You might remember me mentioning Michael Ratterree as a name to remember following his tremendous first professional season when he won the 2013 Pioneer League Most Valuable Player Award as a member of the rookie-level affiliate Helena Brewers.
Well, Ratterree was at it again in 2014. And by “it” I mean winning a major individual award in recognition of his play on the baseball field. He won the Gold Glove Award, presented by Rawlings.
The Rice University product played the majority of the 2014 season with the Class-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, seeing some time with the Class-AA Huntsville Stars as an injury fill-in. The Timber Rattlers play in the Midwest League’s Western Division whereas the Stars are members of the Southern League’s North Division.
“So where did Ratterree earn his accolade?”, you may be asking.
Well, that’s just it. There isn’t a Gold Glove for each division, or for each league, or even for each level in the minor leagues. There are nine. One for each defensive position.
Michael Ratterree was awarded the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove for Minor League Baseball right fielders. All of them. That’s certainly worth trumpeting.
Following is the official press release.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., announced today Minor League Baseball’s recipients of the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for defensive excellence at their positions. The honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season Minor Leagues. Each player will receive his own Rawlings Gold Glove Award, modeled after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players, during the 2015 season.
“Congratulations to the nine outstanding Minor League Baseball players who deservedly won the 2014 Rawlings Gold Glove Award,” said Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of baseball for St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Minor League Baseball is and will always continue to be a great partner of Rawlings, and we knew the Rawlings Gold Glove Award would be a popular goal for many young players when we decided to rekindle this award platform in 2011.”
“Each year, it is a privilege to join in the announcement of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and help recognize the top defensive players in Minor League Baseball,” said Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of Minor League Baseball. “All nine of these players displayed extraordinary skills at their positions this season, and on behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate them on this outstanding accomplishment.”
The 2014 Minor League Baseball recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® are as follows:
2014 Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winners
|2B||Tony Kemp||Lancaster/Corpus Christi||HOU|
|SS||Hanser Alberto||Myrtle Beach/Frisco||TEX|
|CF||Breland Almadova||South Bend/Visalia||ARI|
|P||Josh Geer||San Antonio||SD|
First baseman Jordan Lennerton earned this honor for a second time with his perfect 1.000 fielding percentage through 121 games. He posted 1,058 putouts with 69 assists in 1,127 total chances and turned 107 double plays. Lennerton was also named a Rawlings Gold Glove Award® winner for his defensive excellence in 2013.
Tony Kemp put up a .987 fielding percentage through 120 games split between Corpus Christi and Lancaster. The second baseman had 225 putouts with 292 assists and 67 double plays.
Frisco RoughRiders shortstop Hanser Alberto posted a .980 fielding percentage over a 114-game span, with 190 putouts and 346 assists. Alberto began the 2014 season with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach where he split time between shortstop and third base.
Third baseman Jason Esposito of the Frederick Keys had a .960 fielding percentage with 83 putouts and 257 assists through 118 games. The Connecticut native turned a league-leading 19 double plays.
Chad Wright put up a .990 fielding percentage over 102 games as a left fielder for the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He had 191 put outs with nine assists and turned three double plays.
Center fielder Breland Almadova posted a .995 fielding percentage over 131 games while splitting the season between South Bend and Visalia. He had 345 putouts while only committing two errors.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers right fielder Michael Ratterree put up a .992 fielding percentage with 252 putouts and 10 assists over 126 games. Ratterree completed two double plays and committed only two errors on the season.
Roberto Pena, catcher for the Lancaster JetHawks, posted a .996 fielding percentage in 93 games. He had a league-leading 755 putouts with 84 assists and allowed only seven passed balls. Pena also topped the league in double plays (9) and runners caught stealing (52).
Right handed pitcher Josh Geer of the San Antonio Missions posted a perfect fielding percentage with six putouts and a league-leading 36 assists. With a quick delivery to the plate, Geer combined with his catchers to throw out 12 of 25 runners attempting to steal.
To be eligible to receive the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, players must have participated in one of the 10 domestic-based, full-season leagues, and show outstanding defensive skills. The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® was re-introduced to Minor League Baseball in 2011 after an almost 50-year hiatus.
