By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
After a dismal 2014 season with High A Brevard County, Victor Roache has shown a resurgence in the first 18 games of the 2015 season, but has plenty of room for improvement.
Hopes were high for the 23-year-old Roache when he belted a team record 22 home runs for Single A Wisconsin in 2013, a year after being drafted in the first-round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
But plate discipline has plagued him since arriving from Georgia Southern University, striking out 137 times in his first professional season, and subsequently fanned 138 times last year.
While he supplanted Hunter Morris as Brevard County’s single season home run record holder with 18 home runs last year, his batting average plummeted from .248 in 2013 to .226 in 2014, and On Base Percentage took a harder nosedive from .322 to .298.
He walked 46 times in 2013, but experienced a decline of 9 walks last season.
However, he has substantially improved this season, accumulating a 9-game hitting streak, and has hit safely in 11 of the last 12 games.
In the span of 12 games, he is batting .388 with a line of .464 OBP and 1.179 OPS. He has accumulated 19 hits, collected two doubles, a triple and four home runs with 13 RBI.
In the first 18 games of his 2015 campaign, he has pounded out 23 hits, collected two doubles and has five home runs with 18 RBI in 70 at bats for a .329 batting average and 1.005 OPS.
At this time last year, he hit .188 with no home runs and drove in eight runs and plating six.
Despite showing glimmers of hope, Roache continues to be hindered by plate discipline, striking out 23 times in 18 games, compared to 15 at this time last year.
Additionally, the clock could be ticking for him, he will turn 24 at the end of the season and compared to another 2012 draftee, 21-year-old Tyrone Taylor, he is lagging behind schedule.
Roache, who shared the outfield with Taylor and Michael Reed at Single A Wisconsin, is the sole player remaining in Brevard County when Taylor was given the promotion to AA Huntsville (Biloxi) during the 2014 post season, and assignment of Reed to Biloxi prior to opening day.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
According to sources at Fox Sports, Milwaukee is working on a trade to send long-time Brewers’ farmhand Yovani Gallardo to Texas.
There have been no reports of any players returning to Milwaukee in exchange for Gallardo, who has one year remaining on his contract.
However, we can rule out 21-year-old prospect Jurickson Profar, multiple sources said.
The potential deal makes sense for Brewers’ pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson, who could slide into the team’s starting rotation, after team officials planned to have him in the bullpen pending any off season trades of their starters.
Nelson’s 2014 campaign with the Major League club drew mixed results, starting 12 of 14 games, posting a 2-9 record and a 4.93 ERA.
Nelson, 25, had his best start of the season May 25 at Miami when he tossed 5.2 innings, allowing no earned runs with six strikeouts and three walks to earn his first career victory.
He then produced two underwhelming starts, allowing nine earned runs through 10.1 innings, but produced a solid 10:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The right-hander produced a solid start in a 2-0 loss to the New York Mets July 27, where he strung
together seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs and struck out six batters.
Based on his season trends, he accrued six starts where he pitched six or more innings, and two where he pitched seven. He was 1-3 with three no decisions in all six of those starts.
Aside from Nelson, there is speculation from a variety of individuals on Twitter that the Gallardo trade could lead Milwaukee to either a Max Scherzer or James Shields free agent signing.
A report from MLB insider Chris Cotillo indicates Scherzer has multiple offers on the table, including one for seven years, and could sign with the Washington Nationals.
Tom Haudricourt reported Sunday that the Brewers are maxed out financially, and the trade will likely clear up some of Gallardo’s $13 million salary.
Chances are slim Shields will come to Milwaukee on a free agent contract.
One of the sole objectives to the potential deal is to relieve payroll, and not add further fuel to to a belt that is already strapped.
Regardless of Nelson’s track record last season, it could be his job to lose entering Spring Training, unless the Brewers still consider Tyler Thornburg a viable option.
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,”
Originally posted on Cait Covers the Bases:
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced their Minor League coaching staffs for the 2015 season. Each staff of the organization’s top three levels remain the same from last year.
Gary Lucas joins the Brewers organization as pitching coach at Class-A Wisconsin. He spent the past 15 years as a pitching coach in the Twins organization, most recently at Class-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League in 2014. Also joining the Timber Rattlers staff is Liu Rodriguez. The former middle infielder was a coach with the Rookie Arizona Brewers last season. Steve Timmers begins his first season as strength and conditioning specialist at Wisconsin following two seasons in the Minor League system of the Braves.
