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.
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.
Of the six player representatives from the Brewers’ organization in the 2013 Arizona Fall League – one could be seeing big changes.
Huntsville’s Jason Rogers will be making a switch to the outfield after playing his entire season manning first base for the Stars.
In addition, there is plenty more at stake – and room for some improvement – for the other five players as they play through November.
Here are the following players headed to the Fall League following their team’s seasons and what they need to do:
Jason Rogers, 1B, Huntsville Stars
Given the circumstances involving teams above the organization, the potential look at Rogers in the outfield should not be considered a surprise.
After a powerful 2012 season where he is waging in a see-saw battle with Stars’ teammate Brock Kjeldgaard and Chattanooga’s Joc Pederson for the Southern League lead in home runs – Milwaukee could be attempting to keep him every way possible.
Rogers, 25, is subjected to the minor league portion of the Rule V draft held in December and faces an uncertain future given Milwaukee’s commitment to Hunter Morris at first base in Nashville for 2014.
However, Rogers told Brewers Farm Report earlier in August he has experience playing the corner outfield positions and is open to the opportunity of switching positions.
The 32nd round selection from the same draft as Morris in 2010 already notched career highs in home runs with 22 and with 85 runs batted in for Huntsville.
In 374 career games spanning four seasons he appeared in left field for 66 games and right field in one game.
Additionally, he made a sole appearance at third base his first season.
Rogers has demonstrated the ability to hit for a high average through the progression of his career and his power numbers have improved considerably since the 2012 season.
He will need to show he is capable of playing the outfield when he is given the opportunity in the Arizona Fall League.
Additionally, his odds will be better at staying with the organization given the outfield depth in Nashville.
Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Huntsville Stars
One of two first round picks by Milwaukee in 2011, the tall right-hander will need to redeem himself in the AFL after hitting a roadblock with Huntsville in 2013.
Milwaukee’s number two ranked prospect has shown the capability of producing impressive outings and physical endurance of taking on a tremendous amount of innings.
Jungmann produced a near unbeatable string of games May 9 until June 9 where he compiled a 6-1 record in seven starts.
The Southern League mid-season All-Star held opponents to nine earned runs in 45.1 innings during the hot streak. His 113.2 innings is second on the team to Ariel Pena’s 137.2.
However, his ability to get out of long-term slumps is seemingly difficult given his recent rough stretch games where has not captured a victory since July 6.
When the 6’9” pitcher is not showing impeccable location on his pitches, Huntsville Manager Darnell Coles has not hesitated to remove him from games early.
Jungmann will need to use the AFL to get out of the slump and set the tone for Spring Training in 2014.
David Goforth, RHP, Huntsville Stars
Milwaukee’s 16th rated prospect is undergoing a pitching adjustment after starting nearly every game during his minor league career.
Many national scouts project him to be a highly regarded reliever in the Major Leagues and in a purely player development move, the Stars moved him to the bullpen.
After compiling a 10-8 record with a 4.66 earned run average with Single A Wisconsin in 2012 the 2011 seventh round selection is making a statement in 2013.
Goforth produced a 7-5 record with Brevard County and allowed 27 earned runs in 78.1 innings before his promotion to Huntsville.
His control in his pitches has been remarkable allowing 44 walks in 123 innings combined between both levels.
Since the move the bullpen, he has notched four saves and just one earned run in 13 innings.
If Goforth maintains his successful stretch with the AFL, it will re-affirm Milwaukee’s confidence in him.
Adam Weisenburger, C, Huntsville Stars
The Southern League mid-season All-Star will need to stand out in the AFL and prove he should be promoted to Nashville in 2014.
In addition, the catcher is in need of more work behind the plate after accumulating 60 of Huntsville’s 133 games.
Weisenburger, 25, has not accumulated any more than 100 games in any of his three seasons with the Brewers’ organization.
With the emergence of Robinzon Diaz with Nashville and potential advancement of Brevard County’s Cameron Garfield, Weisenburger could be sandwiched in the organization.
Milwaukee could stick with Diaz, 29, heading into the 2014 season given his success at the plate.
Kevin Shackelford, RHP, Huntsville Stars
After three below average seasons, Shackelford has finally caught on with Double A Huntsville. Milwaukee likely sent the reliever to the AFL to get a longer look at his development.
Shackelford posted a 7-10 record in 55 games between Helena in 2010 and Single A Wisconsin with an earned run average above 4.00.
The right-hander from North Carolina snapped out of it following a promotion to Double A Huntsville 24 games into the 2013 season with High A Brevard County.
In 18 games for the Stars he has allowed three earned runs in 26.1 innings pitch for a meager 1.03 earned run average.
Additionally, the 24-year-old saved five games to match his season best in an entire 2012 season with Single A Wisconsin.
Mitch Haniger, OF, Brevard County Manatees
The 2012 first round selection has been on a hot streak with Brevard County after making adjustments to a tougher pitching environment compared to the Midwest League.
