As Milwaukee’s fourth rated prospect Tyrone Taylor heads into the off-season – his primary goal is to be focused on improving his endurance through an entire season.
In correlation with his highly regarded 2013 season and strong work ethic he will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.
“If you work hard everyday, it shows on the field,” Taylor told Brewers Farm Report. “I feel I have done a good job of it and have a lot of good teammates.”
The 2012 second round selection from Torrance High School batted .274 with 33 doubles and eight home runs in 122 games for the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
However, the outfielder produced a scorching stretch of games at the beginning of the 2013 season and earned him Midwest League’s Player of the Week in June.
Taylor batted .294 with 26 doubles and 15 stolen bases the first 90 games of the season. He also scored 54 runs and knocked in 45 during the stretch where he accumulated a .362 On Base Percentage.
Wisconsin’s outfielder acknowledged he became tired down the stretch after playing the most games of his life.
“We play over a hundred games in a season and it will take time. People get on bad stretches,” Taylor said. “My focus is to get stronger.”
Taylor’s last month of the season involved a stint on the seven-day disabled list for a hip flexor injury, but denied it attributed to him wearing down in August.
“It is a long season and just had a bad month,” Taylor said. “I just had to get through it and keep my head up.”
Although a promotion will be anticipated after the season, Taylor is not thinking of where he will be in 2014.
“I will not worry about the future. My main goal is to spend the offseason working out and getting stronger,” Taylor said.
Taylor notes teammates as part of success
While Taylor made a significant jump from the preseason 11th rated prospect to fourth by the conclusion of 2013, he acknowledged his teammates for helping him through the season.
The 19-year-old outfielder gave high marks to teammates Victor Roache and Garrett Cooper, along with former Rattler Mitch Haniger.
Roache tied a franchise record with 22 home runs set by Brewers’ Khris Davis in 2010 during the 2013 season and was closest to the Brewers’ 2012 first-round selection.
Cooper’s addition to the Rattlers’ squad after the first baseman produced a stellar stretch with Pioneer League Helena.
The Brewers’ fourth round pick in the MLB draft became one of the key contributors to Wisconsin’s final playoff push leading up to the final five games.
“He does a really good job of making contact with the ball and fields pretty well. It’s insane,” Taylor said, in regards to Cooper. “He is just an all around good player.”
Cooper batted .297 with six doubles, three triples and two home runs in just 31 games for the Rattlers. He also drove in 20 runs and plated 15 for the Single A squad.
Taylor was not surprised by Haniger’s promotion to Brevard County given the Manatee player is a “smart baseball player and can hit the ball to all fields.”
Taylor and his teammates travel the Midwest on several hour bus trips at all hours of the night. Given the long distance between some Midwest League teams, the Rattlers depart cities immediately after night games at midnight and do not arrive home until the next morning.
But what the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers experienced after he knocked in three runs in 9-1 victory against Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa was a rude awakening.
The Rattlers witnessed a roadside explosion which caught the entire team off guard in the middle of the night.
“That was really crazy, we were just driving by on our bus and we were half asleep and woke up,” Taylor said. “Then we saw a big light and drove by it and then saw a bunch of flames in the air.”
The first thought coming to the mind of Taylor and his teammates was the well-being of the people involved.
“We had no idea what it was and just hope no one got hurt,” Taylor said.
Teammate Chris McFarland echoed Taylor’s statement stating he hoped everyone was okay in the explosion as the team entered the state of Illinois.
It all boils down to tonight and the odds are stacked against the defending Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
With Wild Card leader Clinton needing either a win versus Peoria or a Rattler loss, Wisconsin will be knocked out of the playoffs. The LumberKings’ magic number is at two with four games remaining – and own the tie breaker against the Brewers’ Single A affiliate.
But the Rattlers embarked on quite the journey after a dismal first half of the season and rebounded with a solid second half thanks to contributions from multiple players.
Wisconsin did not have one particular player carrying the load down the stretch which included a couple walk-off wins courtesy of catalyst Michael Reed (third in Midwest League with 11 triples) and a 19-game hitting streak from catcher Parker Berberet.
After a slow start to the season, infielder Alfredo Rodriguez has caught fire with a 16-game hitting streak from July 24-August 14 batting .328 with an On Base Percentage of .380.
Rodriguez later started a nine-game hitting streak three games later where he drove in seven runs and struck out four times through the life of the streak.
In addition, Rodriguez is batting .322 in the month of August and accrued a .390 On Base Percentage.
Right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez, 23, spent the entire season pitching out of the bullpen until he was given his first career start August 25 and responded with a six inning gem striking out five and allowing one earned run.
Prior to Fernandez’s start, he produced five straight scoreless outings spanning 16 innings along with 14 strikeouts and a mere two walks.
Fernandez is pitching his first season in the United States after defecting from his native Cuba in June 2012.
Starters Tyler Wagner and Preston Gainey have emerged as pitchers worth a look following strings of productive outings down the stretch.
