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Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers -- Latest: RHP Scott Lieser feature article

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Offline  Re: Link Report for Wed. 7/3 - OH MOYE! Andy's Huntsville no-hit attempt broken up after 8.1 innings
#41

Posted: July 04, 2013, 11:48 AM Post
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Garrett Cooper profiled by MiLB.com

PIO notes: Cooper shows confidence

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
- Plato
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
- Plato


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
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Posted: July 04, 2013, 6:03 PM Post
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Brief video clip / interview -- RHP Chris Razo of Helena


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
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Posted: July 07, 2013, 2:44 PM Post
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Mass Haas's Jed Bradley video post in today's Link Report definitely inspired this find.

Devin Williams (& Jake Brentz, TOR 11th rd.) offseason (1.29.13) showcase video

BA: Have you ever caught? For half a population, you know what he's going through right now.
Rock: Yep, on a bounce, & uh, gets 'im. That shouldn't happen on 4th of July, should it?
BA: No -- speakin' of liberty bell...


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
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Posted: July 16, 2013, 10:34 AM Post
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Really nice video feature focusing on the Helena Brewers' Latin kids learning the English language


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#45

Posted: July 21, 2013, 6:01 AM Post
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Archer named Man of the Year
by Thomas Corhern, Cookeville (TN) Herald-Citizen

COOKEVILLE — Balancing academics, community service and athletics is a tremendous task.

As shown last week as Kellie Cook was announced as the winner of the Tennessee Tech Woman of the Year award, it takes an exceptional committment to the ideals of the university and the overarching goal of a diploma in one hand and a championship ring on the other.

It is by no means an easy one.

But nothing worthwhile is.

Among the nine student-athletes nominated for the Man of the Year award are champions on the court, scholars in the classroom and beacons in the community.

Every one of the nominated student-athletes were worthy of the award, whether it was reigning Male Athlete of the Year Syrym Abdukhalikov from tennis, basketball’s Terrell Barnes, Cookeville native Taylor Hennigan from football, golfer Greg Kitts, football’s Tre Lamb, Adam McLeod from cross country, or baseball’s Austin Wulf and Nick Price.

But through the committee’s deliberation, the choice was a well-deserved one for Tech senior pitcher Tristan Archer.

“I’m honored,” Archer said. “This is a great group of student-athletes and it’s just amazing to be recognized among these guys.”

The selection was not a surprise to his former coach.

“Man, there’s just so many ways you can describe Tristan,” said Tech baseball coach Matt Bragga. “On the mound, he’s just a warrior. He just goes about his business. He’s a very level-headed guy, but the part of his demeanor that a lot of people can’t see is that he is a warrior. From the outside, you’d never know how fierce of a competitor this guy is, but off the field, the best way to describe him is a gentleman to the fullest.

“He’s just a neat young man. He never gets flustered with anything. He always stays level-headed. He was a great leader, was one of our captains this year and you don’t get that without good leadership skills because our guys vote on that. That says volumes on what they think of him.”

A four-year starter for the Golden Eagle baseball team, Archer spent the season rewriting the Tech record books, claiming the top spots in wins (23), starts (55) and innings pitched (323 2/3).

He ranks second in career strikeouts with 273.

This season, Archer recorded nine wins in his fifteen starts, with two complete games to his credit. He struck out 97 batters this season and had a 3.34 earned run average.

A member of the Ohio Valley Conference’s all-Freshman team in 2010, Archer lived up to his promise through the course of his career.

Archer is also one of the few players who have been able to come through the Tech program with two championship rings, winning both the 2010 and 2013 regular-season championships.

“When he was leaving, he looked at me and said, ‘Coach, there aren’t many people at many schools who got to have two rings,’” Bragga said. “I’m like that’s a great point. To win two championships in his four years here, that doesn’t happen often. He was an integral part of that process to get this program where it’s at today.”

Archer added, “I came in as a freshman and won a championship, had two years in the middle that were a little rough, then this past year with another championship and a record-setting year with 40 wins, that’s just awesome.”

