Each week throughout the regular season, the staff at Reviewing the Brew will be bringing you a comprehensive minor league report about each of the Milwaukee Brewers affiliates. There isn’t much to write home about at the big league level this season (so far) for the Brewers, but Milwaukee does have plenty of exciting prospects off to hot starts throughout their minor league system.
The Brewers affiliate in the Florida State League (Advanced A) is no exception.
The Manatees won four of seven contests in the last week, with the wins coming in consecutive fashion, their longest such streak of the year. Brevard County had a pair of shutouts, including a 14-0 whipping up on Lakeland. In the other six games, the ‘Tees outscored their foes by a narrow 19-18 margin.
They split a four-game set with Charlotte and won two of three from Lakeland. That put the Manatees at 22-28, in fifth place, eight and one-half games behind front-running Daytona in the FSL North Division.
The team is tied for second in the league with home runs (24) and second in steals with 59.
Individually, five batters are among the leaders in several categories. Victor Roache leads in RBIs (33) and is tied for first in homers (9). Clint Coulter is tied for first in homers as well, and tied for fourth with 31 runs batted in. Chris McFarland is second with 61 hits and tied for second with 13 doubles. Taylor Smith-Brennan has 34 runs, good for second, and Omar Garcia is second with 19 steals.
The pitching staff ranks first in complete games with three, all of them by Jorge Ortega.
HITTER OF THE WEEK: Garrett Cooper, 1B
The big (6’6″, 230#) Alabama native slashed .400/.448/.520 in 29 plate appearances, including three doubles and seven RBIs. He also had an amazing BABIP of .476 on the week. On the season, he has bumped his slash line to .286/.367/.371, making a run for an All-Star bid. Cooper was a sixth round pick for Milwaukee in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Runners-Up: Omar Garcia, CF and Taylor Smith-Brennan, 3B
Taylor Smith-Brennan at bat against Daytona. Credit and permission: Dennis Greenblatt/Hawk-Eye Sports Photography.
Garcia went 10-for-28 on the week, slashing .357/.357/.393. He had a four-hit game in the 14-0 romp and added three RBIs and a pair of steals for the week. Smith-Brennan slashed .391/.517/.478 in 29 trips to the dish, going 9-for-23 with two doubles, three ribbies, and seven runs scored.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Jorge Ortega, RHSP
Jorge Ortega, owner of a league-leading three complete games. Credit and permission: Dennis Greenblatt/Hawk-Eye Sports Photography.
A familiar name for RtB fans that follow the Manatees, Ortega earned his third complete game as he pitched nine innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run, while striking out four. The win improved his record to 4-4, with an ERA of 2.03, which ranks sixth among qualifiers. His 0.887 WHIP ranks third among hurlers with sufficient innings.
Marzec, 27, recently demoted from AA Biloxi, has made three starts with the Manatees after being a reliever at Biloxi. This week, he made one start spanning six innings, giving up three hits and a walk while striking out one for the win.
Salas, 23, pitched six innings in his start, giving up six hits and a pair of walks while whiffing five to improve to 4-3 on the year.
The Manatees have a two-game home-and-away ‘mini-series’ with Daytona, then host Dunedin for three games before taking a day off and beginning a four-game set at Palm Beach.