Neuhaus seeks rejuvenation
It has been a turbulent start to the season for the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, but there are glimmers of hope for the youthful team.
The Timber Rattlers entered Sunday with an underwhelming 8-22 record, and according to the MLB.com, just four of the top 30 prospects are with the Midwest League team.
With a team that has two first-round selections from prior years, left-handed pitcher Kodi Medeiros, shortstop Jake Gatewood, and two second-round picks in infielder Tucker Neuhaus and outfielder Monte Harrison, one would perceive high expectations for the squad.
However, aside from age, personal and medical issues derailed most of the prospects development.
All four were drafted directly out of high school, with all of them still in their teens.
Harrison, 19, was picked in the second round of last year’s draft, and has just 74 career professional games under his belt, with the bulk of his action in the Arizona Rookie League.
The 19-year-old outfielder entered his initial season nearly two years younger than the league average in Arizona as an 18-year-old last year, but held his own.
Harrison played in 50 games for Arizona in 2014, collecting seven doubles, two triples, a home run and 20 RBIs.
Although he batted .261 in his initial season, he demonstrated an ability to reach base, 31 times in 224 plate appearances, posting a .402 On Base Percentage.
Harrison took advantage of his OBP, stealing 32 of 34 bases, and scoring 37 runs.
With Harrison’s promotion to the Midwest League, where he, again, is younger than the league average at a wider margin, the outfielder has struggled to find his stroke.
In 97 plate appearances, Harrison has walked eight times, and has already struck out 48 times in 24 games; consequently, he is hitting .155 with a .268 OBP. His strikeouts are at a much higher rate compared to his initial where he whiffed 44 times.
In 24 games for the Rattlers, he has produced one multi-hit game, April 22 against Cedar Rapids. He batted 2 for 3, with two home runs, a walk and three runs, but was not enough as the Rattlers lost 5-4 at Neuroscience Group Field in Appleton.
Further hindering his efforts to find a rhythm was departing the team May 7 to address a family concern.
When the Helena Brewers open their doors in June, it might be a tough decision for the Brewers to reassign him to the Rookie Pioneer League team for a variety of factors. It will largely depend on depth within the lower levels of the Brewers’ organization following the amateur draft, and if the Brewers return someone to Wisconsin from High A Brevard County.
Neuhaus, on the other hand, could experience a rejuvenation after struggling all of last season through the start of the 2015 campaign.
The 19-year-old Neuhaus, who was selected as a shortstop in the second round of the 2013 draft, was converted to third base 24 games into his initial season with the Arizona Brewers.
Neuhaus struggled his first two seasons, drafted when he was 17, and eventually fell of the MLB.com prospect rankings.
Injuries played a role, but it was not until April 9 of this season, where one of Neuhaus’ issues may have been addressed.
The third baseman departed the team to take an eye exam in Milwaukee April 10-29, and returned with a clearer vision.
According to Kelsie Heneghan of MiLB.com, the problem began to develop during Spring Training.
The report indicated that A couple of months ago, Neuhaus noticed that the vision in his right eye got significantly worse at night. The 19-year-old played on Opening Day, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but it wasn’t just dominant pitching that got him out, according to MiLB.com.
“Something with my eye was wrong. And the first game I was seeing the ball well while the sun was still out and then once it got dark, my vision went bad,” he said. “I have some Oakley sports glasses that I got.”
In his first game back, Neuhaus tied a career high with three RBIs, the first coming in the first inning on an unusual forceout. With the bases loaded and one out, Neuhaus — the Timber Rattlers’ No. 5 batter — hit a grounder to second baseman Gianfranco Wawoe.
Since his initial return to the batter’s box, he has bounced back, producing a nine-game hitting streak, leading up to May 8.
Through his hitting streak, he has batted 13 for 37, collected two doubles, two triples, a home run with six runs driven in.
While his ability to maintain plate discipline remains to be seen, getting one walk in 38 plate appearances, it should be a positive step in the right direction.
On the mound, last year’s first-round pick and left-hander Kodi Meideros is still seeking a rhythm, getting rocked in his last four appearances (13.1 IP, 15 H, 15 ER, 10 BB, 15 K).
Medeiros, 19, produced two solid appearances to kick off the season, including a strong outing April 12 against visiting Peoria.
In the April 12 game, he pitched six innings of no-hit baseball against the Chiefs, notching seven strikeouts and walking just one batter, but came away with a No Decision after the Timber Rattlers allowed 11 runs in the final two innings to lose 11-1.
Despite Meideros’ struggles, the Rattlers may have found a diamond in the rough in the early portion of the season, 22-year-old Cy Sneed.
