If you haven’t been paying any attention to the other team taking the diamond this spring in Wisconsin, it may be time.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Class-A affiliate of the Brewers, are sitting atop the Midwest League Western division at 22-13 (as of Saturday). Earlier this month, pitchers Chad Thompson and Mark Williams combined on a no-hitter in a 5-0 victory. Former Reviewing the Brew interviewee Seth Harvey is third in the league with six saves and starter Drew Gagnon is 3-0 with a 1.02 era. Offensively, Greg Hopkins, Jason Rogers, Brandon Macias, and Max Walla lead the way for one of the best-hitting teams in the Midwest League.
fielder, Max Walla (@maxwalla).
Drafted in the second round in 2009, Walla, 21, signed a letter of intent to attend Oklahoma State University before signing with the Brewers. He missed time this spring with a broken finger but is well on his way again, reaching base at a .354 clip. He talks the minor leagues, goals, and #TRatNation with Reviewing the Brew.
Reviewing the Brew: Let’s start off with something that I love that the Brewers do: the Timber Rattlers game at Miller Park. How was the whole experience?
Max Walla: Miller Park was amazing. It’s so cool to play at a big league ballpark and feel like a big leaguer for a day. A little incentive! *Laughs*
RtB: Can you see yourself playing in front of 40,000 strong in the future?
MW: I think so, I would love to play in front of 40,000. It would be so much fun. I tend to be able to block out any number of fans anyways, so I can see myself playing for that many someday.
RtB: Speaking of ballparks in Wisconsin, I’ll be headed up to Fox Cities Stadium for a Rattlers game later this month. What’s something I need to check out while I’m there?
MW: Dude, I haven’t been here too long thanks to my broken finger this spring, but you should definitely check out some of the golf courses up here. Gorgeous courses! And the mall is a pretty good size, too!
RtB: For sure, man! What are your short-term goals as a player?
MW: This year I really just want to be a guy they can count on to get the job done every day. I hope to be consistent and to be a solid grinder day in and day out.
RtB: Any long term goals?
MW: Long term there is really only one: To get to the bigs and stay there.
RtB: Being ranked by many as one of the top prospects and being drafted in the second round, do you feel any expectations from the organization?
MW: You try to forget any extra pressure or anything and try to keep it as simple as possible. If you let all that get in your head, you have a tendency to let the game get too big.
RtB: I’ve asked this to the other guys, so I might as well go for it again: What are the best and also the worst parts of being a minor leaguer?
MW: It really tests your love of the game. It’s a tough atmosphere a lot of times but you really see who loves the game and who doesn’t. The minor league journey is a tough road in some ways but I’ve had some priceless experiences and I hope to keep working my way up. I’d say the worst part is the food situations. *Laughs*. Not much meal money and weird schedules means a whole lot of pizza hut and other fast food places, not exactly ideal. But it really reminds you of how much you love [the game].
MW: I believe Mark Williams started the TratNation hashtag. He is such a great team guy and really a solid part of our squad. It took off as you could see we all started using it. And Harvey is a creative cat, he’s pretty sharp I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two of his hashtags catch fire!
RtB: Judging by the interactions of you guys on Twitter, the team seems like a really loose bunch. How’s the atmosphere with those guys?
MW: It’s a great atmosphere with some great chemistry! We enjoy spending time with each other and we have some great experiences on and off the field to share. Love it.
RtB: Who’s probably the toughest pitcher you’ve had to face, ever?
MW: The toughest pitcher I’ve ever had to face was Tyler Matzek. He was a first rounder my year, left handed pitcher throwing 98. Not too fun! Dirty curve ball, too.
RtB: Sounds….delightful! Thanks for the time and best of luck this season!
MW: Hey no problem at all man! Glad to help out hope I answered everything alright!