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 affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers. 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’ high-A affiliate, the Brevard County Manatees, are no exception.
The Manatees played out their season and finished one day before Labor Day, going 1-4 in the final week of regular season play in the Florida State League. The overall record showed 55-80, which placed sixth (and last) in the FSL North Division. The breakdowns by half were 29-40 and 26-40.
The team scored 462 runs (3.4/game) and banged out 49 homers, which ranked 7th in the league. The pitching staff led the league with 15 complete games, showing that the hurlers could finish what they started. They also showed great control, allowing a league-fewest 323 base on balls.
Individually, a quintet of batters ranked among league leaders.
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First baseman Garrett Cooper led the league in slugging (.436) and OPS (.792). He also tied for second with his 32 doubles. Right fielder Clint Coulter tied for third in homers (13), third in total bases (198), and tied for fourth with 30 two-base hits.
Third baseman Taylor Smith-Brennan was third with 62 walks and was tied for fourth with 68 runs scored. Second baseman Chris McFarland was second with 150 hits, while center fielder Omar Garcia earned the runner-up spot with 53 stolen bases.
Pitchers made some noise, too.
Jorge Ortega was first in the league with ERA (2.41), complete games (6), and tied for first with two shutouts and a 1.04 WHIP. He tossed the fourth-most innings (141 2/3) and was tied for fifth with nine wins. He also earned a win in his only start at AAA Colorado Springs.
Wei-Chung Wang finished up the season with a bang, tying for third with ten wins and tying for second with three complete games. Zach Hirsch and Javier Salas tied for fourth with two complete games each.
HITTER OF THE WEEK: Dustin Houle, C
Houle, an 8th round pick of the Brewers in 2011, went 7-for-14 to earn HOTW honors. The 21-y-o right-handed hitter from British Columbia might have moved up the ladder in the organization with his late season performance in the FSL. Houle (pronounced ‘Hool’) smacked two doubles, a triple, and knocked in three runs. His 25 game audition showed a slash line of .300/.337/.375 in 89 trips to the plate.
Runner-Up: Omar Garcia, CF
The speedster finished up the season by going 7-for-20 (.350/.350/.350) with two runs scored. In 295 career minor league games, he has 125 stolen bases.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Cy Sneed, RHP
Sneed made his 11th start of the season for the Manatees a good one. In seven innings, he allowed four hits and three walks while whiffing ten batters in a no-decision. His 1.127 WHIP (two levels) and K:BB ratio 4.3 to 1 bode well for him. Look for him and Ortega to move up the ladder next year.
Archer pitched five innings in one relief appearance, striking out eight while walking one. Hellweg had his best start of the year, going seven innings while allowing five hits, one earned run, and two walks. He also struck out four. Wang earned the only win for the week, throwing a complete game six-hitter, allowing a pair of earned runs while setting down a half-dozen batters via the strike out.
Although the Milwaukee Brewers had a season to forget, quite a few players had very good seasons at Brevard County. I look forward to seeing these guys in the bigs in the next 2-3 years.
(Special thanks to Director of Broadcasting Dave Walkovic for his insight and info during the year, and thanks to photographer Dennis Greenblatt/Hawk-Eye Sports Photography for allowing us to use the great action photos of the ‘Tees.)