Sneed has rattled off six straight stellar outings for the Brewers Midwest League affiliate following a humbling season with Rookie Pioneer League Helena in 2014.
In his first professional season with the Brewers, where he pitched 38 innings and allowed 25 earned runs, he struck out 31 hitters and walked 14.
In the Rocky Mountain air in Montana, he gave up four home runs and 50 hits through his initial season.
But this season has been different for the former Dallas Baptist University pitcher, who was previously drafted in the 35th round by the Texas Rangers out of Twin Falls High School.
The Idaho native has allowed only four earned runs through 27.2 innings for Single A Wisconsin (1.30 ERA), but has a 1-3 record, producing a 1-2 record and 1.25 ERA.
Sneed’s most formidable outing came in the Rattlers’ 2-1 victory against the Peoria Chiefs April 25 where he struck out five hitters and allowed three hits and a walk to give him his first career win.
The win came after losing at Peoria 3-2 April 20, allowing two earned runs on six hits through 4 2/3 innings, but struck out six Chiefs and issued one walk.
Life as a professional baseball player has yet to begin for Milwaukee’s Tucker Neuhaus with a transition to a new position and recovery from a variety of obstacles.
The 18-year-old supplemental second round selection in 2013 by Milwaukee believes he is ready for a change to the hot corner.
“I started getting a really good feel for it down at instructs and got really comfortable with it,” Neuhaus said. “I think in the long run that is where I will be best.”
The shortstop by trade played 27 of 51 games at third base for the Rookie Arizona Brewers in 2013 where the left-handed hitter produced a scorching stretch midway through July.
He additionally made 12 appearances during the Brewers’ fall instructional session in October at the Maryvale Complex in Arizona.
“That is where I took my reps at and I think that is where my future will be,” Neuhaus said.
During his first professional season, Neuhaus demonstrated some of the potential Milwaukee saw in him when he was drafted.
In his eight game hitting streak July 21-23, he collected three doubles with seven RBI and eight runs scored. He batted .406 and also was not caught stealing on three attempts.
“I think everything was coming to form. My timing was down and starting to get the hang of pro ball and the everyday grind like the pitching, velocity,” Neuhaus said. “You get hot, you get cold.”
Additionally, he hit safely in 11 of 12 games from July 21-28 with 11 runs driven in and 11 runs scored.
However, it was a struggling season for Neuhaus after dealing with family tragedy and an injury during his senior season at Wharton High School in Tampa.
“I didn’t play much of the spring of my high school season so I was going into the end of the season without any at
bats so it was kind of tough,” said Neuhaus, who batted .231 with 12 doubles and 29 runs scored in his inaugural season.
Tragedy struck the Neuhaus family in November 2012 when Tucker’s older brother was killed in a car accident in Florida. Tyler was 19 years old and a catcher at community college.
“It was really hard for something like that to happen. It was just a shock but our support system was amazing,” Neuhaus said. “You just never know. Everything is part of God’s plan. Just have to move on and stay strong.”
The younger Neuhaus told Brewers Farm Report him and his brother shared a common goal of reaching the grand stage of baseball.
“It was his dream to play in the big leagues so it was kind of my goal not just for me, but for my brother also,” Neuhaus said.
“We had great friends and our family was there and had a lot of people I didn’t even know that were supporting me and that really helped a lot,” Neuhaus added.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Neuhaus decided to wear his older brother’s number of 19 his final season as a tribute to Tyler.
Despite a trying senior season for Neuhaus and his teammates on and off the diamond where his team went winless during the regular season, Milwaukee still called his name with the 72nd overall selection in June 2013.
“I knew I had the chance to get drafted by the Brewers. They had interest all year and always kept up with me,” Neuhaus said.
The Florida high school senior is prepared for life in Wisconsin as he climbs the organizational ladder and meets his ultimate goal.
“I was born in Minnesota and I lived there for eight years so I don’t think it will be too bad because I still go up there about once a year,” Neuhaus said. “I was up there for Christmas this past year and the cold doesn’t really faze me so I don’t think it will be too hard of an adjustment.”
Neuhaus is optimistic about his future within the Brewers’ system and feels he is just scratching the surface of getting stronger and better on the field.
“When I put on some more weight I definitely think more pop is going to come and I will see the ball go further,” Neuhaus said. “I am already feeling stronger this off season.”
The 6’3” infielder credits spending time at Performance Compound in Florida for helping him gain ten pounds during the off season, stating he weighs in 200.
“I lift down there about five times a week and I see some big leaguers training down there once in awhile,” Neuhaus said.
