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Player, Pitcher of Year -- Latest: Braun and Gallardo Audio

Mass Haas

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Jim Powell Interview with Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo:




From J.R. Radcliffe of mlb.com (J.R. an occasional Brewerfan poster, and certainly a regular visitor still, we hope):




Notes: Top prospects visit Miller Park

By J.R. Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com


MILWAUKEE -- Yovani Gallardo looked plenty comfortable when he took batting practice alongside the current Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff.


"He hit like .400," said Ryan Braun, Gallardo's teammate at Double-A Huntsville for much of the 2006 season, referring to Gallardo's performance with the Stars.


He hit .429, to be exact, with nine singles and four RBIs in 21 at-bats with Huntsville. Of course, the Brewers are banking on most of the offense coming from Braun in the coming years, perhaps occasionally backing a strong pitching performance from Gallardo.


Third baseman Braun and right-hander Gallardo were both on hand at Miller Park on Saturday to accept the 2006 Robin Yount Performance Award as the Brewers' Minor League player and pitcher of the year.


"I was really nervous to come to this," Gallardo said. "Actually, this is the first time being here at this stadium, so it's a good experience."


Gallardo split his Minor League season virtually down the middle between Class A Brevard County and Huntsville, working just one-third of an inning fewer at the latter location. He went 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA over 77 2/3 innings at Class A and managed to improve that at the next level, going 5-2 with a 1.63 ERA and holding opponents to a .185 batting average.


"Whenever I went out there, I just tried to do the same thing I was doing all year down in Florida," Gallardo said. "Maybe I was more aggressive, which is how they want me to be against a little bit better hitters."


Overall for the season, opposing batters hit just .192 against him and struck out 188 times in 155 innings of work. The second-round choice in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft joined Braun as Florida State League All-Stars for their work at Class A, and both participated in the XM Satellite All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh during All-Star weekend.


Braun, who also performed well at Double-A following his promotion and guided the Huntsville offense into the Southern League championship series, will be one of seven players in the organization slated to see action in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Milwaukee's first-round choice in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft hit a combined .289 in 2006 with 22 home runs, 77 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 118 games.


"It's an honor, obviously, considering our organization is pretty talented," Braun said. "For each of us to be recognized as the top player in the organization of this caliber is definitely quite an honor."


Both players lingered in the dugout before the game and spent time with the team during warmups. For Braun, the opportunity offered a chance to watch Giants slugger Barry Bonds park batting-practice baseballs in the left-field bleachers.


"He's the greatest hitter of our generation, if not all time, so getting to watch him up close is pretty special," Braun said.

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I'm just hesitant to bestow such an honor to a prospect with such a deficiency to his game.


I'm not sure which prospect would take the honors if we used defense as a metric. Most of the really talented offensive players in the minors are sort of butchers in the field.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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