Sweet Home Alabama: Taylor and Strong head to Double-A
Earlier this afternoon, Brevard County Manatees outfielder Tyrone Taylor and left-handed pitcher Mike Strong were transferred to Double-A Huntsville. Both players, who were so key to the Manatees success in 2014, will try and help the Stars emerge with their first Southern League title since they split the championship back in 2001.
Lets take a look back at some of the memorable moments from Taylor and Strong’s time at Space Coast Stadium.
The talented 20-year-old lit up the Florida State League with his quick bat, smart baserunning and his stellar defensive play. Taylor leaves the FSL leading the league in at-bats (507), hits (141) and doubles (36). He is also tied for the league-lead in games played with 130. Taylor heads to Double-A in the top 10 in several other categories. He is fifth in total bases (201), sixth in RBI (68), eighth in runs scored (69) and tied for eighth in stolen bases (22).
Taylor has had a few memorable single-game performances, as well. Back on April 29, he became the first player in Brevard County’s 20-year history to hit for the cycle. In Clearwater, Taylor went 5-for-5 with five runs scored to set career-highs. He also walked and drove in three in a 20-0, Manatees rout.
On June 17 against Dunedin, Taylor went 4-for-5 with a double and a then-career-high four runs batted in.
Taylor was at his best in July. The top prospect in the Brewers organization, according to MLB.com, was named Milwaukee’s co-minor league player of the month. In 25 games, he hit .326 with seven doubles, a triple and a home run. Taylor also scored 12 runs, drove in 23 and stole 12 bases. In the month, he also recorded a .453 slugging percentage and a .815 OPS. His teammate, Tyler Wagner, was awarded the organization’s minor league pitcher of the month for July, as well. They both spoke about their honors prior to an early August game in Tampa:
The southpaw has been one of the unsung heroes of the Manatees pitching staff in 2014. Primarily used as a reliever for most of the season, Strong had a 2.42 ERA and four saves as a key cog in the back of the Brevard County bullpen.
The Afton, Minn. native showed his versatility in the second half when he was called upon to make several spot starts. On August 6, Strong had a perfect game through 5.1 innings in game two of a doubleheader in Tampa. About a week later, on August 14, the left-hander dazzled in his first career complete game. In game two of a doubleheader against Daytona, Strong went all seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits, walked one and struck out eight. Right after the game, he spoke about his performance:
In the second half, Strong was untouchable with a 1.74 ERA in 14 appearances (six starts). In 51.2 innings, he struck out 52 and yielded just 37 hits. Strong also was 2-for-2 in save opportunities out of the bullpen. He was elite in August, leaving with the second-most strikeouts in the FSL with 32. Strong also exits with the fourth-best WHIP (1.00) and batting average against (.215) and the seventh-best in the league in ERA (2.42). This past weekend in Clearwater, he reflected on some of his favorite 2014 memories.
The Manatees would like to wish Tyrone and Mike the best of luck, as they head to Huntsville to continue their pursuit of playing Major League Baseball!
Hip Hip Jorge: Lopez continues to dominate the FSL
Since May 9, you would be hard pressed to find a better pitcher in the Florida State League than the Manatees Jorge Lopez.
Despite a shaky start to the season, Lopez showed flashes of the dominance he would go on to display. In his first six starts prior to that May date, Lopez had a record above .500, but his ERA hovered over five.
However, starting with that night at Space Coast Stadium against the Daytona Cubs, Lopez has been among the FSL’s best.
Since that night, Lopez has the fifth-lowest earned run average (1.73) and WHIP (1.02) in the entire league. Lopez has also been impressive in how he has dominated opponents. The Puerto Rico native has induced a plethora of weak contact, as he has the third-best groundout-to-airout ratio (2.26) in the league during this span.
As well, Lopez has a 5-1 record in 58 innings over these last nine starts. What is even more impressive, the former second round pick has allowed just 42 hits in those outings compared to 38 strike outs.
Very few pitchers in the league have been on the same level as Lopez over the last few months. Teammate Tyler Wagner ranks third in the FSL in ERA (1.63) since May 9, but has thrown 8.1 fewer innings.
