was once a budding pitching prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

The Brewers sixth round selection in 2009 made waves in the organization for his breaking pitches and rapid progression through multiple levels of the Brewers organization which led to a 2013 appearance at Miller Park.

But, after a series of injuries, the 27-year-old has found his way back to Advanced A Brevard County.

The same team he made 24 appearances for in 2011, seven in 2012 and one in 2013 before solidifying his role with the Nashville Sounds in 2013 and 2014.

Burgos’ most prolific season came in 2012 when he accumulated a 10-4 record in three stops through the minor league system, Brevard County, Double A Huntsville and Triple A Nashville.

In his 27 combined games in the three levels, he struck out 153 hitters and walked 49 in 171 innings, and allowed 37 earned runs for a meager 1.95 ERA en route to a Brewers’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor.

However, after enduring an injury while a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, and rehabilitation stops with Single A Wisconsin, Brevard County and Nashville, he was limited to nine total games.

In his nine games, he compiled a 1-5 record with a 3.93 ERA in 36.2 innings.

Seeking rejuvenation, Burgos returned to his native Puerto Rico, where he played for Indios de Mayaquez for the fourth straight offseason.

The right-hander bounced back in 38.2 innings for Mayaquez, where he allowed just six earned runs on 25 hits. He struck out 35 hitters compared to 12 walks.

Upon his return to the Brewers in 2014, injuries hampered him again, making just four appearances for AAA Nashville last season.

Now, after Burgos was declared a free agent following the season, the Brewers opted to retain him on a minor league contract without an invitation to Spring Training this season.

Burgos has demonstrated some promising signs at the early portion of the Manatees season, picking up two victories, including an April 14 1-0 pitchers duel against the St. Lucie Mets.

He held the Mets to one hit in seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking one to pick up his first win almost a year to the day of previous win.

Prior to his initial win of 2015, he picked up an April 17, 2014 win while a member of AAA Nashville against Memphis. He struck out 10 Redbirds, allowed three earned runs on five hits and walked two through five innings of work.

He did not have to wait as long for his next win, notching a six-inning quality start May 7 against the Tampa Yankees, where he struck out seven and held the Yankees to two earned runs on six hits.

REMEMBER ME?

Also on the Manatees is last season’s Rule V grab Wei-Chung Wang.

The 23-year-old left-hander was picked from the Pittsburgh Pirates, but league rules indicated he needed to spend a season on the Major League squad, or be given back to Pittsburgh.

Stashed at the bottom of the Brewers’ relief corps last year, he was limited to 17.1 innings due to inexperience beyond the Rookie League.

The Brewers hope was to assign him to the minor league system for further development following the 2014 campaign, where he allowed 21 earned runs, 30 hits, six home runs and eight walks.

After an injury led him to a minor league rehabilitation the remaining four months of the season, he strung together seven solid performances with the Arizona Brewers, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Manatees.

Despite favorable rehabilitation appearances, Wang has struggled to find his rhythm with the Manatees this season.

In six starts, spanning 27.1 innings, he has allowed 18 earned runs and 36 hits, and walked 14.

Wang’s sole win came on his initial appearance April 10 against Daytona, where he held the Tortugas scoreless through six innings, allowing five hits and walking two. He also struck out six.

He was pulled in the second inning of his next start at St. Lucie April, allowing eight earned on six hits, and walked five and departed with no strikeouts.

The 23-year-old starter will likely need an additional year of development within the Brewers organization after his season with the Brewers.

Advertisements

Brewers’ Wagner remains focused on 2015

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

Brewers pitching prospect Tyler Wagner is one of several players gearing up for another season of minor league baseball.

Wagner should have plenty of reason to be optimistic about the 2015 season following his stellar Southern League debut in the AA post season and as a member of the Arizona Fall League.

The 23-year-old Las Vegas native entered the 2014 season with three consecutive victories for the Advanced A Brevard County Manatees, where he allowed three earned runs through 17 innings, striking out 12, walking eight and allowing 14 hits.

Wagner

Wagner

Wagner, Milwaukee’s 15th ranked prospect, did not endure his first loss of the year until a 4-2 decision May 6 against visiting Clearwater. He allowed two earned runs through seven innings, and did not issue a walk, but allowed six hits.

