When a pitcher is locked in on a hot streak – it is tough to maintain following a promotion to the next level of Minor League Baseball.
Huntsville’s David Goforth remained on a hot streak towards the end of his stint with Brevard County with play-off implications on the line.
“We were still in the playoff run when I was in Brevard the first half heading into the All-Star break,” Goforth said. “We were at a three-game set against Lakeland and I was scheduled to pitch that third game.”
Goforth pitched five innings and allowed two earned runs before being yanked from the game by Brevard County Manager Joe Ayrault.
“We missed out by half of a game that first half and I got pulled,” Goforth said. “In the third game I went like five or six innings and got taken out of the game.”
The Brewers’ 17th ranked prospect in the organization had a scorching stretch of winning three consecutive starts from June 7-June 19.
“I was kind of upset because I was throwing decent and I was starting to get in the groove in the fifth inning and he took me out. My pitch count wasn’t that high and (Ayrault) knew I was a little frustrated,” Goforth said.
Goforth produced near phenomenal numbers with the Florida State League prior to the promotion June 21.
In 14 games for the Manatees he compiled a 7-5 record with an earned run average of 3.08. The starter also accumulated 58 strikeouts compared to 28 walks in the span of 79 innings.
Midway through his stint with the Manatees he won a stretch of three games where he allowed just two earned runs through 21.2 innings pitched including a season-high eight strikeouts May 15 against St. Lucie.
Moving on up to Huntsville
After learning of the news he would don a Stars’ hat following the game against Lakeland, he met with Huntsville the following day.
“Huntsville’s next opponent was in Jacksonville and we played in Florida,” Goforth said. “So I was going to drive up to Jacksonville to meet the team there.”
After a tough initial appearance with the Stars, the pitcher rattled off three consecutive wins to earn him Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week July 8-14.
In his following three starts he struck out 16 batters allowing four earned runs and ten hits through 20 innings, including a complete game shut-out July 8 at Tennessee.
“I was throwing the ball well at that time and I was getting really comfortable out there,” Goforth added.
Goforth followed up his complete game shutout throwing seven scoreless innings allowing just four men to reach base before teammate Brooks Hall sealed the victory.
Goforth is taking the high road in regards to his newest endeavor – relief pitching when Milwaukee made the planned move July 20.
“The Brewers thought it was a good time to make the transition,” Goforth said. “Actually I was pretty excited about the move. I always wanted to pitch in the bullpen and I think it was a good time to do it.”
It took Goforth seven appearances before he notched his first save of the season August 10 and led to four straight save conversions.
“On the difference between starting and relieving, it is a totally different animal,” Goforth said. “When I actually come into relieve late in the ballgames. It’s a totally different mindset so that is something that gets harder (as pitchers advance through the system) so they wanted to make this transition now so that I could get used to it.”
Looking into the future
Goforth re-affirmed his role as a reliever despite multiple strong starts in the 2013 season.
“I am not sure on what the future plan as far as that goes,” Goforth said. “Right now I am going ahead as a reliever and there are still things I need to work on.”
In addition, he acknowledges he will need to be more “on the attack” in his new role.
“You come into games with people on in situations and you got to have your best stuff,” Goforth said. “As far as throwing harder and throwing more velocity I don’t think that is necessarily going to happen.”
Arizona Fall League
Goforth will begin his stint in the Arizona Fall League October 8 alongside six of his fellow Brewers’ farmhands – and looks forward to reuniting with teammate Mitch Haniger of Brevard County and meeting up with his Stars’ teammates.
“I always like coming to Arizona for spring training and stuff like that,” Goforth said. “I play golf a lot in my spare time and nice to do something on my off days or downtime and then hanging out with the guys I played with in Huntsville.”
Additionally, Goforth believes Milwaukee’s second rated prospect Taylor Jungmann has the tools necessary to rebound after a tough 2013 campaign.
“Just want to say everyone has their ups and downs and things are going to happen and its baseball,” Goforth said. “One thing about him is he still competes out there and gives the team a chance to win whether he has the best stuff or not.”