During this stretch, Lopez has also made some of the best starts of his professional career.
On May 27 against the St. Lucie Mets, Lopez worked into the ninth inning for the first time as a pro en route to what was his sixth win of the season. The righty was removed before he recorded an out in that final frame, but allowed just four hits over eight-plus innings and allowed just one measly unearned run.
Lopez followed that performance up with another dominant outing, this time against the Dunedin Blue Jays, on June 16. He shutout the first-half champions of the North Division over seven innings. Lopez allowed just five hits and struck out six.
His last masterful performance came on June 26 against tonight’s opponent, the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Lopez tied his career-high with an eight inning night and allowed just two runs on five hits. That day, Lopez also recorded his first career complete game, as the game was shortened to eight frames due to rain.
As a reward for all his success, Lopez will head to Minnesota next week to participate in the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game. The right-hander is the only Brewers farmhand to be selected to the showcase and is the first Manatee to receive the honor since fellow righty Tyler Thornburg was chosen in 2011.
Moving On Up: Holle, Rivera make the jump to Double-A
Two of the Brevard County Manatees’ best are making the jump up. Within 24 hours, both RHP Greg Holle and INF Yadiel Rivera were transferred from Brevard County to Double-A Huntsville. It is no surprise that the duo got called up as both put up ridiculous numbers over their final few games with the ‘Tees. Lets take a look:
After suffering an injury early in Spring Training, Holle spent time in extended camp before being added to the Manatees roster on April 30. Despite plentiful success while in Brevard in 2014, the injury troubles remained with him. The right-hander was on the disabled list from May 29 until June 6 and missed extra time with flu-like symptoms.
However, when Holle was on the bump for the ‘Tees it spelled trouble for opponents. The 6-foot-8 righty did not surrender a run in seven of eight appearances he made with the team, which included a nine-inning scoreless streak before getting the call.
Holle finished his tenure in Brevard with a flourish. On June 20 at Daytona, Holle entered the ballgame with the bases loaded and dominated. The former TCU Horned Frog threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to close out the Manatees 7-3 victory over the Cubs, which he discussed the following day:
Holle made first 2014 appearance with the Stars last night. He threw a scoreless inning of relief and did not allow a baserunner in Huntsville’s triumph over Pensacola. Holle went 4-3 with a 3.96 ERA and 10 saves with the Double-A club a year ago.
Rivera was one of the surprising returnees to Brevard in 2014. The supremely talented middle infielder hit .241 with 23 extra-base hits and 37 runs batted in with the ‘Tees last year, but due to a logjam at the higher levels he returned to Space Coast Stadium.
After a bumpy start at the plate (.224 AVG) through the first two months of the year, Rivera found his rhythm in the month of June. In the 16 games he played in the month before being transferred, Rivera hit at .351 clip with a .403 on-base percentage.
Almost improbably, over his final seven games, Rivera was even better. He tallied a base-hit in six of his final seven games with the ‘Tees and left with a four-game hit-streak. In total, Rivera batted .462 (12-for-26) with five runs scored, three doubles, a home run, two RBI and a stolen base.
Yesterday, in his final game with the ‘Tees, Rivera went an astounding 3-for-4 with a ground-rule double and a stolen base in a Manatees win over the Dunedin Blue Jays. We had a chance to speak with him after the game:
‘Tees Tidbits: UT Nathan Orf is at it again…Since June 17, Orf has the highest batting average (.483) and on-base percentage (.545) in the Florida State League…During this stretch, the lead-off hitter has scored 10 runs, hit four doubles, driven in four runs and walked three times…He also recorded five multi-hit games during the seven-game streak…During their four-game road trip, the Manatees bats were on fire…The team recorded double-digits in hits in three of the four games…The ‘Tees went 3-1 on the trip and had a .297 batting average (44-for-148).
#TBT – Former ‘Tees Continue to “Star”
As we reach the halfway point of the Minor League season, it is easy to see that the Milwaukee Brewers organization as a whole has had incredible success. Throughout the system, including the Major League level, four of the six teams currently playing are at least tied for first place in their division. Even more impressive, all six teams are above the .500 mark at this moment. With that being said, let’s take a look at which former Manatees impressed this week!
