The Biloxi Shuckers have been one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ most successful affiliates in recent years. How did they fare in 2018?
2018 turned out to be a very good season for the Biloxi Shuckers as a team. They finished the regular season 81-59 and clinched both the first- and second-half Southern League South division titles. They even defeated the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to advance to the Southern League finals.
The Shuckers wound up losing to the Jackson Generals in the championship, however. Even with the disappointing end to the 2018 campaign for the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A affiliate, there was a lot to like about the Shuckers’ season.
Biloxi Shuckers Hitters
Naturally, the headline hitter for Biloxi this season was Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year Corey Ray. His batting average sat at a lowly .239 mark, but he broke out in the power department. The former first-round draft pick tallied 27 home runs, 32 doubles, and seven triples, leading the league in the first two categories. He also displayed his outstanding speed by stealing 37 bases on 44 attempts and patrolling the outfield with ease.
The Shuckers’ lineup also got another big boost partway through the season in the form of top prospect Keston Hiura. During his 73 games with the club, the UC-Irvine product slashed .272/.339/.416 with 26 extra-base hits, 36 runs scored and 20 RBI. He also swiped 11 bases. Needless to say, Hiura is moving toward Milwaukee in a hurry.
A few other powerful early draft picks spent the season in Biloxi, as well. Jake Gatewood hit 19 home runs and drove in 59 runs before tearing his ACL late in the season. Lucas Erceg had a bit of a down year, but still added 13 home runs and 51 RBI. Additionally, Trent Grisham only hit .233, but he got on base at a .356 clip and added 19 extra-base hits. All three figure to make the jump to Triple-A at some point next season, if not at the start.
One other hitter worth looking at from the Shuckers is Troy Stokes Jr. A fourth-round pick in 2014, Stokes was a homer and a stolen base away from a 20/20 season for Biloxi. He also added 23 doubles, six triples, 74 runs scored and 58 RBI. He doesn’t have as much prospect shine, but his power/speed combo is intriguing nonetheless.
Biloxi Shuckers Pitchers
Not only did the Shuckers have the Milwaukee Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year, but they also had the Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Zack Brown shined in 125.2 innings this season, sporting a 2.44 ERA and a stellar 116:36 K:BB. He’ll be knocking on the door of the big leagues next season he can keep this up at Triple-A San Antonio.
Trey Supak also found success in the Biloxi rotation. An add-on in the deal that brought Keon Broxton to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh, Supak produced a 2.91 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP across 86.2 innings. He also allowed just four home runs all season, which is obviously a plus given the big-league club’s hitter-friendly environment.
Kodi Medeiros and Luis Ortiz were also in the midst of strong showings for the Shuckers this year. The pair produced ERA’s south of 3.75 while both striking out around a batter per inning. They were both traded away in trade deadline deals, though, with Medeiros going to the White Sox in exchange for Joakim Soria and Ortiz heading to Baltimore in order to bring Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Shuckers’ bullpen wasn’t half bad, either. As he has at each level so far, Nate Griep took over as Biloxi’s closer for the year. He amassed 34 saves with a 3.34 ERA in 56.2 frames. Nick Ramirez, Quintin Torres-Costa and Jeff Ames added on with ERA’s south of 2.00 for the Shuckers. Jon Olczak also saw a lot of success as a part of the relief corps, sporting a 1.44 ERA and a 60:18 K:BB in 56.1 innings. This helped him land a spot in the prestigious Arizona Fall League this year.
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After seeing the individual performances, it’s easy to see why the Biloxi Shuckers made it to the Southern League title game. They may lose a lot of these players to Triple-A next season, but it’s clear to see the coaching staff in Biloxi is doing something right.