At the conclusion of the season, Archer was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Major League Baseball entry draft and currently plays with the Helena Brewers in the minor league ranks.

“He’s a great player,” Bragga said. “I know he’s not off to a great start in the minors, but he’s not off to a bad start either. To me, he’s a guy that I really believe that can pitch in the big leagues. He’s that good. He’s not the hardest thrower we’ve ever had and may not have the best breaking ball, but he’s got a really good fastball, plus breaking ball, plus change-up and the demeanor that fits it all.”

Archer added, “It’s going well. We started our first long road trip, but it’s going good. I’ve made one start with five appearances so far. It’s been great. There are a lot of good guys up here too. It’s not a whole lot different, but I love getting to throw to wood bats now. That’s for sure. That’s definitely my favorite part of the whole thing.”

In the classroom, Archer excelled, earning six selections to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, a pick to the 2011-12 OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and twice on the Dean’s List.

“Academically, he did it for four years,” Bragga said. “He’s just been phenomenal. You never had to worry about Tristan taking care of his business. Not that we have anybody we have to worry about, but he just focused on his work and gets it done and does everything right.”

And what most people don’t realize about baseball is the way the schedule works out, the team could play four to five games a week, with travel and practices as well, making it incredibly hard to focus on academics.

That’s what makes the feat even more impressive.

“It’s tough,” Bragga said. “Absolutely, it’s tough. That’s just something he did a phenomenal job with. Occassionally he’d have to miss part of practice to be in class, but he’d be back afterwards talking with our coaches to see what he had missed and making it up. He’s going to get his work in.”

Archer added, “We’re on the road a whole lot through the season. Some time during the week, we’ll usually be gone at some point, but we still try to devote time to getting our academic work done.”

Community service is also a big part of the equation. Archer spent time as a bell ringer for the Cookeville Rescue Mission, worked several field day events for Putnam County schools, assisting at the Fall FunFest and helping run the Golden Eagle Baseball School’s annual high school elite camp.

“We’ve always had plenty of opportunities to go out and give back to the community,” Archer said.

“Tristan, in his time here, has gone to elementary schools,” Bragga said. “He’s worked with them and read to them. He is involved in the community in so many ways. He understands that there’s a lot more to playing baseball on the collegiate level than just playing the game. There’s the academic side that he took care of and there’s an off-the-field side where he’s made great decisions and heavily involved in the community.”

Tennessee Tech pitcher Tristan Archer was named the Tech Athletics Man of the Year. (Tony Marable | Herald-Citizen)

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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#46

Posted: August 01, 2013, 9:03 PM Post
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Great footage of Devin Williams' four innings pitched from this past Saturday's AZL game...



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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#47

Posted: August 01, 2013, 10:35 PM Post
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Excellent find, Eye Black. Is that free content? Wow.

BA: Have you ever caught? For half a population, you know what he's going through right now.
Rock: Yep, on a bounce, & uh, gets 'im. That shouldn't happen on 4th of July, should it?
BA: No -- speakin' of liberty bell...


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#48

Posted: August 15, 2013, 11:06 AM Post
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Giacalone in attack mode
By Greg Rachac / Special to MiLB.com

Nobody wants to go backward. In Minor League Baseball, it's move up or bust.

Yet many times there's a method to the madness. For Adam Giacalone, a return to Helena has meant a chance to make specific refinements to his swing and become the power hitter the Milwaukee Brewers envision.

"I took it as a way to get better," said Giacalone, a first baseman who was reassigned to the Pioneer League from Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League on July 13. "To come back and have the opportunity to play every day and work and get my way back up, that's what I'm going to do. One of the biggest things you can do in baseball is learn from your struggles."

The left-handed-hitting Giacalone was picked by Milwaukee in the 16th round of the 2012 Draft out of Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kan. He played his first professional season in Helena last year, where he hit .317 with three home runs and 32 RBIs in 69 games.

He began this season in Wisconsin, batting .249 in 64 games. But one thing stood out: Giacalone's power was nonexistent. In the Midwest League, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder went homerless, which prompted Brewers brass to make a calculated decision.

