Manatees’ pitcher Tyler Cravy is craving more starts after producing multiple stellar outings after coming out of the bullpen.
With the loss of left-hander Jed Bradley for the season and struggles of other top rated pitchers to start the season, Manatees’ Manager Joe Ayrault turned to Cravy.
“I made a couple spot starts in his place,” Cravy said. “It gave me the chance to be in the starting rotation and I was not sure how long I would be there but things have worked out great.”
The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher has allowed just six earned runs in his last eight outings spanning 42.1 innings.
He has started seven of the the eight outings compiling just a 2-1 record and a few no decisions for the Florida State League team.
Cravy struck out a season-high eight batters in his last two appearances totaling 12.1 innings combined.
Brevard County saw Cravy as a late-inning setup man to closer Tommy Toledo at the start of the season.
Cravy believes the transition to starter has allowed him better preparation and ability to sharpen up his pitches.
“As a starter it is just an opportunity for more time in between starts,” Cravy said. “And working on mixing up my pitches.”
The 17th round selection in 2009 believes the slider is giving him the best route of success in his most recent starts.
“I am pretty confident with my slider lately,” Cravy said. “I sometimes pitch it a little slower to get guys out and faster to jam it in.”
Cravy believes there are telltale signs he will have a good game during pre-game warmups including the ability to mix up his pitches.
“Definitely the fastball, if it leaves my hand well,” Cravy said. “If I can throw sliders for strikes. Its good indication of how I will do.”
Brevard County’s catching core of Cameron Garfield and Rafael Neda are credited with keeping him level throughout games.
“They both do a great job calling games and tell on me to stay on top of my pitches,” Cravy said. “They helped me out a lot.”
Cravy spent all of 2012 with both catchers with the Single A Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and learned quickly the difference between both leagues.
“They (hitters) are definitely more disciplined and you do not get away with bad pitches,” Cravy said. “If you get a bad pitch in, chances are you are going to pay for it.”
And as Cravy progresses slowly up the organization’s minor league ladder, he has shown signs of improvement on an annual basis.
Regards to Jacob Barnes, Brent Suter
Cravy noted fellow starter Jacob Barnes as another reason for the Manatees’ high points throughout the season.
Barnes came on in a rare relief appearance following an early departure by Milwaukee’s number 19 rated prospect Damien Magnifico August 23 to pick up his ninth victory of the season.
In the game, he struck out six batters in six innings and allowed just one walk and no earned runs to help the Manatees to a 3-1 win.
Barnes has boasts a 9-3 record with an earned run average of 3.02 in 101.1 innings pitched for the 2013. Milwaukee selected Barnes in the 14th round of the 2011 draft.
In addition, team-leader Brent Suter in Innings Pitched was noted for the ability to keep his walks down and Cravy mentioned his tall and lanky body type as the reason for taking on an extensive amount of innings.
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
In an effort to bring a thorough review of Milwaukee’s top 20 prospects according to mlb.com, Brewers Farm Report is working to add player cards to the mix to better inform fans and followers.
While it remains a work in progress, here are the top 15 of 20. There will be further additions to the cards once the entire 20 is completed.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
As the 2013 season is underway, Brewers Farm Report, is breaking down the Top Ten of 20 Brewers’ prospects in 2013 with some surprises.
Milwaukee could be taking a long look at Scooter Gennett if its second baseman Rickie Weeks continues to struggle for the parent club.
Gennett has been under pressure with the struggling Triple A Nashville Sounds as the team’s leadoff hitter as the scrappy infielder is trying to start and end rallies on his own.
Huntsville’s Jimmy Nelson has sizzled for the Stars to start the season and should climb the prospect charts if he continues to show success on the mound.
Victor Roache has made his first appearances in the Brewers’ organization with the Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and is on a four-game hit streak to start his young career.
1. RHP Tyler Thornburg, Triple A Nashville Sounds
Thornburg has struggled in his four starts to begin the 2013 season with an 0-2 record and 6.30 earned run average.
The right-hander averaged five innings per appearance, striking out 18 batters and walking seven. During the span of 20 total innings, he has allowed 21 hits and two home runs.
Nashville’s season opener was his strongest outing of the season striking out seven New Orleans batters in five innings of work. He received a no-decision allowing one earned run, three hits and walked only one batter.
However, the number one rated prospect has steadily declined since the April 4 start allowing 3, 5 and 5 earned runs.
2. RHP Taylor Jungmann, Double A Huntsville Stars
Aside from a rocky start against Jackson April 12 where he allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched, the Brewers’ 2012 first-round draft selection has been solid for the Stars.
His sole victory came in his Stars’ debut tossing five innings and allowing one earned run while striking out four Chattanooga Lookouts.
Jungmann was handed a tough loss April 22 at Birmingham pitching six innings and allowing one earned run and striking out two before being relieved to start the seventh inning of the game. In the same game, the 6’6″ right handed pitcher had difficulty maintaining control allowing four walks and five hits.
In his last three starts, his game walk totals have climbed allowing nine walks (four each his last two starts).
Brewer fans need to be assured the pitcher is in his first full season of Minor League Baseball after being thrown to High A Brevard County to begin his career in the Brewers’ organization in 2012.
3. RHP Johnny Hellweg, Triple A Nashville Sounds
The tall right-hander is being groomed as a starter after splitting time between relief and spot starts his last two minor league seasons in both the Angels and Brewers systems.
In four starts, Hellweg has compiled a 1-2 record for the Sounds with an earned run average of 4.00. Hellweg is facing similar struggles to Thornburg after putting together a solid season debut against New Orleans April 6. In his first start, he allowed no runs and two hits in five innings.
However, the right-hander has been able to demonstrate the ability to bounce back after sustaining two rough outings following his only win of the season with a five-inning and six strikeout performance against Memphis April 25.
Hellweg has strucked out a total of 19 batters in 18 innings pitched but needs to work on his control after walking 13 batters through the duration of the season.
4. 1B Hunter Morris, Triple A Nashville Sounds
After beginning the 2013 campaign with a bang hitting a home run in his Triple A debut with Nashville, the Brewers’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year has struggled to get into a consistent rhythm.
In 18 games for the Sounds, Morris has knocked four home runs and driven in ten. The left-handed hitter earned his 2012 Southern League Most Valuable Player award in Huntsville for his near Triple Crown season and ability to collect doubles. The 2013 season has been on the opposite end of the spectrum with four doubles.
Scouts long mentioned Morris’ plate discipline as the key “make or break” tool to earn him a shot to the Major Leagues. The 2013 season has been a tough start striking out 16 times and walking seven in 73 plate appearances.
However, Morris is slowly improving during the course of the season thus far. His batting average has jumped from .173 to .227 in 10 days.
5. LHP Jed Bradley, High A Brevard County Manatees
The left-handed Bradley sported his best outing April 9 against the Lakeland Flying Tigers going five innings and striking out six to give him the first of two victories this season for the Manatees.
Bradley snagged his second win his most recent start April 25 against the Dunedin Blue Jays striking out six and allowing one earned run and two walks.
Aside from a rough outing where he struggled to maintain control and was unable to make it out of the first inning against the Clearwater Threshers, he has been able to show some improvement compared to last season.
In his second straight season with the Manatees he has posted a 2-1 record with a modest 3.45 earned run average in 15.1 innings pitched. The areas in need of improvement would be to improve command of his pitches giving up 16 hits and 11 walks.
6. 2B Scooter Gennett, Triple A Nashville Sounds
Gennett has been highly consistent for the Sounds this season batting .417 with an on base percentage of .444 as the team’s primary leadoff hitter.
His ability to get on base has not translated to runs on the board as he crossed home plate nine times in 15 games.
The scrappy infielder has made attempts to ignite the team’s offense with two doubles and a triple and has been able to keep his strikeouts under control with eight in 60 at bats.
In the rough 6-12 start for the Nashville Sounds’ season, Gennett might be getting too aggressive with three stolen bases but was caught twice.
The pressure could be building on the second baseman to carry a struggling team.
7. OF Victor Roache, Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Roache was recently added to the Midwest League Champions roster a week ago after spending time in Arizona strengthening himself in extended spring training due to an injury he sustained when he was drafted by the Brewers in the first round last season.
The right-handed outfielder jacked his sole home run of the season in his Rattlers’ debut April 21. In the game, he went 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
In the following night, he notched his first double going 1-for-3 with a walk. He has maintained a four-game hitting streak to start his early career in the Midwest League.
Roache will be the outfielder to keep an eye on as he officially begins his professional career in the Fox Valley region in Wisconsin.
8. RHP Jimmy Nelson, Double A Huntsville Stars
Nelson has been near lights out for the Stars starting the season 3-0 with a meager 1.30 earned run average in five starts.
In 27.2 innings, the right-hander has struck out 32 and walked just five.
The 23-year-old gave the Stars’ a season-opening victory striking out eight Lookouts and not allowing a walk in five innings of work but allowed two earned runs.
Since his opening night win, he has held teams nearly scoreless allowing an earned run in two starts (April 15, April 25) but keeping hitters at bay in his other two (April 10, April 20).
Nelson matched his season-high in strikeouts with a no decision April 15 against the Tennessee Smokies lasting five innings and allowing one earned run and three hits.
9. C Clint Coulter, Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Coulter has been having trouble with a tougher Midwest League compared to his stint with the Rookie League Arizona Brewers in 2012 batting .160 with two home runs and five RBI in 13 games for the Rattlers.
The Brewers’ number one catching prospect had his best game April 8 against the Cedar Rapids Kernels going 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI but had a difficult time with plate discipline, striking out three times.
After being given a couple days off to rest, he hit his second home run the following game against the Kane County Cougars April 13 hitting a solo home run in a 1-for-3 game.
Milwaukee might be better served to send him to Rookie League Helena when the H-Brewers begin its season in June following the amateur draft.
The youthful 19-year-old will need time to succeed and he has been overmatched against pitchers with more development in the Midwest League.
10. OF Mitch Haniger, Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
After sustaining a season-ending injury early in the 2012 season, Haniger is attempting to redeem himself with a full season of Minor League baseball under his belt this season.
Haniger, one of the few first-round picks (sandwich selection) the Brewers made in 2012, could be climbing the prospect charts during the progression of 2013.
In 16 games, Haniger has sprayed the field with a variety of different hits. In addition to notching five doubles, the 22-year-old has jacked two home runs and driven in ten runs for the Rattlers.
Furthermore, he has walked eight times and stolen three bases (no caught stealing) for a .382 on base percentage to compliment his .286 batting average.
At the same point last season, Haniger was already sidelined with a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.
Alongside Roache and another hot hitting outfielder, Tyrone Taylor, the Rattlers have a strong core of speedy young outfielders to help them defend their Midwest League title.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Taylor Jungmann stands out as most destined to succeed in his inevitable promotion to Double A Huntsville in 2013. Standing at 6′ 6″, Jungmann has the physical ability to absorb a high amount of innings which was indicative of his first season with High A Brevard County – compiling an 11-6 record with a 3.53 earned run average in 153 innings.
Jungmann, 23, led the Florida State League in multiple pitching categories as the Manatees’ workhorse and had the ability to secure victories with meager run support.
While Jungmann will be a definitive part of the Stars season, Huntsville natives are hoping and praying one of their own will make an arrival to Joe Davis Stadium.
Pitching prospect Jed Bradley could be the second consecutive Huntsville native to wear Stars’ duds for the 2013.
Brewer officials and Stars front office personnel have had its sights set on the left-handed Bradley making a return to his hometown for much of last season despite a tough initial season with High A Brevard County.
In his only season with Manatees, he was able to keep his walk totals at reasonable level with 43 in 107.1 innings pitched but was unable to get out of several jams allowing 136 hits for a .311 batting average against.
For a better 2013, Bradley must work on his control after compiling a 5.53 earned run average with a 5-10 record. The 6-4 pitcher might have had a better record but many of his fellow ‘Tees were unable to receive much run support and led to pitchers climbing to the double digits in losses.
Adding to the potentially loaded staff would be recently optioned Nick Bucci, a 22-year-old Canadian right-hander. Bucci has progressively gotten better throughout his minor career within the Brewers’ organization.
Bucci was sidelined with an injury to begin the 2012 after compiling a career high 150 innings in 2011 with High A Brevard County.
In Bucci’s 2011 season he struck out 119 batters while allowing 51 walks for an earned run average of 3.84. The following season, Bucci was put on an innings limit and played a portion of 2012 with the Arizona League Brewers to retool his game.
Following four starts in Arizona where he struck out seven and allowing no walks in 11 innings, Bucci intensified his game for High A Brevard County by striking out 37 batters in 31.2 innings.
For further strengthening and development, the Brewers opted to have him make a few appearances for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.
Bucci’s performance with the off-season led the Brewers to believe he was on the radar for other teams in the Triple A phase of the Rule V draft and had no other option than to add him to the 40-man roster.
Despite a couple of rough outings, Bucci was able to show enough strengths to convince Brewer officials to make the decision to promote him to Huntsville for the 2013 season.
While Brewer officials appear to be confident in Bucci’s ability to succeed with the Stars, it could be a “sink or swim” season and the pressure could be on him to prove he is able to get the job done.