Jungmann is among the seven total prospects Milwaukee sent to the Fall League and Goforth is optimistic about the tall right-hander’s future.
“Just looking at the guy and watch him throw, he can pitch,” Goforth said. “I think he will definitely pitch in the big leagues one day.”
|Florida State League North|
|Daytona Cubs (CHC)||75||51||.595||–|
|Clearwater Threshers (PHI)||67||68||.496||12.5|
|*||Brevard County Manatees (MIL)||66||68||.493||13|
|Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET)||64||68||.485||14|
|Dunedin Blue Jays (TOR)||63||68||.481||14.5|
|Tampa Yankees (NYY)||58||78||.426||22|
1B – Nick Ramirez
Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star
Home Run Derby Champion – FSL All-Star Game
Tied Hunter Morris’ single-season team record with 19 home runs
Tied for second in FSL with 19 home runs
First in FSL with 134 games played
Third in FSL with 500 at bats
Fourth in FSL with 81 RBI
Tied for fifth in FSL with 70 runs scored
Tied for third in FSL with 129 hits
Tied for second with 219 total bases in FSL
Tied for eighth in FSL with 54 walks
First in FSL with 171 strikeouts
RHP – Tommy Toledo
Second in team history with 20 saves
Tied for second in FSL with 20 saves
Tied for tenth in games with 43
LHP – Brent Suter
Tenth in FSL with a 3.63 Earned Run Average
Tossed complete game June 28 striking out five and allowing one walk
Tied for ninth in FSL with 97 srikeouts
Tied for tenth in FSL with 1.30 WHIP
SS – Yadiel Rivera
Ranked 20th among Milwaukee prospects
Tied for third in FSL with 129 games played
Seventh with 478 at bats in FSL
2B – Gregory Hopkins
Tied for third in FSL with 129 games played
Fourth in FSL with 497 at bats
Ninth in FSL with 63 RBI
RHP – Jacob Barnes
Tied for fifth in FSL with nine victories
Players of the Week
Period of July 8-14
Nick Ramirez, Brevard County
(.526/.571/1.000, 5 G, 10-for-19, 3 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 2 BB, 3 K)
In the first 80 games of Ramirez’s season, the 23-year-old slugger had no more than two hits in any single contest. After going 3-for-4 on July 5, the floodgates opened as Ramirez collected four hits on both Tuesday and Friday last week, with the latter game including his 17th home run of the season. Ramirez went deep again Sunday and plated at least one run in each of his five outings. He leads the Manatees and ranks fourth in the FSL with 61 RBIs on the season.
Period of June 24-30
Brent Suter, Brevard County
(1-0, 1.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K)
A Harvard product with a good hockey name, Suter has proven a steal as the Brewers’ 31st-round pick in 2012. The left-hander won his third straight outing Friday, allowing one run on five hits over nine innings in his first career complete game. Suter ranks fourth in the FSL with a 1.09 WHIP and sixth with a 2.87 ERA after going 4-1 with a 2.23 mark in five June outings.
Period of April 29-May 5
Drew Gagnon, Brevard County
(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 0 BB, 10 K)
After yielding 18 runs over 16 2/3 innings in his first four starts, Gagnon has turned things around with two strong outings in a row. The Brewers’ No. 14 prospect held Dunedin to two hits in 5 1/3 scoreless frames on April 26, then tossed seven perfect innings, striking out 10, at Bradenton on Wednesday afternoon. Despite all the strikeouts, Gagnon needed just 84 pitches to get through the seven frames. Reliever Seth Harvey surrendered a one-out single in the eighth as the Manatees went on to edge the Marauders, 1-0, in a rain-shortened eight-inning one-hitter.
