There is a lot to be said about making a first impression inside and outside the world of baseball.
For Rattler first baseman Garrett Cooper he made an immediate impact in two levels of minor league baseball after being drafted in the sixth round from Auburn University by Milwaukee in June.
Cooper blasted two home runs in his first two career professional at bats for the Pioneer League Helena Brewers on Opening Night.
Milwaukee wasted no time promoting him to Single A Wisconsin after 16 games with the Helena Brewers where he batted .274 with four home runs and ten runs batted in.
The 22-year-old is showing more signs of improvement given the blazing stretch of games in August where he produced a nine-game hitting streak and accumulated ten multi-hit games for the Timber Rattlers.
The tall 6’6” Alabama native maintained momentum despite a stop on the seven-day disabled list midway through the month.
In 15 games, he has accumulated 24 hits on 58 at bats to give him a .414 batting average and walked six times for an On Base Percentage of .477.
His first career home run in the Midwest League was a towering shot well over the wall in left-center field in the Rattlers’ 5-1 loss to Burlington July 29, according to the Post-Crescent in Appleton.
Milwaukee may have had their eyes set on the Auburn Tiger early on given his success in the Southeast Conference.
Cooper collected 20 extra base hits and belted seven home runs with 37 runs driven in during his senior campaign.
His .481 On Base Percentage put him second in the SEC and drew 37 walks to rank third.
Returning from injury
Cooper spent the winter following his junior season adding additional weight would strengthen him up after getting hurt at the tail end of the season.
The first baseman had this to say to WSMV TV following the draft:
“After my junior year and getting hurt at the end of the year I wanted to put on weight and thought that would pay dividends in my senior year,” Cooper said. “I think it helped, hitting over .350 with seven bombs. We ended the season on a sour note but for myself I felt like I had a great season and that showed with the draft this year.”
The 6’6” first baseman now weighs 230 pounds but given his recent minor league success it has not slowed him down.
Ross returns from Tommy John Surgery
Right-hander Austin Ross missed a majority of the 2012 season following Tommy John surgery after just three appearances with High A Brevard County but is starting to bounce back.
After spending a huge portion of the 2013 season with the Arizona League Brewers rehabilitating the repaired throwing arm – he made eight trips to the pitching mound for Single A Wisconsin.
He allowed just three earned runs in the course of his last five starts spanning 24 innings for the Timber Rattlers. In addition, he allowed 17 hits and walked seven batters in the span of games where he posted a 2-0 record.
Kentrail Davis snapped a home run drought of 231 at bats with his first career blast as a member of the Nashville Sounds in Thursday’s 9-5 loss at Albuquerque.
The 25-year-old Davis’ last home run was June 13 against Chattanooga where he batted 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
It took the 2009 first round selection from Tennessee 37 games as a member of the Triple A club to break the drought.
Despite the power shortage, the outfielder is consistently getting on base with a .350 On Base Percentage and has stolen ten bases between Double A Huntsville and Triple A Nashville in the span of 63 games.
Since his promotion to Triple A he has been the Sounds’ primary leadoff hitter after spending all of last season batting fifth for the Huntsville Stars.
In 38 games for the Sounds he is batting .276 with an On Base Percentage of .367 and has scored 20 runs.
Velez on a tear for Nashville
How about infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez’s stint with Nashville after being claimed off waivers from the Toronto organization.
Velez has been on a major hot streak including his involvement with walk-off victory for the Triple A Nashville squad.
In a span of 25 games for the Sounds, the speedster has stolen seven bases and tabulated an On Base Percentage of .446.
The most telling of is his present 11-game hitting streak and reached base safely in nearly every game since he moved from Buffalo of the International League to the Sounds.
Velez has been a key utility player for the Sounds due to Milwaukee recalling second baseman Scooter Gennett and outfielders Caleb Gindl, Sean Halton and Khris Davis during the parent club’s injury ravaged season.
Frustrating season for Morris
Nobody wishes for a productive season more than Hunter Morris especially after a blazing 2012 campaign where he earned the Southern League Most Valuable Player along with the honor of being Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year.
The organization’s seventh best prospect has shown some flashes of greatness in his first full season with Nashville. His power numbers are still there, but the rest has declined.
Morris could be pressing considerably during the final stretch of the season where he struck out nearly every game and notched a career high with 117.
“I certainly want to play better than I am,” Morris told Brewers Farm Report earlier in the month.
