Tagged: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Rattlers endure rocky start, but glimmers of hope

Neuhaus seeks rejuvenation

By Jason Arndtwisconsin-timber-rattlers
Brewers Farm Report

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

Harrison

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.

Neuhaus

Neuhaus

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.

Medeiros

Medeiros

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.

Sneed

Sneed

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.

HITTING STATS

Name Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Luis Aviles 20 16 44 42 1 5 1 0 0 2 0 1 15 .119 .140 .143 .282
Francisco Castillo# 22 2 10 10 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 .200 .200 .200 .400
Dustin DeMuth* 23 29 109 95 8 25 3 0 2 9 1 7 23 .263 .352 .358 .710
David Denson* 20 24 91 82 7 16 4 1 1 8 0 8 34 .195 .264 .305 .569
Brandon Diaz 20 22 88 78 11 14 4 0 2 5 5 8 22 .179 .264 .308 .572
Jake Gatewood 19 18 60 56 5 10 1 1 1 4 2 4 25 .179 .233 .286 .519
Scooter Gennett* 25 4 15 13 1 4 2 0 0 1 1 1 0 .308 .333 .462 .795
Monte Harrison 19 24 97 84 9 13 3 0 2 7 4 8 44 .155 .268 .262 .530
Carlos Leal* 23 21 81 74 7 25 6 1 1 5 1 6 15 .338 .388 .486 .874
Sthervin Matos 21 19 74 69 9 14 2 0 2 5 3 4 26 .203 .257 .319 .576
Greg McCall* 23 17 65 62 3 15 1 0 0 4 0 2 21 .242 .277 .258 .535
Mitch Meyer* 23 14 55 51 4 12 2 1 0 1 1 1 18 .235 .278 .314 .592
Gregory Munoz* 21 25 101 81 11 15 2 1 0 3 8 17 26 .185 .340 .235 .575
Tucker Neuhaus* 20 10 41 40 3 13 2 2 1 6 0 1 10 .325 .341 .550 .891
Jose Pena 22 9 32 30 3 4 0 1 1 2 0 2 13 .133 .188 .300 .488
Elvis Rubio 20 26 105 99 4 23 6 0 0 6 0 3 27 .232 .267 .293 .560
16 Players 21.0 30 1068 966 86 210 39 8 13 70 26 73 320 .217 .285 .315 .600
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/10/2015.
PITCHING STATS 
Name Age W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WP WHIP H9 SO/W
David Burkhalter 19 0 3 8.24 6 3 2 0 19.2 27 20 18 1 9 0 13 0 1.831 12.4 1.44
Luke Curtis 23 2 1 0.75 9 0 6 0 12.0 8 1 1 0 4 0 8 0 1.000 6.0 2.00
Victor Diaz 21 0 2 2.28 6 4 2 1 23.2 21 12 6 0 16 0 9 1 1.563 8.0 0.56
Milton Gomez 21 1 2 6.55 6 3 3 0 22.0 23 18 16 1 15 0 12 8 1.727 9.4 0.80
Zach Hirsch* 24 1 3 4.02 5 5 0 0 31.1 29 14 14 2 2 0 24 2 0.989 8.3 12.00
Brock Hudgens 23 0 0 13.50 2 0 0 0 3.1 8 5 5 0 3 0 5 3 3.300 21.6 1.67
Tyler Linehan* 23 1 0 2.70 9 0 4 0 10.0 10 3 3 0 4 0 12 1 1.400 9.0 3.00
Harvey Martin 25 0 0 20.25 2 0 0 0 2.2 7 6 6 1 2 0 2 2 3.375 23.6 1.00
Kodi Medeiros* 19 0 2 6.08 6 3 1 0 23.2 18 19 16 0 14 0 27 4 1.352 6.8 1.93
Luis Ortega* 22 0 3 5.87 6 3 2 0 23.0 22 15 15 0 11 0 22 0 1.435 8.6 2.00
Gian Rizzo 21 0 0 8.53 4 0 0 0 6.1 12 10 6 0 3 1 9 0 2.368 17.1 3.00
Cy Sneed 22 1 3 1.30 6 4 2 1 27.2 19 7 4 0 7 0 28 1 0.940 6.2 4.00
Orlando Torrez 23 0 2 5.09 6 3 1 1 17.2 17 13 10 0 15 0 9 4 1.811 8.7 0.60
Josh Uhen 23 1 1 3.86 8 0 4 1 11.2 17 11 5 0 1 0 13 0 1.543 13.1 13.00
Angel Ventura 22 1 0 0.90 6 2 3 1 20.0 14 3 2 0 11 0 18 3 1.250 6.3 1.64
Mark Williams 25 0 0 3.38 3 0 0 0 2.2 3 2 1 0 2 0 2 2 1.875 10.1 1.00
16 Players 22.0 8 22 4.48 30 30 30 5 257.1 255 159 128 5 119 1 213 31 1.453 8.9 1.79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/10/2015.

