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  • Who Were The Biggest Biloxi Shuckers Standouts?

    Harold Hutchison

    The Biloxi Shuckers had some real heartbreak this season, falling just short of the Southern League playoffs. While it is heartbreaking, there are some things worth recognizing. Which players helped push this team to the cusp of post-season play?

    Image courtesy of Biloxi Shuckers

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    The fact is, Biloxi fielded a very talented squad – and many of those who started the season there ended up earning promotions to Nashville and reaching the cusp of the major leagues. Let’s look over some of the Shuckers standouts.

    Tyler Black
    Black moved to third base this season, and not only did he avoid the injuries that plagued him in 2022, but he also developed into a legitimate all-around threat, cutting short the regular minor-league season and the Arizona Fall League. He posted a .273/.412/.513 line, added 47 stolen bases and earned a promotion to Nashville on August 6.

    Noah Campbell
    Campbell has been quite versatile over his career and is one prospect often neglected in many write-ups. In Biloxi, it manifested in him seeing time at four positions in the field and substantial work at designated hitter. During that stint, he posted a .255/.394/.431 line and saw a power surge, hitting more home runs with Biloxi in 2023 than he did in any previous season. He did all that while shuttling between Biloxi and Nashville, too.

    Jackson Chourio
    Chourio initially struggled in his first full season at AA at 19 but rebounded to post a .280/.336/.467 line, with 22 home runs and 43 stolen bases. He also provided value in center field defensively, tying for the team lead in outfield assists with six. Chourio is one of the top prospects in all minor league baseball and will likely start the 2024 season in Nashville.

    Wes Clarke
    Clarke split time between catcher and first base, handling the former due to top prospect Jeferson Quero’s multiple injured list stints. Clarke brought a legitimate “three true outcome” bat – posting 26 home runs, 89 walks, and 147 strikeouts, leaking the Shuckers in all three categories. His .241/.392/.498 line is even more impressive, given the ball the Southern League used early in the season.

    Isaac Collins
    Collins was a minor-league waiver-wire claim but proved to be another versatile asset – much like Campbell has been.  He saw time at all three outfield positions, third base, and second base, while posting a .269/.424/.431 line. His plate discipline and speed were excellent, but he also provided pop in 25 extra-base hits in 290 at-bats.

    Jeferson Quero
    Quero has been a top prospect for years – but his bat leaped upward this year, with power (16 home runs) and on-base skills (38 walks in 3336 at-bats). Quero’s defense has also drawn high marks – he nailed 35% of would-be base stealers with the Shuckers. The big issue was staying on the field, but by 2025, he could provide some interesting options for the Brewers.

    James Meeker
    Meeker broke out big time in Brisbane over the 2022-2023 Australian baseball season following a solid showing in 2022. This year, he did even more. He was a shutdown reliever and filled in capably as a starting pitcher when injuries depleted the Biloxi rotation. Meeker likely has earned consideration for a spot on the Nashville-Milwaukee shuttle for 2024, where he could be a cheap but crucial contributor.

    Carlos F. Rodriguez
    Rodriguez was the undisputed ace of the Shuckers rotation, posting a 9-6 record and a 2.77 ERA across 123 2/3 innings pitched over 25 starts. Rodriguez racked up 152 strikeouts this season and only allowed 53 walks. He will likely start 2024 in Nashville, where he could get a call-up to the Brewers bullpen, following in the steps of other Brewers mainstays like Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff.

    Who do you think stood out for the Shuckers in 2023?

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    Every write up so far - each level had several good to great prospects, and all were competitive teams.

    that is a great theme to have in the minors. Multiple prospects at all levels, and all teams faring well individually and in the W-L column too.

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    Considering Noah Campbell was sent to Nashville in mid to late July, I personally don't consider him all that integral to the Shuckers near miss of the Playoffs (which was a strictly second half attempt). We could probably swap him out for numerous players there (I know, you love yourself some Noah Campbell - he's a fun player but he also missed the majority of his second half to injury).

    I think of several unheralded Shuckers who had brilliant moments or min-runs in 2024:

    Ernesto Martinez provided real meaningful 1B and dish work immediately after his call-up to Biloxi. He lost momentum at the dish but I can definitively say his size and range and sure catching glove at 1B were a boon to a sometimes erratic tossing infield.

    RHP TJ Shook really discovered his best Double-A self in the latter part of the 2023 season after glimpses but inconsistency in the first and second halves. He found great impact with his change-up and curveball. He re-discovered his impact as a starter in the most important portion of the playoff push 

    INF's Freddy Zamora and Ethan Murray  were bedrocks on the left side of the infield. Seamlessly bouncing between 2B and SS - and 3B for Murray. Zamora, in particular, gave us his best defense of his season in the final two weeks. Both had solid overall seasons at he dish to boot and proved themselves as core utility system players. I've been hard on Zamora at times in the past year plus. He has earned my 'trust' after his 2023 season.

    OF Lamar Sparks became one of my favorite players to watch. Tho certainly prone to the swing and miss, he also provided clutch knocks (and some line drive power) and numerous web gem defensive plays including several astounding OF assists.

    The greatest thing about the Shuckers second half run is they found contributions up and down the line-up. A bullpen that struggled with any semblance of consistency throughout the season became lock down in two pivotal road series at Tennessee and Birmingham. RHP's Max Lazar and Cam Robinson found their best stuff during that time (despite Lazar's lone grand slam hiccup). Robinson, in particular, reclaimed his season and became the Southern League Saves leader.

    It was just a fantastic second half all around with many storylines and many many players played a part.


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