By: Brad Krause | Miller Park Prospects
I had a chance to see the Timber Rattlers over the weekend and jotted down a few notes from Sunday’s contest, a wild 17-11 loss to Quad Cities.
Cameron Roegner – The first thing I noticed about Roegner was his size. An imposing figure at six-foot-six, his fastball was sitting around 90-91 on the stadium gun but he hides the ball well and that combined with his large frame has to make his pitches look a little bit faster to opposing hitters. He only gave up five hits, but walked three and the River Bandits made their hits count. The big blow was a grand slam off the bat of Spencer Johnson, but two of the runners on base at the time were free passes issued by Roegner.
Dalton Brown – Brown came on with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning and promptly gave up a grand slam to Daz Cameron, but on most days it would have been a routine fly ball. The wind was blowing out on Sunday and Cameron lofted a ball that just kept carrying and carrying. Like Roegner, Brown was sitting in the low-90’s with his fastball according to the gun at Fox Cities Stadium.
Braden Webb – Webb was tagged with the loss but I didn’t think he pitched all that badly. He came in throwing smoke in the sixth inning, routinely putting 94’s and 95’s on the scoreboard. He has kind of a max effort, herky-jerky delivery but he cruised through his first two frames before running into some bad luck in the eighth. A bunt base hit, a ball that ricocheted off Webb and a couple of errors are what really did him in, but there was a lot to like about Webb’s pro debut, despite what the box score says.
Demi Orimoloye – Batting out of the leadoff spot, Orimoloye dropped down a nice bunt for a base hit in the fifth inning, then hit a laser beam to left for his first home run of the year in the sixth. He also struck out looking twice and grounded out to third twice. Everything he made contact with he pulled. Everybody likes to talk about Orimoloye’s build and that came in handy.when he went crashing hard into the wall in the left field corner on a foul ball. He stayed down for a minute but got back up before the trainer got to him and managed to stay in the game.
Monte Harrison – No offense to Daz Cameron, but Harrison stood out as the best athlete on the field. He can fly around the bases, go and get the ball in center field and had the strongest outfield arm of anyone I saw. He followed Orimoloye’s home run with a rocket of his own that cleared the wall in left, but it was an at-bat an inning earlier that really stood out to me. I first heard Chris Mehring mention Harrison’s improved two-strike approach during one of his Spring Training podcasts and he demonstrated it beautifully on Sunday as he shortened up his swing with two strikes and served a ball into left for an RBI single. I feel like Harrison could be in for a big season and we could see him quickly getting a bump to join that loaded High-A squad in Carolina.
Tucker Neuhaus – Neuhaus had a phenomenal day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two home runs. He’s another player that could move quickly, though the combination of Isan Diaz and Luis Aviles ahead of him may keep him in Appleton a bit longer. He seems more and more comfortable at second base as well, and made a couple of nice defensive plays, diving to his right and throwing from his knees to get a runner early in the game, then going high into the air to snag a line drive on a ball that I thought for sure was ticketed for the outfield.
Ronnie Gideon – While we’re on the subject of defense, I came away really impressed with Gideon’s ability to pick it at first base. He’s a vacuum over there and moves surprisingly well for a guy his size. He hasn’t done a whole lot with the bat yet, but after his debut in Helena last season, you have to think that will start to come around. His only “hit” on Sunday came on a pop up that the Quad Cities defense was unable to come up with, but Gideon did a nice job of hustling into second base for a double when he saw the ball might drop.
Mario Feliciano – I know I’m supposed to be writing about Sunday’s game here, but I wanted to talk for a minute about Feliciano’s bomb on Saturday. He took a 3-0 pitch for what looked like ball four, tossed his bat aside and started to head for first. The home plate ump called the pitch a strike, but rather than argue, Feliciano picked his bat back up and tattooed the next pitch he saw for a go-ahead home run. It was impressive to see from a kid so young. As the DH on Sunday he went 0-for-4 but put the ball in play every time and did manage to draw a walk.
Ryan Aguilar – Staring in right field on Sunday, Aguilar had another nice day at the plate, going 2-for-5. He seems to do a nice job of using the whole field and, not surprisingly for a more advanced college bat, he looks like a confident hitter who has a plan each time he goes to the plate. I’m not sure how much success he’ll have as he climbs the ladder, but at this level he looks to be a key contributor in the middle of the Rattlers order. He’s probably better suited for first base than in the outfield, where he doesn’t look real comfortable at this point, but with Gideon figuring to get most of the starts at first, giving him time in the outfield serves as a way to keep his bat in the lineup.
Gilbert Lara – The 19-year-old Lara smoked a ball to left field in the seventh inning that would have gone for his first home run of the year if he had gotten a little more air under it. It still wound up going for extra bases as Lara notched a double on the play. He didn’t fare quite as well in his other at-bats, but the tools are there to work with and the Brewers will just need to continue to have patience with the young Dominican. In the field, Lara was again impressive, getting to balls that you wouldn’t expect a player his size to get to. He was charged with an error when he pulled Gideon off the bag with an errant throw, but overall he showed good range, soft hands and instincts for the position.