Nashville has attempted multiple interventions to get his bat moving again which includes dropping to fifth in the batting order and removing him at the tail end of games for defensive replacements or pinch hitting.
Third baseman Stephen Parker has been summoned to take over late in games and has been able to provide a short-term fix for Nashville Manager Mike Guerrero.
An off-season break might serve the 24-year-old first baseman best after accruing more than 700 plate appearances in 2012 which includes his time with the Arizona Fall League.
Nashville Manager Mike Guerrero had little options to douse the flames in the Sounds’ 20-2 loss against Round Rock August 19 and led multiple pitchers absorbing innings.
With a handful of pitchers on the disabled list for an extended period of time and a long end to the regular season with no days off, Guerrero needed to get the most innings out of lefty Aaron Laffey, Tim Dillard, Donovan Hand and Brent Leach.
Laffey allowed 11 earned runs through 3.1 innings before handing the ball off to Dillard who gave up three runs in a 1.2 innings.
Nashville has been without number 11 prospect Hiram Burgos since July 7 due to being sidelined with injuries and multiple rehabilitation stints between Single A Wisconsin, High A Brevard County and Nashville.
In addition, the team will be without left-hander Chris Narveson and RJ Seidel for what could be the remainder of the season.
Nashville purchased the contract of right-hander Dustin Molleken from the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Foreign League to fill gaps in the pitching staff.
Molleken, 29, has held opponents scoreless in his five appearances with Nashville. The pitcher has been primarily a reliever through his entire career dating back to 2003 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Ivy-League graduate Brent Suter has been the workhorse of the Manatees’ starting pitching core posting a team-leading 103.2 innings.
In conjunction, Suter is demonstrating tremendous control walking 29 batters and allowing 99 hits.
The left-handed Suter has produced seven victories and one complete game since his promotion from Single A Wisconsin.
Suter is showing the ability to produce at every level through his short career including his first stop at Pioneer League Helena in 2012.
After Milwaukee selected him with the 31st round pick, he posted a 4-2 record with an earned run average of 3.92 in Montana’s rocky mountain air and was promoted to Wisconsin to cap off his first season.
Milwaukee wasted no time moving him to Brevard County in 2013 after making three appearances with the Timber Rattlers where he compiled 16 strikeouts and allowed three earned runs in 15 innings.
Starter Tyler Cravy is beginning to find a groove after Brevard County made the decision to put him in the starting rotation.
After appearing in his first 14 games out of the bullpen. In his six starts since, he has logged 30 innings and allowed five earned runs.
Richardson picking up where he left off
Leadoff hitter D’Vontrey Richardson is re-emerging as a prospect after spending all of 2012 deciding whether to return to baseball or complete his degree at Florida State University.
Milwaukee kept the door open for Richardson and put together a 13-game hitting streak and has an On Base Percentage of .393.
The two-sport athlete who also was the Seminoles backup quarterback has eight stolen bases in 29 games with the Manatees.
Richardson was rated as the Brewers 20th ranked prospect at the end of the 2011 season and could be picking up where he left off.
Ramirez in top five, Delmonico adjusting
First baseman Nick Ramirez was the Florida State League’s Home Run Derby champion during its All-Star break and is second in the FSL with 18 home runs and fourth with 69 runs batted in.
Nick Delmonico, recently acquired from Baltimore for veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez played his first 11 games with Brevard County.
Delmonico is still adjusting to the pitching-rich FSL after playing 61 games in the Carolina League where he belted 13 home runs and collected 12 doubles. The third baseman has nine hits with a double and triple in 39 at bats for the Manatees.
Life without Bradley
Brevard County has prepared to go the remainder of the season without left-hander Jed Bradley after he injured his throwing arm.
Bradley has hit multiple snags in his second season with the Manatees including stints on the disabled list and rough outings.
The former first-round pick dropped in the MLB.com prospect rankings from fifth to 16th.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Sean Halton started a two out rally in the first inning with a double and was driven in by a Hunter Morris single. Morris advanced to second after the 51s threw the ball towards home plate in an attempt to catch Halton.
Halton has hit safely in nine of the last ten games and batted 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
Morris’ single extended his hitting streak (1-4, R, RBI) to five games is batting 7-for-20 with three RBI and a triple through the same stretch. The left-hander hit his 20th home run of the season in Thursday’s win against Las Vegas.