"He's a contact guy," said Helena manager Tony Diggs. "He drives the ball up the middle a lot, and that's very good for a lefty to be able to stay on the ball like that. It's just a matter of him getting into position to hit with more authority. We're looking for a little more power coming from a first baseman.

"His first day back, we sat down and had a little bit of a conversation just to go over the expectations and maybe even the disappointment he had being back here. But he was fine with everything. He knows he's here to work hard and get things back on track, and hopefully give him a chance to get out of here as soon as possible."

Both Diggs and Giacalone say the first baseman's restructured workload in Helena consists of being more aggressive at the plate. Giacalone constantly squares up pitches, but now it's a matter of attacking the strike zone more in an effort to increase his home run numbers.

Through 23 games in Helena this season, Giacalone was hitting .386 with three homers and 23 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .511, more than 200 points higher than it was at Wisconsin. It's all part of the role Giacalone knows he must fill.

"I've shown I can hit for a decent average, but that might not be what a first baseman is supposed to do," Giacalone said. "What I've been trying to work on is staying on my legs, staying on my lower-half a lot more and staying back on the ball.

"It's been nice to see some results. But you can never be satisfied. There's things I'm still trying to work on and trying to get comfortable with."


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#49

Posted: August 16, 2013, 7:42 AM Post
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I have been watching Giacalone since his return to Helena and see no change in his swing.
No doubt he can put the bat on the ball, it's just in the way he swings he generates no
power - all upper body.
I hope he can figure things out as he has a frame that should translate into more power.


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#50

Posted: August 24, 2013, 12:42 PM Post
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Jason Arndt spoke with Clint Coulter this week


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#51

Posted: August 30, 2013, 6:07 PM Post
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Helena OF Michael Ratterree via the Brewers Farm Report blog


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#52

Posted: September 10, 2013, 2:00 AM Post
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Brewers' Banda having quality year
By ZAC VIERRA for the Independent Record

In Little League, one of Anthony Banda’s coaches tried to convince him to throw right-handed. When Banda realized he couldn’t throw with his right hand he decided to stick with what’s comfortable and pitch from the left side.

He made the right decision.

In his second professional season, and first with Helena, Banda has rounded into form, especially in the second half of the season.

The 6-foot, 3-inch southpaw has given Helena a quality start in three of his last four outings and has posted a team-leading six quality starts this season.

The only other Brewers to have a quality start this season are Zach Quintana and Tyler Linehan.

In the first round of the Pioneer League Playoffs against Great Falls, Helena skipper Tony Diggs has a weapon to match up with the Voyagers’ Jake Sanchez, the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year.

“Banda has been giving us quality starts from the top to the bottom. He has had a couple outings that were kind of rough and kind of in-between, but he has been a solid mainstay in the rotation. He’s been good,” said Diggs.

Banda credits his recent accomplishments to focusing on his fastball-change up combination to keep hitters off balance.

But Banda, who is a humble guy, is quick to credit his teammates for his success this season.

“We have been playing so well as a team everything has been going so well and clicking together it’s not just pitching, it's defense and the offense because if you pitch and put up all zeroes, you still are not going to win,” said Banda.

With players such as Angel Ortega and Taylor Brennan making web gems on the left side of the infield, and mainstays like Omar Garcia and Michael Ratterree tracking down balls in the outfield, Banda has felt confident in the defense behind him this season.

And although he is second on the Brewers with 45 strikeouts, Banda has focused on pitching to contact because of the trust in his defense.

“I feel so comfortable just throwing the ball over the plate and letting them hit it and letting my defense work,” he said. “Most people just see pitching as trying to strike people out, but it’s not all about that. I believe the pitcher’s job is to throw the ball of the plate and let them hit it and let your defense work. They are there for a reason.”

This season has been one of milestones for Banda. After getting drafted by Milwaukee in the 10th round out of San Jacinto Junior College in June 2012, this was his first season where he attended spring training. It has also been his first season starting fulltime after splitting between the bullpen and the rotation last year with the Arizona Brewers.