About Minor League Baseball
Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with Major League Baseball clubs through their farm systems. Fans are coming out in unprecedented numbers to this one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found at Minor League Baseball ballparks. In 2014, Minor League Baseball attracted 42.4 million fans to its ballparks to see the future stars of the sport hone their skills. From the electricity in the stands to the excitement on the field, Minor League Baseball has provided affordable family-friendly entertainment to people of all ages since its founding in 1901. For more information about Minor League Baseball, visit http://www.MiLB.com.
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is an innovative manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods worldwide. Founded in 1887, Rawlings is an authentic global sports brand, trusted by generations of athletes of all skill levels. Rawlings’ unparalleled quality and expert craftsmanship are the fundamental reasons why more professional athletes, national governing bodies and sports leagues choose Rawlings. Rawlings is the Official Ball Supplier and Batting Helmet of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball of Minor League Baseball™ and the NCAA®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. For more information, please visit Rawlings.com or by phone at (314) 819-2800.
I’m here this evening on a truncated timetable to chime in on the upcoming Affiliate Shuffle. And I’m not talking about the latest dance craze sweeping the internet.
(To be honest though, how much fun would a dance be called the “Affiliate Shuffle”? You could get front offices from around the different affiliated minor league franchises to participate. They could film videos. YouTube would go crazy. The best part? It only comes around every other year and last no longer than a couple of weeks. You wouldn’t have time to get sick it. You’d bob your head and stomp your feet. A little rhythmic clapping to go along with it. Yes, the “Affiliate Shuffle” would take the world by storm! Sell t-shirts. Sell lunchboxes! Sell VHS tapes teaching you the dance in the comfort and anonymity of your own home!)
You know what the least likely part of that entire digression is? That you wouldn’t have time to get sick of it. MLB is tremendous at a lot of things, and it’s ability to overplay a song is breathtaking.
But anyway, like I said earlier, I’m on a time crunch here.
That being the case, let’s lay out the facts:
- Player Development Contracts (“PDCs”) are agreed to in even-numbered totals of years. This is because when affiliates change, there is a ton of work that goes in. It would be wildly unfair to expect an affiliated organization to potentially overhaul so many parts of their organization on an annual basis.
- Affiliated organizations agree to these PDCs with Major League Baseball clubs. To put it plainly, these contracts result in the team where organizations send their minor league players to compete and develop.
- The Brewers have five organizations under such contracts during these two-year windows.
- At the conclusion of 2014, four of those PDCs (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, rookie ball) were set to expire.
So that’s where we found ourselves with the 2014 season winding down. The only affiliate under a PDC after 2014 was set to be the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who currently are signed through 2016.
First, some good news came down the pipe as it was announced in August that the Brewers and their rookie ball affiliate in Helena were signing a four-year PDC extension. One down, three to go.
It had been widely assumed that the moving-to-Biloxi-Mississippi Huntsville Stars would stay with the Brewers. The Biloxi team even hired the outgoing Huntsville Stars’ general manager Buck Rogers, so continuity appeared to be a goal. As of the moment I hit publish, there has been no official announcement from either side that the relationship will continue. That being said, Baseball America was operating under the assumption that the PDC renewed automatically for two years. I spoke to someone who said that if the relationship is going to continue, he assumed it would be guaranteed for longer than just a two-year auto renewal. It remains to be seen how it ultimately shakes out.
In the same way as the Double-A affiliate, High-A Brevard County in Florida was shown on the same report from Baseball America to have been renewed for two years. There are some extenuating circumstances surrounding the Manatees, but it appears for now as though the PDC will be renewed there as well.
So if that accounts for three of the four expiring PDCs, we’re brought to the situation in Nashville.
The Nashville Sounds have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Brewers since 2005, which adds up to a cool decade in the Music City. The Brewers put up with an aging facility at the end of this most recent PDC extension. And when Nashville and the Sounds finally got together on a new facility at Sulphur Dell, it was hoped that the Brewers would be benefitting from enduring Greer Stadium. Instead, however, it appears that the Sounds want a new tenant beginning in 2015. That would be unfortunate timing for the Brewers what with the new facility, but then again the PDC almost wasn’t renewed following the 2012 season due to Greer Stadium and a bit of contentiousness.