Catcher Blake Lalli singled Morris home after Las Vegas walked Josh Prince and gave the Sounds a 2-0 lead. Lallil batted 3-for-5 with two RBI in the victory.
Marco Estrada made a rehabilitation start for Nashville pitching 2.2 innings, allowing two earned runs and two walks before being lifted for left-hander Zack Kroenke.
Kroenke and three other relief pitchers combined for to keep the 51s scoreless the remainder of the game.
Jesus Sanchez earned his third save of the season, second since the promotion of Pacific Coast League All-Star Robert Wooten to Milwaukee.
Huntsville’s Rogers hits 19th Home Run
First baseman Jason Rogers knocked his 19th home run of the season in Huntsville’s 13-2 loss to the Mississippi Braves and batted 1-for-4. The home run puts him two ahead of Mobile’s Nick Evans for the Southern League lead and his 73rd run batted in is five ahead of Birmingham’s Dan Black.
The 25-year-old Georgia native believes he is starting to get into the rhythm after being hampered by injuries through the duration of the season.
Rogers bowed out of the Southern League home run derby to rest which led to teammate Brock Kjledgaard filling the spot in the All-Star event.
Mississippi hammered starter Drew Gagnon in the Friday game for seven earned runs through three innings before Stars’ Manager Darnell Coles called for Mark Williams and Casey Medlen.
Both relievers combined for five additional earned runs before Greg Holle took over and managed to put together a scoreless inning.
Gagnon has been trying to find the same success he had a year ago with Single A Wisconsin and High A Brevard County where he combined for a 7-3 record with a 2.83 Earned Run Average.
The right-hander from California is known for his command and location has allowed 114 hits in a shade over 100 innings between Brevard County and Huntsville in 2013.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Stars’ first baseman Jason Rogers continues to be on a tear with his second multi-home run game in eight games in Sunday’s 7-2 win against Jackson.
The first baseman’s five runs batted in gives him 68 total for the season and puts him ahead for the league lead in runs batted in, just two ahead of Birmingham’s Dan Black.
Rogers’ two home runs puts him with 16 in the Southern League and ties him for second with Huntsville teammate Brock Kjeldgaard and Jackson’s Kyle Jensen.
His first two seasons within the Brewers’ organization with three different levels of minor league baseball have given him a combined 21 home runs.
Huntsville got off to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning with the a two-run bomb by Rogers to score second baseman Nick Shaw.
Jackson pitcher James Gillheeny appeared rattled and subsequently walked the bases loaded, including the eventual third run of the inning.
A sacrifice fly by Rogers in the second inning to score leadoff man Chadwin Stang put the Stars’ ahead 4-0. His second home run of the game came in the fourth inning with another two-run bomb to score Stang for the second time of the game.
Rogers’ last multi-home run game was in Huntsville’s July 20 victory against Pensacola where he also knocked in six runs in the 10-5 drubbing. The first baseman followed up the next game with his fourth in two games.
Starter Drew Gagnon notched his third consecutive victory with Huntsville after suffering through a string of five straight losses to begin his campaign with Double A Huntsville. The right-hander from California allowed two earned runs through six innings pitched. The pitcher improves to 4-5 with the Stars after his promotion from Brevard County.
Gagnon has struggled for most of the season after compiling solid numbers with Single A Wisconsin and High A Brevard in 2012 where he kept his earned run average below 2.90 and compiled a combined 7-3 record.
Victor Roache heats up for Wisconsin
Brewers’ first-round selection Victor Roache has batted safely in 19 of his last 25 games after struggling at the start of the season for Single A Wisconsin.
Roache has batted .410 with five home runs and 15 RBI in the last ten games and improves his batting average to .250 for the season.
There was concern for Roache’s shoulder injury following the Brewers’ selection of him in 2012 and was unable to play until 2013.
One of the major things to consider for Roache is he will only continue to improve as his career progresses, barring injury. Roache was immediately dispatched to Single A without a playing a game in Rookie ball.
Roache’s 15 home runs for the Rattlers’ puts him in a tie for third in the Midwest League with numerous other players. Not bad for a player sitting at ten a week and a half ago.
Delmonico makes Manatee debut
Infielder Nick Delmonico made his long-awaited debut with High A Brevard County Saturday and got his first hit in the Manatees’ 11-9 loss to Bradenton.
Delmonico was 1-for-5 with a run scored and a triple after going hitless in three at bats for the Manatees in his debut.
