Results tagged ‘ Rob Wooten ’

Tired Rogers satisfied with AFL stint

mark-rogers.jpgForget what the numbers say. Brewers pitching prospect Mark Rogers is satisfied with his stint in the Arizona Fall League and the end of a long but healthy season. He’s also ready for a break.

Speaking Friday on a well-deserved day off, Rogers thought there was a “good chance” that he would get at least an inning of work in Saturday’s AFL Championship game. It would offer one last chance to put a positive finish on an up-and-down experience.

Rogers has been pitching — and struggling — for the Peoria Javelinas, a team of Brewers, Mariners, White Sox, Tigers and Dodgers prospect in the prestigious AFL. His team is set to face the Phoenix Desert Dogs on Saturday in a 1:35 p.m. CT game that will air on MLB Network. 

“I’m really fortunate to be with a great group of guys,” said Rogers, one of eight Brewers prospects on the team. “I’ll chalk it up as another great experience in my career.” 

It’s almost over, and that might not be a bad thing. Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is coming off the longest season of his career after two full years lost entirely to shoulder surgeries. Before this season, Rogers had not pitched in a game since June 2006. 

He made up for lost time by posting a 1.63 ERA in 22 starts and one relief appearance at Class A Brevard County. Working on a strict pitch count, Rogers struck out 67 batters in 64 2/3 innings and touched 98 mph on the radar gun.

His AFL stint hasn’t been quite as smooth. Entering Saturday’s finale, Rogers had allowed 18 earned runs and 20 hits including three home runs in 10 2/3 innings. He walked nine, versus seven walks.  Opponents were hitting .392 against him. 

“I think I’m seeing a little bit of the fatigue from my first full season in three years, that’s for sure” he admitted. “But in the meantime I’m learning a lot. There are some really good hitters down here, and they hit mistakes. You have to be able to pitch. 

“It’s definitely going to be something to build on for next Spring Training. The main thing is that I feel good, but at the same time I do feel like it’s my first full season in three years. It’s a long year. That everyday grind adds up.” 

He began preparing for the 2009 season last November, meaning Rogers has now been throwing every day for more than 12 months. He’s looking forward to a post-AFL break. This year, he’ll take part in the conditioning portion of the Brewers’ offseason minicamp and will continue his shoulder exercises, but probably won’t start throwing regularly until January.  

“I know I can make it through a full season now with my arm feeling great, and that makes me really excited for next season,” said Rogers, who could find himself in Double-A Huntsville this time. “I’m going to come in fresh and ready to go with a lot more experience under my belt. Compare that to last year, when it was a clean slate. This time I have a lot of confidence that I can come into camp and turn some heads.”

The Brewers added Rogers to their 40-man roster last year and burned the first of his three Minor League options in March.

“I think he is starting to get things ironed out,” Brewers farm director Reid Nichols said. “He has been through a lot to this point. It was pretty exciting to see the mid-90 [mph] fastball come back. Now it’s just touch and feel and learning to read hitters. It may take some time because he missed a lot of it. The good news is he is healthy.”

Rogers was not the only Brewers pitching prospect who struggled in the AFL.
   
In 2009 the Brewers added Josh Butler to the 40-man roster, another intriguing right-handed pitching prospect who struggled alongside Rogers. After going 9-3 with a 2.97 ERA for four Brewers affiliates and earning a taste of the Majors in September, Butler struggled to an 11.93 ERA in six fall league starts. Opponents hit him at a .429 clip. 

Fellow 40-man roster member Omar Aguilar had a 7.11 ERA in nine relief appearances. Left-hander Zack Braddock was a bright spot before he surrendered six earned runs on four walks and four hits in 1/3 inning of relief work on Thursday, an outing that bumped his ERA from 0.87 to 5.25. Righty Rob Wooten allowed five runs in nine relief innings for a 5.00 ERA. 

The Brewers’ hitters in the AFL offered more to feel good about. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was especially impressive, drawing raves from scouts and the Brewers officials who saw him play, hitting .310 through Thursday with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who on Wednesday was added to the 40-man roster, hit .242 but posted a solid .375 on-base percentage as the Javelinas’ leadoff hitter. 

Third baseman Taylor Green was batting .212 entering Saturday’s finale but had four of his 11 hits and all six of his RBIs in the Javelinas’ last three games. 

“I believe that if you have this experience, it’s going to make you better,” Rogers said. “It’s been a great year for me, and I don’t want to look at it as anything else. I look forward to a full season ahead of me without a pitch count where I can just go play.”

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Fall League set to start

afl-javelinas.jpgThe prestigious Arizona Fall League begins its 18th season on Tuesday with a trio of games, including a matchup between the Surprise Rafters and Peoria Javelinas that includes the Brewers’ contingent of prospects.

Eight players will suit up for the Javelinas this season including pitchers Omar Aguilar, Josh Butler, Mark Rogers and Robert Wooten plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

In addition, left-hander Zach Braddock is a member of the Javelina’s taxi squad, available on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Class A Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney will serve in that role for the Javelinas.

That’s a pretty impressive list of Brewers prospects. Keep an especially close eye on Aguilar, Butler and Rogers because they are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, plus Cain and Lucroy, who have pretty clear paths to the big leagues if they can continue to develop. Cain lost part of the 2009 season to a knee injury, so his AFL stint is particularly important.

The AFL distributed a PDF packed with everything you could possibly want to know about the league, so I’ll attach it here for those who are interested. The AFL’s regular season ends Nov. 21 with the championship game slated for Nov. 21.
Javelina.jpg
AFL Opening Day.pdf

Here’s something you won’t find in that PDF: A javelina, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is also known as a peccary, a medium-sized mammal that looks a bit like a pig. A terrifying, crazed pig.

Eight farmhands set for Arizona Fall League

Eight Brewers Minor Leaguers, including 2004 first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers, will play for the Peoria Javelinas in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.

Besides Rogers, who missed all of 2007 and 2008 with shoulder injuries, the Brewers will send pitchers Omar Aguilar, Zach Braddock, Josh Butler and Rob Wooten, plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy, infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. The position players have been set for some time, but Brewers officials waited until this week to finalize their contingent of arms.

Braddock, who has battled a shoulder injury and blisters this summer, is on the Javelinas’ “taxi squad” and may be activated only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Both Rogers and Aguilar are on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

Additionally, Class A Brevard County’s Fred Dabney will serve as the Javelinas’ pitching coach this fall.

The Javelinas play home games at Peoria Sports Complex and will be comprised of players from the Brewers, Dodgers, Mariners, Tigers and White Sox. The 18th annual Arizona Fall League season begins on October 13 and runs through Nov. 19 with the Rising Stars game on Nov. 7 and the Championship game set for Nov. 21. Every game can be followed live on Gameday on MLB.com and MLBFallBall.com.
 

Braddock overcoming physical, mental hurdles

Brewers pitching prospect Zach Braddock has been healthy this season, both in body and mind, and some promising results have followed.

The Brewers promoted Braddock to Double-A Huntsville on Wednesday after the left-hander posted a 1.14 ERA and 40 strikeouts versus just four walks in 14 relief appearances at Class A Brevard County. Opponents hit .143 against the hard-throwing Braddock.

Braddock has been limited by physical injuries since the Brewers drafted him in the 18th round of the 2005 Draft and by a bipolar disorder that requires medication. But in terms of pure “stuff,” he’s a bona fide Major League prospect.

“He can dominate,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “There have been a number of reports this year [that say] he could pitch in the big leagues. He has that kind of dominating stuff. Obviously, being left-handed helps. It’s a matter of being consistent, like it is with a lot of young guys.”

Assuming he stays physically and mentally healthy, Braddock could move fast through the system. He turns 22 on Aug. 23.

“Which is why we moved him to Double-A, to get him to that next level,” Ash said.

Club officials help “monitor” Braddock, Ash said. That involves making sure he takes the proper medication at the proper time.  

“He’s in a very good spot,” Ash said. “He’s monitored, and he’s had no issues at all. … He’s in a good place.”

In other Minor League transactions Wednesday:

– Right-hander Rob Wooten joined Braddock in a move from Brevard County to Huntsville. Wooten doesn’t possess the raw tools of Braddock, but, “If you throw strikes, you’ve got a chance,” Ash said. “Chris Smith shows it now.”

– The Brewers promoted right-hander John Axford from Double-A Huntsville to Nashville to replace right-hander Mike Burns, who went to Milwaukee to join the starting rotation. Axford has been rising fast; he pitched in just four games for Huntsville after a promotion from Brevard County.

– Class A Wisconsin closer Jim Henderson was promoted to Brevard County after going 17-for-17 in save chances. Henderson is a veteran Minor Leaguer.

– Right-hander Omar Aguilar is not, which made it somewhat disappointing when he was demoted from Huntsville to Brevard County. Aguilar, who is on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster, had a 7.71 ERA in 23 relief appearances.

“Player development will do this,” Ash said. “There are surprises upward, and there are surprises downward. We had [Jeremy] Jeffress, [Alex] Periard and Aguilar, all guys we’re high on but all who will end up in A-ball right now. Then there’s guys who have taken a step forward. Axford has taken a step forward. Josh Butler has taken a step forward. Braddock. Chris Cody. Several guys have taken a step.”

– Right-hander R.J. Seidel, a Wisconsin native, will begin a throwing program at the Brewers’ baseball facility in Arizona later this week. He’s ahead of schedule after undergoing offseason surgery for a torn ACL. Seidel told the Brewers he hurt his knee slipping on some ice.

“He’ll salvage a month or so of the season,” Ash said.

– Right-hander Mike Jones, on the Huntsville DL with a medical issue that Ash said was of a personal nature, will throw a bullpen session to see how he feels before potentially returning to action next week. 

– Left-hander Chris Capuano, rehabbing from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, threw his first bullpen session this week and hasn’t had another setback, Ash said. Capuano still faces a long road; he’ll have to throw several bullpens, then a series of live batting practice sessions before he’s cleared to pitch in a game. That probably won’t happen until the end of August, just as the Minor League seasons are ending.

“It’s just a long, slow grind,” Ash said. “He gets full marks for grinding it out.”

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