He then rattled seven victories in eight starts from June 9-Aug. 2, allowing a meager three earned runs through 52.1 innings, striking out 42 and holding opponents to 12 walks.

The former University of Utah closer drafted in the fourth round by Milwaukee in 2012 said the change in mindset allowed him to succeed in 2014.

“It is a different mindset to be able to pitch everyday, and being able to trust my defense in getting behind me to make plays,” Wagner said.

Overall, his mindset earned him multiple honors throughout the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Florida State League and the Arizona Fall League.

In his 25 starts for the Manatees, he accrued a 13-6 record and allowed 31 earned runs through 150 innings pitched, notching a 1.86 ERA. He had a career high in strikeouts with 118 and allowed 48 walks.

He ranked among the top five in multiple categories, including second in ERA and innings pitched, along with fourth in strikeouts.

Tyler Wagner tosses for Advanced A Brevard County in 2014. (Courtesy of MiLB.com)

Tyler Wagner tosses for Advanced A Brevard County in 2014. (Courtesy of MiLB.com)

Staying in the game, and taking one pitch at a time, was essential for his mid season and post season all-star berths in the FSL.

He also earned accolades as a Brewers’ organizational all-star.

The game which stands out was his Southern League debut as a member of the AA Huntsville Stars, he said.

In his debut, he held the Chattanooga Lookouts scoreless through six innings, and allowed just two hits, struck out four and walked one.

The season did not end for Wagner as he ventured to Glendale, AZ where he played for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League.

Although he did not have a stellar showing, producing a 7.43 ERA in nine relief outings, he came away with positive memories.

“It was a very great experience, just to be able to go out there, and see what those guys are doing as far as routine,” Wagner said.

As he enters the 2015 season, he believes he can be much better on the mound after developing confidence in his third pitch last season.

“I was really focusing on my change-up, my chang eup got a lot better, and now it is my third pitch to be able to have to my repertoire,” Wagner said.

The change up will be in addition to his fastball, which he said had a top speed of 95 mph in 2014, and a slider/splitter combination.

“My slider was pretty consistent all year and it was my put out pitch, but it can always be better,” Wagner said. “All three pitches can definitely always be better, but being able to have them all working is a good thing,”

Home Brews: Uhen, Markson, Pierce come together

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

Throughout the cold winter months at Miller Park, three Brewers’ minor leaguers with Wisconsin roots come together and work out together and have formed a bond much larger than calling the Dairy State home.

Brevard County right-hander Chad Pierce, 26, of Fond du Lac serves as the elder statesman of the three.

Oshkosh native Josh Uhen, 21, and Whitefish Bay High School graduate Charlie Markson, 22, played their first seasons of professional baseball with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the game.

While all three crossed paths prior to playing for their home state team, all of them had different journeys to make it to professional ranks.

Josh Uhen, Arizona Brewers

Uhen

Uhen

It was a “dream come true” for Uhen when Milwaukee selected him with the fifth round pick in the 2013 Draft.

Based on where he was two years prior, it was more of a miracle after he underwent Ulner Collateral Ligament reconstruction surgery in 2011 and missed 12 months of action with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“It’s great. I grew up a Brewers fan, I grew up a Packers fan, I grew up a Bucks fan,” Uhen said. “Playing for one of my home state teams means a lot. When I got the call from them it did not seem real. It took awhile for it to set in.”

Uhen crossed paths with Markson in 2012 when both were members of the Northwoods League team Lakeshore Chinooks in Mequon, Wis.

“It was my first real taste of some really solid college ball because I didn’t really get a chance” Uhen said. “Before that I had the elbow surgery.”

The 6’4” right-handed pitcher rebounded during the later portion of his first professional season with the Arizona Brewers where he lost six of his ten initial appearances.

“It had a lot to do with getting some repetitions. I had a hard time getting some innings in and repetitions throughout my college career,” Uhen said. “Once I got out there and had the coaches helped.”

Uhen found his groove during his final four appearances where he allowed just two earned runs through a stretch of 13.2 innings and walked just four batters. He also notched 12 strikeouts during the home stretch of the season.

Markson remains optimistic about his fellow Chinooks’ teammate as he climbs through the Brewers’ organization.

“I have known Josh for a few years and he is a good friend of mine and he is a good guy and great baseball player,” Markson said. “He has a pretty high ceiling and the Brewers think very highly of him.”