* Promoted to Double A Huntsville June 2
C – Cameron Garfield
First Half – 58 games
Belted seven home runs and drove in 29 runs
Collected 13 doubles and four triples
1B – Ramirez
First Half – 64 games
Hit 14 home runs with 43 RBI
Collected 12 doubles and two triples
RHP – David Goforth
First Half – 13 appearances
Recorded 3.04 ERA in 13 starts
Won three straight games May 9-20
Allowed 26 walks through 74 innings
Promoted to Double A Huntsville June 21
RHP – Seth Harvey
First Half – 16 appearances
Notched ten saves with a 4.02 ERA
Produced five straight scoreless outings April 25-May 13
Incurred season-ending injury May 15
RHP – Brooks Hall
Promoted to Double A Huntsville before All-Star game (June 2)
Produced 2-3 record with 2.76 ERA for Brevard County
Pitched seven scoreless innings April 11 and struck out six April 11
Arizona Fall League Participants
Begins October 8
OF – Mitch Haniger
Ranked 12th in Milwaukee organization
Promoted from Single A Wisconsin June 22
Batted .297 with five HR and 25 RBI in 41 games before promotion
Collected 12 doubles and two triples with Wisconsin
Stole seven bases of seven attempts
RHP – Tyler Cravy
Milwaukee’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month in August
Allowed seven earned runs in final 59.1 innings
Struck out 51 batters compared to 16 walks in final stretch
Compiled a 3-1 record with a 1.06 ERA
Closer Tommy Toledo’s season with the Brevard County Manatees can be considered a significant victory for more than just notching the second most saves in a Manatee history with 20.
The right-handed pitcher from Tampa overcame setbacks at the start of his college career where he declined to sign with San Diego after the Padres drafted him in the third round of the 2007 draft out of high school.
His decision to attend University of Florida was to improve his stock in the MLB Draft and gain a college education, which he met half away according to his own personal expectations.
The freshman was named to SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll but had difficulty maintaining a steady earned run average (4.40) in 2008 for the Gators.
Toledo discovered in the winter he required surgery on a torn labrum and sidelined him for the entire 2009 season.
“I could tell something was wrong. My velocity had come down, I wasn’t able to control the ball and I wasn’t getting warm and ready as quick as I usually do. It was just something that I battled through my freshman year.”
Despite a tough freshman year, the pitcher produced solid starts including a seven inning game where he allowed one earned run and six hits against the Ole Miss Rebels – which snapped a road losing streak of more than a decade.
The Tampa native attempted a comeback in 2010 but was sidelined again after being hit by a liner on the mound and broke multiple bones in his face – and by observers – considered himself lucky it did not hit him in the eye.
The injury came after he posted a 2-0 record with 15 strikeouts in 13.5 innings – and tabulated a 1.98 earned run average.
Major League scouts still had Toledo on their radar screen in 2010 evidenced by the 32nd round selection by Minnesota just a month after returning to action, but the hard thrower believed he could rise above his present situation.
In his first game since the line drive, the pitcher threw a scoreless inning and according to GatorSports Nation in 2010, it was an emotional return.
“It was a special moment,” UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said of Toledo’s return. “The players were excited to get him back out there. As a coach, you get a little choked up. He was chomping at the bit. It was great to see him out there, and obviously he will be a huge part of our success down the stretch.”
Steady rise with Milwaukee
It was the third time which proved the charm for Toledo when Milwaukee selected him with the 11th round pick in 2011.
The pitcher posted a 6-3 record with a 3.99 earned run average in 38.1 innings. He also compiled a productive K:BB rate of 32:10 in his final season for the Gators.
His stint with Helena brought growing pains and took nearly the entire season to produce his first victory in an August 30 game against Billings.
Toledo pitched 5.1 innings allowing two earned runs with four strikeouts to achieve his first win as a professional in 2011.
The following season with Single A Wisconsin brought improvement demonstrated by a 7-1 record with six saves for the Timber Rattlers. He additionally struck out 31 compared to 11 walks in 37 innings.
His performance with Wisconsin brought him to High A Brevard County by the end of the 2012 season and led him to post a 2-1 record in 11 games for the Manatees.
Despite a few rough outings, he accomplished three consecutive scoreless outings and four overall.
Second Place All-Time
In 2012, Casey Medlen broke the Manatees’ record with 22 saves to break now-Milwaukee Brewer Rob Wooten’s 18 saves set in 2009.
