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!