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!
Despite a rocky performance on Saturday night, the Manatees bullpen has gotten off to a strong start so far in 2014.
After Tyler Wagner sparkled through the first five innings of the season opener on Thursday, the bullpen was stellar in shutting the door on the Cubs.
Tommy Toledo, who led the Manatees with 20 saves in 2013, picked up his first save of the season. The right-hander threw just 13 pitches to close out the 1-0 victory against Daytona.
A night later, the bullpen was arguably even stronger over the game’s final 4.1 innings in the team’s first road game at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
After leading the team in wins and earned run average a year ago as a starter, right-hander Jacob Barnes faced the minimum amount of hitters over 2.1 innings of relief.
Left-hander Mike Strong, who struck out 98 batters over 87 innings in Class-A Wisconsin a year ago, retired the heart of the Cubs lineup in order, including a strike out of power-hitting left fielder Rock Shoulders.
Despite allowing three hits in the bottom of the tenth, Tanner Poppe got the job done for the ‘Tees as well and picked up his first save of the year.
With the tying run at second and the winning run at first, Poppe got Daytona’s center fielder Albert Almora to hit a weak grounder back to the mound to end the threat and give Brevard County their second straight win to start the season.
Over the opening two games of the Manatees season, six different relievers combined to allow just five hits and strike out six batters over 8.1 scoreless innings pitched.
Friday night’s starter Damien Magnifico had nothing but praise for the team’s relievers through the first two games.
“Our bullpen’s great,” said Magnifico. “As a starter, you know they’re going be behind and clean things up when you get into a mess. Having that comfort is everything.”
The Manatees finish their four game set with the Daytona Cubs tonight at the Jack. Be sure to tune into the broadcast with the pregame show slated to begin at 6:30 and first pitch scheduled for 7:05. Listen to the live broadcast HERE.
‘Tees Tidbits: Manatees infielder Orlando Arcia is off to a hot start to the 2014 campaign…Despite being the youngest player in the FSL, Arcia has picked up a base-hit in each of the first three games and currently leads the ‘Tees in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI, and extra-base hits…Strikeouts have been a problem for both Brevard County and Daytona through the first three games of the series…The two clubs have combined to strike out 41 times compared to just 19 walks over the season’s first 28 innings.