The coaching staffs at Rookie Helena and Rookie Arizona remain the same from last season with the exception of Rodriguez, who is now at Wisconsin. Jose Ramos joins the Rookie Dominican Summer League Brewers as…
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Kyle Wren knew he would be a marked man heading into the off season within the Atlanta Braves organization.
The 23-year-old outfielder was drafted by his father, Frank, in the eighth round of the 2013 draft following three productive seasons with Georgia Tech.
When Atlanta fired Frank in Sept. 2014, Kyle began to prepare for a new organization.
“I wasn’t naïve about it, in the back of my mind, I knew there was a possibility I would get traded this offseason,” Kyle Wren said. “They were up front about it, it wasn’t a bad situation.”
Milwaukee stepped up to the plate and offered 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Zach Quintana, who compiled a career 11-13 record, 6.15 ERA, 139 strikeouts, 103 walks in 194.2 innings from 2012-14.
The Brewers acquisition of Kyle Wren immediately placed the left-handed hitter as the organization’s 12th rated prospect following two seasons within the Braves organization.
In his two seasons, Kyle Wren batted .304 with 35 doubles, 13 triples and stole 81 bases in 185 games as he ascended through four different levels of the Braves minor league system.
He stole 33 of his 46 bases with Advanced A Lynchburg of the Carolina League through 76 games in 2014.
The 23-year-old was acquired by the Brewers midway through a game in the Arizona Fall League.
“I couldn’t be happier with being in the organization, especially after hearing that the Brewers instigated the trade talk after learning about the situation with my Dad,” Wren said. “They thought they could get me for a cheaper cost than they would have.”
Kyle Wren already knew two of the Brewers prospects prior to the trade, teaming up with two Brewers’ first-round selections, Jed Bradley at Georgia Tech and Victor Roache during a 2011 Cape Cod League stint.
“The good thing about it is when I heard it was to the Brewers, I knew a lot of guys on that team, I know Jed Bradley from playing with him at Georgia Tech,” Wren said. “I played with Victor Roache up in the Cape Cod League, so there is a couple of them I knew quite while in the organization.”
Kyle Wren said he looks forward to reconnecting with Jed Bradley during his new journey through the Brewers’ organization, and had admiration for the pitcher while he was a freshman with the Yellowjackets.
“He has one of the hardest work ethics I have ever seen, he is one of the reasons I think I ended up working so hard,” Kyle Wren said.
Additionally, Kyle Wren was amazed by Roache’s mindset during the Cape Cod League, around the time he became considered one of the most notable prospects as a power-hitter.
“We became friends in the Cape Cod League…he was just a really humble guy and you expect those big home run hitters to be cocky and he was just a humble guy,” Kyle Wren said. “I really respected him with how he handled all of that.”
Kyle Wren has reasons for optimism heading into his inaugural campaign within the Brewers organization.
Despite holding a slim 5-foot-10 frame, he believes he has packed on extra muscle following a rigorous off season.
“It has always been tougher for me to pack on muscle,” Kyle Wren said. “With a professional off season, I have a much longer period of trying to work and getting stronger than in college.”
He entered the AFL registering in at 172, and reports checking in at 185 within the last two weeks, the heaviest he has been.
“I am just trying to come in with a little more muscle on my frame and take it to another level of play,” Kyle Wren said.
Kyle Wren was one of four outfielders added to the Brewers organization, following the departure of three longtime farmhands, Kentrail Davis, Sean Halton and Caleb Gindl.
Peterson, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs and sports a career .284 average with 175 doubles, 25 triples, 57 home runs and 435 RBI in seven professional seasons. He has two games of Major League experience with Oakland in 2013, where he batted 1-7 with three strikeouts.
Long, 27, was acquired along with left-handed reliever Jarrett Martin from the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Shawn Zarraga.
Like Peterson, Long also bats left-handed, but has never accrued a full season at the Triple A Level.
Long has a career .286 average with a .365 OBP and has collected 146 doubles, 54 triples, 60 home runs with 370 RBI in seven professional seasons. He has drawn 322 walks but has struck out 509 times in 2,989 plate appearances.
Guez, a free-agent signee, has a career .258 average with 77 home runs and 349 RBI in seven seasons.
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
A plethora of new outfielders at the upper levels of the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system will be evident entering the 2015 season following departure of key longtime farmhands.
The Brewers made their final farewells to a flurry of departing outfielders, including former first-round selection Kentrail Davis and two frequent fliers to Miller Park in Caleb Gindl and Sean Halton.
Milwaukee’s loss of Davis to the Los Angeles Angels in the Triple A phase of December’s Rule V draft should not come as a shock.
