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  • Brewers Minor League Link Report (4/27): Carolina Wins, a Couple Eerily Familiar Late Losses, and Biloxi Hangs On

    Julio Muchacho

    Baseball is a game of situational demand: you either meet the moment in a timely and skillful fashion, or you do not. In some games, you earn multiple opportunities to meet that moment, and in other games, you receive but one or two. The Sounds left the bases loaded in the seventh and tenth innings and suffered for it; Wisconsin came back to tie their game in the eighth inning but relinquished this tie in the following half of the same inning. All was not lost, metaphorically speaking, organizationally - Carolina fought their way back into the victory column, and Biloxi held on by the strength of pitching and a two-run bomb by Joey Wiemer. Let's get into the recaps!

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    Carolina Pre-Game Media Notes   - None for the Day Game
    Final: Carolina 8 , Down East (Rangers) 6
    Box Score / Game Log
    Via the Mudcats' site, game details, please review Skid Snapped as Mudcats Defeat Wood Ducks 8-6 - The Mudcats Snapped a Four-Game Losing Streak with a Daytime Victory in Kinston

    Full disclosure is in order for this series in Kinston:

    I'd love to give you honest reflections of these tilts but, the fact of the matter is, these are Box Score gleanings and considerations. So, without further ado, here's some quick thoughts:

    • Eduardo Garcia is currently an all-or-nothing hitter at the Low-A level. Thankfully, he is hitting the ball well but when he isn't hitting he is striking out far too much. In 66 at bats on the season, he has 28 punch outs - that's roughly 45% worth of a whiff rate. As tantalizing as a prospect as he is, and I've opined before he has the whole set of tools to create a superstar tool kit, he has quite a bit of work to do. Currently, Garcia is only managing to see roughly 3.83 pitches per at bat. If we couple this with an unsustainable 0.545 BABIP, I would propose we apply the brakes somewhat and support more sustainable and foundational growth before we create unrealistic expectations. Perhaps, I'm simply talking to myself.🤔
    • Micah Bello continues his excellent play at the plate. This is a really nice season to date for Micah and a season that could see him earning a promotion by mid-summer if he can sustain a version of his current success. After today's 2-4 one rbi performance, Micah is batting 0.388 on the season with a 1.089 OPS. These aren't numbers fulfilled by one ridiculous hot streak - he has absolutely been hitting with regularity. Seven walks to 12 strikeouts in 48 at bats is what we want to see. I hope you're paying attention to your Low-A elder, Eduardo. Micah is showing plate discipline that could lift your game to new heights. 
    • A cursory glance at Brannon Jordan's outing for the Mudcats would indicate a typical Low-A start from a young pitcher: only 43 of 84 pitches for strikes, five walks, five strikeouts, but only one earned run. 
    • Hendry Mendez continues to show discipline at the plate well beyond his years. He is now sitting with 13 walks to 12 strikeouts on the young season. After today's 1-3 two walk offensive performance, Hendry is solidifying himself as a crucial piece to the Mudcats offense. I consider his young - in every facet of the word - season one of the highlights of 2022 for the Brewers organization. 

    Wisconsin Pre-Game Media Notes via their all-encompassing Virtual Press Box 

    Final: Peoria (Cardinals) 5, Wisconsin 2
    Box Score / Game Log    

    Via the Timber Rattlers' site, game details, please review:

    Late Homers Beat Wisconsin - Rattlers Drop 5-2 Decision at Peoria

    Manager Joe Ayrault was tossed on 'Education Day' in Peoria with one down in inning number one. To all you kids at home: Stand up for what you believe in! My public service of the 2022 calendar year is completed.

    All joking aside, the play in question was a hard-hit liner down the first base line the camera crew failed to capture, so, hilariously, I have absolutely nothing to add to the argument. It's insights like these getting me the big bucks to write these reports, folks! Standing on the third base side, Joe clearly felt he had a perspective showing a different action than the view from home plate. Considering the state of umpiring I've witnessed at all levels of the Minor Leagues in the early 2022 season, I would gather Ayrault had a strong reason to voice his opinion. The Skipper was sent packing early and the team was left to rally and ultimately fall short.