Say Hey D’Vontrey!
After being out of baseball for the entire 2012 season, outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson (’11, ’13) has returned in a big way. The 25-year-old hit .325 with 13 stolen bases with the ‘Tees last year and made the jump to Double-A Huntsville for 2014.
The bat has not been as consistent at the next level (.218 AVG in 54 games), but his incredible athletic ability has not wavered.
On Tuesday night, in a matchup against the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers affiliate), Richardson may have made the top Minor League defensive play of the year. With O’Koyea Dickson at the plate, the former ‘Tee made an absolutely stupendous catch.
The remarkable play robbed Dickson of a two-run home run. This proved to be huge as Huntsville went on to win by just one run, 7-6.
Home Run Haniger
With D’Vontrey Richardson making waves in the field, fellow Huntsville outfielder Mitch Haniger (’13) has been doing the same at the plate.
Over his last 10 games, the former Brevard star is hitting .333 (12-for-36) with nine runs scored, SIX home runs and 11 RBI. During this span, Haniger has four multi-hit games and THREE multi-home run games.
Even more incredible has been the California native’s last two outings. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Haniger combined to go 4-for-8 at the dish with multiple home runs in each game.
Here’s a look at the first multi-homer game of this 10-game stretch back on June 4 against Jackson:
Haniger hit .250 with six home runs and 43 RBI in 88 games with Brevard County last year.
Can’t Stop Lucroy
While Haniger and Richardson are starring in the minors, Jonathan Lucroy (’08) is mashing up in Milwaukee. The Brewers catcher is currently on a seven-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .542 (13-for-24) with six runs scored, a home run and four RBI. Over the course of this stretch, Lucroy has bumped his average up by 17 points.
However, the former Ragin’ Cajun has been on a tear all season long. Lucroy enters today leading all Major League catchers in batting average (.341), runs scored (28), hits (79), doubles (25) and OPS (.912).
The Brew Crew backstop is well on his way to becoming the first catcher to represent Milwaukee in the All-Star Game since Dave Nilsson received the honor in the 1999 Mid-Summer Classic in Boston.
Lucroy hit .292 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 64 games with Brevard in 2008.
‘Tees Tidbits: RHP Damien Magnifico was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game on Wednesday afternoon…Magnifico will replace Dunedin LHP Daniel Norris, who is unable to pitch, on the North roster…Magnifico is 3-4 with a 3.05 ERA this year in 12 starts… Similarly, INF Josh Prince (’10, ’11) and C Shawn Zarraga (’10-’12) of the Huntsville Stars were named to the Southern League All-Star Game on Wednesday.
In the small town of Anaco, Venezuela lays a growing, impressive baseball family. Already home to former Major Leaguer (and former Vero Beach Dodger) Miguel Cairo, Anaco has been the residence of the Arcia brothers, Oswaldo and Orlando.
Oswaldo, a former Florida State Leaguer in his own right (2011-12 Fort Myers Miracle), has already reached and thrived at the Major League level, hitting 14 home runs last year with the Minnesota Twins. However, the youngest brother is causing quite a stir so far in Viera.
Orlando, the youngest player in the FSL at the age of 19, has not been overwhelmed by his older adversaries. To this point, Arcia has been an absolute workhorse and despite the lengthy Minor League schedule has continued to thrive.
So far, Arcia is tied with Tyrone Taylor for team lead in games played (53), second on the squad in hits (54), triples (3) and stolen bases (10), third in runs scored (22) and is tied for fourth in doubles (9) and runs batted in (13). With all those impressive numbers, Arcia has also managed to piece together a respectable .262 batting average.
Even though it is just the beginning of June, the Venezuelan native has already put together two majorly impressive streaks so far. From April 29 to May 12, Arcia recorded an 11-game hit-streak, the longest by a Manatee in 2014. During that stretch, he hit .340 (17-for-50) with three doubles and three RBI. Arcia also scored seven runs, stole four bases and walked five times compared to just four strike outs.
The most impressive outing during that streak was his first. On April 29 against Clearwater, in a 20-0 ‘Tees rout of Clearwater, Arcia recorded a career-high four base-hits (two doubles) and tied a career-high with three runs scored.
The middle infielder has been equally as impressive over his most recent stretch. Since the first game of Brevard’s series against the Palm Beach Cardinals on May 20, Arcia has been on fire. During those 12 games, he is hitting .370 (14-for-76) with five multi-hit games and four doubles. Anaco’s own has also driven in five runs and swiped two more bases.
What makes these streaks more impressive is that Arcia has done it all while playing multiple positions. A natural shortstop, the Brewers prospect has had to split time at the position with another talented player, Yadiel Rivera.
Both prospects have swapped between short and second base every series. However, neither has lost a beat despite the lack of consistency at one spot. Both incredible athletes and defenders, Arcia and Rivera have contributed to what is, arguably, the best defensive middle infield in all of Minor League Baseball, with incredible plays made on a daily basis. This, of course, includes Arcia helping turn the ‘Tees first triple play in over a decade.
Showing no ill effects from a fractured right ankle, which cost him his 2012 season, Arcia has been a treasure for the Manatees so far this year. It is clear that the sky is the limit for the FSL’s youngest star.
‘Tees Tidbits: For the first time in 11 days, OF Victor Roache will be in the lineup for Brevard County…Roache has been out since May 21 with the virus that has gone through the Manatees clubhouse…Roache will hit sixth and play left field in game one of today’s doubleheader…The Manatees’ bullpen has given up one run in 15.0 innings (0.60 ERA) over their last eight games…The bullpen’s collective strikeout rate has been staggering, as well…Brevard’s relievers have struck out 18 men for a 10.80 K/9 rate
Three’s Company: Trio of former ‘Tees pitchers dominate – #TBT 5/29
What a week it has been for former Manatees pitchers! Three different hurlers, their time in Brevard ranging over a span over 11 years, made waves in the press for three very different reasons.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the trio of ‘Tees hurlers that shined this past week!
Josh Beckett (’01)
Let us start with the former Manatee who made the biggest headlines. Beckett, who has already done so much in his Major League career (three All-Star appearances, two World Series titles and a World Series MVP), added another achievement to his mantle on Sunday afternoon.
In a matinee against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Beckett was spot on from the beginning. Despite walking Chase Utley in the first and Marlon Byrd in the second, the right-hander did not allow a base-hit all the way into the game’s final frame.
With the no-hitter still intact, Beckett walked Jimmy Rollins with two outs. That brought Utley to the plate again with the former ‘Tee just one out away from history…
Beckett’s no-no was the first in the majors this year and the 24th in Los Angeles Dodgers history. It was the first by a Dodger since Hideo Nomo no-hit the Colorado Rockies back in September of 1996.
Space Coast Stadium is no stranger to dominant outings by the Spring, Tex. native. The righty pitched in 13 games with Brevard back in 2001 and put up some staggering numbers. During his time here, Beckett posted a 6-0 record with an absurd 1.23 ERA. The two-time World Champion managed to strike out 102 batters compared to 19 walks in 65.2 innings before being called up to Double-A.
Jimmy Nelson (’12)
The most recent Manatee on this list also made personal history on Sunday afternoon. Nelson, who made four appearances (including one start) with the Brewers last September, was called up to make a spot start for a banged up Yovani Gallardo against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.
Similar to Beckett, Nelson dominated the Fish from the get go. The Alabama Crimson Tide star shutout the Marlins over 5.2 innings to pick up his first Major League victory. Nelson issued five hits and three walks with six punch outs.
Despite the dominant outing, Nelson was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville after the game.
Back in 2012, Nelson was a Florida State League All-Star with ‘Tees and put up some impressive numbers himself. Even though his record was just 4-4, the right-hander had a 2.21 ERA in 13 starts with the ‘Tees before jumping up to Double-A Huntsville.
Yovani Gallardo (’06)
The last pitcher of note from our triumvirate of former ‘Tees stars is Gallardo who turned heads this week off the mound.