Toledo nearly reached the mark the following season with 20 saves and posted a highly respectable 2.11 earned run average in 55.1 innings for the Manatees.
The pitcher showed an increase in location demonstrated by a phenomenal 44-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2013.
Additionally, he held opponents to 43 hits to give him a WHIP of 1.102 on the season. The right-hander produced nearly 30 scoreless outings and went on to finish second All-Time in Brevard County’s 20-year history.
Top Ten ‘Tees
Single-Season Saves Leaders
Milwaukee traded former closer John Axford to Central Division rival St. Louis earlier Friday and marks the end of an era to the former Brevard County Manatee, Huntsville Star and Nashville Sound.
Axford was signed as a minor league free agent by Milwaukee in 2008 following one season with the New York Yankees’ organization.
The closer posted a 5-10 record with an earned run average of 4.55 as a spot starter and long reliever for the High A Manatees in 2008. His 95 innings with the Florida State League team is the most he ever accrued professionally in a season and allowed 48 earned runs and struck out 89.
Axford split time between three different levels the following year in 2009 (Brevard County, Huntsville, Nashville) and combined for 68.1 innings pitched with a 9-1 record and 2.77 earned run average.
He posted a 5-0 record in 22 relief appearances for the Nashville Sounds in 2009 and started coming into his own.
Milwaukee attempted to convert him to a starter upon his initial year with the organization, starting 14 of 26 games but eventually found his niche in the bullpen and set the tone for his career heading into the Major Leagues.
Axford’s best strikeout stint came with the Manatees in 2009 where he fanned 43 batters in 27.1 innings before earning a promotion to Double A Huntsville.
Hellweg to be recalled
Nashville’s Johnny Hellweg has his boarding pass stamped to Milwaukee and will be en route to Miller Park following his last start for the Sounds Friday.
Hellweg faces off against Iowa in the first game of the Sounds’ final series of the season and will be the first of many September call-ups when Major League rosters expand to 40 on September 1.
The Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year is second in the league with 11 victories and also in earned run average with 3.16. He rattled off a string of nine consecutive minor league before and after his short stint with Milwaukee.
Hellweg’s first trip to Milwaukee was unsuccessful in four appearances posting an 0-3 record with 13 earned runs allowed in 10.2 innings.
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.
Players headed to the Arizona Fall League are given a golden opportunity to improve their chances of remaining with a Major League organization or highlighting strengths and improving weaknesses.
Milwaukee sent eight Minor League players to the off-season league in 2012 in an effort to afford them a chance of showcasing their skills.
Brewers Farm Report examines the eight players and where they are presently within the Brewers’ organization.
The players listed are ranked according to who made the most of the opportunity and what team they are presently with:
Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Despite an underwhelming Fall League stint, the 25-year-old outfielder progressed through the organization faster than a speeding bullet in 2012.
Davis started his 2012 campaign with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers to rehabilitate an injury and was assigned to Double A Huntsville after playing six games posting a .368 batting average (7-for-19) with three home runs and five runs batted in.
The seventh round selection in 2009 blasted eight home runs with 23 RBI in 44 games with the Stars before earning a promotion to Nashville.
He posted similar numbers with the Sounds and was given a ticket to the Arizona Fall League.
Davis was given “medium priority” in the AFL playing in 15 of 25 games and connected on 12 hits in 53 at bats (.226).
Little did Milwaukee know he would use the AFL as motivation to put on a show in Spring Training and eventually earned a spot on the Opening Day Roster.
Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Nashville Sounds
Hellweg’s performance in the AFL allowed Milwaukee the chance to take a longer look at him following a mid-season trade involving All-Star Zach Greinke.
The 6’9” hard thrower known as “Gas” by former Angels’ teammate Vernon Wells made nine appearances in the Fall League posting a 2.08 earned run average.
His limited performance in the Fall League affirmed the Brewers’ opinion on him after posting a 2.70 earned run average in 20 innings with Double A Huntsville.