Furthermore, he acknowledges professional baseball is a much longer season and believes he is ready for a productive 2014 season.
“It is a long season but I haven’t even played a full season yet but I just know that your body does break down,” Neuhaus said.
“It is self-motivation, you got to get up every morning and want it. You just have to be one of guys that wants to be out there everyday,” added Neuhaus.
|Arizona League Central|
|AZL Dodgers (LAD)||34||22||.607||–|
|AZL Indians (CLE)||28||28||.500||6|
|*||AZL Brewers (MIL)||23||33||.411||11|
|AZL Reds (CIN)||18||37||.327||15.5|
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
As the focus remained on Brewers’ ninth rated prospect Devin Williams and 13th ranked Tucker Neuhaus – outfielder Brandon Diaz became a threat on the basepaths.
Milwaukee drafted the high school outfielder from Florida with its eight round selection in 2013 and eventually earned top rankings in the Arizona League including stolen bases and runs scored.
- Eighth round (242) pick from American Heritage School
- Tied for second with 21 stolen bases in Arizona League
- Tied for third in Arizona League with 37 runs scored
- Tied for eighth with 12 runs scored in Arizona League
- Tied for sixth with five triples in Arizona League
- Fifth with 28 walks in Arizona League
- Seventh in On Base Percentage with .395 in Arizona League
- Tied for seventh in Arizona League with .854 OPS
- Selected by Milwaukee in 18th round of 2013 Draft from Lee University
- Third with 1.54 earned run average in Arizona League
- Seventh with 56 strikeouts in Arizona League
- Second in WHIP with 0.99 in Arizona League
- Milwaukee’s 15th round pick from South Hills HS
- Tied for third with six home runs in Arizona League
- Tied for third with 29 walks in Arizona League
- Second round (72) pick from Wharton High School
- Tied for eighth with 23 walks in Arizona League
- Sixth in Arizona League with a .482 slugging percentage
- Fifth with an OPS of .867 in Arizona League
RHP – Scott Harkin
- Tied for ninth with four saves in Arizona League
RHP – Jorge Ortega
- Tied for fifth with 56.1 innings in Arizona League
RHP – Gian Rizzo
- Ninth in strikeouts with 53 in Arizona League
Brewers Farm Report
Add third base to a list of positions Jason Rogers, Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year, will work on to improve his versatility.
The four week program held in Arizona will begin September 16 with the first game Wednesday September 18. A total of 53 players will be on hand to receive additional guidance from Managers Matt Erickson and Nestor Corredor. Both Managers will direct a team through October 12.
From MLB.com Beat Writer Adam McCalvy, the following players are in the league:
2013 BREWERS FALL INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE
67 Alexander, Tyler LHP 2013 draft – 27th rd
63 Astin, Barrett RHP 2013 draft – 3rd rd
22 Banda, Anthony LHP 2012 draft – 30th rd
59 Barnes, Jacob RHP 2011 draft – 14th rd
54 Diaz, Miguel RHP Signed December 2011
53 Ghelfi, Drew RHP 2013 draft – 25th rd
66 Hillis, Andrew RHP 2013 draft – 11th rd
57 Martin, Harvey RHP Signed June 2013
47 Ortega, Jorge RHP Signed April 2011
38 Peterson, Stephen LHP Signed June 2011
78 Razo, Chris RHP 2013 draft – 24th rd
79 Seidenberger, Trevor RHP 2013 draft – 12th rd
30 Terry, Clint LHP 2013 draft – 18th rd
31 Uhen, Joshua RHP 2013 draft – 5th rd
32 Ventura, Angel RHP Signed March 2011
77 Viramontes, Martin RHP 2012 draft – 28th rd
56 Williams, Devin RHP 2013 draft – 2nd rd
48 Williams, Taylor RHP 2013 draft – 4th rd
14 Berberet, Parker 2012 draft – 25th rd
23 Cleary, Jack 2013 draft – 39th rd
15 Coulter, Clint 2012 draft – 1st rd
16 Houle, Dustin 2011 draft – 8th rd
13 Norton, Tanner 2013 draft – 13th rd
6 Arcia, Orlando Signed October 2010
17 Brennan, Taylor 2012 draft – 37th rd
3 Castillo, Francisco Signed September 2010
18 Chal, Roosevert Signed June 2013
7 Cooper, Garrett 2013 draft – 6th rd
8 Denson, David 2013 draft – 15th rd
12 Garza, Mike 2012 draft – 20th rd