Brewers adjust to PDC change in upper levels

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

With a shade over three months until the opening pitch of the Milwaukee Brewers 2015 campaign, there have been many developments with the Brewers minor league system after the final out was recorded in last year’s World Series.

In addition to the the relocation of the Huntsville Stars to Biloxi, Milwaukee extended their Player Development Contract with the Single A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers through the 2020 season, and have a new partner at Triple A, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Milwaukee’s extension with the Timber Rattlers was a natural fit for both organizations.

Here is a rundown of the changes within the Brewers Player Development system:

Pacific Coast League

Pacific Coast League

Welcome Sky Sox!

Milwaukee’s breakup with the Nashville Sounds may have come as a shock to some casual observers of the Brewers’ minor league system, but there was a history of discontent between the parent club and the Sounds.

When the Brewers extended their working agreement with the Sounds during their last negotiations, it was clear Milwaukee had a desire to have a new stadium for their players in Triple A, and essentially were “stuck with” Nashville by default after having no other options.

The tides turned at the tail end of the 2013 season when there was movement in Nashville to build a new stadium to replace the aging Herschel Greer Stadium. There was hope this movement could trigger an extension to the Player Development Contract, but the Nashville Sounds had other plans.

After the team endured three losing seasons in the last four years, and Milwaukee’s tough task of stocking the Triple A affiliate with ‘can’t miss’ prospects, Nashville may have opted to find a new partner to start a new era at First Tennessee Ballpark.

Since 2011, Milwaukee developed just a handful of players who are now every day starters at Miller Park: Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett, Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson, if the Brewers opt to deal one of their starters prior to Opening Day.

While players were being summoned to Miller Park, development below Triple A was stagnant, with players stuck in Huntsville as Milwaukee signed former Major League players Corey Patterson and career minor leaguers including Jordan Brown and Eugenio Velez.

Additionally, Nashville became crippled with injuries, including Johnny Hellweg, Hunter Morris and Hiram Burgos during portions of the 2014 season.

The PDC change could have been a change of scenery move which could benefit both Milwaukee and Nashville in the long-term future.

Enter in the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, which will be Milwaukee’s third Triple A affiliate in 11 years.

Awww, Shucks!

Southern League

Southern League

There could be construction delays at Biloxi’s MGM Stadium after Biloxi officials reached a final agreement to fund the new ballpark for the relocated Huntsville Stars during an 11th hour deal.

Huntsville officially jumped ship after the Southern League approved the measure after the 2013 Winter Meetings in Orlanda, Fla.

However, there were legal issues which hindered efforts to move sooner, including a stadium lease with Joe Davis Stadium and the City of Huntsville.

Preliminary reports indicate the Shuckers could start the season in Huntsville if MGM Stadium is not completed by their April 20 home opener against Jacksonville.

Brevard’s Suter shouldered heavy workload

By Jason Arndtmanatees
Brewers Farm Report

Making a successful jump to Double A from High A is “what separates the men from the boys” – and left-hander Brent Suter could ultimately be tested in 2014.

The Brewers’ 31st round pick in the 2012 Draft was recently among Milwaukee’s Organizational All-Stars.

The lanky Harvard graduate has demonstrated the ability to succeed at every level since making his professional debut with Pioneer League Helena in 2012.

Suter made an immediate impact in the Rocky Mountain environment of Montana striking out 42 batters and walking just eight in 43.2 innings for the Rookie League Brewers.