The following year, he was rated in the Top Five among all Brewers’ prospects in the system and made the jump to third best.
Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Nashville Sounds
The 24-year-old was sent to the AFL in order to straighten out following a tough transition from High A Brevard County to Double A Huntsville in 2012.
Nelson posted a 2-3 record in seven starts but had an earned run average of 4.91 spanning 22 innings. His 23 strikeouts in 22 innings was a Phoenix Desert Dogs’ best.
With Brevard County he posted a 4-4 record but had a phenomenal 2.21 earned run average in 81.1 innings and walked just 25 batters in the Florida State League.
Nelson hit a minor roadblock when he moved up to Huntsville allowing 34 hits and 37 walks in 46 innings for the Stars.
Aside from a tough couple outings with the Desert Dogs, he demonstrated flashes of brilliance and eventually earned a spot as Milwaukee’s top prospect.
Hunter Morris, 1B, Nashville Sounds
All eyes were on Morris following a season where he earned Southern League Most Valuable Player honors and crowned the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year.
His 2012 campaign with Huntsville gave him a league leading 28 home runs and 113 RBI, but fell just short of receiving the Triple Crown.
The left-handed batter was the Stars’ most durable player starting in 136 games and accumulating 571 plate appearances.
Morris’ AFL stint may have hindered his growth due to the extensive amount of at bats he tacked on from the beginning of the season through November.
The power numbers are still with him in Triple A Nashville but has been unable to maintain consistency through the duration of the 2013.
Josh Prince, Utility, Nashville Sounds
Nobody took advantage of the Fall League more than Prince after the highly regarded display.
The speedy utility player spent the majority of his minor league career playing below expectations of a former third round selection.
While Prince’s base stealing abilities have always been the highlight of his playing career demonstrated by back-to-back seasons with at least 40 stolen bases.
He seized the opportunity by leading the Desert Dogs in nearly every offensive category including a .404 batting average in 25 games.
In addition, he maintained a phenomenal .491 On Base Percentage and collected eight doubles and ten stolen bases.
Milwaukee made the decision to add him to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule V draft.
Prince’s power numbers increased for Triple A Nashville posting a career high 11 round-trippers and nearly matching his season best in runs batted in.
He received a couple recalls to the parent club, including a time where he took the spot of an injured Aramis Ramirez.
The 25-year-old Tulane University alum was involved in a walk-off win with Milwaukee but has been unable to improve upon his averages in the Minor League system.
Brock Kjeldgaard, OF, Huntsville Stars
Milwaukee gave the member of the Canadian National team an opportunity for more at bats and games following two consecutive short seasons.
The 27-year-old outfielder is one of the elder statesmen of the Brewers’ organization after his selection seven years ago.
Following two years off in order to focus playing for his home country, he has bounced around the system due to injuries.
Kjeldgaard played just 81 total games between three levels of the organization in 2012 and was in need of more work.
He played in just seven AFL games and could not advance himself to Triple A Nashville through the duration of 2013 season.
The 34th round selection is notorious for striking out (839 in 709 career games) and was unable to rid himself of the stigma in the Fall League with ten in 26 at bats.
His power numbers are the most prolific demonstrated by a see-saw battle with Huntsville teammate Jason Rogers for the Southern League home run lead.
The 6’6” right-hander was projected as a starter early in his career and earned himself a spot in the organization’s Top 20 throughout his career.
Heckathorn’s walk totals have been low in his professional career and is known as a fly ball pitcher, but has been unable to keep his hit totals down.
Milwaukee sent the pitcher to the Fall League as a way for him to redeem himself, but displayed similar numbers with the Desert Dogs.
Despite his struggles, he has since calmed down after being moved to the bullpen and used as a long-reliever.
Brewers’ officials will be faced with a tough decision in the winter when they decide whether to protect him from the Rule V draft and add him to the 40-man roster or expose him to other teams.
But following an off-season car accident in 2011, the right-hander has not been the same with reduced zip on his fastball.
Rated among the organization’s Top 20 in the early portions of his career, Milwaukee stamped his ticket to the AFL with hopes of reviving his career.