“I am excited to get into a full season here of professional baseball,” Uhen stated as he looks into 2014.

Year Tm Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP WHIP SO/BB
2013 Brewers Rk 2 6 4.54 14 6 37.2 35 31 19 2 23 31 2 5 1.540 1.35
1 Season 2 6 4.54 14 6 37.2 35 31 19 2 23 31 2 5 1.540 1.35
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2014.

Charlie Markson, Helena Brewers

Markson

Markson

Markson experienced a new sense of faith and love of baseball with the Helena Brewers in 2013 after a high pressure senior season at the University of Notre Dame.

The Whitefish Bay native stated he was relieved when Milwaukee announced him as the team’s 38th round selection in 2013.

“After my senior year I would have been excited to be given a chance by anybody and it was the Brewers and it made it much more cool,” Markson said. “I was just happy to play somewhere at the professional level.”

Markson’s batted a career low .209 with three doubles and 21 RBI his final season with the Irish after a successful junior season where he produced a .303 batting average and .390 On Base Percentage.

“I cannot really put my finger on anything that went wrong but I just know that I put too much pressure on myself to succeed and to get drafted,” Markson said. “It just kind of spiraled out of control. It was a mentally frustrating season for me.”

The outfielder credited Helena’s hitting coach Chuckie Caufield for putting him back on the right track.

“I contribute my success this year to Chuckie,” Markson said. “He makes it simple and makes it easy to understand and relatable because he just got out of playing baseball so he understands the coaching aspect, he understands the playing aspect.”

Markson responded considerably to Caufield’s guidance with a .288 batting average and .377 OBP in his initial season. He also scored 35 runs and collected 12 doubles in 46 games in the Pioneer League.

“He is a great medium between players and coaches,” Markson said. “He just made it fun again. I was looking at baseball as more of a job and with Helena I got a fresh start.”

It also gave him a new geographical experience playing in the Rocky Mountains for the first time in his life.

“I thought it was a great experience because I have played all across the country but that was one area where I never been to,” Markson said.

Year Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
2013 Helena Rk 46 209 177 35 51 12 1 21 8 4 22 35 .288 .377 .367
1 Season 46 209 177 35 51 12 1 21 8 4 22 35 .288 .377 .367
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2014.

Chad Pierce, Brevard County Manatees

Pierce

Pierce

Pierce was drafted with the 38th round selection in the 2011 draft from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he first met Uhen as a freshman of a developing Panthers’ program.

The 26-year-old shouldered significant responsibility for an injury-riddled Manatees’ rotation where first-round selection Jed Bradley was lost for the season and other pitchers missed starts.

“When players get hurt, you got to step up and help out and get out there and get in as many innings as possible so your bullpen doesn’t get worn out,” Pierce said.

Pierce responded by accruing second-most innings on the Manatees with 108.2 and allowed just 52 walks and struck out 106 Florida State League hitters in 2013.

“I felt that it was a very positive season, aside from a couple of bad outings I continued pitching throughout the rest of the year,” Pierce said.

Pierce produced his best outing of the year in his final appearance of the season August 31 where he struck out eight batters and allowed one earned run in six innings.

However, Pierce endured a tough initial season with Pioneer League Helena in 2011 where he allowed 50 hits and 29 earned runs through 39.1 innings.

He was able to bounce back with a better sophomore season within the organization as a member of the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers notching 115 strikeouts and allowing 41 walks through 124.2 innings.

The right-hander told Brewers Farm Report he has been impressed by Uhen’s progression since he saw him as a freshman and is just getting to know Markson during his workout experience at Miller Park.

When Pierce was asked about how he reacted to being drafted by his home state team, he stated he never could believe he’d be “part of an organization” he grew up watching.

Fellow Wisconsinite Charlie Markson sees Pierce as a player to look up to as the person with the most experience.

“When I first met Chad I knew he’d fit in great with us,” Markson said. “He knew (Uhen) from college. It’s kind of nice to have someone there that has been with the organization for a few years.”

“When (Uhen) and I have questions, (Pierce) is always willing to answer them. He is really helpful during those workouts and he kind of shows us how to function in the off season,” Markson added.