Haniger was promoted instantly from Single A Wisconsin after belting five home runs and collecting 12 doubles in just 41 games for the Rattlers.
Milwaukee is likely taking a look and see how he fares against other team’s pitching prospects and how he will stick with his inevitable move to Double A Huntsville.
Despite losing the entire 2012 season due to a fractured ankle, teenager Orlando Arcia has been able to hold his own among older players in the Midwest League.
The Venezuelan-born shortstop is progressing in the League after making a major jump from the Dominican Summer League in 2011 straight to Single A.
In the span of a month the 19-year-old produced a seven game hitting streak and presently sits at a five-game streak.
Arcia accumulated 20 runs scored and struck out just nine times in 94 at bats for the Brewers’ Single A affiliate.
In addition, he is batting .297 with an On Base Percentage of .353 since July 20 along with six multi-hit games.
The 165 pound shortstop faced a different situation on August 15 when the Chiefs intentionally walked him twice in a 3-for-5 game where he scored twice.
Arcia belted two of his four home runs in the last four games with scouts believing the shortstop will develop power when he fills up.
Within the last 15 games where he produced the seven- and five-game hitting streaks, he is batting .322 with 13 runs scored and three stolen bases.
Arcia might be getting comfortable on the basepaths after suffering two injuries, including the season-ending injury he sustained in 2012 when he slid into second base. He also had an injury scare earlier in the season when he sprained the same ankle after a play at the plate.
The shortstop has took the Brewers’ organization by storm after the team signed him as a 16-year-old undrafted free agent and rattled off an impressive debut with the Dominican Summer League in 2011.
In his inaugural season, the eventual 17-year-old stole 13 bases and homered six times in 64 games for the DSL Brewers and collected 26 doubles.
Rattler Manager Matt Erickson is batting Arcia ninth for the majority of the season to minimize pressure on him and allow him time to grow.
Wagner the Wisconsin workhorse
If there is a more deceiving statistic in baseball, it would be the win column for starting pitchers – and Wisconsin’s Tyler Wagner has done more than what his record presents.
The 22-year-old fourth round selection from Utah has been the Rattlers’ workhorse the entire season racking up a team-leading 130.2 innings with a 3.24 earned run average – but has a 9-8 record to show for it.
Wagner is tabulating a 2.89 earned run average in his last nine appearances but received four No Decisions and three wins, including an eight strikeout performance July 13 against Lake County.
The right-hander racked up a career high ten strikeouts and allowed no runs in seven innings May 8 against Clinton.
Reed does it again
Outfielder Michael Reed is the epitome of clutch performances for the Rattlers after carrying the team to another walk-off win August 15.
Reed made Peoria pay for intentionally walking Arcia when two batters later, the speedy outfielder hit a game winning two-out single.
The 20-year-old from Texas has produced double digits in nearly every offensive category including 11 triples, third in the Midwest League.
In addition, he has compiled a .391 On Base Percentage and stolen 23 bases and collected 22 doubles.
Taylor rebounds from injury
Reed’s outfield mate Tyrone Taylor is bouncing back from an injury requiring him a stint on the seven-day disabled list by hitting safely in seven of his nine games since returning August 8.
Taylor is batting .293 in the last nine games including four multi-hit games, four doubles, six runs batted in and two stolen bases.
Prior to his placement on the disabled list, it is believed he attempted to play through the hip injury indicated by his decline at the plate.
The outfielder’s average dropped more than 30 points in the course of a month before Wisconsin officially shut him down for a week.
For Nashville Sounds’ first baseman Hunter Morris, his 2013 experience in Triple A has been humbling.
But the transition from his native Huntsville to Nashville would have been more difficult without the family support he has in his hometown, including his wife and young son.
“I am very lucky and fortunate that I have got such a great support system,” Morris said. “They will support me in whatever is best for my career, here on out.”
The Auburn University alum is forced to make adjustments after a successful campaign where he earned the 2012 Southern League Most Valuable Player with the Double A Huntsville Stars.
“I think last year went to a little too smooth. I never really had to make any adjustments or work to change anything up until this season,” Morris stated as he reflected on his time with the Stars.
After belting a career high 28 home runs with 113 runs driven in for the Stars, the Milwaukee Brewers named him the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2012.
In addition, he led the Southern League with 40 doubles and accrued a .357 On Base Percentage.
The left-handed batter was ten batting average percentage points shy from earning the Southern League Triple Crown.
Huntsville Manager Darnell Coles was one of the people instrumental in helping him make the transition from a mental perspective and for pointing him in the right direction.
“He kept me very humble and that was a point in my career where I could have gone either way,” Morris said.
Some of the wisdom Coles conveyed to him is helping him cope with a season beneath his personal expectations.
“It’s helped me keep my head on straight this season,” Morris stated.
Morris is batting .239 with 22 home runs and 61 runs batted in for the Sounds in 2013, and certainly is trying to improve.
Morris is one home run shy of tying for the Pacific Coast League lead with Memphis’ Brock Peterson and recently rode a nine-game hitting streak.