    Further Viewing Notes:

    • I don't know what was going on with the Peoria broadcast scoreboard feed to begin this game, but showcasing last night's score with no live pitch count adjustments was mildly confounding. I found myself continually migrating to the stale image from last night's game like a bug to a bright light. Hey Peoria: Where's the quality control?!? I already feel better. Thank you all for hearing my concerns.
    • One thing is true in the current state of affairs in the Brewers lower levels (High-A through Double-A): You never really know where the throw from shortstop is going to end up. It's quite a theme in this early season. The first inning throwing error from shortstop Antonio Pinero was no different than the numerous poor throws I've seen from Freddy Zamora in Biloxi. Let's hope this changes as the season progresses.
    • Sal Frelick showcased his arm and accuracy when he threw out a runner at home in the bottom of the second inning. A nice tag by Wes Clarke sealed the deal. It was a nice play all around and it obviously saved a run.
    • Darrien Miller is a fine prospect and has a bright future ahead of him. I would share, however, what I observe in his approach at the plate at present is a need to flatten his swing. I see far too many swings with an upward lift or loss of a level plane for his bat, if makes sense. It is something I will be tracking as the season progresses. I do think this will need to evolve as he evolves as a player.
    • TJ Shook relieved Max Lazar in the bottom of the fourth inning and pitched four innings of 2 run ball. Shook was cruising with two down in the same fourth inning when he walked four batters allowing a run. This happens in a hurry in the lower levels and it was nice to see the young hurler get his way out of the jam. He pitched into the early eighth when a single ended his outing.
    • The aforementioned Frelick continues to show MLB potential at the plate. There is a distinct reason why Frelick is a top Brewers prospect and you see it in nearly every game he plays for the Timber Rattlers. Sal ended his day three for four at the plate with a run and an rbi. I am pining to see Frelick's bat with a Wiemer, Mitchell, and a Valerio. That is some potency and skill waiting to join forces. Check out this beautiful swing on an opposite field home run for the lefty:
    • Wisconsin has now dropped three straight joining Nashville in the 'tough loss and tough losing streak' unofficial department.

    Biloxi Pre-Game Media Notes via the Shuckers' Virtual Press Box 

    Final: Pensacola (Marlins) , Biloxi 
    Box Score / Game Log   

    Via the Shuckers' site, game details, please review: 

    Triple-H Hurlers Spin Shutout for Shuckers - Wiemer's Third Blast Holds Up for Biloxi

    Tyler Herb was absolutely dealing on the mound tonight. A nice mix of heat effectively rubbing the outside of the plate with a very nice mix of breaking balls and curves and he was cruising through six full innings of three hit eight strikeout ball. Herb has been a steady presence in the Biloxi pitching staff this entire season offering the poise and presence of a well-tenured Minor League hurler. I have appreciated every outing of his I've seen and tonight was no different. 

    Further Viewing Notes:

    • TJ Hintzen escaped a no out lead-off double and an untimely and really poor error from Thomas Dillard on a ball hit directly to him managing to preserve the 2-0 lead. Hats off to TJ (two innings pitched of one hit four strikeout ball), avoiding damage at the hands of yet another Biloxi error. Fielding continues to be a major problem in Biloxi: In the 17 games played to date, Biloxi has been errorless in a mere three games. Yikes.
    • Just like that, with a little call-out in last night's report (but a salute as well), Ashton McGee has a three-game hit streak. Let's hope the young man can continue his slight uptick in productivity. He did manage to strikeout twice but we're looking for progress and I see it.
    • Thomas Dillard was incapable of hauling in a very sharply hit liner to start inning number five allowing the Blue Wahoo's second runner of the game. If you asked Thomas in the dugout tunnel, I'd imagine he'd tell you he should have had the grab though it certainly wasn't what you'd label a routine play. However, after seeing Thomas fail to corral the fairly routine eighth inning grounder mentioned above, I'm unsure what routine means for Mr. Dillard at present.
    • Shout out to former Brewers organizational prospect Luis Aviles Jr. who went 2-2 off of the otherwise un-hittable Tyler Herb. He paired this fine evening with last night's success at the plate. It's always nice to see those former Brewers achieve some success elsewhere.
    • The word from Garrett Greene tonight on Luis Urias' rehab stint is the plan for Luis is to get through as many at bats in these Minor League games as the Brewers batters got in their shortened spring training. Whether or not all these at bats all happen with Biloxi or some happen with Nashville is unknown. However, what is true is Luis won't be down in the Minor Leagues for much longer. As a Shucker viewer, this means I won't get his steadying presence at the top of the batting order:
    • Joey Wiemer hit an absolute 'no doubter' bomb over the wall in left field on a hanging slider over the heart of the plate on an 0-2 count.  It was a two run jack and the only runs for Biloxi the entire evening and it was a message sent on a mistake pitch. With two runners aboard, later in the contest, Joey missed another shot to left field by about an inch on the barrel - he was slightly in front of the pitch and a tick under it and was ultimately corralled at the edge of the warning track. I am an unabashed 'Wiemer Dreamer'. Enjoy your moment of Zen:
    • The Shuckers entered the bottom of the sixth inning set to face lefty Josh Simpson. On the season, the Shuckers were batting 0.211 as a team versus left-handed pitching. They proceeded to strike out twice and fly out. Facing two more lefties to close the contest, the Shuckers finished the night one of nine at the plate versus southpaws. 
    • Is Felix Valerio in a mini slump? Not really. But, it certainly is rare to see Felix fail to reach base two consecutive evenings in a row. This being said, Felix did manage to rope a well hit ball into right field but the adept fielding and throw by the strong-armed Jerar Encarnacion gunned him down trying to stretch to second base. Encarnacion has a cannon of an arm and he is a surprisingly solid fielder - an enjoyable Double-A prospect.
    • Garrett Mitchell with an absolute web gem to grab out number one in the top of the ninth:

