Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. today announced Minor League Baseball’s recipients of the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for defensive excellence. Brewers prospect Orlando Arcia was awarded the Gold Glove at shortstop after an impressive all-around season at the plate and in the field, including just 13 errors in 585 total chances (.978 fielding percentage) for the Biloxi Shuckers (AA). This is the second consecutive season that a Brewers prospect has won the award, as outfielder Michael Ratterree received the Gold Glove with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A) last year.
Arcia was named the organization’s Player of the year earlier this month and is widely regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects. He finished his first season at the Double-A level batting .307/.347/.453 with 37 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 69 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 129 games. The 21-year-old finished his campaign among the league-leaders in several categories including average (5th), at-bats (2nd, 512), RBI (4th), doubles (1st), slugging percentage (5th), extra-base hits (3rd, 52), runs (5th, 74) and total bases (2nd, 232). He set new career-highs in almost every hitting category including runs, hits, doubles, triples and home runs.
The Venezuelan native was signed by the Brewers as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. He was named both a mid-season and postseason Southern League All-Star this year. Arcia was honored with the League’s Player of the Week award for May 25-June 1 when he batted .400 (10-25) with 6 runs, 5 doubles, a homer, 5 RBI and 2 walks in six games. In addition, Arcia was selected to represent the World Team in the 2015 Futures Game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Arcia is ranked as the top prospect in the Brewers organization, according to MLB.com.
Arcia will receive his Rawlings Gold Glove Award, molded after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players, during the 2016 season.
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.
Today is the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the annual Rule V Draft.
That draft takes place at the Winter Meetings and was originally implemented with the idea of getting players an opportunity that they might otherwise not receive. The basics that one needs to know are that if a player is selected by another club, that player must be rostered at the MLB level for the entirety of the next season and be “active” for at least 90 days. Otherwise the player must be offered back to his original organization.
From there, it gets a little more complicated including upfront cost, roster construction, option years, salary differential, etc. The point though is that eligible players who would be of interest to other clubs need to be protected from the draft. The only way to do that is to add the player to the 40-man roster.
Not every minor leaguer is eligible though. To be eligible for the Rule V Draft a player must have played in professional (affiliated) baseball for at least four full seasons if he was signed at age 19 or older, and five full seasons if signed at 18 or younger.
The Brewers have several eligible players this year who warranted consideration for protection, but at most four open roster spots with which to protect. Last year they protected more than that and possibly adding Corey Hart add a free agent would mean someone previously protected may eventually wind up back off the roster the end. Furthermore, the group of eligible players in full could make up their own 40-man roster still have two on the outside looking in.
But those most likely seriously considered include Hunter Morris, Jason Rogers, Brooks Hall, Kyle Heckathorn, Kevin Shackelford, and Tyler Cravy.
Any of those aren’t added today are certainly names to look for on December 15th as teams make selections in the Rule V Draft. Others could be lost as well, especially if they’re able to be taken in the minor league portions of the draft like Eric Farris last year.
I have learned that the Brewers officials have had their discussions and made their arguments as to why each player should be protected. The final decision is, as it should be, now in general manager Doug Melvin’s hands.
We’ll have coverage for you whenever official word comes down. Decisions are due to the league office before the end of the day, or 11pm CST.
***BREAKING: A source informed me that Jason Rogers will be added to the 40-man roster today.***
***BREAKING PART TWO: A source confirmed that Hunter Morris will also be added to the 40-man roster, as widely expected.***
As you all know, I like to interview players shortly after they’re drafted in an effort to help the fan base get to know them as well and learning more about them than just the numbers from college or high school say or what’s in a scouting report. I interviewed the Brewers’ 2013 11th round draft pick Andy Hillis back in June this year, for example.
I also like to follow up with the players every now and then, and that’s what I had the pleasure of doing yesterday with 2012 1st Round draft pick Mitch Haniger.
(If you missed my original interview with Haniger in 2012, you can find a link to it here.)
In the conversation we talk about his 2013 season which was split between Class-A Wisconsin and Class-A Advanced Brevard County, his being selected as the Brewers priority exception to the 2013 edition of the Arizona Fall League, and what his off-season plans are.
Please take a listen, learn a little bit more about an up and coming outfield prospect in the Brewers system, and get to know Mitch Haniger a bit better.
Thanks again to Mitch for his time. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @M_Hanny19
RHP Johnny Hellweg and 1B Jason Rogers Named Recipients of the Robin Yount Performance Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards, Respectively
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2013 Robin Yount Performance Awards, which recognizes the Brewers Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year. Right-handed pitcher Johnny Hellweg was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year and first baseman Jason Rogers was named Minor League Player of the Year.
“We congratulate Johnny and Jason on their great seasons and well-deserved recognition,” said Brewers President of Baseball Operations – General Manager Doug Melvin. “In his first season at the Triple-A level, Johnny showed why he was chosen as the top pitcher in the Pacific Coast League and we’re excited to see him contribute at the Major League level. Jason had a great finish to the season in the Southern League as the league’s top run producer while playing nearly every game this season. This is also a reflection of our player development and scouting staffs as they work hard to provide young players the opportunity to play in Milwaukee.”
Hellweg, 24, spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Nashville and was named the 2013 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, going 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts (125.2ip, 44er). He led the PCL in winning percentage (.706) and opponent batting average (.228) and was among the leaders in ERA (2nd) and wins (T2nd, 12). The 6’9” right-hander won 11 of his last 12 decisions with Nashville, including a stretch in which he went 9-0 with a 1.16 ERA over 10 starts (62ip, 8er) from May 16 – July 30. He was also named to the 2013 All-PCL team.
Hellweg made his Major League debut with the Brewers on June 28 at Pittsburgh. He has made four appearances (three starts) with Milwaukee and is currently in his second stint with the Brewers. Additionally, he made one start at Class-A Wisconsin on July 15 and picked up the win in a 6-2 Timber Rattlers victory vs. Lake County. Hellweg was selected as the Brewers Pitcher of the Month for July (4gs, 4-0, 0.75era, 24ip, 2er). The Missouri resident is in his second season as a member of the Brewers organization after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last July in the Zack Greinke trade.
Rogers, 25, played the entire season at Double-A Huntsville, where he batted .270 with 22 HR and 87 RBI in 133 games. He led the Southern League in RBI and ranked among the leaders in HR (T2nd), total bases (3rd, 225) and extra-base hits (T4th, 49). Rogers was selected as an All-Star for the second straight season (Midwest League All-Star in 2012).
Rogers earned Brewers Player of the Month honors in July (.338, 24-71, 7hr, 20rbi) and August (.333, 34-102, 5hr, 15rbi). He was drafted by the Brewers in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Columbus State University. This marks the second straight season that a Huntsville first baseman has been named Brewers Player of the Year (Hunter Morris, 2012).
As you’re aware if you follow me on Twitter (@BrewerNation), I was up at the Timber Rattlers game on Saturday evening for my annual prospect pilgrimage. I want to get up there more often, but it didn’t happen last year. Hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish that goal here in 2013.
Regardless, when I have gone up I’ve been fortunate enough to get a media credential and have access for some one-on-one time with the players. Last year I chatted with three guys who I had interviewed before on the phone in Mitch Haniger, Nick Ramirez and Chad Pierce. I also got the single greatest quote out of Timber Rattlers’ manager Matt Erickson when it comes to player development vs. trying to win a game on a given night.
This year, with some talented individuals on the roster, I had to limit myself to just three players quite frankly because there is only so much time between batting practice and first pitch. I think I did alright with the choices.
Here you can listen to my interviews with Tyrone Taylor, Victor Roache and Chris McFarland.
Tonight, the full-season affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers (and other organizations as well, but you’re here for a reason so let’s focus) begin their respective regular seasons for 2013. The Brewers have four such affiliates so let’s give you a quick rundown of each one along with some quick hit info.
Nashville Sounds – Class-AAA Affiliate
The Nashville Sounds begin their 34th season of play and their 9th season as the Brewers’ top affiliate. Last year the Sounds got off to a poor start both at the plate and on the mound, but turned it around a bit as the season advanced. They technically wound up with a second-place finish in their Pacific Coast League, American Conference, Northern Division, but only sporting a 67-77 record for the campaign and falling well short of the playoffs.
While the Sounds had just one All-Star in 2012 (current Brewers reliever Jim Henderson), plenty of the parent club’s current players have made a stop in Music City, U.S.A. on their way to The Show. One man who has already debuted in the big leagues but is hoping to eventually carve himself out a permanent spot on Milwaukee’s pitching staff is the Sounds’ 2013 Opening Day starting pitcher: Tyler Thornburg.
Thornburg had an interesting 2012 as a professional with a run of oddly timed promotions which threw off his schedule and a shift in role which threw off his routine and ultimately led to some physical problems. With what is expected to be a full season of starting games again, the Brewers are hoping Thornburg can once again show the form that resulted in an 8-1 first-half record with Huntsville compete with a selection to the Double-A All-Star Game.
Thornburg will be followed in the Sounds’ rotation by 40-man rosterees Hiram Burgos and Johnny Hellweg, Zach Kroenke as the four, with Frankie De La Cruz rounding things out.
For more on Tyler Thornburg, check out his profile in my “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series: #63 Tyler Thornburg
Filling out the batting order are such recognizable names as Scooter Gennett, Blake Lalli, Hainley Statia, Caleb Gindl, and Southern League (AA) MVP Hunter Morris. The Sounds have a nice mix of up-and-comers along with guys on the precipice of MLB service time.
The same can be said for the bullpen which is likely to be anchored by Donovan Hand who almost won a spot in the Brewers ‘pen to begin the season.
Huntsville Stars – Class-AA Affiliate
***UPDATE: The Stars’ opener was rained out tonight. Nelson will start tomorrow.***
Starting on the bump for the Stars tonight will be Jimmy Nelson, he of the 2010 draft class (second round). Nelson began the 2012 season with the High-A Manatees and was advanced up the ladder during the summer. Combined in 2012, Nelson posted a 6-8 record with an ERA of 2.83 in 127.1 innings across 23 starts. With his success in High-A, Nelson made himself the primary candidate to move up when promotion time came around and Huntsville had an opening.
While he struggled early with Huntsville, not much should be read into it. Many baseball people concur that other than the jump from Triple-A to the bigs (of course), the step between High-A and Double-A is the biggest one that a professional player makes. That being said, a heavy ball plays so long as it can be controlled. Following a brief appearance in the Arizona Fall League where it was clear that he was worn out, Nelson enters this season with elevated expectations as he continues along his career track. The Brewers have confidence in him, he has confidence in himself, and with his ability those things ought to come together pretty well in 2013.
Brevard County Manatees – Class-A Advanced Affiliate
The Manatees of the Florida State League play their home games at Space Coast Stadium. That’s awesome. Their rallying cry is “Fear the Sea Cow”. That’s even more awesome. From a production standpoint, the FSL is notoriously brutal on hitters, but the Manatees only got mediocre production from some of their pitching last year. That was en route to a 63-72 record. Looking to start the turn around on the right foot will be Opening Day starter and 2011 1st round draft pick, southpaw Jed Bradley.
Bradley had a rough go of things in 2012 after starting off well initially. More on his 2012 season can be found in his BBt(J)N profile here: #77 Jed Bradley. If the Georgia Tech product can remain injury/issue free in 2013, he’ll hopefully be able to flash more of the ability which led to his selection as the 15th overall choice 22 months ago.
Joining Bradley (who spent all of 2012 with Brevard County) will be a bevvy of graduates from Matt Erickson’s prep school in Appleton, Wisconsin. All they did together was win their league championship last year. Hopefully the magic sticks with the players as they spend some time in south Florida to begin the season.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Class-A Affiliate
The 2012 Midwest League Champion Timber Rattlers will begin their title defense with a series in Peoria, Illinois before coming home for an April 8th tilt which features a bobblehead giveaway with the likeness of manager Matt Erickson holding the MWL Championship trophy. It’s sharp.
Off the field, the local owners of the facility pumped a bunch of money in and many structural improvements were made to the structure around the field. The press box was expanded, the broadcast booths were segregated and moved; it was a nice facility before, but now it’s even better.
On the mound, 2012 draft choice (4th round) Tyler Wagner gets the starting nod. It sounds like Erickson will once again be employing the “piggyback” technique where another starting pitcher knows he will be pitching for sure on a given day despite not starting in the first inning. To that end, Mike Strong will follow Wagner on the bump.
As for at the plate, the Timber Rattlers begin the year featuring a treasure trove of prospects. Most top choices from the 2012 draft (Clint Coulter, Mitch Haniger, Tyrone Taylor, etc) will be there right away. They’ll be joined by prospect darling Orlando Arcia with slugger Victor Roache expected to be not far behind as he gets a little time in extended spring training in Arizona.
There are many more names in the system that I could call out, but on this Opening Day I just wanted to highlight a few including the focus on the Opening Day starting pitchers for each affiliate.
While the Brewers system is widely panned by the experts — I think the highest rank I saw out of 30 was 23rd best — there are some pieces to be excited about. Follow along if you choose to, but rest assured that help is developing throughout the minor league affiliates which begin play tonight. After all, there is no substitute for game action in baseball.
Good luck to the Sounds, Stars, Manatees, and defending champion Timber Rattlers! Maybe the Brewers will have some more rings to give out before the 2014 season.