We're on our 2nd team at the single-A level and it's the high-A Brevard County Manatees' turn under the microscope for the week here in our MMLB series. It was another 4-3 week just like for Wisconsin but it was done in a bit different fashion that's for sure.
The Manatees got a three game sweep at Lakeland (5-4, 4-3, and 5-1) as well as a series saving 1-0 victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays. Their three losses were split between 2 from Dunedin (0-2 and 1-4) as well as yesterdays series opener against Lakewood at home (2-3).
Add in the first few games of the year and right now the 'Tees sit with an overall record of 6-4 and are in 2nd place of the Florida State League North Division, just two games behind the Dunedin Blue Jays after just 10 games so far this season.
This team is loaded with some of the most interesting and known products in the Brewers minor league system, especially in the pitching area where 2011 first rounders Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann reside right out of the gate. More on them in a bit, but the guy that may be getting overshadowed at the moment is the one to highlight for me and that's Jimmy Nelson.
Nelson is 1-0 on the year and has made two total starts. He sports a very nice 1.80 ERA on the year and in his start this past week his line was this: 5IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 1HR, 1BB, 8K. Now that's impressive in just 5 innings of work. Really the only damage came from that one solo shot. Opponents are batting a very unhealthy (for them) .194 so far on the season and he could be emerging as a fast rising prospect for the Brewers, who let's face it, need an infusion of young pitching in their system from top to bottom.
That brings me to the one starter to make his 3rd trip to the mound and that's Taylor Jungmann. His opening day start was great, but it's been a bit of a yo-yo performance since then and he rebounded from a bad 2nd outing to get back on track yesterday despite taking the loss. His line was: 6IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K. The biggest factor pointing to him being successful so far is that he's got a 1.80 GO/AO ratio, meaning he's gotten nearly 2 groundouts for every fly out and that's a recipe for success later on for sure.
I've saved the best pitching performance so far for last and I'm hoping not to jinx his 3rd start tonight, but Jed Bradley has been unreal, despite the 1-1 record. Through 2 starts he's only given up 1 unearned run, has a 0.00 ERA and opponents are batting a ridiculous .140 against him. His last outing he went 6.2IP, just 3H, 1 unearned run, 1BB, and 4K's in a loss. Yep, that's right, he took a loss without giving up a single earned run.
Don't mistake this team as all pitching though as they have some decent bats as well. Catcher Shawn Zarraga went 4-10 in the last week and is 8-19 on the season in just 6 games played at catcher. He had 2RBI's, 2 walks, 1 double, but no runs scored over the past week. So far the highlight to his season at the plate came in his first game of the year where he went 4-for-5 with a double and knocked in 4RBI's. Amazingly he has yet to record a single strike out as well.
Joining him this past week as a successes at the plate were LF T.J. Mittelstaedt and 3B Michael Walker. T.J. went 7-23 over the past week with 1 home run, all 5 of his seasons RBI's, but also recorded all 8 of his strike outs as well. He's batting a good .278 in 33 plate appearances for the year and leads the team with 21 total bases so far this year. He's got a good .961OPS and has 2HR's for the year as well.
Walker recored 6 of his 7 hits for the year over the past week, going 6-23 (.260) and also had 6 of his team high 7 RBI's during the past week, also earning him a Player of the Day Award from us.
Overall this team as been the most explosive of the bunch and that should be expected with some of the most intriguing and better prospects doting the roster to start the season.
Up next? It's on to Huntsville, AL and a visit with the double-A Stars to check in on their season and who's emerging so far.