Wagner, 22, captured his team-leading tenth victory August 26 where he struck out seven and allowed two earned runs through seven innings of work.
D’Vontrey Richardson blasted his first home run of the season August 28 and snaps a string of more than two years without a home run.
Richardson’s last home run was May 21, 2011. The outfielder sat out the entire 2012 season deciding whether to utilize his degree at Florida State University and quit baseball altogether but eventually had a change of heart.
The Florida State League team reassigned Tyler Cravy to Arizona League Brewers to squeeze out another outing from former top 20 prospect Cody Scarpetta.
Since Brevard County’s season concludes Sunday – and the team out of playoff contention – Brewers’ officials might be taking one last look at him before deciding his long-term future with the organization.
Scarpetta, 25, has been hampered with injuries including a lost 2012 season and multiple roadblocks on the road to recovery. He has been part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization since 2007.
Closer Tommy Toledo successfully converted his last four save opportunities for the Manatees and has allowed two earned runs in the stretch of ten appearances (14 innings).
Toledo’s 19 total saves ties him for second in the Florida State League with St. Lucie’s T.J. Chism.
It has been a frustrating journey for Milwaukee’s 2009 first-round selection Eric Arnett after struggling through his entire minor league career.
But following his reassignment to Brevard County he has produced five productive relief appearances allowing one earned run through 8.2 innings.
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
Brewers Farm Report
RHP Barrett Astin – 90th selection (Third Round) Selection from University of Arkansas (Jr.)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 6’1″ Weight: 200 lbs Born: October 22, 1991
The third-round selection served as the Razorbacks closer in 2012 and helped them reach the College World Series. This season he has bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen, pitching well in both roles.
Astin relies on his low-90s sinker. It has good tailing action and he isn’t afraid to attack hitters with it. His secondary offerings aren’t as well-developed as his fastball, but he has the makings of a solid slider.
Astin will have to improve his offspeed pitches to be a starter as a professional, but he also has the makeup to pitch in high-leverage situations as a reliever.
The right-handed pitcher has already spoken up about his selection by Milwaukee in an interview with an Arkansas Fox affiliate about his decision whether or not he will return to the Razorbacks: http://nwahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=436022
RHP Taylor Williams – 122nd selection (Fourth Round) from Kent State (Jr.)
Bats/Throws: Switch/Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 195 lbs Born: July 21, 1991
Williams began his college career at Washington State, but played sparingly as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to Mount Hood Community College in Oregon. He transferred to Kent State this year and has become the Golden Flashes’ top starter.
The right-hander grabbed attention in February when he struck out Kris Bryant three times in a Kent State victory.
The Junior has a typical arsenal of pitches but might need to improve some of his pitches or add an extra one in order to become successful in the minor leagues.
He mixes his low-90s fastball effectively with a slider and changeup. Williams’ delivery has some effort to it, though he is athletic enough to largely compensate for it.
Still, his delivery and short stature (he’s listed at 5-foot-11) will likely make him a reliever as a professional.
Here is video footage of Williams in February facing off against San Diego.
RHP Joshua Uhen – 152nd selection (Fifth Round) from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 6’4″ Weight: 185 lbs Born: April 7, 1992
With April 2011 Tommy John surgery clearly in his rear view mirror, this hard-throwing Wisconsin-Milwaukee reliever used a solid 2013 season to move up Draft boards.
Uhen has plenty of arm strength, with a fastball that can sit at around 94 mph and touch as high as 97 mph at times. The 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore has good life and sink to his two-seamer as well.
His other pitches are still works in progress, though both his changeup and slider could be Major League average in the future. Uhen didn’t pitch a ton this spring out of the pen and has some command issues to work through. Should he sign, his future is likely coming out of a big league bullpen.
The Oshkosh, Wis. native collected a 1-0 record with a 3.80 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 21-and-a-third innings pitched for the Panthers last season.
Uhen’s hometown newspaper fielded an interview with Uhen following the Brewers’ selection, where the pitcher calls it a “dream come true”
1B Garrett Cooper – 182nd selection (sixth round) from University of Auburn (AL)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 6’5″ Weight: 230 lbs Born: December 25, 1990
Senior Garrett Cooper became the first Auburn player selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft when the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the sixth round on Friday.
A first baseman, Cooper was pick No. 182 overall and extended Auburn’s run of MLB selections to 39 consecutive drafts, dating to the 1975 season.
“This is probably one of the better feelings I have had in my life,” Cooper said. “My advisor called me and the Brewers took me right on the spot. I didn’t even have time to think about it.”
A Second Team All-SEC selection in 2013, Cooper finished the season hitting .354, which was seventh among SEC players at the end of the regular season. He also finished the year among the league leaders in overall slugging percentage (.540, sixth), on base percentage (.481, second), home runs (seven, tied for seventh), total bases (102, tied for 13th) and walks (37, tied for third). His on base percentage ranks ninth all-time in Auburn history for a single season.