In the last ten games, he is batting .289 with three home runs and nine runs batted in.
“I think there is just a learning curve and some people take longer than others,” Morris said. “I had the mechanical stuff going on earlier this year and I got away from what made me successful last year.”
The 24-year-old is beginning to adjust to living life in Nashville compared to playing in his hometown last season.
“There will be times where you are hot and sometimes when you are cold,” Morris said. “But that is just part of baseball.”
Transition to the Major Leagues
As Morris is learning to accept the tough transition to Triple A, he fully acknowledges it will be much tougher if or when he receives the call from Milwaukee.
“Learning how to work and learning how to make adjustments,” Morris said. “The jump to the Majors isn’t going to be any easier.”
Despite the tough transition, Morris believes he is prepared from an endurance perspective due to playing an extensive amount of time in 2012 including a stint with the Arizona Fall League.
“I think in the long run the more playing time you get the better of you will be at when it comes time to play 162 games in the Majors compared to 140,” Morris said.
The support he has received from his wife and young son leaves him with hope the possible transition to Milwaukee can be an easy one.
“She understands the dedication that it takes among other family members in making sacrifices for me to continue doing something I love,” Morris said.
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
It could be Josh Prince‘s time to shine for Milwaukee after Brewers’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.
Ramirez sprained his left knee sliding into second base in Friday’s 3-1 Brewer loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In minor league action, the Huntsville Stars will be sending Milwaukee’s number three rated prospect Taylor Jungmann to the mound at Chattanooga.
Jungmann compiled a exceptional 2012 campaign with the High A Brevard County Manatees posting an 11-6 record with a 3.53 earned run average in 153 innings.
The Stars defeated the Lookouts Friday night behind a spectacular pitching performance by Jimmy Nelson. The right-handed pitcher struck out eight in five innings to give the Stars the opening night victory against its Southern League rivals.
Nashville hopes to avenge Friday’s 12-0 loss to New Orleans with tall hard-throwing Johnny Hellweg getting the nod for the Sounds.
Brevard County is on the road in Daytona as they continue it’s opening series against the Cubs’ High A Florida State League affiliate.
In earlier action, the Rattlers dropped its first loss of the season in extra innings against the Peoria Chiefs Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-3 despite the offensive performances of outfielder Tyrone Taylor and infielder Alfredo Rodriguez. Please see game report at the bottom.
Tonight’s probables are as follows:
And the game report of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:
Peoria gets in under the tag for 13 inning win
Rattlers fall for first time in 2013
PEORIA, IL – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers could not hold a 3-0 lead Saturday at Chiefs Stadium and wound up on the losing end of a 4-3 score in thirteen innings to the Peoria Chiefs. Alfredo Rodriguez had three hits and Tyrone Taylor drove Rodriguez in twice, but it was not enough as the Rattlers dropped their first contest of the 2013 season.
The bottom of Wisconsin’s order got them going in the top of the third. Rodriguez and Michael Reed both singled with one out. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base with Taylor at the plate. The Chiefs brought the infield in and Taylor sent a grounder to second. But, the ball was booted for an error and Rodriguez scored without a play at the plate. Orlando Arcia followed with a single to right that knocked in Reed for a 2-0 lead.
Rodriguez and Taylor combined to give the Rattlers (2-1) a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. Rodriguez singled to start the inning and went to second on an infield grounder. Taylor doubled down the left field line to send Rodriguez home for the three run lead.
Rattlers starting pitcher Brent Suter did not allow a run for his first 4-2/3 innings. But, Casey Rasmus reached on a swinging bunt with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Swinson followed with an RBI double to left-center.
Rodolfo Fernandez came on in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up consecutive doubles to Patrick Wisdom and David Washington to let Peoria (2-1) within a run.
The Chiefs tied the game in the bottom of the seventh as the first three hitters singled. Rasmus had the third single in the sequence to drive in the tying run.
The game remained tied until the thirteenth, but not for lack of opportunities.
Wisconsin put their leadoff batter on base in the tenth and twelfth innings. Peoria put their leadoff batter aboard in the ninth inning. They loaded the bases and had a 3-0 count to Charlie Tilson with two outs in their half of the twelfth. But, neither team could push a run across the plate.
In the bottom of the thirteenth, Rattlers reliever Taylor Mangum retired the first two Chief batters. Then, Rasmus pulled a seeing-eye single into the hole between firsts and second. Rasmus would steal second to get into scoring position.
Swinson lined a 3-2 pitch off the glove of Jose Sermo at third base. The ball trickled into foul territory in left field and Rasmus raced for the plate. Sermo’s throw was in time, but a bit high. Catcher Clint Coulter got the tag down quickly on Rasmus, but the Chiefs catcher went in headfirst and was ruled to have got his hand in just under the tag to score the winning run.
The final game of the four game series is Sunday afternoon at Chiefs Stadium. Jorge Lopez is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Peoria will send Kyle Helisek to the mound. Game time is 2:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:40pm.