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.
The Timber Rattlers played in seven contests last week (including a doubleheader) going 3-4 to drop their overall record 43-82 on the season. The Rattlers still remain three games clear of the Clinton LumberKings for the Midwest League cellar, but the season has continued to be a struggle for the young T-Rats. The offense is the worst in the league by over half a run at 3.31 runs per game, while the team’s ERA is third worst in the league at 4.19. Wisconsin has been outscored by 178 runs on the season, and their Pythagorean W-L of 43-82 perfectly matches their record.
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SS Blake Allemand
Allemand continued his hot hitting ways last week, posting a stellar .379/.438/.448 line in 32 plate appearances for the Rattlers. He had hits in six of seven games, slugged two doubles among his 11 base hits, walked three times, and stole a base. Allemand’s line in low-A is now up to .271/.320/.328 after getting off to a terrible start, and has continued to show the polished bat and defensive versatility that could help him become a big league contributor before too long.
RHP Cody Ponce
Ponce continues to dominate the Midwest League since being called up, and the 21 year old pitched perhaps his best start of the season the last time out on the hill. Getting the start on the 21st against Peoria, Cody threw a career high 5.1 innings, allowing four hits, one run, and notched four strikeouts against zero walks. Ponce is striking out over 21% of batters for the T-Rats while working a WHIP of just 0.967. He has a ground ball rate of nearly 54% and has allowed just one home run all season. Ponce could be fast tracked through the system if he continues showing the control and dominating opponents that he has since being drafted in June.
OF Mitch Meyer
It’s been tough sledding for the lefty swinging Meyer, a 7th round draftee out of K-State last year. He managed just a .200/.333/.250 line in 24 plate appearances last week, striking out more than twice as many times (9) as he collected a hit (4). Meyer’s debut season in Appleton has been a down one; he owns just a .580 OPS in 241 plate appearances this season and has struck out in 34% of his plate appearances. After a promising .757 OPS in the Pioneer League last season, Meyer has simply looked overmatched against competition that averages more than a year and a half younger than the 23 year old. Mitch will need a rebound in 2016 if he want to establish some sort of future in the organization.
LHP Kodi Medeiros
Kodi has looked terrific for most of the season, greatly exceeding the expectations of many after he was aggressively pushed to the Midwest League as a 19 year old to start the year. Medeiros has come back down to earth of late, though, taking two losses in two appearances last week. Kodi allowed four runs in a two inning appearance on the 19th and gave up another three in a two inning stint last night, leading to a 15.75 ERA for the week. He walked four and struck out four in that time. Bob Brainerd noted on last night’s broadcast on TWC channel 32 that the Brewers were monitoring Kodi’s pitch counts closely. Medeiros is now up to 88.2 innings pitched on the season, so fatigue is likely a cause for his recent struggles. The long term outlook still looks good for the player who has generated an insane 65.6% ground ball rate and 23.3% strikeout rate against competition that averages three years older.
Players to Watch
1B David Denson, SS Jake Gatewood
Both Denson and Gatewood began the year with the Timber Rattlers, but both were sent down to the Pioneer League due to their struggles against Midwest League pitching. Both players responded: Denson to the tune of .242/.340/.412, six home runs, and an All-Star Game MVP award, and Gatewood with a .274/.331/.476 line with six home runs and a league leading 23 doubles. Injuries in Appleton have now given the two youngsters another chance to prove themselves in the Midwest League. Both players started last night, Gatewood going 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout and Denson going 0-4 with 3 Ks.
The Timber Rattlers actually have eight games on the slate over the next seven days, including the completion of a suspended game against the Snappers. Wisconsin started a three game home stand with a loss to the Burlington Bees (55-70) last night, and will face them again tonight and Wednesday. Next is four games in three days against Beloit (50-75) followed by road trip to face lowly Clinton (40-85) that concludes on September 1st. There is only about two weeks remaining in the 2015 Midwest League Season, so 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 before time runs out this year.