By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
Tyler Wagner confirmed late Thursday night that he has been promoted from Double A Biloxi to parent club Milwaukee.
The confirmation comes after multiple news outlets, including FoxSports Ken Rosenthal, that the 24-year-old right-hander will make his Major League debut Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park.
He indicated that he will be boarding a flight to Milwaukee Friday.
Milwaukee’s 12th ranked prospect has started in nine games for the Shuckers this season, accumulating 53 2/3 innings and has allowed 12 earned runs on 45 hits (2.01 ERA).
He became the Southern League’s first four game winner in a Biloxi 8-2 victory against Pensacola April 27, and followed up with two consecutive seven inning starts, but yielded No Decisions.
Wagner has maintained steady control through the progression of the 2015 season, compiling a 38-15 strikeout-walk ratio, and has stated before that he relies heavily on the defense behind him in inducing ground ball outs.
In 401 minor league innings, he has struck out 319 hitters compared to 141 walks.
Milwaukee’s recall comes after the injury by starter Wily Peralta, necessitating the need to place him on the 15-day disabled list, leaving the Brewers without a viable fifth starter.
The Brewers kicked around the idea of starting reliever Michael Blazek, but opted to pitch Mike Fiers on short rest.
Speculation persisted that Milwaukee would call up lanky starter Taylor Jungmann from Triple A Colorado Springs, but the 6-6 native Texan has struggled the majority of the season.
In Jungmann’s first eight appearances, including two in relief, he has allowed 33 earned runs in 38.1 innings, giving up 45 hits and walking 21.
Jungmann made it to the sixth inning in just two of his appearances, including a victory May 1 against Omaha. He followed up with a six inning relief appearance at Memphis, holding the Redbirds scoreless, with six strikeouts and three walks.
Despite early struggles, Jungmann produced his best performances in his last two appearances.
Jungmann endured a tough loss May 23 at Salt Lake, striking out seven and walked one hitter through seven innings, and allowed two earned runs on seven hits.
Tyler Thornburg was another option, but has seen limited success at the Major League level, and has been knocked around in six appearances with the Sky Sox after being demoted from Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, in another development, the Shuckers will play at MGM Park June 6 amid speculation the opening would be delayed for another two months.
The City of Biloxi cited earlier in the week that the stadium would not be ready by the targeted June 6 date, but after intense negotiations with the Shuckers, an agreement was met.
According to WLOX in Biloxi, money was a primary concern, noting an expedition of construction could cost the city an extra $380,000.
In the same report, city officials anticipate economic growth will offset the cost of paying Yates Construction to expedite the process, with the Shuckers and city of Biloxi each pitching in $100,000.
Yates Construction agreed to the cost reduction, according to the report.
Brewers pitching prospect Tyler Wagner is one of several players gearing up for another season of minor league baseball.
Wagner should have plenty of reason to be optimistic about the 2015 season following his stellar Southern League debut in the AA post season and as a member of the Arizona Fall League.
The 23-year-old Las Vegas native entered the 2014 season with three consecutive victories for the Advanced A Brevard County Manatees, where he allowed three earned runs through 17 innings, striking out 12, walking eight and allowing 14 hits.
Wagner, Milwaukee’s 15th ranked prospect, did not endure his first loss of the year until a 4-2 decision May 6 against visiting Clearwater. He allowed two earned runs through seven innings, and did not issue a walk, but allowed six hits.
He then rattled seven victories in eight starts from June 9-Aug. 2, allowing a meager three earned runs through 52.1 innings, striking out 42 and holding opponents to 12 walks.
The former University of Utah closer drafted in the fourth round by Milwaukee in 2012 said the change in mindset allowed him to succeed in 2014.
“It is a different mindset to be able to pitch everyday, and being able to trust my defense in getting behind me to make plays,” Wagner said.
Overall, his mindset earned him multiple honors throughout the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Florida State League and the Arizona Fall League.
In his 25 starts for the Manatees, he accrued a 13-6 record and allowed 31 earned runs through 150 innings pitched, notching a 1.86 ERA. He had a career high in strikeouts with 118 and allowed 48 walks.
He ranked among the top five in multiple categories, including second in ERA and innings pitched, along with fourth in strikeouts.
Staying in the game, and taking one pitch at a time, was essential for his mid season and post season all-star berths in the FSL.
He also earned accolades as a Brewers’ organizational all-star.
The game which stands out was his Southern League debut as a member of the AA Huntsville Stars, he said.
In his debut, he held the Chattanooga Lookouts scoreless through six innings, and allowed just two hits, struck out four and walked one.
The season did not end for Wagner as he ventured to Glendale, AZ where he played for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League.
Although he did not have a stellar showing, producing a 7.43 ERA in nine relief outings, he came away with positive memories.
“It was a very great experience, just to be able to go out there, and see what those guys are doing as far as routine,” Wagner said.
As he enters the 2015 season, he believes he can be much better on the mound after developing confidence in his third pitch last season.
“I was really focusing on my change-up, my chang eup got a lot better, and now it is my third pitch to be able to have to my repertoire,” Wagner said.
The change up will be in addition to his fastball, which he said had a top speed of 95 mph in 2014, and a slider/splitter combination.
