A slew of the Brewers’ top prospects, especially in the pitching department, are set to begin their season just up the road from Miller Park.
Three of Milwaukee’s first five picks in last year’s Draft — pitchers Eric Arnett (right, foreground) and Kyle Heckathorn and catcher Cameron Garfield — headlined the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ roster unveiled by the Brewers on Monday amid big-league Opening Day festivities. The Timber Rattlers will also feature pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi, Del Howell, Nick Bucci and Maverick Lasker, plus Florida State University quarterback-turned-Brewers outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson.
The Timber Rattlers are scheduled to play their season opener on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. CT, an off-day for the big league club. Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis. is about 100 miles north of Miller Park via U.S. Hwy. 41, and tickets are still available on the team’s website
“You look up and down the roster, and it’s just prospect after prospect,” Rattlers president Rob Zerjav told the Appleton Post-Crescent’s Brett Christopherson. “I’d get the daily [Minor-League Spring Training] box scores from Brewers, and these guys were quite impressive. It seems like they’re the real deal.”
Timber Rattlers manager Jeff Isom told the Post-Crescent that all of the team’s starting pitchers but Arnett would work in tandems to start the season. The day’s starter will get 75-80 pitches to start the season before turning it over to the designated reliever. The next time through the rotation, the pitchers will switch roles.
Arnett and Heckathorn were a part of the Brewers’ Major League Spring Training camp this year but neither appeared in a Cactus League game. Arnett, a 22-year-old power right-hander and the 26th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, posted a 4.41 ERA at rookie-level Helena last summer. He struck out a batter an inning (35 strikeouts, 34 2/3 innings) but also issued 21 walks.
In all, the Timber Rattlers’ roster includes 14 players drafted by the Brewers in 2009. The full roster is available here