Additionally, he managed to keep his ERA below 4.00 in a league notorious for a high amount of runs per game.

Suter

Suter

Milwaukee opted to promote Suter to Single A Wisconsin at the tail end his first season and responded with eight strikeouts and three walks in 8.2 innings pitched for the Timber Rattlers.

Manatees’ teammate Tyler Cravy told Brewers Farm Report in August the 6’5” Suter fearlessly goes after hitters.

Suter started just three games for Single A Wisconsin in 2013 allowing three earned runs in 15 innings to give him a 1.80 ERA. He also struck out 15 batters and allowed just three walks in his three appearances before earning a rapid promotion to High A Brevard County.

Milwaukee’s Director of Player Development Reid Nichols had high regard for the Ivy League Pitcher and Cincinnati native.

“Brent Suter is a very smart pitcher,” Nichols said. “He knows how to read hitters and works the plate front to back.”

Suter had a scorching start to his Manatees career by winning seven of his first 11 starts including his first career complete game June 28 at Clearwater.

The Manatees needed all nine innings of Suter in the narrow 2-1 victory against the Threshers and the left-hander eventually claimed Florida State League’s Player of the Week July 1.

In the ensuing hot streak, he succumbed to a tough loss where he struck out 11 batters in seven innings but made one

Brent Suter struck out a combined 113 batters walking just 41 through 139 innings between Single A Wisconsin and High A. (Credit: MiLB.com)

Brent Suter struck out a combined 113 batters walking just 41 through 139 innings between Single A Wisconsin and High A.
(Credit: MiLB.com)

mistake – allowing a solo blast to Dunedin’s Andy Burns in the fourth inning.

Brevard County could only muster two hits and were shutout 1-0 against an equally tough Austin Bibens-Drikx, who struck out ten batters in seven innings.

Suter produced a stellar strikeout-walk ratio during the initial 11 games with 51 strikeouts compared to 15 walks in 69.1 innings.

However, Suter was not the same pitcher after his complete game victory and went winless the remaining ten games for Brevard County.

Heavy workload

Suter’s downturn during the later portion can be partially attributed to compiling a career high 139 total innings between Wisconsin and Brevard County, almost three times the amount of work he received in his first professional season.

Additionally, he led the Manatees with 124 innings pitched compared to second place finisher Chad Pierce who logged 108.2 innings.

Brevard County’s pitching staff was gutted due to a myriad of injuries and promotions to Double A Huntsville including David Goforth, Brooks Hall, Drew Gagnon and Kevin Shackleford.

Consequently, Suter and fellow starters Jacob Barnes and Pierce needed to shoulder a substantial workload.

However, he should be able to straighten out after an offseason of rest and likely additional workouts.

All-Star Reed produced remarkable run

By Jason Arndtbrewers
Brewers Farm Report

Seeing the name Michael Reed among Milwaukee’s organizational All-Stars did not come as a shock to Wisconsin Timber Rattler teammate and pitcher Tyler Wagner.

“His numbers showed it,” Wagner said. “Definitely if you were around him as much as I was, he definitely had that consistency.”

Reed

Reed

Reed produced numerous clutch hitting performances for the Rattlers including a dramatic 12th inning walk-off blast to defeat the Lake County Captains July 13.

“I don’t think about situations. Just put the ball in play,” Reed told Brewers Farm Report December 30. “I hit the ball hard no matter what happens and hope for the best.”

In addition to his walk-off winner, he also drove in the game-tying run in a five-run ninth inning to defeat Beloit 6-5 August 5. Teammate Alfredo Rodriguez scored on a fielding error during the play when he discovered no one covering third base.

Reed was second in the Midwest League with 13 triples and also collected 23 doubles, stole 26 bases and drew 71 walks for a .385 On Base Percentage.

“He is one those guys that definitely gives it 110 percent of the time,” Wagner said. “He can turn doubles into triples with the way he comes out of the batter’s box.”

The outfielder from Leander, Tex. Was part of a stacked Wisconsin consisting of fellow organizational All-Star wisconsin-timber-rattlersVictor Roache and former teammate Mitch Haniger, currently of the Brevard County Manatees. Roache and Haniger are among Milwaukee’s top 20 prospects by MLB.com.