Davis, 26, did produce a solid, but unremarkable, minor league career with the Brewers and remained in a holding pattern of his development in Double A since 2012.
The first-round selection in 2008 batted a career .266 with a .358 on base percentage, stole 103 bases and collected 118 doubles, 34 triples and scored 326 runs in 596 career games dating back to 2010.
In Davis’ 2,518 career plate appearances, he drew 265 walks and struck out 482 times.
With the starting outfield core in place at Miller Park for at least another 3-5 years, including Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis, the new Los Angeles Angel would be in his 30’s by the time he reaches Miller Park.
Similar to last season’s Rule V loss of infielder Eric Farris, Milwaukee might have looked out for Kentrail Davis’ best interests, with hopes the once-promising outfielder can latch on to another organization and succeed.
Outfielder Sean Halton was plucked by the Baltimore Orioles in the same Rule V draft after accruing time with Triple A Nashville and parent club Milwaukee the last two seasons.
Halton, 27, batted .238 with a .291 on base percentage in 42 career Major League games with the Brewers in 2013. In his 42 games, he collected four doubles, belted four home runs and drove in 17 runs. Halton drew just five walks and struck out 31 times in 111 plate appearances.
Halton also remained in a holding pattern in Triple A, playing his last three of six seasons with Nashville.
The new Orioles’ farmhand had his best season in 2011 while a member of the Huntsville Stars, collecting a career-high 39 doubles and batted .298 with a .346 OBP.
Gindl, 26, signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays after Milwaukee attempted to outright him off the 40-man roster to make room for new additions, and led to his subsequent release by the Brewers.
The 26-year-old left-handed hitter played 65 career Major League games between 2013-14, batting .232 with a .335 OBP. He collected seven doubles, two triples and belted five home runs with 14 runs driven in.
Other key losses were veteran outfielder Jeremy Hermida, who initially agreed to a minor-league contract at the start of the off season after one season with Nashville, was released so he could further his career in Japan.
Josh Prince, considered an Arizona Fall League wonder, made an appearance at Miller Park but his career never flourished following his AFL campaign in 2012.
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:
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.
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.
Following a tough 2013 campaign with the Brevard County Manatees where he faltered down the stretch, left-handed pitcher Brent Suter is making a statement with the Double A Huntsville Stars in 2014.
The 24-year-old Harvard graduate has produced a 3-0 record allowing a mere three earned runs through 25 innings pitched in the Southern League. He also has walked just four batters and allowed 11 hits for a WHIP of .600 to begin the season with a bang.
Suter produced a stellar eight inning appearance in his last start April 23 against Mobile and allowed one earned run to pick up his third victory of the season.
In his one No Decision April 12, he pitched six innings and allowed one earned run in a Stars’ ten inning loss against Pensacola.
The lanky pitcher from Cincinnati struck eight Mississippi Braves April 17 to match his second most strikeouts in a game, only to his 11 while a member of the Brevard County Manatees in 2013.
In his career high performance with the Manatees he took a rough loss allowing one earned run through his seven innings of work in his career best game.
Teammates of Suter through his career with the Brewers organization told Brewers Farm Report previously he is a fearless pitcher who has the composure to go after hitters.
When Milwaukee drafted right-hander Taylor Williams with the fourth round draft selection in 2013 – no one knew how well he would fair after a rough start to his college career.
The junior from Kent State started was seldom used as a freshman with Washington State in 2011 where he pitched 10 innings allowing 14 earned runs before transferring to Mount Hood Community College.
However, it took him until his final college season with the Golden Flashes to show some brilliance – in 15 starts for Kent State he struck out 110 batters in 115.2 innings and had a 10-1 record. Williams also demonstrated excellent control allowing just 18 walks through the course of his season before the Brewers made him the fourth pick.
After his inaugural campaign with Pioneer League Helena in 2013 where he produced a 3-1 record and a 4.25 ERA in 10 games for the Brewers, MLB.com named him the organization’s 16th rated prospect.
Williams has responded with success including a stellar start in his first appearance with Single A Wisconsin where he struck out seven batters and held Peoria scoreless through his five innings of work on April 3. The 22-year-old maintained composure allowing just one walk and one hit during the in the No Decision.
The 5’11” pitcher from Washington State earned his first victory in relief six days later holding West Michigan scoreless in four innings.
Williams’ produced similar numbers in his last appearance April 26 where he held Kane County scoreless through six innings and struck out six batters. He allowed just one walk and two hits, but again received a No Decision.
