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 Brewers’ affiliates. There hasn’t been much to write home about up at the big league level this season for the Brewers this season, but Milwaukee does have plenty of exciting prospects playing well throughout their minor league system. The Brewers’ low-A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (who play about an hour and a half north of Milwaukee) are no exception.
It’s been a wet couple of weeks in the Midwest League, with the Timber Rattlers having another game rained out this past week and playing a double header on the 17th. Unfortunately, it was another rough week for the T-Rats, going 2-4 since our last update and falling to 31-63 on the season. The Timber Rattlers have been outscored by 141 runs on the season, though they now have company in the Midwest League cellar in the form of the 31-63 Clinton Lumberjacks.
IF Blake Allemand
When the Brewers selected Allemand in the fifth round of this year’s draft, he was viewed as a senior sign that would not only save the team some money, but also provide a solid performance on the field. After a strong start in Helena after being drafted, Allemand struggled upon being called up to Appleton. Perhaps he has finally started to adjust to the heightened competition, however, as he was among the hottest hitters in the Midwest League last week. Allemand got 10 hits and a walk in 25 plate appearances, slashing .417/.440/.417 on the week. Though he has little power to speak of (all 10 of his hits were singles), Allemand displays solid bat-to-ball skills and an above average eye at the plate, and he didn’t strike out a single time last week. Allemand could be a fast riser through the system, offering the good contact skills and defensive versatility that is desired out of a utilityman at the major league level.
RHP Jon Perrin
Like Allemand, Jon Perrin was a college senior selected by the Brewers in this year’s draft, though Perrin was selected in the 27th round. He did well enough in Helena to warrant a promotion to the Timber Rattlers, and struggled greatly through his first two appearances: 5.2 innings pitched, 11 earned runs, and 13 hits given up (including a home run). Perrin bounced back quite nicely in two appearances last week, however. He made one start and one relief appearance, pitching a total of seven scoreless innings. The 22 year old struck out eight batters in that time against just one walk, induced ground balls on 47% of ball-in-play against him last week, and had a 0.714 WHIP. With his strong week, Perrin managed to lower his ERA from over 17.00 all the way down to 7.82.
IF Tucker Neuhaus
Early on this season, it seemed as though Tucker Neuhaus was finally turning the corner at the plate and was beginning to live up to the potential he showed when the Brewers drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft. However, the 20 year old has seen his OPS drop in each month so far this season: 1.083 in April, .694 in May, .556 in June, and now just .477 so far this July. Neuhaus collected four singles in 17 plate appearances last week, striking out four times. He is now hitting just .236/.293/.324 for 2015, though there is some solace to be taken in Neuhaus’s season. He is hitting line drives at at a 7% higher rate than last season (currently 20.12% according to MLBFarm), and he’s reduced his strikeouts by nearly 10% over 2014 (currently 19.8%). His BABIP of .290 is well below his marks from the previous two seasons (.336, .321), suggesting that a bid of bad luck may be involved.
LHP Luis Ortega
It’s been a tough July for the diminutive 22 year old, who stands just 5’10” and weighs 155 lbs. The Brewers acquired Ortega from the Red Sox for Burke Badenhop in 2013 after he showed promising results in the DoSL and Gulf Coast League, but he has simply not found any success as a member of the Brewers. He’s given up 10 earned runs in 11 innings so far in July, striking out eight batters while walking four. He now owns a 5.14 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 2015, following up a 2014 that saw him post a 9.44 ERA and 2.20 WHIP(!) in 47.2 innings for Helena. The Brewers bought a cheap lottery ticket when they traded for Ortega for a non-tender candidate, but it appears that they may not have gotten a winner.
More from Reviewing the Brew
- Brewers: 4 Players Who Must Step Up for the Crew to Make the Playoffs
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- Brewers Making Colossal Mistake With Corbin Burnes’ Contract
- Which Players May Be In The Final Month Of Their Brewers Careers?
- Brewers: Where Does Devin Williams Stand In NL Reliever Of The Year Race?
Player to Watch
UTIL Luis Aviles
The 20 year old Aviles began the season in Appleton, but was demoted in June after an OPS below .400. The fresh air of Montana appeared to be the elixir that Aviles needed, as he crushed Pioneer League pitching to the tune of .356/.377/.475 in 61 plate appearances. In 15 games in Helena he collected 21 hits (including five for extra bases) and swiped four bags while scoring nine runs. After Dustin DeMuth was placed on the 7-day DL, Aviles got the call to replace him on the Timber Rattlers’ roster. Hopefully Aviles can continue his hot streak and stick in Appleton the second time around, though he did take the Hat Trick in an 0-4, 3 K performance in yesterday’s game.
The Timber Rattlers start a three game series on the road tonight against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (54-41) which will wrap up their current six game roadtrip. The Rattlers return to Appleton on Friday night to start a three game weekend series against their fellow cellar-dwelling Clinton Lumberjacks (31-63). Being just a relatively short drive north of Milwaukee, I recommend visiting TimberRattlers.com and getting tickets (as I already have) to catch some games for this exciting, young team this season.