“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.”
A transfer from El Camino Community College prior to the 2012 season, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native hit .340 during his two-year stay at Auburn. In 105 games he collected 21 doubles, one triple and 12 home runs, driving in 68 RBI and scoring 66 runs. He finished his career with a .503 slugging percentage and a .452 on base percentage. Defensively he had a career .989 fielding percentage.
Cooper is Auburn’s highest draft pick since Dan Gamache was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with pick No. 182 in the 2011 MLB Draft.
Milwaukee’s selection of Cooper marked the first time he has been drafted in his career.
Milwaukee had selected five Auburn players prior to the Cooper selection: LHP Monte Sharp (1965, 22nd Rd.), LHP Richard Nance (1970, 2nd Rd. June Secondary Phase), RHP Mark Chapman (1987, 18th Rd.), RHP Scott Sullivan (1992, 39th Rd. – Did Not Sign) and IF Hunter Morris (2010, 4th Rd.).
CF Omar Garcia – 212th selection (seventh round) from Miami Dade CC South (FL)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 5’9″ Weight: 160 lbs Born: August 8, 1993
With their seventh-round pick (No. 212 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected center fielder Omar Garcia out of Miami Dade Community College South.
“I saw him at Miami Dade this year and I told my scouts, ‘Let’s keep an eye on this guy. He can play a good game,'” Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said.
Garcia played two seasons at the Miami, Fla., junior college and hit .447 with 19 RBIs and 39 runs scored in his 2013 sophomore campaign.
What stood out most to Seid, though, was Garcia’s speed as he stole 32 bases in 39 games.
“He can fly,” Seid said. “Love the speed. He plays a good center field, he knows his game. He gets on base and plays small ball. He’s an exciting player to watch.”
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Oviedo, Fla., native bats and throws from the right side and attended Lake Howell High School in Seminole, Fla.
He was the third position player selected by the Brewers and the first outfielder.
CF Brandon Diaz – 242nd Selection (Eight Round) from American Heritage School (FL)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 5’11” Weight: 175 lbs Born: April 14, 1995
The Brewers grabbed another speedy outfielder out of the state Florida in Diaz. He is currently committed to Florida International.
With their eighth-round pick (242nd overall), the Brewers selected CF Brandon Diaz from American Heritage (FL) High School.
The right-handed batter helped lead the Patriots to a 25-4 record in his senior season. He batted .478 with seven home runs, 22 RBI and 44 runs scored over 28 games.
Diaz was a Rawlings 2013 all-region first-team member and was also a Perfect Game second-team underclassmen all-American last season.
LHP – Tyler Linehan – 272nd selection (Ninth round) from Fresno State (Jr.)
Bats/Throws: Left/Left Height: 6′ Weight: 200 lbs Born: August 30, 1991
From the Fresno Bee
Tyler Linehan passed up a chance to turn pro three years ago.
He doesn’t see himself doing it this time around.
The Fresno State left-hander said he expects to skip his senior season and sign with Milwaukee after the Brewers took him in the ninth round of the Major League draft Friday.
“I think the coaches at Fresno State did a good job getting me ready for the next level, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges,” Linehan said. “I was thrilled when I got the call and saw my name on the Internet.”
Fresno State also saw senior catcher Austin Wynns go in the 10th round to Baltimore after junior outfielder Aaron Judge was a first-round selection Thursday by the New York Yankees.
The Bulldogs also have had two recruits drafted: Kerman High pitcher Carlos Salazar was taken Friday in the third round by Atlanta and Serra-San Mateo outfielder Jordan Paroubeck in the second round Thursday by San Diego.
Salazar’s agent said Friday that his client will sign with the Braves and Paroubeck also is likely to sign, leaving it to Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole to scour the summer circuit for replacement recruits.
Major League teams have until July 15 to sign their picks.
The 6-foot, 240-pound Linehan is coming off his worst season with the Bulldogs after going 3-7 with a 5.90 ERA. But he has shown flashes of dominance, with 171 strikeouts in 1792/3 career innings.
Linehan is looking at a signing bonus of about $140,000.
“I didn’t have the year that I wanted,” said Linehan, a 14th-round selection by Seattle in 2010. “The thing is, I feel like I’m ready for the future. And it’s still good money.”
RF Michael Ratterree – 302nd selection (tenth round) from Rice University (TX)
Bats/Throws: Right/Right Height: 6’1″ Weight: 210 lbs Born: February 9, 1991
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Rice right fielder Michael Ratterree in the tenth round of Friday’s Major League Baseball draft. Ratterree was taken with the No. 302 overall pick.
A senior from Memorial, Ratterree hit .270 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs in 62 games to help lead the Owls to the NCAA super regional. He led the team with 48 runs and was second with a .442 slugging percentage.
Ratterree has 31 home runs in his career.
Ratterree’s profile on the Rice University Athletics website: