This is the second part in a series of posts recapping the seasons of the Milwaukee Brewers minor league affiliates.
Just two years ago, the Biloxi Shuckers were the second place team in the Double-A Southern League. 2017 wasn’t necessarily a bad year, but the team’s 71-66 record certainly didn’t overwhelm anyone.
Biloxi Shuckers 2017 Results
Things started off rather inauspiciously for the Shuckers. After winning their first three contests, they fell into a deep skid and finished the month at 11-14. That record even came with a four-game win streak to close out April.
Biloxi picked things up in May and June, however. They went 25-19 after that rough start to the season, but that ultimately wasn’t good enough to supplant the Pensacola Blue Wahoos atop the South Division standings in the first half.
Inconsistency plagued the Shuckers during the second half as well, as they managed to produce a nearly identical 35-33 record. This led to a similar result, leaving them three games back of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at the season’s conclusion.
Biloxi Shuckers 2017 Offense
The Shuckers’ batting champion actually spent just a bit over half the season in Double-A. Mauricio Dubon batted .276 to lead the team while also tallying 31 stolen bases. This led the Brewers to promote him to Triple-A after the Southern League All Star Game, leaving a void in the Shuckers’ offense.
Another speed demon helped fill the void, however. Outfielder Johnny Davis became one of the team’s primary table-setters, producing a .316 OBP and swiping 52 bases. This helped him lead the team in runs scored with 63.
The slugger of the squad was none other than former top prospect Clint Coulter. He led the team with 14 home runs, although his lowly .234 batting average somewhat limited his impact. Had Michael Choice been with the team longer, he likely would’ve taken over as the team’s home run king. The veteran outfielder slashed .272/.349/.502 thanks in part to nine homers in just 48 games with Biloxi.
A couple other notable hitting prospects played for the Shuckers this season, although they struggled a bit. Jacob Nottingham posted a lower batting average in a repeat of the level, mustering just a .209 mark. His nine home runs and 21 doubles do show some potential, though. Jake Gatewood also got a shot at Double-A following his breakout with High-A Carolina. He batted just .239 in 92 plate appearances, but he managed to knock 10 out of his 22 hits for extra bases.
Biloxi Shuckers 2017 Pitching
Interestingly, the team leader in innings actually managed to work his way to the big leagues by the end of the season. Aaron Wilkerson logged 24 starts for the Shuckers and produced a 3.16 ERA to go with 11 wins. He also struck out over a batter per inning and tallied two complete-game shutouts. He is a bit old for the level, but the production is exciting nonetheless.
The top pitching prospect on the roster heading into the season was Luis Ortiz. He held his own in the Shuckers’ rotation, producing a 4.01 ERA. He also dealt with a hamstring injury throughout much of the season, potentially hindering some of his results.
Three late-season callups helped give the team a kickstart. The most notable addition was Corbin Burnes, who turned a strong showing at High-A into a promotion. He delivered excellent results with the Shuckers, posting a 2.10 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 16 starts.
Cody Ponce also received a promotion later in the season to help bolster the pitching staff. He logged a 1.53 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP in three starts with Biloxi. Finally, Freddy Peralta opened some eyes with a 2.26 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 63.2 innings with the club.
The bullpen was anchored by closer Matt Ramsey and former first baseman Nick Ramirez. Ramsey’s 3.65 ERA wasn’t great, but he did manage to convert 27 save opportunities successfully. Ramirez, once a closer at Cal State Fullerton, posted a sparkling 1.37 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 79 innings of work.
Their record at the end of the season certainly left something to be desired. However, there were a lot of good things that happened during the season, as well as some promising developments for future Brewers. As another Milwaukee sports team claims, this year’s showing in Biloxi has the Brewers “owning the future.”