The bottom line as things stands today is that the Brewers have some potential flux in their minor league system. Tuesday, September 16, 2014 is the first day that teams can officially announce new affiliations. There’s a bit of a potential carousel effect which could take place if rumors hold true.
Those rumors include the A’s leaving Sacramento and affiliating with Nashville (as already mentioned), the San Francisco Giants affiliating in Sacramento and leaving Fresno, and the Brewers possibly ending up affiliating with the Fresno Grizzlies who have been the Giants Triple-A affiliate since 1998. The franchise moved to Fresno in 1998 and was, ironically, a Brewers affiliate in their final season as the original incarnation of the Tucson Toros.
So, there’s much to be revealed beginning Tuesday. Hopefully the dust settles quickly and the Brewers will know where their top prospects will be playing ball for at least the next two years, be that in Fresno or some other option.
Opening Day is here for the minor leagues!
What follows are the announced rosters for each of the full-season minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers, broken down by position group.
Class-AAA Affiliate (Twitter: @nashvillesounds)
Manager: Rick Sweet
28 Total Players
- Michael Blazek (Twitter: @MichaelBlazek34)
- Hiram Burgos (Twitter: @Burgos196)
- Jose De La Torre
- Mike Fiers (Twitter: @Fiers64)
- Alfredo Figaro
- Donovan Hand (@DonovanHand)
- Kyle Heckathorn (@KyleHeckathorn)
- Johnny Hellweg
- Brad Mills
- Dustin Molleken
- Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson)
- Ariel Peña
- Rob Wooten (@RobWooten35)
- Irving Falu (@irvingfalu)
- Hector Gomez
- Taylor Green
- Sean Halton (@SeanHalton11)
- Elian Herrera
- Hunter Morris (@HunterMorris15)
- Pete Orr
- Stephen Parker
- Eugenio Velez
- Caleb Gindl
- Jeremy Hermida
- Kevin Mattison (@stachemaster4)
Class-AA Affiliate (Twitter: @HuntsvilleStars)
Manager: Carlos Subero
28 Total Players
- Tyler Cravy (@TylerJayCravy)
- Drew Gagnon (@Dgags24)
- David Goforth (@DavidGoforth7)
- Brooks Hall
- Greg Holle (@GHolle44)
- Taylor Jungmann
- Brent Leach (@brentle24)
- Arcenio Leon
- Johnnie Lowe (@jlowe390)
- Eric Marzec (@MarzMLB)
- Casey Medlen (@cmeds13)
- Andy Moye (@AMoye22)
- Kevin Shackelford (@Shackeldaddy)
- Brent Suter (@bruter24)
- Joey Paciorek
- Adam Weisenburger (@aweisenburger)
- Shawn Zarraga
- Greg Hopkins (@StJonnyHopkins)
- Josh Prince (@JoshPrince17)
- Nick Ramirez (@N_Ramirez33)
- Jason Rogers (@jasonrogers2003)
- Nick Shaw (@NShaw3)
- Hainley Statia (@HStatia4)
- Shea Vucinich
- Kentrail Davis
- Mitch Haniger (@M_Hanny19)
- Brock Kjeldgaard
- D’Vontrey Richardson
Class-A Advanced Affiliate (Twitter: @BCManatees)
Manager: Joe Ayrault
26 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes (@j_barnes30)
- Jed Bradley (@Jed_Bradley)
- Hobbs Johnson (@hojo31)
- Jorge Lopez (@yabiee18)
- Damien Magnifico (@D_Magno32)
- Stephen Peterson (@SPetey22)
- Chad Pierce (@pierce_chad)
- Tanner Poppe (@TannerPoppe)
- Austin Ross
- Michael Strong (@Strong_Mike1188)
- Tommy Toledo (@TommyToledo13)
- Martin Viramontes (@martilious19)
- Tyler Wagner (@_TylerWagner_)
- Orlando Arcia
- Garrett Cooper (@CoopaLoop1)
- Michael Garza (@Miguelito_G_21)
- Brandon Macias (@Cias12)
- Nathan Orf (@NateOrf4)
- Yadiel Rivera (@YADIELRIVERA13)
- Alfredo Rodriguez (@Arodss2)
- Jose Sermo (@j_weesy21)
Class-A Affiliate (Twitter: @TimberRattlers)
Manager: Matt Erickson
27 Total Players
- Tyler Alexander (@LilLefty12)
- Tristan Archer (@TRISTAN_archer)
- Barrett Astin (@BarrettAstin17)
- Victor Diaz
- Rodolfo Fernandez (@cuba900321)
- Preston Gainey (@friendpresto)
- Tyler Linehan (@tylinny39)
- Harvey Martin (@Martin_Time15)
- Zach Quintana (@Slummdog)