Reed’s defensive ability alongside Roache and Tyrone Taylor the majority of the 2013 season gave Wisconsin pitchers a sense of relief.

“Our defense this year was tremendous, I think it gave me a lot more confidence going onto the mound,” Wagner said. “Probably the best outfield I ever had in pro ball.”

Wagner

Wagner

In addition, Reed commended Wagner on being the team’s workhorse during the 2013 where he accumulated a team high in innings pitched.

“He throws strikes and everything you need to do on the mound – he did it – and he is a really great pitcher and did a good job,” Reed said, in regards to Wagner’s season.

Reed stated both Roache and Taylor are not just highly rated prospects, but also demonstrate great character.

Rattlers' teammate Tyler Wagner credited his ability to jump out of the box for his 13 triples in 2013.

Rattlers’ teammate Tyler Wagner credited his ability to jump out of the box for his 13 triples in 2013.

“They are great guys and I enjoyed playing with them,” Reed said. “They both got the bat and one thing to note is they can make plays in the outfield.”

Furthermore, Reed demonstrated the ability to play all three outfield positions through the duration of his professional career.

“I love center field; however, whatever they need me most at is where I will play,” Reed said. “Right now they need more as a corner guy and that is where I will be at.”

Prior to playing outfield, he had experience as a starting pitcher at Leander High School in Texas and was highly touted by several Major League clubs entering the 2011 draft.

Reed fell to the Brewers in the fifth after scouts projected him to go as high as the second round.

His stock dwindled due to him accepting an athletic scholarship at Ole Miss, but eventually signed with Milwaukee well above the slotted value of $150,000.

Reed agreed after Milwaukee gave him $100,000 to go towards his college education and signed for a “great deal of money.”

Reed open to 2014 destination

Reed indicated he is not worried about his 2014 assignment within the Brewers organization and remains open about his future.

“I’ll play wherever they put me. If they put me in Brevard, it does not matter where I play,” Reed said. “I am fortunate to be given an opportunity to play. I really don’t expect to play anywhere in particular. I am just going to go out and play.”

The outfielder began his career with the Arizona Rookie League Brewers in 2011 where he played 14 games before splitting time between three different levels in 2012 in Helena, Brevard County and Huntsville.

Brevard County could be a promising promotion for Reed after exhibiting some success in limited action for the team in 2012.

Reed batted 9-for-32 (.281) with five runs scored, three stolen bases and accrued a .425 OBP for the Manatees.

Wisconsin’s Wagner maintained high expectations

By Jason Arndtwisconsin-timber-rattlers
Brewers Farm Report

Making the switch from college closer to professional starter is not an easy task – but for Timber Rattlers’ Tyler Wagner it has been a solid transition courtesy of his faith in his teammates and strong work ethic.

“I had high expectations for myself as far as throwing a lot of innings and getting experience that I needed to get through this year,” Wagner said.

Milwaukee drafted the Utah Ute from Las Vegas in 2012 with the fourth round selection and has steadily improved to eventually lead Single A Wisconsin with 148.2 innings pitched in 2013.

Wagner

Wagner

“I just kept doing the same things and staying healthy throughout the year. Our strength coach was good with us this year by keeping us in the routine and it helped me become a better starter,” Wagner explained.

In addition, Wagner produced ten victories to lead the Rattlers and was the third most in the Midwest League.

The 22-year-old credited his focus on maintaining consistency and ability to adapt to a new pitching role for his 2013 success.

“I never really pushed myself with innings. I think it was something that needed to get used to,” Wagner said. “It was all about being consistent with the workouts and healthcare stuff”

Wagner accumulated a phenomenal strikeout-to-walk ratio with 116 strikeouts compared to 56 walks for Wisconsin.

The continued development in his breaking ball allowed him to have confidence in himself when on the mound.

“I think definitely my sinker and didn’t have a lot of issues with it this year,” Wagner said. “I got a lot of confidence in it and learned to have trust in it and throw it for strikes this year and not try to nibble around the corners.”

