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!
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).
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!
Have you been following the Double-A Huntsville Stars’ pitching staff? Well, if you have you’ve seen a slew of former Manatees hurlers combine to set the Stars’ club record for consecutive scoreless innings. Nine Brevard County alumni, including five 2013 ‘Tees, helped the Stars rattle off 34 straight innings without allowing a run.
The streak began on May 2 in Montgomery, AL when RHP Casey Medlen (’13) pitched a perfect seventh inning against the Biscuits. Huntsville kept rolling from there and did not allow another run until the fifth inning of yesterday’s game against the Jackson Generals.
All but one of the 34 shutout innings were tossed by an ex-Manatee. The lone outlier was RHP Arcenio Leon who pitched a pair of scoreless frames on May 5 against the Generals. Other than Leon, all the work was done by these ex-‘Tees:
RHP Casey Medlen (’13)
Struck out one over a hitless seventh inning at Montgomery. That outing on May 2 began the streak.
Streak Stats: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K
RHP Tim Dillard (’05)
After Medlen’s scoreless outing on May 2, Dillard came in and shut down the Biscuits over the final two frames. The Stars won that game, 9-1, but Dillard was not finished making his mark on the scoreless streak.
The right-hander came out of the bullpen on May 6, as well. That day, Dillard worked a one-two-three eighth inning in a 5-0 victory against Jackson.
Streak Stats: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R
LHP Brent Suter (’13)
Just two starts after took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Mobile, Suter turned in another tremendous performance at Montgomery. Suter kept Huntsville’s shutout streak intact with seven scoreless innings at Montgomery on 5/3.
Suter and his 2013 Manatees teammate, RHP Drew Gagnon, had the longest outings of any Stars pitcher during the streak.
Streak Stats: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7 K
RHP Kevin Shackelford (’13)
The 6’5” right-hander finished what Suter started on 5/3. Shackelford shut out the Biscuits in the eighth and ninth innings on 5/3. He walked two and allowed a hit, but struck out two to keep the zero in Montgomery’s column in an 11-0 Stars win.
Streak Stats: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
RHP Tyler Cravy (’13)
Cinco de Mayo was Cravy’s day to put a zero on the board. The 2013 ‘Tee put together six scoreless innings and struck out six Jackson Generals on 5/5. Cravy only allowed three hits and registered one hit-by-pitch.
Streak Stats: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 HB, 5 K
RHP David Goforth (’13)
Leon took the ball for two innings on Cinco de Mayo after Cravy tossed his gem. After that, however, the mound belonged to another ex-Manatee in Goforth. With the Stars only leading 2-0, Goforth had to shut the door and he did just that in the ninth.
Goforth pitched a one-two-three ninth inning en route to his seventh save and a Huntsville win. The Stars’ scoreless streak was alive and well at 21 innings.
Streak Stats: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R
RHP Drew Gagnon (’13)
Gagnon equaled Suter’s performance from three nights prior with seven shutout innings on 5/6. The righty got into a little trouble with three walks and four hits, but skirted danger to keep zeros on the scoreboard for Jackson.
The 2013 Brevard hurler stranded a runner on third base after a leadoff double in the third inning, then picked a runner off of second to end the following inning. Gagnon worked out of dodge in the sixth inning, as well. The starter issued a pair of two-out walks, but nothing came of them, as he struck out the last batter of the inning.
Streak Stats: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K
RHP Tommy Toledo (’14)
In just his third Double-A appearance since being called up from Brevard County, Toledo shut down Jackson to improve Huntsville’s scoreless streak to 30 innings. The ex-Manatees closer held the Generals off the scoreboard in the ninth inning to secure a 5-0 win for Huntsville.
Streak Stats: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB
RHP Taylor Jungmann (’12)
Huntsville’s scoreless innings streak ended with Jungmann, but not before he threw four more zeros on the scoreboard. After four shutout frames, Jungmann allowed three runs (one earned) with one out in the fifth inning against Jackson on May 7.
Huntsville committed two errors that inning and Jungmann surrendered two hits and two walks, as the Stars fell, 7-2.