- Chris Razo (@RazBerry02)
- Trevor Seidenberger (@trev15berger)
- Tyler Spurlin (@TyroneG4)
- Taylor Williams (@TWilly_KSU)
- Francisco Castillo
- David Denson (@_DavidD_41)
- Steven Halcomb
- Chris McFarland (@cmcfarland116)
- Angel Ortega
- Taylor Smith-Brennan (@TaylorBrennan88)
DARNELL COLES NAMED MANAGER AT TRIPLE-A NASHVILLE
Remainder of Nashville’s Coaching Staff to Return in 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that Darnell Coles has been named manager at Triple-A Nashville. He fills the managerial role vacated by Mike Guerrero, who was promoted to the Brewers’ Major League coaching staff on September 28.
Coles joined the organization in 2010 and spent his first two seasons as minor-league hitting coordinator (2010-11). He spent the past two seasons as manager at Double-A Huntsville (2012-13). Prior to joining the Brewers, Coles spent four seasons in the Washington Nationals organization, including two seasons as manager with Class-A Vermont (2007) and Class-A Hagerstown (2008). He served as Washington’s roving hitting instructor in 2006 and as hitting coach at Triple-A Syracuse in 2009.
The former utility player had a 14-year Major League career with Seattle (1983-85, 1988-90), Detroit (1986-87, 1990), Pittsburgh (1988), San Francisco (1991), Cincinnati (1992), Toronto (1993-94), St. Louis (1995) and Colorado (1997). He was a member of the 1993 World Series champion Blue Jays.
Selected by Seattle in the first round of the 1980 draft, Coles went on to become one of only 14 players, including Babe Ruth, to hit three home runs in a single game in both the American League and National League. He also worked as an ESPN baseball analyst from 2001-06.
The remainder of Nashville’s coaching and training staff will return for the 2014 season. They include: Pitching Coach Fred Dabney (third season), Coach Bob Skube (second season), Athletic Trainer Aaron Hoback (second season) and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Andrew Emmick (fifth season).
Following the directive of the parent club, the minor-league affiliates for the Milwaukee Brewers have formally announced their lineups to begin their respective 2013 regular seasons.
Here are the positional breakdowns of these provisional lists.
Manager: Mike Guerrero
25 Total Players
- Hiram Burgos
- Frankie De La Cruz
- Donovan Hand
- Kyle Heckathorn
- Johnny Hellweg
- Jim Hoey
- Chris Jakubauskas
- Zach Kroenke
- Michael Olmsted
- Jesus Sanchez
- Tyler Thornburg
- Travis Webb
- Rob Wooten
- Dayton Buller
- Anderson De La Rosa
- Blake Lalli
- Blake Davis
- Scooter Gennett
- Sean Halton (reportedly moving to RF this year)
- Hunter Morris
- Stephen Parker
- Hainley Statia
- Cole Garner
- Caleb Gindl
- Josh Prince
Manager: Darnell Coles
25 Total Players
- Brian Garman
- Greg Holle
- Taylor Jungmann
- Thomas Keeling
- Arcenio Leon
- Johnnie Lowe
- Santo Manzanillo
- Casey Medlen
- Andy Moye
- Jimmy Nelson
- Ariel Pena
- R.J. Seidel
- Alan Williams
- Robinzon Diaz
- Adam Weisenburger
- Shawn Zarraga
- Ozzie Chavez
- T.J. Mittelstaedt
- Jason Rogers
- Nick Shaw
- Shea Vucinich
- Mike Walker
- Kentrail Davis
- Brock Kjeldgaard
- Rene Tosoni
Class-A Advanced Affiliate
Manager: Joe Ayrault
25 Total Players
- Jacob Barnes
- Jed Bradley
- Drew Gagnon
- David Goforth
- Brooks Hall
- Seth Harvey
- Andre Lamontagne
- Eric Marzec
- Stephen Peterson
- Chad Pierce
- Kevin Shackelford
- Tommy Toledo
- Mark Williams
- Cameron Garfield
- Rafael Neda
- Cody Hawn
- Greg Hopkins
- Brandon Macias
- Nick Ramirez
- Yadiel Rivera
- Adrian Williams
- John Dishon
- Ben McMahan
- Lance Roenicke
- Chad Stang
Manager: Matt Erickson
24 Total Players
A 25th player will be added to the roster following the start of the season.