His stint with the Desert Dogs was unsuccessful allowing seven earned runs in two innings of work.
Manazanillo opened the season with Huntsville but struggled in 26 games before his reassignment to High A Brevard County.
Brewers’ officials made adjustments to his development relegating him to short relief to make the most out of his arm.
Following the 2012 season, the 23-year-old Canadian allowed nine earned runs in 42.2 innings between the Arizona Rookie League and High A Brevard County.
Bucci struck out 44 batters and walked just 15 during the 2012 season and was sent to the AFL to log more innings and prepare for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Milwaukee added him to the team’s 40-man roster in order to protect him from the minor league portion of the Rule V draft when teams began to raise eyebrows at his successful appearances.
However, the right-hander pulled himself out of the Classic to rest his ailing throwing arm and sent to the Rookie League to rehabilitate it.
After less than an inning pitched, he was shut down for the season.
It took just 55 games with Single A Wisconsin for 2012 first round selection Mitch Haniger to convince Milwaukee to move him up the organizational ladder to Brevard County.
The decision to promote him to the Florida State League team even caught Haniger off guard as he was in the middle of an Iowa road trip with the Timber Rattlers.
“I was in Quad Cities when I got the call to Brevard, and the next day I traveled to Wisconsin and packed up and got down to Florida,” Haniger said.
Haniger’s promotion was near improbable given his season-ending injury just 12 games into the 2012 season after sustaining a partial tear to a knee ligament at play at the plate.
However, the 22-year-old California-born outfielder made a rapid recovery and considers himself grateful the injury was not as terrible as originally believed.
“I found out pretty quickly that I did not need surgery,” Haniger said. “Luckily things went very well and came back very quickly.”
Haniger made a statement early in the season for the Brewers’ Single A affiliate.
He gathered 43 hits in 145 at bats (.297 batting average) and knocked in 25 runs prior to the promotion.
Of his 43 hits, 19 were extra base hits (12 doubles, two triples, five home runs) and scored 24 times.
In addition, the speedy outfielder stole seven bases in seven attempts and walked 25 times for an On Base Percentage of .399.
Following an adjustment to the pitching-rich Florida State League his first 20 games, Haniger is catching on rapidly.
In the last 26 games, he produced 29 hits in 100 at bats for an average of .290 and tabulated 13 walks to give him an On Base Percentage of .368.
Haniger collected three of his seven doubles in the span in the August 17 blowout victory over the Daytona Cubs. In addition to the three doubles, he drove in three of the ten runs and batted 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
“I just went with whatever they gave me and not try to do too much,” Haniger said. “And not start something up every time you come to the plate.”
The outfielder is looking to make a strong statement as the season draws to a close in Brevard County – after a struggling start with the team.
“I am not pressing at all. I am just trying to finish out the season,” Haniger said. “I am just taking it one at bat at a time, one game at a time. I am not trying to worry about the future.”
Brevard County one of two winning teams
The Manatees are one of two teams within the Brewer organization with winning records and Haniger does not seem surprised given the history and chemistry between teammates.
“We won the Midwest League last year and all of us in the clubhouse knew how to win,” Haniger said. “That is why we have been able to compete.”
In addition, he notes all of the players within the clubhouse knows the role they serve on the team.
“There is not one particular guy in the clubhouse that leads the team in the vocal standpoint,” Haniger said.
He also spoke highly when asked about the impression infielder Nick Delmonico is making on the team after being acquired from Baltimore for veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
“He has a great approach at the plate and very disciplined,” Haniger said. “He is battling some injuries right now,” Haniger said.
The Haniger File
11th Rated Prospect in Brewers system
|Born: December 23, 1990|
|Birthplace: Santa Clara, CA|
|Height: 6’2” Weight: 180|
Bats: Right Throws: Right
College: California Polytechnic State University
Drafted: First round (38th) overall by Milwaukee in 2012
Drafted alongside 10th rated prospect Clint Coulter and 8th rated prospect Victor Roache in the first round