Streak Stats (before allowing a run): 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
All told, the Manatees accounted for 32.1 straight scoreless innings. The Brevard alumni struck out 22 men, surrendered 14 hits, walked seven and hit one batter to help the Stars set a new club record.
Want to know how good LHP Brent Suter (’13) has been this season for the Double-A Huntsville Stars? Just ask the Mobile BayBears hitters. Suter took a no-hitter into the ninth against Mobile yesterday and finished with one hit over eight innings, as the Stars won, 4-1.
Suter, who went 7-9 with a 3.63 ERA with Brevard County last season, kept a zero in the BayBears’ hit column until Raywilly Gomez singled to lead off the ninth inning. The left-hander was pulled from the game after giving up the no-hitter, but RHP Arcenio Leon finished the job in the ninth.
Gomez scored later in the ninth, but that was the only Mobile tally on the afternoon. Suter finished with one run on one hit and one walk over eight innings of work. The southpaw struck out seven in the performance.
The former Manatees lefty has been a tough assignment for Southern League hitters. One year after pitching for Brevard County, the 24-year old has started the 2014 campaign 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA for Double-A Huntsville. Suter has also ramped up his strikeout game since reaching Double-A:
Suter averages 8.64 K/9 with 24 punch-outs through 25.0 innings. That average is more than a strikeout better per game compared to last year (7.04 K/9). The left-hander is scheduled to make his next start on Monday at the Tennessee Smokies.
In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we take you back to 2011. It may not be that long ago, but the players who took over Space Coast Stadium that year have been showing off some tremendous glove-work, helping the Milwaukee Brewers rattle off nine straight wins and take first place in the National League Central.
Scooter Gennett is hitting .308 in his last five games, but here he exhibits his range at second base:
Not to be outdone, Khris Davis made his defensive presence known on Jackie Robinson Day:
As if that wasn’t enough defense from the 2011 ‘Tees, check out Logan Schafer:
Meanwhile, at Triple-A Nashville, Hunter Morris, another 2011 Manatee, is doing what he has always done with the bat. Two days ago, the left-handed power hitter did this against the Memphis Redbirds:
‘Tees Tidbits: The 2011 ‘Tees feature three current Major Leaguers (Davis, Gennett and Schafer), one Triple-A prospect (Morris) and two members of the Double-A Huntsville Stars (Kentrail Davis and Josh Prince).
Hey there, Brevard Brew Crew fans. Remember when guys like Jonathan Lucroy (’08) and Ryan Braun (’11) played at Space Coast Stadium? Well, it’s okay if you don’t, because we’re here to jog your memory.
Welcome to our edition of Throwback Thursday, where we update you on the latest developments from former Manatees. Whether they’ve reached the Major Leagues or are still working their way through the system, we’ll keep you in the know. Easy enough? Alright then, let’s get started:
Today is opening day for all of the Brewers’ full-season Minor League affiliates, but that doesn’t mean this edition of Throwback Thursday has to be thin. Why, the very first day of the regular season, a former Manatee made history at Miller Park:
This was the first instance of an umpire’s call being overturned under Major League Baseball’s new expanded replay system. A bit of unfortunate history for Braun and the Brewers, but history nonetheless, I suppose.
Any good news from former ‘Tees this week? Of course: Scooter Gennett (’11) found himself in the Brewers’ Opening Day lineup and made the most of it. The second baseman went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in Milwaukee’s 2-0 win over Atlanta.
We will see if Gennett can keep up that success and remain at the top of the Brewers’ second base depth chart. Take a look at what the former Manatee said this spring about his preparation for the 2014 season:
So, that’s what has happened so far at the big league level. Now, with the Minor League season starting today, let’s take a look at which 2013 Manatees alumni made jumps up to Double-A Huntsville for 2014:
Thanks for reading the Brevard County Manatees Official Blog. Tonight, the ‘Tees open their season against the defending Florida State League Champion Daytona Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium. Listen to the live broadcast HERE.
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…
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
If you have any questions or have an idea for a story you would like to see on the Brevard County Manatees Blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.