    Nashville Pre-Game Media Notes     

    Final: St. Paul (Twins) 3, Nashville 2
    Box Score / Game Log 

    Via the Sounds' site, game details, please visit and review:

    Sounds Fall to St. Paul in Extra Innings - Missed Opportunities Prove Costly as Nashville Drops Back-to-Back Games

    Firstly, a nice piece on the rise of Nashville's home field attendance: There's a Reason We All Believe Nashville Will Get a Big Club
    Next, you can also read the perspective of 'the other side' as our brother site, Twins Daily, also covered the Sounds/Saints game

    I mentioned it yesterday and I'll mention it again today: if you are looking for AAAA-level pitching, tune into this series. There are Ace performances happening up and down both lineups on the mound. A rough sequence by the home plate umpire more than likely 'stole' one run from the Sounds on questionable strikes. In the ensuing half of the inning, during the Saints turn at the plate, the same ump blew a call at home plate in a bang bang play. Nobody is perfect and there is no replay in the Minor League system. What's more? There are no asterisks in any win/loss column. This will go down as a loss. I would argue, the game 'should' have been 2-1 Sounds with a chance at victory heading into the bottom of the ninth. Apparently, I'm not the only one:

    Further Viewing Notes:

    • Jon Singleton continues to struggle at the plate. He made decent contact on two balls today and was not rewarded and that is definitely how the ball plays from time-to-time in baseball. However, he also came to the plate with the bases juiced and zero outs in the top of inning 10. He has to make contact in these situations - especially when he is facing a RHP - and, given his role on the team, he knows this. Unfortunately, in today's game, he did not. He swung for his second punch out on the afternoon and he will look back at this chance as a big missed opportunity to turn his offensive game around.
    • The Sounds as a whole are hitting to a tune of 0.271 with RISP. Whereas, as a whole, they are hitting to a 0.246 batting average. Timely hitting and pitching has been their calling card in this early season. 
    • Let me exemplify this: With the score 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning, with the highly effective LHP Smeltzer having retired seven straight, David Dahl opened the inning with a walk. Weston Wilson followed with a single to right field and it was runners on first and second base with zero outs. Former Minnesota Twins farmhand (C) Brian Navarrato came to the plate and ripped a single to center field. Just like that it was a 1-1 ball game. Timely and situational hitting in real time. 
    • Tyler White took third base today for only the second time since 2018. Obviously, he isn't going to wow anyone with his lateral explosiveness, but, he did make several effective plays scooping slow or tricky grounders while calmly throwing the runner out at first base. 
    • Pablo Reyes had a day in left field I surmise he would like to forget. He made an unforced error on a fairly routine fly out that put a runner on second base with two down and, in general, he looked to be moving with less urgency than I am used to seeing. I expect better days ahead. And, for those of you tracking at home, the E-7 by Reyes ended the Sounds errorless streak at 101 innings.
    • St. Paul's Drew Strotman continues to struggle locating his pitches in his ongoing transition to a relief role for the Saints. Some of you may recall, Drew was one of four players received by the Twins in the 2021 trade of Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Strotman was responsible for the bases loaded run giving the Sounds a brief lead in the late innings - a run sent home by yet another free pass. Drew owes a couple cold ones to Tyler Bashlor. Tyler inherited the bases loaded and one out jam. He proceeded to induce two punch outs of two extremely hot hitters in Brice Turang and Tyler White. 
    • Yennier Cano escaped trouble in the 10th but I found him to be quite a formidable reliever for the Saints. I would not be surprised in the least to see him get a call-up to Minneapolis some time this season. His stuff has lots of in-breaking and out-breaking movement and he touches 95-97 on the radar gun. 
    • In closing:

    That's a wrap for my early Minor League reports. Please check what's on the docket for tomorrow's games and stay tuned and current with the upcoming fine work of @damuelleand @Mass Haas.

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