With an empty bench and the Brewers tied at six with the Baltimore Orioles in the bottom of the 10th inning, manager Ron Roenicke called on his ace to pinch-hit for reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
Despite the fact that there were two outs and the bases were empty, O’s manager, Buck Showalter, put the winning run on base by issuing an intentional walk to power-hitting Mark Reynolds in order to face Gallardo.
On a 2-0 count, Gallardo, who has 12 career home runs, got a pitch he could drive from Baltimore reliever T.J. McFarland and he did not miss it…
The right-hander followed up his walk-off double on Tuesday night with a strong outing on the mound on Wednesday. The former Manatee allowed three runs on four hits over 6.2 innings to pick up his third win of the season.
Like Nelson and Beckett, Gallardo was dominant on the Space Coast. An FSL All-Star in 2006, Gallardo went 6-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 13 starts with the ‘Tees before getting his call up to Huntsville.
‘Tees Tidbits: OF Khris Davis (’11) has been a monster at the plate for the Brew Crew lately…Davis has homered in each of his last three games with five runs batted in during that span…RHP Taylor Jungmann (’12) picked up his first Triple-A win last night in a victory over Colorado Springs…Jungmann allowed just one run on four hits over six innings in a Sounds victory…Brevard County made a few roster moves this afternoon…RHP Greg Holle went on the disabled list, retroactive to May 27…RHP Scott Lieser was added to the roster from the Rookie Arizona League and RHP Jose De La Torre was transferred to Brevard after being activated from the DL at Triple-A Nashville.
The “Killer B’s”: Bradley to AA, Berberet on Fire
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Houston Astros were noted for having the “Killer B’s”. Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Derek Bell, and Lance Berkman were key pieces on some talented Houston teams. On Sunday night, the Manatees rallied behind their own “Killer B’s” to defeat Tampa. Both Jed Bradley and Parker Berberet put together strong outings in Brevard’s 7-5 victory in what was a historic night for both players, but for different reasons.
Movin’ On Up!
When rosters were released in the days leading up to the season, it came as a surprise to some that Jed Bradley was returning to Space Coast Stadium for a third consecutive season. After dealing with some rocky performances and a slew of injuries in the past, Bradley came to Viera a new man in 2014.
The left-hander tied Jorge Lopez for the team lead in victories on Sunday with five. Bradley surrendered just two runs into the seventh inning, but tired in that final frame. The lefty finished the day with five runs allowed (four earned) on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Control, which had been a problem for Bradley in his first two pro seasons, was not an issue for him on Sunday. He issued just one walk compared to six strike outs. For the year, Bradley has issued just 10 free passes, while striking out the second-most batters in the Florida State League (53).
Unlike any start Bradley has had in the past, the best part of his day came when manager Joe Ayrault removed him from the ball game. As the left-hander handed the ball over to his skipper, Ayrault turned and told him the news he had waited almost two and a half years to hear. He was going home to Double-A Huntsville.
After a rough first outing against Daytona on April 5, Bradley was a revelation for the team. In his final nine starts with the club, Bradley went 5-1 with a 2.08 earned run average. Over that stretch, the former Georgia Tech product received the FSL Pitcher of the Week Award twice and had two of the most impressive outings of his career. On May 20, Bradley threw nine innings of four-hit, shutout baseball in a no-decision against the Palm Beach Cardinals. As well, he struck out a career-high nine batters against the Daytona Cubs on April 27.
If not for the efforts of his backstop, Parker Berberet, Bradley may not have won his final start with the Manatees. Berberet, who has received limited playing time this year due to the success of Cameron Garfield, has been on an absolute tear over the last few days.
In his last three games, dating back to May 22, Berberet has picked up at least one hit in every outing. In all three of those games, Berberet has recorded at least one double and one RBI.
However, Sunday night’s performance was the high mark for Berberet’s season. Starting back-to-back games for the first time all year, Berberet tied a career-high with four base-hits in the win over the Yankees. The catcher lined two doubles to right, singled twice, stole a base, scored and drove in a run.
Over the two games he has played during this homestand, Berberet has yet to be retired (6-for-6 at the plate) with three doubles, three runs scored and two RBI.