40 Harris, Jalen 2011 draft – 41st rd
10 Mallen, Franly Signed July 2013
2 Neuhaus, Tucker 2013 draft – Comp B rd
9 Ortega, Angel 2012 draft – 6th rd
Rogers, Jason 2010 draft – 32nd rd
1 Davis, Johnny 2013 draft – 22nd rd
11 Diaz, Brandon 2013 draft – 8th rd
36 Garcia, Omar 2013 draft – 7th rd
39 Pierre, Nicolas Signed July 2013
33 Ratterree, Michael 2013 draft – 10th rd
28 Roache, Victor 2012 draft – 1st rd
35 Williams, Eric 2013 draft – 23rd rd
51 Gagnon, Drew RHP 2011 draft – 3rd rd
52 Magnifico, Damien RHP 2012 draft – 5th rd
58 Medlen, Casey RHP 2011 draft – 37th rd
64 Miller, Matt RHP 2010 draft – 5th rd
41 Williams, Alan LHP Signed June 2010
21 Garfield, Cameron 2009 draft – 2nd rd
26 Roberts, Tyler 2009 draft – 10th rd
76 Ramirez, Nick 2011 draft – 4th rd
25 Reed, Michael 2011 draft – 5th rd
20 Richardson, D’Vontrey 2009 draft – 5th rd
37 Taylor, Tyrone 2012 draft – 2nd rd
Field Coordinator & Catching Instructor: Charlie Greene
Hitting Coordinator: Sandy Guerrero
OF/Baserunning Instructor: Reggie Williams
Infield Instructor: Bob Miscik
Pitching Coordinator: Rick Tomlin
Managers: Nestor Corredor, Matt Erickson
Coaches: Chuckie Caufield, Ned Yost IV
Pitching Coaches: Mark Dewey, Jose Nunez, Fred Dabney
Physical Therapist: Kevin Truitt
S/C Coordinator: Jeff Mester
S/C Specialists: Jake Marx, Tim Gifford
Athletic Trainer Coordinator: Frank Neville
Athletic Trainers: Adrian Ramon, Greg Barajas
Clubhouse: Matt Bass, Juan Garibay
Latin Liaison: Rolando Valles
Player Report Date: Sunday, September 15
First Workout: Monday, September 16
Wed September 18 MIL at TEX
Thu September 19 ARI at MIL
Fri September 20 MIL at SK Wyverns
Sat September 21 OAK @ MIL
Mon September 23 LAA @ MIL
Tue September 24 SK Wyverns at MIL
Wed September 25 CAMP
Thu September 26 MIL at LAA
Fri September 27 MIL at CHC
Sat September 28 SF at MIL
Mon September 30 Mexico at MIL
Tue October 1 COL at MIL
Wed October 2 CAMP
Thu October 3 MIL at OAK
Fri October 4 ARI at MIL
Sat October 5 NC Dinos at MIL
Mon October 7 MIL at SF
Tue October 8 Mexico at MIL
Wed October 9 CAMP
Thu October 10 OAK at MIL
Fri October 11 MIL at LAA
Sat October 12 CIN at MIL
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
RHP Devin Williams – 54th Overall from Hazelwood West High School (Missouri)
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 165 lbs Born: September 21, 1994
Milwaukee was left without a first-round selection in the 2013 amateur draft following the signing of pitcher Kyle Lohse. The loss of the pick led the Brewers to make its first selection in the second round, 54th overall.
Prep pitcher Devin Williams from Hazelwood West High School in St. Louis was the first selection for Milwaukee in the draft. The right-handed pitcher was projected to be a No. 20 selection by some national scouts but fell in the Brewers lap.
Williams is known for having a low 90s fastball with room to grow given his tall and lanky frame (6’3″, 165). The sole drawback to the selection is his intent to further his education at the University of Missouri.
The young thrower was projected to be a sure-fire first round pick after going 4-1 with an ERA of 0.70.
For more info, check out footage of an interview with Williams courtesy of St. Louis’ NBC affiliate KSDK:
SS Tucker Neuhaus – 72nd Overall from Wharton High School (Florida)
Bats/Throws: Left/Right Height: 6′ Weight: 200 lbs Born: June 18, 1995
The Brewers were awarded a competitive balance selection following the second round and remained in the high school ranks with the selection of high school infielder Tucker Neuhaus of Florida.
Neuhaus served as the team’s shortstop but will eventually make his way back to his natural position of third base. Given observers thoughts on his power potential, it could be a viable asset at the corner infield position for the Brewers farm system.
In addition, his defensive range is more suited for third base where his arm is above average compared to adequate at shortstop.
Further information on Neuhaus here: