Dissecting the ‘Tees: An Inside Look at the 2014 Brevard County Manatees
When the Brevard County Manatees return to action on Thursday, April 3, they will carry a roster rich with high-ranking talent: Eight of the Milwaukee Brewers’ top 30 prospects will be coming to Space Coast Stadium at the start of the 2014 season. Now, rankings and numbers are all well and good, but we thought we would give you a little more in our first blog post. Why are these new ‘Tees so highly touted? Here you go…
CF Tyrone Taylor (#2 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: Taylor’s background as a two-sport star in high school gives him a reputation as an elite athlete. The former prep running back has top-end speed that gives him excellent range in center field and the ability to be dangerous on the base paths. If there is any concern with Taylor, it is that his skills are “raw.” He has a lot of natural athletic ability, but is still refining his baseball skills, like taking efficient routes to balls in the outfield. Still, it hasn’t stopped him from being an above-average defender who can do things like this:
LF Victor Roache (#5 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: Roache’s biggest asset is his raw power and he has a lot of it. Despite having a broken wrist in 2012 that delayed his professional debut until 2013, the left fielder still slugged 22 home runs in the Midwest League last season. He reportedly has some growing to do with pitch-recognition, which has led to higher swing-and-miss rates than the Brewers would like. However, Roache is still early in his development and his power is eye opening. Case in point:
SS Orlando Arcia (#7 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: The book on Arcia starts with his defense. The 19-year old Venezuelan shortstop has impressed with soft hands, a strong arm and good instincts. Though his speed is perceived as average, Arcia’s quick breaks give him above average range at short. As for his bat, Arcia makes consistent contact and has a strong approach at the plate. He hit .251 in the Midwest League last year, but he was also 18 years old and coming off a broken ankle that kept him off the field in 2012.
SS Yadiel Rivera (#13 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: Like Arcia, Rivera’s strength is on defense. The infielder made his Florida State League debut last season at the age of 20 and showed off his prowess at shortstop. Rivera’s profile shows good hands and smooth, fluid footwork. He also has good instincts in the field, which help improve his range and the value he can add to an infield. With two quality defensive shortstops on one team, we may see Rivera and Arcia split time between short and second. They did that during spring games and that may be the plan at the start of the season.
RHP Tyler Wagner (#16 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: Wagner could be a “surprise prospect” in the Brewers’ system, given that he is not always ranked in the top 20 depending on what list you are looking at. Those who rank the right-hander high on Milwaukee’s prospect list see a three-pitch pitcher with good mechanics. Wagner throws from a three-quarters arm slot and has a quick, but jerky motion that he reportedly repeats well. The right-hander mostly works off his fastball, which sits in the low-90’s with some sink to it. He also throws a changeup and a power slider that has the looks of a quality out pitch:
LHP Jed Bradley (#18 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: It must be imposing to stand 60 feet, six inches from Jed Bradley. The left-hander stands 6’4” and 225 lbs and comes at hitters with four quality pitches: fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. Coming out of Georgia Tech as a first round selection in 2011, scouts did not consider any of Bradley’s pitches to be “plus pitches,” but he has control and feel for all four. Bradley has also shown the wherewithal to mix all four pitches well. This will be Bradley’s third stint with the Manatees. So, while he has potential and has shown improvement, the southpaw will be looking to take the next step in 2014.
RHP Damien Magnifico (#23 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: The former University of Oklahoma righty throws hard… Really hard. Magnifico has touched 100 mph both during his college career and as a professional, though he reportedly needs to work on his command. Still, the right-hander posted a 3.83 ERA in eight starts for Low-A Wisconsin last season, despite suffering through blister problems. Command issues and a fastball that can be straight at times means Magnifico might project as a hard-throwing reliever in the future, but expect him to start for the ‘Tees this season.
RHP Jorge Lopez (#24 Brewers Prospect)
Scouting Report: Lopez showed quality pitching tools in his first full Minor League season in 2013. The righty sports a low to mid-90’s fastball and a big, advanced curveball. Perhaps the most exciting part of Lopez’s makeup is that he has these tools in a 6’4”, 165 lbs frame. In other words, he projects to add velocity and durability if he can fill out a little more, physically. If Lopez can improve his command and develop a changeup, he could be imposing on the mound. The pitcher-friendly Florida State League could be just the place to help Lopez take the next step in his career.
To view the complete Brevard County Manatees roster, please click here.
**All rankings courtesy of Baseball America. All scouting reports were compiled with the help of Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com and Miller Park Prospects.
Thanks for reading the first edition of the Brevard County Manatees Official Blog. Stay tuned throughout the 2014 season for more exclusive, insider coverage of your Brevard County Manatees. Every Monday, we will bring you player features, interviews and unique stories and content you won’t find anywhere else. Then, stop by later in the week for our version of Throwback Thursday, when we take a look at what some former ‘Tees have been up to on the diamond over the previous week. Thanks again for reading and we’ll see you opening night!
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