“My slider was pretty consistent all year and it was my put out pitch, but it can always be better,” Wagner said. “All three pitches can definitely always be better, but being able to have them all working is a good thing,”
Former Rancho Cucamonga Manager Carlos Subero has been announced as the new Manager of the Double A Huntsville Stars Monday.
The move comes after weeks of speculation and ongoing rumors regarding not only the vacancy, but the future of the Stars in Huntsville.
According to an announcement made by the Los Angeles Dodgers on its High A affiliate website January 9, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes hired PJ Forbes as Manager and noted Subero “took a managerial position with the Milwaukee system.”
In addition, a source close to the situation during December’s Winter Meetings in Orlando indicated Milwaukee planned to hire Subero following the elevation of Darnell Coles to Triple A Nashville.
Huntsville previously filled the managerial vacancy with former Major League outfielder Dave Clark. He eventually departed the organization when the Detroit Tigers offered him a position on the major league coaching staff.
The Stars’ new manager has prior history within the Double A Southern League directing two different teams.
Subero, 41, served as Manager of the Chattanooga Lookouts from 2010-2012 where he posted a combined 215-201 record including two second half division titles in 2011 and 2012.
Prior to his stint with the Lookouts, he managed the Chicago White Sox affiliate Birmingham Barons in 2008. He successfully captured the first half South Division title in his sole season with the Barons.
Subero began his managerial career with the Texas Rangers organization in 2001 when he was with the Gulf Coast League Rangers until 2002.
The Rangers’ organization elevated him to the Single A Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League for the next three seasons until he moved on to Bakersfield of the California League.
Subero produced two of three winning seasons in the Midwest League including the 2004 season where he witnessed the development of All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler along with pitcher Edinson Volquez.
The 41-year-old Manager played shortstop the majority of his career as a member of the Kansas City Royals organization from 1991 through 1994 when he moved on to the Texas and Pittsburgh organizations in 1995.
Following a one year layoff from the game, he latched on for a final season in 1997 with the Meridian Brakeman of the independent Big South League.
Hook, Guerrero round out Stars’ coaching staff
In conjunction with the Subero announcement, Chris Hook will return for another season as the Stars’ pitching coach and will be joined by coach Sandy Guerrero.
Hook, 45, played two partial seasons with the San Francisco Giants where he combined for a 6-2 record in 1995 and 1996.
The right-hander from San Diego was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 1989.
Guerrero, 47, played in the Brewers’ organization from 1986-1992 after starting his minor league playing career with the Toronto Blue Jays system in 1984. He compiled a career .281 batting average with an OBP of .347.
The Stars’ coach had his best season in 1988 with the High A Stockton Ports of the California League with 23 stolen bases, 24 doubles, 79 RBI, 80 walks in 139 games.
Guerrero served as the Stars’ hitting coach from 2003-2008 where he assisted with the development of current Brewers’ Ryan Braun, Martin Maldonado and Rickie Weeks.
Hook and Guerrero will be joined by the return of trainer Steve Patera and new strength and conditioning coach Nate Dine and J.R. Rinaldi will serve as the clubhouse manager.
It is a sad day in Huntsville history after the Southern League unanimously approved the sale and relocation of the Stars to Biloxi, Miss. in 2015.
The move comes after an anonymous source told Brewers Farm Report last week the team would be moved to Mississippi despite a hesitant group of Southern League owners.
Reports indicated the AA Southern League owners were reluctant to make the decision for a variety of reasons including travel expenses and the market competition with the Mobile BayBears in Southern Mississippi.
Southern League teams travel by bus and play five-game sets every season in an effort to reduce costs of travel between cities.
City leaders of Huntsville grew frustrated with Stars’ owner Miles Prentice after the New York-based attorney declined many times to work with officials on building a new stadium.
Reports from Huntsville indicated the owner did not attend any home games at the aging Joe Davis Stadium and Mayor Tommy Battle “expected” the team to honor its lease through the 2015.
However, given the strained relationship between Prentice and the City Huntsville – it was not a surprise the owner opted to break the lease and sell the team to a Ken Young.
Despite reports from Biloxi, Miss. regarding postponed measures related to a new stadium – City leaders should be able to move forward and put it back on the agenda. Biloxi officials were awaiting documented proof the team would be approved and relocated.
Partnership with Milwaukee
Given the circumstances surrounding its last negotiation process following the 2012 season, both sides could extend the PDC.
Similar to the Nashville Sounds situation, the Brewers’ organization wanted to seek a new partnership due to an aging stadium constructed for football.
The difference was Prentice’s uncooperative demeanor toward Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and refusal to discuss any potential of a new stadium.
Huntsville was home to many of Milwaukee’s top prospects since 1999 when the Brewers ended ties with Texas League El Paso.
Pitcher Ben Sheets was the Brewers’ first Major League All-Star to be a part of the Huntsville Stars in 2000 when he made 13 starts posting a 5-3 record with a phenomenal 1.88 Earned Run Average.
Corey Hart made his mark for the Stars in 2003 when he was named the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player after knocking in 94 runs while blasting 13 home runs with a .340 On Base Percentage.
It took nine more seasons for the Stars to produce its next MVP when Huntsville native Hunter Morris took the organization by storm.
Morris belted 28 home runs and drove in 113 runs for the 2012 Stars while collecting 40 doubles and was ten percentage points shy of capturing the league’s triple crown.
Preliminary reports from the Double A Huntsville Stars indicate the team will open the season on the road against the Jacksonville Suns April 3.
The home opener will be against Pensacola April 9 in a five-game set before they head back on the road for a series versus the Mississippi Braves.
Huntsville’s longest home-stand will be 10 games June 5 through June 14 when they face off against the Mobile BayBears and Chattanooga Lookouts. There will also be a 10-game homestand July 26 through August 4 as they take on the Lookouts and Jacksonville Suns.
The Stars are working to finalize the start times of all games and will be set to release the official schedule February 1, 2014.
April – 10 home games (Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Mobile BayBears); 17 road games (Jacksonville, Mississippi, Tennessee Smokies, Montgomery Biscuits)
May – 15 home games (Jackson Generals, Birmingham Barons, Tennessee Smokies); 14 road games (Montgomery, Chattanooga Lookouts, Jackson Generals)
June – 15 home games (Mobile, Chattanooga, Montgomery); 14 road games (Jackson, Pensacola, Mississippi)
Southern League All-Star game slated for June 17.
July – 16 home games (Jackson, Chattanooga, Jacksonville); 13 road games (Mississippi, Chattanooga, Jackson)
August – 13 home games (Jacksonville, Jackson, Mississippi); 15 road games (Birmingham, Tennessee, Mobile)
September 1 marks the season finale at home against Mississippi.
Following a career season where he belted 22 home runs and drove in a Southern League leading 87 runs batted in – Milwaukee named Stars’ first baseman Jason Rogers it’s Minor League Player of the Year.
In addition, Brewers’ third rated prospect Johnny Hellweg formerly of Nashville was honored as the Pitcher of the Year today in announcement made by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Hellweg tied for second in the Pacific Coast League with 12 victories despite spending some time with the parent club earlier in the season and was also second in the PCL with an earned run average of 3.12. He also struck out 89 batters in 125 innings in Triple A while allowing just 81 walks.
The pitching prospect was named the PCL Pitcher of the Year after his stellar season for Nashville while Rogers is the sole Stars’ sole representative on the Southern League Post-Season All-Star team.
Rogers belted three home runs on August 20 and drove in six against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and had a season batting average of .270 for the Stars.
In addition, Rogers collected 25 doubles and walked 59 times for the Double A affiliate and accrued a .346 On Base Percentage.
The first baseman was named as the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Month for two consecutive months – and produced a 16-game hitting streak for Huntsville.
Hellweg was recently recalled by Milwaukee along with teammate Sean Halton after Major League rosters expanded September 1. Brewers’ top rated prospect Jimmy Nelson joined both.
Rogers will continue playing baseball through November with a stint in the Arizona Fall League beginning in October.
Milwaukee’s 2012 winners were Huntsville’s Hunter Morris and Hiram Burgos of Nashville.
Huntsville’s Ariel Pena notched his third victory in five starts as the Stars shut down Jackson 7-0 Sunday.
Pena struck out six batters through his five innings and allowed just two hits to cap off the season posting an 8-9 record and earned run average of 3.73.
The pitcher acquired in the 2012 mid-season with Brewers’ All-Star Jean Segura and fellow pitcher Johnny Hellweg for Zack Greinke produced three scoreless outings in the five game span.
Pena has allowed just four earned runs through his last 29 innings including a tough No Decision August 21 against Pensacola.
The Brewers’ number 13 rated prospect went eight innings and allowed no earned runs in the No Decision and his eight strikeouts were the most since May 8 against Pensacola when he fanned ten in 6.1 innings.
Rogers is streaking along
Southern League All-Star Jason Rogers extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-3 night at the plate and knocked in three runs.
The Stars’ first baseman is batting .318 over the last 12 games with eight runs batted in. His hitting streak is the second time where he has produced a streak lasting more than ten games.
Rogers compiled a 16-game hitting streak from July 19 through August 4 and accumulated nine home runs and 20 runs batted in. He maintained a phenomenal .383 batting average and On Base Percentage of .489 through the 16-game stretch.
Sunday’s three runs batted in allowed Rogers to remain in a commanding lead with 87 RBI compared to Birmingham’s Dan Black who has 83.
Despite his stretch, he has a home run drought and resulted in teammate Brock Kjeldgaard ovetaking him for the Southern League with 23 home runs.
Kjeldgaard belted a home run in back-to-back games August 29 and 30 against Jackson.
Owings throws the heat
Micah Owings responded to his first career Stars’ home run Saturday with a scoreless inning on the mound in relief of Pena Sunday.
The former Major League pitcher is continuing his desire to convert himself to a “hybrid” player in baseball circuits.
Owings has held opponents scoreless in all of his outings (11 innings) with the Brewers’ organization dating back to July 27 when he was with the Arizona Brewers of the Rookie League.
In addition, he has struck out 15 batters and walked just two between Arizona and Huntsville.