At Reviewing the Brew, we are going to provide weekly updates for each minor league team in the Milwaukee Brewers chain. My contribution will be to provide the updates of the Brevard County Manatees.
The Manatees are the Brewers entry in the advanced-A Florida State League. They play their home games at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, about ten miles southwest of Cape Canaveral.
Thus far, the Manatees are 6-6 in the FSL North Division, in third place, two games behind the league-leading Daytona Tortugas.
The Manatees have three players that are ranked highly by John Sickels at Minor League Ball.com and they are outfielder Clint Coulter (#4), pitcher Wei-Chung Wang (#11), and outfielder Victor Roache (#13). Other players at Brevard County that have earned high marks from the scouts are pitcher Brandon Woodruff and outfielder Omar Garcia.
The first two weeks of the season show the Manatees as a running team, with 17 stolen bases (second in the league). Eight players have pilfered bases, led by Johnny Davis (4), Omar Garcia (4), Coulter, Chris McFarland, and Taylor Smith-Brennan (2 each).
Early in the FSL season batting averages are high, with a dozen players in the league showing .350 or better. Utility infielder Brandon Macias is a bit old for the league at 26, but ranks 9th in hitting (.357) during the young campaign, followed closely by Coulter (.356).
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Coulter, 21, is nearly two years younger than league average and is one of the top players in the league. The catcher-turned-right fielder has a six-game hitting streak (12-for-23) and has homered in three of his last five games. The first pick of 2012 is tied for the league lead in triples (2) and homers (4). His OPS of 1.198 ranks second.
Coulter is definitely a player that Brewer fans are looking forward to seeing in Milwaukee in the next 2-3 years.
Wang, 23, is a player that saw action in Milwaukee last year due to his Rule 5 status. After an impressive season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013 while playing in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, the southpaw was plucked from the Buccos organization in December in the Rule 5 draft. In limited action for the Brewers, he proved he was not quite ready for prime time, struggling to the tune of a 2.192 WHIP and a 7.69 FIP in 17 1/3 innings.
This year at Brevard County, he has three starts and has struggled in them as well. Unless he turns his season around soon, I will be convinced the Brewers made a mistake in selecting him from Pittsburgh. The good news is that the cost was low ($50,000).
Roache, 23, is playing left fielder for the Manatees and is hitting .333 (15-for-45) on the young season. The big (6’1, 225 pound) right-handed batting Roache is projected as a big power guy, capable of hitting 25 home runs in the bigs. I see a .260 hitter with big strikeout numbers and although some state he can be a solid left fielder defensively, others think first base might be his ultimate position.
TOP HITTER THUS FAR: Clint Coulter
TOP PITCHER THUS FAR: Hiram Burgos
Several hurlers have had nice starts, but I give the nod to righty starter Burgos. In three starts, he has pitched 17 innings, allowing 12 hits while walking seven and striking out 21. After 2014 shoulder surgery, the Brewers released the 27-year-old Puerto Rican, but picked him back up in January.
He has experience at every level of minor league ball, including 19 starts at Triple A and also has six big league starts. Don’t be surprised if Burgos makes an appearance in Milwaukee again this year.
Future posts will feature top performances and short bios on other players.
Stay tuned and enjoy!