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
Michael Ratterree was born and raised in the Houston area and grew up being a fan of all Houston athletic teams and attended Rice University.
Little did Ratterree know he would end up being drafted in the tenth round by a team more than one thousand miles away – the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I did not know and up until a week before the draft a scout from the team came up to me with interest,” Ratterree said.
The 22-year-old outfielder has emerged as one of the rising stars of the Pioneer League after accumulating a 16-game hitting streak and is among the top five in most offensive categories.
“Sometimes I didn’t want to hear about it because I did not want people getting into my game,” Ratterree said, looking back at the hitting streak from July 7 through 26.
Through the hitting streak he compiled 29 hits in 69 at bats and collected eight doubles and drove in 25 runs.
Ratterree belted a home run in three consecutive games against Idaho Falls and legged out four triples.
The former Rice University player emulated in some ways one of the Astros players he grew up watching in Houston.
“It wasn’t just one player on the (Astros) but I always liked the way Craig Biggio played the game,” said Ratterree.
Despite his recent success he hopes to advance within the organization and eventually reconnect with a former college teammate.
Milwaukee drafted left-hander Taylor Wall in 2012 and is a relief pitcher with the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
“When I got drafted he sent me a text telling me congratulations and it was pretty cool to be drafted by the team,” Ratterree said. “And I certainly hope to be reunited with him soon.”
Ratterree recalls attending Houston Rockets basketball games with Wall when both were students.
The outfielder is now playing in the field where Wall played a year prior at Kindrick Legion Field in Helena, Mont. Where he is led by long-time Brewers organization coach Tony Diggs.
Diggs has been part of the organization for more than a decade and previously played within the system and knows what it takes to get people to the next level.
“He tells it like is and he doesn’t sugarcoat anything and is honest with you,” Ratterree explained. “Diggs always expects the most out of his players.”
Ratterree has an optimistic message to convey to the people of Milwaukee which also indicates his work ethic.
“I am a real hard worker and take great pride in my work,” Ratterree said. “I am just going to show up everyday and get better and then hopefully great things can happen.”