Year Tm Lg Lev W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 Helena PION Rk 2 4 6.64 15 5 0 39.1 50 36 29 4 19 33 1.754
2012 Wisconsin MIDW A 7 5 3.47 27 12 2 124.2 112 51 48 10 41 115 1.227
2013 Brevard County FLOR A+ 6 6 3.40 30 11 0 108.2 93 44 41 6 52 106 1.334
3 Seasons 15 15 3.89 72 28 2 272.2 255 131 118 20 112 254 1.346
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2014.

‘Mazing Magnifico moves forward

By Jason Arndtmanatees
Brewers Farm Report

Small injuries can play a significant role in a pitcher’s performance on the mound and Brevard County’s Damien Magnifico was no exception after losing grip on a promising season.

Magnifico’s injury became a roadblock with the Brewers’ High A affiliate after earning a promotion from Single A Wisconsin where he produced a 5-1 record with a 3.83 ERA.

“The only thing I had wrong was that blister on my finger,” Magnifico said. “Right after I left for Florida is when I developed the blister. It happened after my third outing is when it popped back out.”

Magnifico, 22, pitched a scoreless inning against Clearwater July 10 allowing one hit and one walk before the injury recurred.

Despite his setback, the flamethrower from Texas remained positive regarding the 2014 season where he will continue to work on his off-speed pitches.

Magnifico

Magnifico

“The change-up and slider are getting better,” Magnifico said as he looks forward to his February 8 early report date for Spring Training at the Maryvale Complex in Arizona.

In addition, he demonstrated the ability to rebound from injury early in his junior college career in Big Spring, Tex.

“When I first got into junior college I only expected to be there a year and then get drafted again,” Magnifico said. “But after getting hurt and then came back the next year and only threw 21 innings.”

Magnifico became a highlight reel for the Oklahoma Sooners in an April 2012 game where he hit 100 miles per hour 22 times in 8.2 innings against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Razorbacks’ coach Dave Van Horn explained his thoughts to NewsOK.com following the game.

I’ve never seen anything like it,” Van Horn said. “I looked up two or three pitches into the ninth inning, because I thought the ball was coming out of his hand pretty good, and the scoreboard said 101 (mph). You don’t see that anywhere.”

Milwaukee's 19th rated prospect Damien Magnifico threw 22 pitches of 100 miles per hour in a game for the University of Oklahoma in April 2012. (Credit: soonersports.com)

Milwaukee’s 19th rated prospect Damien Magnifico threw 22 pitches of 100 miles per hour in a game for the University of Oklahoma in April 2012. (Credit: soonersports.com)

Major League scouts had Magnifico on the radar screen during his high school playing career when he was drafted by the New York Mets with the fifth round selection in 2009, but opted for further education.

Despite the attention given to him by scouts, the pitcher was seemingly focused on the moments in front of him including the day he was informed the Brewers drafted him with the fifth round selection in 2012.

“Actually while I was drafted I was at a restaurant with my girlfriend eating and then I received a text message saying I got drafted by the Brewers,” Magnifico said.

In addition, he indicated he was not fully aware of other Major League organizations interested in him during the scouting process.

“There was probably other teams but I was trying to let whatever happens, happens,” Magnifico said.

Big Apple at the core

While Magnifico was born and raised in Texas, he still claimed allegiance to where his family came from including the team he grew up watching, the New York Yankees.

“My whole family is from New York,” Magnifico said.

The Magnifico’s route to Texas was based on the family’s desire to remain close together including his Mother and Aunt.

“My mom was basically raised by her older sister and it is 15 year difference so she was raised by her,” Magnifico said. “I don’t know what brought my aunt down to Texas with my uncle.”

Magnifico also added the state’s cost of living and job opportunities led his family to Texas prior to 1991.

“My mom found a job and then within that week my dad found a job,” Magnifico said.

Crediting his fellow pitchers

Peterson

Peterson

While Magnifico continued to trudge through the season, he credited his relievers for making the best out of an injury-riddled Manatees starting rotation.

“The whole bullpen all stepped up and making spot starts,” Magnifico said. “Chad Pierce stepped up, Tyler Cravy started.”

Pierce, 26, capped off his 2013 season with a solid August 31 performance striking out eight and allowing one earned run to capture his sixth victory.

The Fond du Lac, Wis. native and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate was second on the Manatees to left-hander Brent Suter with 108.2 innings. He also walked just 54 batters throughout the season and had a 6-6 record with a 3.40 ERA.

Stephen Peterson was one of the relievers who helped Magnifico get out of his tough outings including the July 10 contest against Clearwater.

“While I was here his change-up vastly improved and had one of the highest percentage of fastball strikes,” Magnifico said. “All he does is throw strikes and get people out. That is all he needs to do and that is what he does.”

The left-handed Peterson picked up the win in the July 10 game striking out two batters in two scoreless innings.

“He is one of my good buddies and actually who I live with down in Florida,” Magnifico said. “He is a good guy.”

Magnifico had high regard for left-handed starter Brent Suter and team-leader with 124 innings pitched when Brewers Farm Report asked about his approach.

“Suter is crazy, he is a fun guy to be around,” Magnifico said. “He knows how to pitch and works all the corners of the plate, changes speeds. Whatever it is, he makes it work and gets people out.”

Brewers stacked with lefties at lower levels

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

Despite a career setback by Milwaukee’s top left-handed pitching prospect Jed Bradley with Brevard County in 2013, Double A Huntsville will still receive help as others are elevated.

Bradley, 23, struggled through a 2013 season hampered by shoulder injuries which eventually shut him down in August 2013.

Consequently, the Huntsville native dropped from fourth to 16th in the MLB.com prospect rankings by the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Suter

Suter

However, the Stars will likely get a glimpse of Harvard graduate and organizational All-Star Brent Suter along with reliever Stephen Peterson from Brevard County.

While Suter produced a solid year between Single A Wisconsin and High A Brevard County, Peterson excelled in the relief role for the Manatees.

Peterson, 26, was signed by Milwaukee as an undrafted free agent in 2011 after he recovered from Tommy John surgery during his 2010 season at University of Rhode Island.

In 41 relief appearances for Brevard County, Peterson struck out 58 batters and walked just 12 through 64 innings pitched.

Peterson

Peterson

Peterson has steadily improved through his first three seasons with the Brewers organization going from 27 innings his initial season to 64 in 2013. He also compiled a 5-1 record with Brevard County and decreased his walk totals from 27 with Wisconsin in 2012 to 12 in 2013.

Rice University graduate Taylor Wall exhibited promise his initial season with Helena in 2012 producing a 3-1 record in 13 games (10 starts) but found his way into the Timber Rattlers’ bullpen in 2013 where he collected seven saves in 33 relief appearances.

A New Era

It remains to be seen whether Milwaukee’s newest draft class will parlay their short success to an extended 2014 season.

Linehan

Linehan

Milwaukee drafted Clint Terry with the 18th round pick and he succeeded with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers.

Terry, 21, struck out 56 batters and walked ten in his 46.2 innings for the Brewers and allowed just eight earned runs to give him a meager 1.54 ERA.

In conjunction with ten walks, he gave up 36 hits to yield him a WHIP of under 1.00 (.986).

Milwaukee opted to get him additional work following the regular season when he was sent to the Fall Instructional League in October.

Brewers’ ninth round selection Tyler Linehan maintained a commendable 2.45 ERA through 40.1 innings in a hitter-friendly Pioneer League.

Linehan, 22, produced his best career outing September 3 when he pitched six scoreless innings and striking out seven batters. He allowed just two runners to reach base at Billings.

Johnson

Johnson

Hobbs Johnson, 22, pitched four productive outings with Helena before being elevated to Single A Wisconsin.

In Johnson’s four outings with the Pioneer Brewers, he allowed one earned run and struck out nine batters through eight innings for a 1.12 ERA.

Johnson’s game intensified upon his arrival to Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region when he struck out 23 batters in 13 innings for the Timber Rattlers. He also allowed one earned run.

Milwaukee made another left-handed selection with Tyler Alexander, 22, in the 27th round from Florida International.

Alexander allowed three earned runs in 15.1 innings for Helena and maintained control with 27 strikeouts and three walks. He posted a 2-0 record in his 13 games for the Pioneer Brewers.

New Addition

Milwaukee acquired Luis Ortega from Boston for seldom-used reliever Burke Badenhop and could fill a role with Helena or Wisconsin in 2014.

Ortega, 20, began his career as a starter with the Red Sox Dominican Summer League team in 2012 where he posted a 6-3 record with a 2.13 ERA in 13 starts.

However, he was relegated to the bullpen once he arrived to the Gulf Coast League in 2013 but provided similar numbers.

Richardson returned to baseball rejuvenated

By Jason Arndtmanatees
Brewers Farm Report

It was a year of growing as a person before Brevard County’s D’Vontrey Richardson decided to make a return to baseball.

The Brewers’ former 20th ranked prospect walked away from the game following the 2011 season and made his presence known in the Florida State League during the 2013.

“I was missing it and baseball is fun,” Richardson said. “I guess my decision to come back was missing the competition and drive to play the game whether you win or lose and have fun. That experience is something you can’t teach. What it all boiled down to was I guessed I missed it.”

The former two-sport star at Florida State University stated to Brewers Farm Report he returned to the game with a renewed sense of optimism.

Richardson

Richardson

“I guess its respect for the game and enjoying the moment of the game,” Richardson said. “I appreciate every moment and try to get better.”

The outfielder cited personal reasons and his desire to complete his college degree at Florida State University in a report by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy in 2012.

“I went to school in Georgia, a technical school. I went there and studied,” Richardson said. “I grew up a little bit.”

In addition, Richardson credited his family for the unconditional support during his season away from baseball.

“They supported me when I walked away from the game, they didn’t tell me what to do,” Richardson said. “They helped me through the process. They really didn’t know what was going on and they were also with me when I chased my dream. They want what is best for me.”

D'Vontrey Richardson blasts a home run against Lakeland August 28. (Credit: milb.com)

D’Vontrey Richardson blasts a home run against Lakeland August 28. (Credit: milb.com)

Richardson, 25, compiled a stellar season where he accumulated an 18-game hitting streak between July 23 through August 10. Through his torrid stretch, he tabulated a .418 batting average along with an On Base Percentage of .452 for the Brewers’ High A affiliate.

“I wasn’t really focused on it that much. I found myself in the moment enjoying my teammates and the chemistry they have,” Richardson said. “It’s a great team to be on.”

The Georgia native stated he was not aware of his hitting streak until the final game.

“I did not know until it ended so I didn’t really look at the numbers that much so I guess that is why I kept on going,” Richardson said.

Richardson followed up with an eight-game hitting streak August 12 where he collected a double and triple for the Manatees.

The outfielder was a home run shy of the cycle August 30 at Daytona where he batted 3-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored.

Cumulatively, he batted .325 with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 stolen bases in 52 games for the Manatees.

He also demonstrated exceptional plate discipline with 14 walks in 228 Plate Appearances for a career-best .372 OBP.

Richardson acknowledged playing both football and baseball stunted his development on the baseball diamond.

“To play baseball you have to play year round and get better,” Richardson said. “When most of the baseball players are playing all year you might miss out on the opportunity to get better.”

The former Seminole quarterback opted for baseball and left the gridiron following the 2008 season where he threw for 315 yards on 23 completions with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I made my decision to sign the contract with Milwaukee and never really thought of going back to football,” Richardson said when the Brewers picked him with the fifth round selection of the 2009 June draft.

“I had that opportunity to chase after the dream that I wanted to play professional baseball,” Richardson added.

Future commitment

D'Vontrey Richardson as quarterback with Florida State University in 2008.

D’Vontrey Richardson as quarterback with Florida State University in 2008.

Richardson has begun his pre-Spring Training workouts and arrived in Florida where he works out during the off season.

“I am actually in Florida right now hitting and tossing the ball and putting work in that area to get prepared. I am looking forward to the upcoming season for sure.”

The outfielder remains open to where Milwaukee assigns him for the 2014 season, but believes it could be the Double A Stars.

“I think Huntsville but it all depends on how spring training is,” Richardson said. “Just have to keep striding, keep playing and keep going.”

However, all signs point him directly to the Southern League team with Chadwin Stang as the lone holdover from the 2013 season. Home Run leader Brock Kjeldgaard has not re-signed with the Brewers’ organization.

Much like Richardson’s mindset is on the baseball diamond, he chooses to remain in the present.

“The future is undecided so just plan it, day-by-day,” Richardson said.

Huntsville’s Hall ‘pumped’ by Brewers’ addition

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

It was a defining moment for Brooks Hall when he tossed a perfect game in 2009 as a high school senior before a Milwaukee Brewers scout.

Now he is a member of the team’s 40-man roster after compiling his best season between High A Brevard County and Double A Huntsville.

“I had a good year and was surprised. I was pumped about that and was caught off guard,” Hall told Brewers Farm Report on January 1. “I wasn’t really expecting that, the Brewers really don’t tell you much. They will tell you that your progressing good but they don’t really tell you what is going to happen.”

Hall

Hall

Hall, 23, produced five straight performances to begin his season with Brevard County en route to being named as a Florida State League midseason All-Star.

The South Carolina native allowed just five earned runs through his first 28.2 innings with 18 strikeouts and ten walks. He also allowed no home runs and held opponents to a .192 batting average.

“I was happy about that but the only bad thing is I didn’t get to play. They called me up before that.” said Hall, who was promoted to Double A Huntsville in June.

Hall’s promotion was inevitable after he posted a 2.76 ERA and maintained a stellar 40-18 strikeout-walk ratio in 58.2 innings for the Manatees.

“I just threw strikes and used my changeup and used my fastball more to get ahead of the count,” Hall said.
Hall was relegated to relief duty upon his arrival in Huntsville where he admitted having difficulty finding the right rhythm.

“At first I was coming out of the bullpen. I just never felt comfortable to be honest,” Hall said. “Having a 20 pitch bullpen stint where I would come out and face just three batters.”

In his second relief appearance with Huntsville, he allowed six earned runs including three of his eight total home runs in just 0.1 innings.

However, Hall made needed adjustments after realizing the stark contrast between the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and hitter-friendly Southern League.

“In Florida State you got the wind blowing in but if you make a mistake in Double A, you are going to pay for it,” Hall said. “Just like the big leagues.”

Huntsville starter Brooks Hall in a start for Brevard County in May 2013. The pitcher was added to Milwaukee's 40-man roster after a season where he was named a midseason in the Florida State League. (Credit: milb.com)

Huntsville starter Brooks Hall in a start for Brevard County in May 2013. The pitcher was added to Milwaukee’s 40-man roster after a season where he was named a midseason in the Florida State League. (Credit: milb.com)

Additionally, he credited Stars’ Pitching Coach Chris Hook for offering additional guidance and a quick turnaround.
“He helped me a lot. Last year he was my pitching coach in Brevard and now he is with Huntsville,” Hall said. “He really told me to think more out there and start using your brain. Start reading hitters.”

Hall responded by holding hitters scoreless in seven of his final 11 appearances including a four-game stretch where he captured two victories for the Stars.

In the ensuing four-game streak, he held opponents to 12 hits and four walks in 17 innings for a .207 batting average against.

“For a young pitcher, you start thinking a little more it will be a little easier,” Hall said. “If I can carry it onto next year I will have a really good year.”

Despite the recent success, Hall acknowledges more work needs to be done to advance his career stating he “will not take anything for granted.”

Humble Beginnings

In order to gauge Hall’s rapid progression as highly touted pitcher from T.L. Hanna High School in South Carolina, one must consider where he began playing.

“I was a hitter in high school and I played third base,” Hall said. “I never pitched until my junior year and also played shortstop.”

Hall was surprised to learn he possessed the tools to be a successful pitcher during his junior season.

“In my junior year they threw me on the mound and I started throwing 93, 94 mph,” Hall said. “I had no idea, so I started pitching.”

Brooks Hall on the day he signed a contract with Milwaukee after being drafted in the fourth round in 2009. (Courtesy: Anderson Independent-Mail)

Brooks Hall on the day he signed a contract with Milwaukee after being drafted in the fourth round in 2009. (Credit: Anderson Independent-Mail)

In addition, his high school coach found Hall’s physical build as an asset on the mound.

“You are going to be a pitcher, you are tall and lanky so we are going to put you on the mound,” Hall said.

Prior to his selection in the fourth round by Milwaukee in 2009, Hall committed to play for the University of South Carolina.

However, the pitcher opted to sign with Milwaukee and forego his college playing career.

After months of negotiations, Hall signed in late 2009 and started his professional career with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers in 2010.

Hall emphasized he is still learning the pitching trade as his career progresses through the professional ranks.

“I am way better now than when I got out of high school,” Hall said. “Coming out of high school I never knew what I was doing. I just threw hard in high school.”

However, Hall remains modest about his development within the Brewers organization including where he will begin the 2014 season.

“I think I will start out in Double A Huntsville,” Hall said. “But I have no idea I could be in Triple A with a good spring training. You never know what they will do.”