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!
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.
In just three days, Brevard County Manatees alumni have given us a lot to reflect on. The ‘Tees welcomed back a familiar face for a Major League rehab assignment, watched one of their former outfielders propel the Brew Crew to victory and saw a well-remembered right-hander toss a gem for Triple-A Nashville.
Welcome Back Logan
A strained hamstring has landed Brewers OF Logan Schafer (’09) on the 15-day disabled list, but he is working his way back. As part of his rehab stint, the 2009 Manatees alum returned to the Florida State League to join Brevard County for a pair of games in Clearwater on Monday and Tuesday. Here’s what Schafer had to say about recovering from his injury and spending some time with this year’s crop of ‘Tees:
The Brew Crew got used to extra innings at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Milwaukee won a pair of extra-innings contests against the Cardinals and LF Khris Davis (’11) delivered the big hit on Monday to help the Brewers win in 12:
RHP Mike Fiers (’09) has had a banner start to 2014. The former ‘Tee is 5-0 with a miniscule 0.80 ERA for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. His start on Wednesday, in the opener of a doubleheader, however, was likely his best outing of the season. In a 1-0 win over the New Orleans Zephyrs. Fiers fanned 11 men in a complete game (seven innings) shutout. As you’ll hear, punch-outs have been pretty common for Fiers this year:
Happy Birthday to You!
Before we go, it’s time for a few TBT birthday wishes to some of our own. A very happy birthday to Brewers 2B Scooter Gennett (’11), who turns 24 today! Gennett will carry a .302 batting average into Cincinnati, as the Brew Crew gets set for a four-game series with the Reds.
Gennett wasn’t the only Manatee to celebrate a birthday this week. Current Brevard LHP Hobbs Johnson celebrated his 23rd birthday on Tuesday by tossing six shutout innings in a 20-0 win over the Clearwater Threshers. Meanwhile, on the same day, OF Tyrone Taylor hit for the first ever cycle in Manatees history on his mother’s birthday:
Precious few games have come easy for the Brevard County Manatees in 2014. The Manatees are 10-6, but through the first 16 games of the season, Brevard County has played six one-run ballgames to tie for the Florida State League-lead. Fortunately for the ‘Tees, they have won four of those contests. Let’s take a look at how they’ve done it:
When the ‘Tees are in a tight game, it is usually not a shootout. Brevard County has not scored more than five runs in its one-run contests. While most of the ‘Tees struggle in these games, however, Tyrone Taylor excels. In one-run ballgames, Taylor is hitting .347, while the rest of the team has hit .185.
The center fielder has also hit six of his MiLB-leading 10 doubles in one-run ballgames, leading him to a .609 slugging percentage in those contests. On 4/7 at Daytona, Taylor tied a career-high with three doubles in a 5-4 win. He also had a pretty decent defensive play:
What’s more, Taylor has been the deciding factor in two of Brevard’s six one-run games. He has contributed one game-winning run and one game-winning RBI, plus the game-tying double, heard above.
Two weeks ago, we told you how good the Manatees bullpen had been at the start of the season. That certainly has not changed and the relievers appear to be even better in games decided by one run:
ERA: 0.86 (2 ER/21 IP)
WHIP: 0.95 (15 H & 5 BB/21 IP)
K/9: 7.71 (18 K/21 IP)
Whether you’re a starter or a reliever, though, it certainly doesn’t hurt when you get some defensive assistance like this to help win a one-run ballgame:
As the Manatees’ closers, Tanner Poppe and Tommy Toledo are at the center of Brevard’s bullpen success. Neither of them has given up an earned run and it has been a struggle for hitters to get on board against them:
ERA: 0.00 (0 ER/7.2 IP)
WHIP: 1.04 (7 H & 1 BB/7.2 IP)
K/9: 9.39 (8 K/7.2 IP)
Talk about unhittable, Poppe in particular has bore down when his team needs him. The right-hander has recorded three of his five saves in one-run games and has struck out seven of the 17 men he has faced. Does that sound like a lot? It should, because that mark gives Poppe a K/9 rate of 15.75 in games decided by one run.
‘Tees Tidbits: Brevard County has also faired well in three-run contests this season. The ‘Tees are 3-0 in games decided by three runs. They are 1-1 in games decided by two runs.