Aside from being ranked 16th by MLB.com, Baseball America has ranked him 19th in the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system.
Given his age and steady progression and performances, he might climb the ladder and make his way to High A Brevard County by the conclusion of the 2014 season.
If Garrett Cooper‘s inaugural 2013 campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization is any indication, the former Auburn first baseman could rapidly progress through the system.
Cooper, 23, was selected as the Brewers’ sixth round pick in the 2013 draft and made an immediate impact with two blasts in his professional debut with Pioneer League Helena June 20.
However, his 2-for-5 game with the Helena Brewers did not come as a surprise to the 6’6” Cooper as he maintains his objective as a power hitter.
“I am trying to improve on that this off season and add strength through the off season to hit more home runs,” Cooper said.
Cooper’s tour of the country did not start nor end in the Rocky Mountain region after signing his professional contract out of the University of Auburn where he batted .354 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 37 walks in 56 games his senior season.
“It was a fun experience, moving around the country. Growing up in California, moving to Auburn, moving to Helena,” Cooper said. “It’s been a whirlwind of geographic locations.”
Despite possessing power potential, the first baseman has demonstrated the ability to hit for average at the early portion of his professional career.
Cooper not only began his career with two home runs but also rattled off a five game hitting streak from June 20-24 where he went 9-for-20 and belted three home runs. He also had a .500 On Base Percentage.
The California native hit safely in ten of his 16 games with Helena before Milwaukee made the decision to promote him to Single A Wisconsin. Through his short time with the Helena Brewers, he tabulated a .357 OBP with four doubles, four home runs and ten RBI.
Cooper said his time with Helena “was a good experience” and prepared him for Midwest League Baseball and life
alongside a loaded Wisconsin outfield of Tyrone Taylor, Michael Reed, Victor Roache and Max Walla.
“It was fun playing with them and it was nice hitting in front of them in the lineup,” Cooper said. “It was also good protecting them in the lineup.”
Cooper underwent roadblocks during his time with Wisconsin after missing time due to injuries but was able to come through with similar success.
In 32 games for the Timber Rattlers, he collected his first three career triples along with six doubles and blasted two home runs. He produced a .287 average and .346 OBP.
Cooper acknowledged his need to become a stronger and more durable presence in the lineup and maintained the off season objective of adding weight.
“Just getting stronger and being more flexible. That was my goal coming into the senior year of college was to get stronger and add more weight,” Cooper said.
Cooper responded by arriving to early winter session February 8 with a weight of 235 compared to 230 in his first season and feels “bigger and stronger.”
The Auburn alum was among 24 Brewers’ farmhands invited to attend the Minor League winter session which includes notable prospects Tyrone Taylor, Tucker Neuhaus and Damien Magnifico.
“It’s like mini camp and its a good thing getting out there sooner than all the other guys that come in and prepare to play every single day,” Cooper said.
Brewers’ officials are also providing Cooper additional options in advancing through the minor league system after taking repetitions at third base during the Fall Instructional League in October 2013.
“In high school it was the only time I ever played third base and little bit in junior college,” Cooper said.
He is looking at it as another opportunity to move forward and remains confident in his abilities at third base when needed.
“At third you have to get used to it and get back to the throwing across the diamond in every play at the hot corner,” Cooper said. “There is not much difference between first and third besides the throw.”
“Whatever they decide I will be happy with every chance I get. Just glad to be a part of the organization,” Cooper added.
Cooper told Brewers Farm Report he was surprised Milwaukee snagged him in the draft after receiving phone calls from two different organizations.
“The Brewers were definitely into my stuff. I talked to the Royals and Phillies a half an hour before I got drafted,” Cooper said. “The Royals and Phillies told me I was there next picks and all of sudden my name got popped up with the Brewers.”
Cooper credits his family for giving him unconditional support on maintaining his mission to become a professional baseball player and for preparing him for life traveling around the country.
“I grew up as the young kid and they are all pushing for me. I am the youngest, I am the baby and they are all just looking out for me,” Cooper said. “They are always there for me and give me whatever support I need.”
The youngest of seven children, he is grateful for his older siblings in taking the time out of their lives to play catch in the backyard of their California home during his childhood.
In addition to growing up along the California coasts where he also played beach volleyball, he has more than just Auburn as a southern connection.
Cooper gained early exposure to the Southern portion of the United States when he noted his mother being a part of the Louisiana community during times of her life.
“She took me down to the south a lot and I loved it down here,” Cooper said. “I have been all around the country to play baseball since I was a young kid.”