MLB.com’s Bernie Pleshkoff observed Wagner in July and had high regards for the right-hander noting his strength and efficient delivery:

Wagner is big and strong at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds. He has excellent mechanics, using a fairly simple three-quarters arm slot in a

Rattlers' Tyler Wagner struck out 116 batters in 148.2 innings allowing just 56 walks.  The right-hander produced a 3.21 earned run average 27 games (25 starts).

Rattlers’ Tyler Wagner struck out 116 batters in 148.2 innings allowing just 56 walks. The right-hander produced a 3.21 earned run average in 27 games (25 starts).

delivery that he repeats well. The ball comes out of his hand with ease, and there are no extraneous movements or distractions in his motion. In short, his delivery is really “clean.”

Pleshkoff also noted his development will improve progressively as he continues his Minor League career and could be a formidable option in the future.

Wagner stated to Brewers Farm Report his desire to learn as much as he can about pitching as he heads into the 2014 season.

“Just got to keep learning from some of the guys I am playing with,” Wagner said. “Just keep developing my mechanics and being more consistent and in general a better player.”

Wagner also touts his 95 miles per hour fastball as a way of getting ahead in the count

The pitcher’s career was not without struggle after incurring difficulty when he was with the Pioneer League Helena Brewers in 2012.

While Wagner averaged nearly a strikeout per inning his inaugural season, he allowed 63 hits in 48.2 innings with the Rookie Level team.

“The hitters in that league are free-swingers and my fastball was tougher to use,” Wagner explained in regards to his stint with Helena.

Faith in teammates, family

Wagner credits his 2013 success due to his solid relationship and trust with his catchers, including Parker Berberet.

“It has to be a catcher where we could talk about pitch selection and moving forward with hitters. I think the big guy would have to be Parker Berberet,” Wagner added.

Through the duration of the season, Wagner respected Berberet and other catchers’ ability to call a game behind the plate.

“They all know how to call a game and I trusted what they put down and I just tried to get ahead in the count with the fastball,” Wagner said. “I think we were on the same page most of the year.”

Berberet was behind the plate in Wagner’s complete game performance May 8 where he shut down Clinton 5-0 and struck out ten LumberKings in the first game of a doubleheader.

In his complete game, he struck out ten batters and allowed just three hits and two walks through the seven-inning contest (Minor League rules indicate seven innings in each game of a doubleheader).

“After the first couple innings I was able to battle back and stay with my approach and just stay with the things that was working through the game and able to make it a complete game,” Wagner said.

Shortstop Orlando Arcia’s defense was instrumental to Wagner’s ability to work efficiently on the mound and received high praise.

“He (Arcia) is definitely fluid on the field where he can make a play,” Wagner said. “He did a great job behind me on the pitching mound. I am a ground ball pitcher and he is a great guy to have on the team.”

Wagner also conveyed he has Midwestern roots with nearly his entire family still living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region of Minnesota – and grew up cheering on the home team.

“My whole family came up from the Minneapolis area and watched a lot of Twins games,” Wagner said.

Due to the close proximity between the Twin Cities and Appleton he was able to receive a number of visits from family.

“My dad traveled up a lot and my Mom came and various uncles and cousins came to visit so it was nice,” Wagner said.

Wagner stated he enjoyed his time in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region in 2013 and was impressed with Fox Cities Stadium.

“I loved Appleton and its a great place to be. The facilities up there are unbelievable,” Wagner said. “The experience up there in general was just awesome.”

‘Tees Toledo makes stellar comeback

By Jason Arndtmanatees
Brewers Farm Report

Closer Tommy Toledo’s season with the Brevard County Manatees can be considered a significant victory for more than just notching the second most saves in a Manatee history with 20.

The right-handed pitcher from Tampa overcame setbacks at the start of his college career where he declined to sign with San Diego after the Padres drafted him in the third round of the 2007 draft out of high school.

His decision to attend University of Florida was to improve his stock in the MLB Draft and gain a college education, which he met half away according to his own personal expectations.

Toledo

Toledo

The freshman was named to SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll but had difficulty maintaining a steady earned run average (4.40) in 2008 for the Gators.

Toledo discovered in the winter he required surgery on a torn labrum and sidelined him for the entire 2009 season.