- Austin Blaski
- Rodolfo Fernandez
- Preston Gainey
- Ryan Gibbard
- Jorge Lopez
- Leonard Lorenzo
- Damien Magnifico
- Eric Semmelhack
- Mike Strong
- Brent Suter
- Martin Viramontes
- Tyler Wagner
- Taylor Wall
- Parker Berberet
- Clint Coulter
- Brent Dean
- Orlando Arcia
- Mike Garza
- Chris McFarland
- Alfredo Rodriguez
- Jose Sermo
- Mitch Haniger
- Michael Reed
- Tyrone Taylor
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced the Minor League coaching staffs for the 2013 season. In addition, Rick Tomlin has been named minor league pitching coordinator. The position was previously held by Brewers Bullpen Coach Lee Tunnell. Tomlin enters his 24th season in the Minor Leagues, which includes coaching roles with Minnesota (1989-1995), New York-AL (1996-2004), Washington (2005-08) and New York-NL (2009-11). He previously served as a minor league pitching coordinator with the Yankees (2002-04) and Mets (2011).
At Triple-A Nashville, Manager Mike Guerrero and Pitching Coach Fred Dabney each return for their second season. Bob Skube joins the Sounds as coach after spending the past six seasons as a hitting coach in the San Diego Padres organization, including the previous two seasons at Triple-A Tucson. He also spent two seasons in the Texas Rangers organization (2005-06). In 2006, he managed the Rangers’ rookie-level affiliate in Arizona. Skube, who was drafted by the Brewers in the 13th round of the 1979 June Draft, played in the Brewers organization from 1979-85. He appeared in 16 Major League games with the Brewers during the 1982-83 seasons, batting .250 with 9 RBI.
Aaron Hoback enters his first season as Nashville’s athletic trainer and his seventh season in the organization. He spent the past three seasons at Double-A Huntsville. Andrew Emmick begins his fourth season as strength and conditioning specialist.
The Double-A Huntsville Stars will see the return of Manager Darnell Coles and Pitching Coach Chris Hook. The coach is to be announced. Dwayne Hosey, who held the position last season, will serve as coach at Rookie Helena in 2013. Athletic Trainer Steve Patera begins his first season at Huntsville following two seasons with the Rookie Arizona Brewers. Tim Gifford returns for his second season as strength and conditioning specialist.
The coaching staff at Class-A Brevard County will remain the same in 2013. The staff includes Manager Joe Ayrault, Pitching Coach Mark Dewey and Coach Ned Yost IV, who all return to the Manatees for their second season. Athletic Trainer Tommy Craig and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jonah Mergen also return.
The Midwest League Champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers return their entire coaching staff. Manager Matt Erickson, an Appleton native, is joined by Pitching Coach David Chavarria, Coach Dusty Rhodes, Athletic Trainer Jeff Paxson and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Christian Polega.
The Rookie Helena Brewers will be managed by Tony Diggs, who spent the previous seven seasons as manager of the rookie-level Arizona Brewers. Pitching Coach Elvin Nina returns for his fifth season and coach Dwayne Hosey will make the move from Huntsville. Don Money, who coached at Helena last season, will continue in his second season as special instructor, player development in the minor league system. He spent 14 seasons managing at various levels in the organization from 1998-2011.
Nestor Corredor will manage the Arizona Brewers in 2013 following three seasons at the helm of the Rookie Dominican League Brewers. Pitching Coach Steve Cline returns for his 33rd season as a pitching coach in the minors, including his 18th season as a member of the Brewers farm system. Coach Kenny Dominguez and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jake Marx also return. Greg Barajas, who spent last season as athletic trainer at Triple-A Nashville, will fill the same role with the Arizona Brewers. The staff for the Rookie Dominican Summer League Brewers will be announced at a later date.
|NASHVILLE SOUNDS (AAA)|
|Pitching Coach||Fred Dabney|
|Athletic Trainer||Aaron Hoback|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||Andrew Emmick|
|HUNTSVILLE STARS (AA)|
|Pitching Coach||Chris Hook|
|Athletic Trainer||Steve Patera|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||Tim Gifford|
|BREVARD COUNTY MANATEES (A)|
|Pitching Coach||Mark Dewey|
|Coach||Ned Yost IV|
|Athletic Trainer||Tommy Craig|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||Jonah Mergen|
|WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS (A)|
|Pitching Coach||David Chavarria|
|Athletic Trainer||Jeff Paxson|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||Christian Polega|
|HELENA BREWERS (R)|
|Pitching Coach||Elvin Nina|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||TBD|
|ARIZONA BREWERS (R)|
|Pitching Coach||Steve Cline|
|Athletic Trainer||Greg Barajas|
|Strength & Conditioning Specialist||Jake Marx|
First baseman Hunter Morris of the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate Huntsville Stars has been selected as the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® recipient among minor league first basemen. The announcement was made today by Minor League Baseball™and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc.
One player was chosen at each position for a total of nine award winners (included below). The honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season Minor Leagues. They will each receive their own Rawlings Gold Glove Award, modeled after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players, during the 2013 season (see photo attached).
Morris, who turns 24 on Sunday, was named the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player after batting .303 with 28 home runs and 113 RBI in 136 games with Huntsville. He became the first Huntsville player to win the League MVP award since Brewers first baseman Corey Hart in 2003. Morris led all qualifying Southern League first basemen with a .995 fielding percentage as he committed just six errors all season.
Morris, who made a run at the Triple Crown, led the Southern League in home runs, RBI, hits (158), slugging percentage (.563), total bases (294) and extra-base hits (74) and ranked among the leaders in doubles (2nd, 40), runs (T3rd, 77) and batting average (4th). His 40 doubles tied Huntsville’s single-season record (tied D.T. Cromer, 1997 with Oakland Athletics organization and Corey Hart, 2003). Morris will participate in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Tuesday, October 9.
The Huntsville, Alabama native was named to the Southern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams and he earned TOPPS Southern League Player of the Month honors in June and July. Morris was drafted by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Auburn University.
The 2012 Minor League Baseball recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award are as follows:
Position Name Club(s)/MLB Organization
P Adam Warren Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/New York-AL
C Josh Phegley Charlotte/Chicago-AL
1B Hunter Morris Huntsville/Milwaukee
2B Ryan Cavan Richmond/San Francisco
SS Eugenio Suarez West Michigan/Detroit
3B Joe Leonard Mississippi/Atlanta
LF Derrick Robinson Omaha/Kansas City
CF Engel Beltre Frisco/Texas
RF Marcell Ozuna Jupiter/Miami
The Milwaukee Brewers and Huntsville Stars have extended their player development contract for two more seasons through the completion of the 2014 season. The announcement was made jointly today by Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin and Stars General Manager Buck Rogers.
“We have agreed to extend our working agreement with the Stars,” said Melvin.
“The current facility and conditions provide a number of challenges on the player development front and we support Miles Prentice and his ownership group in their continued efforts to get a much needed new park.
The Southern League continues to provide a competitive environment for our players at the Double-A level and we look towards continuing our long-time affiliation with the Huntsville Stars.”
The Stars recently completed their 14th season as the Brewers’ Double-A affiliate, a partnership that began at the start of the 1999 season. During this timeframe, the Stars have won four division championships (2001, 2003, 2006 and 2007) and were the Southern League co-champions in 2001.
“We are extremely proud to continue our relationship with the Brewers for another two years,” said Rogers. “Many of the players that the Brewers have assigned to Huntsville have gone on to become Major League stars. The coaches and players that were a part of our 2012 season were heavily involved with the community. The Brewers are a classy organization and we are honored to have them back in Huntsville.”
Huntsville is a member of the Southern League’s North Division.
They play their home games at Joe W. Davis Stadium in Huntsville, Alabama and are managed by Darnell Coles.
The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs has announced Hunter Morris of the Huntsville Stars as its 2012 Most Valuable Player.
Votes for this award were received from league field managers, radio broadcasters and print media.
It has been a monstrous season for Morris, who enters the final day of the regular season atop the league with 28 home runs and 113 RBI. Morris’ RBI total is the second highest in all of Minor League Baseball in 2012 and the most in the Southern League this century.
The first member of the Stars to claim MVP honors since Corey Hart in 2003, Morris flirted with the first Southern League Triple Crown in 40 years.
His .303 batting average ranks fourth in the league behind Montgomery’s Omar Luna (.315), Mississippi’s Todd Cunningham (.312) and Pensacola’s Josh Fellhauer (.311). In addition to the top spot in two-thirds of the Triple Crown categories, the lefthanded-hitting Morris leads the Southern League in total bases (294), extra-base hits (74), hits (158) and slugging percentage (.563). He also is second in the league with 40 doubles, which are tied for the Stars franchise record previously achieved by D.T. Cromer in 1997 and Hart in 2003.
Concluding May with just three homers in 50 games, Morris went on a two-month power binge that featured the secondmost home runs (17) in MiLB from the beginning of June through the end of July. He also owned the third-highest RBI total (52) in the minors during that span en route to the Southern League’s first back-to-back Topps Player of the Month honors since Montgomery’s Delmon Young in May and June of 2005.
The first native of Huntsville to play for the Stars, Morris thrived in front of the home crowd to the tune of a .327 batting average, 17 homers and 67 RBI at Joe Davis Stadium. In his final home game of the season on August 28, Morris launched his 25th home run to become the first Southern League player with at least 25 homers and 100 RBI in the same season since Jacksonville’s Gabe Kapler in 1998.
In addition to Morris’ offensive achievements this season, the 23-year-old leads all qualifying Southern League first basemen with a .995 fielding percentage. He has committed just six errors in 136 games.
Prior to being selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Morris established a school record with 23 home runs in his junior season at Auburn. He also batted .386 with 76 RBI that year en route to Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors. A four-time Huntsville City Player of the Year, Morris batted .470 with 46 home runs and 198 RBI at Grissom High School.
The Boston Red Sox, with whom he did not sign, originally selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft.
Thanks once again to the magic of social media, we have learned today that following the Minor League All-Star break pitching prospect Tyler Thornburg will not head back to meet the AA Huntsville Stars where he has pitched the entirety of the 2012 season to this point.
Instead, Thornburg himself tells us that he’ll be driving to Nashville to meet up with the Sounds, the Brewers AAA affiliate.
Headed to the all star game in knoxville tomorrow then driving over to Nashville from there
— Tyler Thornburg (@tylerthornburg) June 17, 2012
Thornburg is 8-1 in 13 starts on the season for the Double-A Stars with an even 3.00 ERA. He’s tallied 71 strikeouts in 75.0 innings pitched and has held opposing hitters to a .212 batting average. He’s walked 24 on the year and allowed 57 hits which equates to a 1.08 WHIP.
The 6’0″, 190 lb starter has a career 19-7 record in the minor leagues after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Charleston Southern University.
There was some talk of Thornburg being under consideration to skip the AAA level altogether when Brewers’ right-hander Marco Estrada was put on the Disabled List after straining his quadriceps muscle while running the bases. Mike Fiers got that call instead and has pitched admirably over four starts.
Thornburg is definitely on everyone’s radar when it comes to lists of Brewers prospects, and one that will reach the Major Leagues in all likelihood. Where he’ll pitch when he gets to Milwaukee is a point of contention though.
Some see him strictly as a relief pitcher at the big league level where others, including the Brewers own scouts and instructors (for now at least) believe he can start.
Either way, following Thornburg so far this season and since his signing back in 2010 has been a fun ride. Hopefully he’ll continue his strong play now with the Sounds and the top level of Minor League competition.
Congratulations, Tyler! You’re one step closer.