The infielder will be splitting time at third base with Brandon Macias and play Designated Hitter on days Macias receives the start at 3B.
Delmonico was acquired from Baltimore Tuesday for veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez and is known as a contact hitter with enough athletic ability to play any infield position.
The 20-year-old from Knoxville, Tenn. played catcher in high school and many believed utilizing him behind the plate would be a waste of his athletic ability.
Subsequent to the trade, Delmonico is looking forward to reaching his final destination – Miller Park.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Milwaukee shook up its prospect rankings with the acquisition of infielder Nick Delmonico from Baltimore in exchange for relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez.
With the addition of Delmonico to Brevard County, he now stands as the third rated prospect within the Brewer organization and moves new teammate Yadiel Rivera out of the Top 20.
A scouting website indicated the following on Delmonico:
“A sixth round selection by the O’s in 2011, catcher and third baseman Nick Delmonico probably has the best pure power bat in the Baltimore system, but it’ll be a year or two before we know that for sure. Most intriguing is the reflection that his success in high school came mainly on the strength of his patience and selectivity at the plate: if that kind of discipline can be nurtured in pro ball, he could be a very powerful offensive force indeed. He’s a few years away.”
In addition, Oriole-Nation had this to say about Delmonico:
“High baseball IQ. At one point was seen as a high first round pick. Average bat speed and smooth left handed swing with some loft in his swing, but power hasn’t been seen much yet. Advanced approach at the plate: rarely swings at pitches outside the zone. Slightly below-average speed. Had played catcher in HS, but looks to be a third base, first base, or right field as a pro. Although using him at first base would waste his athletic ability. Strong arm and quick reactions.”
Look for further ranking changes as the season progresses in Milwaukee. Outfielders Caleb Gindl and Khris Davis might “graduate” from the MLB.com rankings due to extensive playing time with the parent club (see: Tyler Thornburg).
On the outside looking in is Brevard County’s Brent Suter, a left-handed starter with success at every level since being drafted out of Harvard.
In addition to Suter, Michael Reed might be a viable addition to the Top 20 due to his consistency with Single A Wisconsin.
Here is an update on the Top 20:
1. Taylor Jungmann
2. Johnny Hellweg
3. Nick Delmonico
4. Hunter Morris
5. Jed Bradley
6. Scooter Gennett
7. Victor Roache
8. Jimmy Nelson
9. Clint Coulter
10. Mitch Haniger
11. Hiram Burgos
12. Drew Gagnon
13. Tyrone Taylor
14. Khris Davis
15. Orlando Arcia
16. Caleb Gindl
17. Ariel Pena
18. Damien Magnifico
19. Kentrail Davis
20. Jorge Lopez
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Huntsville at Chattanooga
Four top 20 prospects are set to take the mound tonight for the Brewers farm system headlined by Huntsville’s Jimmy Nelson.
The ninth rated prospect in the system, will attempt to give the Stars an opening night victory after last night’s contest was rained out in Chattanooga.
Nelson finished the 2012 season with a 6-8 record and 2.83 earned run average in 23 starts between High A Brevard County and Double A Huntsville.
New Orleans at Nashville
After a spectacular pitching display in the World Baseball Classic representing his native Puerto Rico, Hiram Burgos (No. 13) will be on the hill for Nashville tonight.
Burgos posted a 10-4 record with a sub-2.00 earned run average as he sped through three levels of the Brewers’ organization last season. In 27 starts, the right-hander struck out 153 batters in 171 innings.
Nashville will attempt to maintain a steady beat after first base prospect Hunter Morris put the Sounds to an early 2-0 lead in last night’s 5-4 victory against New Orleans.
Daytona at Brevard County
The Sea Cows of Brevard County will be sending number 14 rated prospect Drew Gagnon to the hill at Space Coast Stadium in Florida State League action.
Gagnon remained consistent last season posting a 7-3 record with an earned run average of 2.83 with Single A Wisconsin and High A Brevard County.
With legitimate run support, Gagnon could prove to be a sleeper prospect in the Brewers’ minor league system. After being rated below the Top 20 entering the 2012 season, the right-handed pitcher jumped to No. 14 with solid command of his pitches.
Wisconsin at Peoria
Wisconsin will send fireballer Damien Magnifico (No. 20) to face off against Midwest League rival Peoria tonight. The Rattlers are loaded with top position prospects including catching prospect Clint Coulter and outfielders Tyrone Taylor and Mitch Haniger.