“I could tell something was wrong. My velocity had come down, I wasn’t able to control the ball and I wasn’t getting warm and ready as quick as I usually do. It was just something that I battled through my freshman year.”

Despite a tough freshman year, the pitcher produced solid starts including a seven inning game where he allowed one earned run and six hits against the Ole Miss Rebels – which snapped a road losing streak of more than a decade.

The Tampa native attempted a comeback in 2010 but was sidelined again after being hit by a liner on the mound and broke multiple bones in his face – and by observers – considered himself lucky it did not hit him in the eye.

The injury came after he posted a 2-0 record with 15 strikeouts in 13.5 innings – and tabulated a 1.98 earned run average.

Tommy Toledo in an appearance with University of Florida. Credit: Florida Times-Union

Tommy Toledo in an appearance with University of Florida.
Credit: Florida Times-Union

Major League scouts still had Toledo on their radar screen in 2010 evidenced by the 32nd round selection by Minnesota just a month after returning to action, but the hard thrower believed he could rise above his present situation.

In his first game since the line drive, the pitcher threw a scoreless inning and according to GatorSports Nation in 2010, it was an emotional return.

“It was a special moment,” UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said of Toledo’s return. “The players were excited to get him back out there. As a coach, you get a little choked up. He was chomping at the bit. It was great to see him out there, and obviously he will be a huge part of our success down the stretch.”

Steady rise with Milwaukee

It was the third time which proved the charm for Toledo when Milwaukee selected him with the 11th round pick in 2011.

The pitcher posted a 6-3 record with a 3.99 earned run average in 38.1 innings. He also compiled a productive K:BB rate of 32:10 in his final season for the Gators.

His stint with Helena brought growing pains and took nearly the entire season to produce his first victory in an August 30 game against Billings.

Toledo pitched 5.1 innings allowing two earned runs with four strikeouts to achieve his first win as a professional in 2011.

The following season with Single A Wisconsin brought improvement demonstrated by a 7-1 record with six saves for the Timber Rattlers. He additionally struck out 31 compared to 11 walks in 37 innings.

His performance with Wisconsin brought him to High A Brevard County by the end of the 2012 season and led him to post a 2-1 record in 11 games for the Manatees.

Despite a few rough outings, he accomplished three consecutive scoreless outings and four overall.

Second Place All-Time

In 2012, Casey Medlen broke the Manatees’ record with 22 saves to break now-Milwaukee Brewer Rob Wooten’s 18 saves set in 2009.

Toledo nearly reached the mark the following season with 20 saves and posted a highly respectable 2.11 earned run average in 55.1 innings for the Manatees.

The pitcher showed an increase in location demonstrated by a phenomenal 44-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2013.

Additionally, he held opponents to 43 hits to give him a WHIP of 1.102 on the season. The right-hander produced nearly 30 scoreless outings and went on to finish second All-Time in Brevard County’s 20-year history.

Top Ten ‘Tees

Single-Season Saves Leaders

R

Player

Saves

Yr

1

Casey Medlen

22

2012

2

Tommy Toledo

20

2013

3

Rob Wooten

18

2009

4

Doug Pettit

14

1994

4

Tim McClaskey

14

2001

6

Omar Aguilar

13

2008

6

Tim McClaskey

13

2000

8

Bill Hurst

12

1995

8

Paul McCurtain

12

1999

8

Roque Mercedes

12

2011

8

Corey Frerichs

12

2010

8

Roy Corcoran

12

2003

Rattlers’ Taylor driven to succeed

By Jason Arndtwisconsin-timber-rattlers
Brewers Farm Report

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.”

Taylor

Taylor

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

Taylor rounds the bases with Single A Wisconsin in June 2013. The outfielder was named Midwest League's Player of the Week June 10.

Taylor rounds the bases with Single A Wisconsin in June 2013. The outfielder was named Midwest League’s Player of the Week June 10.

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.”

Timber Rattler players witnessed an explosion following a 9-1 victory at Davenport, Iowa.

Timber Rattler players witnessed an explosion following a 9-1 victory at Davenport, Iowa. (Chris McFarland via twitter)

 

Roadside Explosion

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.