‘Tees Tidbits: Due to a virus that has ravaged the Manatees clubhouse, the team has been extremely short-handed over the last few days…Brevard County only had nine position players and two pitchers (excluding Bradley) available during Sunday’s ballgame…In order to aid the depleted bullpen, RHP Mark Williams was transferred to the roster from Class-A Wisconsin…1B Garrett Cooper, who had has played since May 20 with flu-like symptoms, was placed on the disabled list to make room on the roster for Williams…With Bradley’s departure, the ‘Tees roster currently sits at 24, one below the FSL limit.
Walk-offs and W’s – TBT 5/15
Hey fans! Time for your weekly look around baseball to check in on how your former Brevard County Manatees are performing across pro baseball!
Khris Davis (’11)
I guess it makes sense to start with a guy who made the most recent impact. Earlier this afternoon, Milwaukee entered the ninth inning trailing by a run in their series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Davis, who had not recorded and RBI since May 5, came to the plate with a chance to win the game…
Jonathan Lucroy (’08)
There may be no hotter hitter in the Brewers lineup right now than Lucroy. The catcher entered today on a five-game hitting streak and three multi-hit games in his last ten appearances. During this stretch, Lucroy has homered once, driven in seven runs, and scored five of his own. Even more impressive, Lucroy entered this afternoon leading all National League catchers with a .311 batting average. Even with all the impressive offensive numbers, Lucroy still has a cannon behind the plate…
Martin Maldonado (’10)
Don’t forget about Lucroy’s backup either. Even though his playing time is sparse, Maldonado has been a big boost to the Brew Crew anytime he’s in the lineup. In games the former ‘Tee has started, the Brewers have put together a remarkable 8-0 record. Maldonado made his presence felt again today as he smacked a game-tying home run in the fifth inning.
Tyler Cravy (’13)
Can’t forget about those Minor League guys also! While his former teammate, Jed Bradley, won Pitcher of the Week honors in the Florida State League, Cravy was garnering the same accolade for his efforts with the Huntsville Stars in the Southern League. In his outing on Saturday in Chattanooga the southpaw picked up his sixth victory of the year, allowing one run on four hits. Cravy lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.93 while striking out nine batters.
Josh Beckett (’01)
How about a blast from the past? After struggling with injuries over the last few years, Beckett has been solid so far in 2014. The right-hander picked up his first win of the season, dominating the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night. Beckett allowed just one unearned run on four hits and struck out six. The former second overall pick is now 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in seven starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Be sure to check back next week for more updates on your favorite former Manatees!
How Sweep It is!
With back-to-back 5-2 victories over the Daytona Cubs on Friday and Saturday evenings the Brevard County Manatees completed a four-game sweep against their I-95 rivals.
By taking all four games from Daytona, Brevard County has tied its season-high with four straight victories, but more notable was the way the Manatees did it.
At The Plate
The ‘Tees bats battered Cubs pitching by hitting at a .319 clip (43-for-135) with four home runs, including three on Saturday night.
However, Joe Ayrault’s club didn’t just get it done with the long ball. In the four-game set the Manatees recorded an incredible 16 extra-base hits.
Nathan Orf, who hit leadoff throughout the series, was a particular menace against the Cubs. Orf, who was hit by a pitch in each of the first three games, tallied four runs scored, three doubles, a triple and drove in a run against Daytona.
If Orf was a nuisance, catcher Cameron Garfield was a demoralizer. The California native put together the best series of his season by absolutely mashing Cubs pitching. Garfield extended his hitting streak to 10 games by batting .467 during the four-game series (7-for-15), including multi-hit performances in each of the first three nights.
Garfield made his mark by tallying five of Brevard’s 16 extra-base hits. The catcher doubled four times and drove in three runs during the series’ first three matchups, before punctuating his dominance in the finale. After an error by Gioskar Amaya kept the third inning alive, Garfield demolished the first pitch he saw from Cubs starter Jose Rosario well over the manual scoreboard in left field for a two-run homer, his first of 2014. The blast gave the Manatees a 3-0 lead and ended up being the deciding blow in a 5-2 victory.
On the Mound
The Manatees pitching was equally, if not more, impressive. The pitching staff allowed four runs, only two earned, over the course of the series good for a microscopic 0.50 ERA. The ‘Tees staff also produced a multitude of swings and misses, striking out 38 Cubs, equaling an average of 9.5 per game.
Left-handers Jed Bradley and Hobbs Johnson were both dominating on Thursday and Saturday nights, respectively. Bradley pieced together arguably his best performance of the season, allowing just two hits and two walks, while striking out seven hitters over a season-high 6.2 shutout innings en route to his second Florida State League Pitcher of the Week award.
Johnson was no slouch either. The North Carolina product struck out a career-high nine batters on Saturday night in Daytona. The lefty shutout the Cubs through his first six frames, then surrendered two runs (one earned) in the seventh before being removed with one out. The 6.1 innings of work was the longest outing of Johnson’s career.
The sweep gives Brevard County a 7-5 series edge over Daytona with eight games remaining in the I-95 rivalry for 2014. The Manatees have not won the I-95 Trophy since they took 11-of-18 games against the Cubs back in 2007.
Future Major League outfielder Lorenzo Cain (.309 AVG) and shortstop Alcides Escobar (.395 AVG) batted over .300 during the season series, while catcher Angel Salome hit a gaudy .441 (15-for-34) in 9 games that year against the Cubs. Future Brewers infielder Mat Gamel led the offensive charge in ’07, recording 11 extra-base hits in the season series (eight doubles, two triples and one home run) while driving in 11 runs. Another eventual Major Leaguer, pitcher Mike McClendon, dominated the Cubbies on the rubber. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts against Daytona.
This four-game shellacking is the Manatees first four-game sweep against the Cubs since they took the final four matchups in 2011. Future Brewers pitcher Hiram Burgos allowed one run over 5.2 innings to pick up the win in the first game, while current ‘Tee Austin Ross started and recorded the victory in a 15-4 victory against Daytona in the second meeting.
‘Tees OF Contends for FSL Weekly Award
It’s too bad the Florida State League can only hand out one award for Player of the Week because the entire Manatees outfield could have been honored for its performance over the last seven days. Michael Reed ultimately took the prize, but Victor Roache and Tyrone Taylor made the decision tougher than it should have been for the league’s front office.
We’ll start with the winner. Reed seemingly reached base every time he stepped into the batter’s box this week. The ‘Tees right fielder compiled a .700 on base percentage (21-for-30) on the week with eight walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Reed, however, was not solely a free-pass machine. The FSL Player of the Week was 12-for-27 at the plate (.571 AVG) and doubled his career home run total with a pair of long balls over a six-game span.
Adding to his banner week, Reed registered four multi-hit games, legged out four doubles, stole three times out of five attempts, scored nine runs and drove in five. Just for good measure, the right fielder was nearly impossible to retire on strikes. Reed struck out just once in 30 plate appearances.
Tour De Taylor:
Taylor’s bid for Player of the Week came early when he hit for the first cycle in Manatees history last Tuesday in Clearwater:
After the cycle, Taylor remained hot. The center fielder added to his stunning doubles total with four over a six-game stretch to give him a Minor League Baseball-best 14 on the season.
In addition, Taylor hit a pair of home runs and tripled once. The center fielder hit for a .444 average on the week and only five of his 12 hits were singles.
Big Stick Vick:
Roache made a late charge for the FSL’s weekly award when he made history on Sunday night. The left fielder became the first player in the 21-year history of the Brevard County Manatees to homer three times in one game. Roache did not waste any time, either. He hit his bombs in each of his first three at-bats:
Roache’s power-driven Sunday was the highlight of a strong week for the left fielder. Roache drove home 10 runs and compiled four multi-RBI games. He also hit for a .375 average (9-for-24) with a double and a triple.
The collective efforts of Reed, Taylor and Roache have helped the Manatees win five of their six games this week. Brevard’s other outfielders also performed well during that stretch.
Jose Sermo scored the eventual game-winning run on Monday when he stole third and scampered home as the throw skipped into left field. Nathan Orf walked five times and was hit by a pitch to register a .421 on base percentage. Meanwhile, Major League rehabber Logan Schafer laced an RBI double in his second at-bat with the ‘Tees.