Banda likes starting and enjoys the routine of knowing when he will be pitching. But he also knows it comes with responsibilities.

“As a starter you are supposed to get the job done, and if you don’t get the job done, you can end up in the bullpen,” he said.

Since he has been starting all season, Banda has racked up some mileage on his arm. He has pitched 60 2/3 innings, second most on the team behind Quintana, much more than the 41.2 innings he pitched in his first pro season with Arizona.

Although Banda has thrown more than ever and was skipped the last time through the rotation, he feels great physically.

“I feel kind of stronger compared to last year at the end of the season. I’ve gotten more confident and just my overall body feels so much stronger than what it was at the beginning of the season and last year,” said Banda.

One reason for his health this late in the season could be his delivery, a trait that goes all the way back to the Little League coach that told him to throw right-handed.

Throughout his time growing up, right-handed pitchers coached Banda. Because of this, he believes he has developed a fluid delivery, almost like a standard right-hander instead of quirky lefties like Mitch Williams or Dontrelle Willis.

Banda has looked up to Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee and has developed a similar smooth windup and throwing motion.

“When people see left-handers they think weird, they think funky, they think something different. But for me it’s straightforward. I think it’s easier; it’s less dramatic,” he said.

Now that the playoffs have begun, the goal for Banda and his teammates will be to come away with a Pioneer League championship ring.

But as much as the Pioneer League is about winning, it is also about development as players try to reach the big leagues. Banda’s development has impressed his manger.

“He has shown the ability to make adjustments. He has shown the ability to throw strikes and when you do that especially being left-handed, you have a bright future,” said Diggs.

James Ridle Photo / Blackfoot Media Group

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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#53

Posted: September 11, 2013, 6:42 PM Post
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Bernie Pleskoff is THE man -- includes video:

***

First look: Brewers 2013 Draft pick Tucker Neuhaus
Initial scouting report on Milwaukee's second selection
By Bernie Pleskoff, MLB.com


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#54

Posted: September 23, 2013, 12:57 PM Post
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Baseball America released their Arizona League Top 20 --

RHP Devin Williams lands at #12.

No room for 19-year-old RF Elvis Rubio.

LHP Clint Terry, who was a "young" 21 (June birthday), also would have merited consideration, but tough to overcome draft status (18th round) on these short-season prospect lists.


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
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Posted: September 25, 2013, 1:15 PM Post
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Baseball America's Top 20 for the Pioneer League includes (stats at links below):

16. OF Michael Ratterree, League MVP, will be 23 in February

17. RHP Barrett Astin, University of Arkansas 3rd rounder

19. C Dustin Houle, superlative defense

1B Adam Giacalone, 3B Taylor Brennan on the outside looking in...


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#56

Posted: September 25, 2013, 7:02 PM Post
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What's the knock on ratterree? I know he wasn't a big name coming out of this last draft but everything I saw about the brewers getting him when they did was that it was a great value pick and a 10th round steal. He was the league MVP and had a great first pro year and then is 16th on the prospect list?


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#57

Posted: September 25, 2013, 7:52 PM Post
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Baseball Prospectus on Devin Williams


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#58

Posted: September 28, 2013, 12:54 AM Post
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Houle was known more for his solid bat when he was drafted, not as much his defense (he played third base at the time IIRC), sort of like a Mark Loretta. It is beyond encouraging to see him emerge as such a strong player behind the dish. Totally unexpected, I think.


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#59

Posted: October 16, 2013, 1:36 PM Post
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From Baseball America's 2013 Draft Report Card feature -- round in parentheses

Fastest Runner

1. Johnny Davis, of, Brewers (22)

2. Omar Garcia, of, Brewers (7)

3. Matt McPhearson, of, D’backs (4)

4. Adam Engel, of, White Sox (19)

5. Champ Stuart, of, Mets (6)

Best Pro Debut -- College Players

1. Kris Bryant, 3b, Cubs (1)

2. Jonathan Gray, rhp, Rockies (1)

3. L.B. Dantzler, 1b, Blue Jays (14)

4. Michael Ratterree, of, Brewers (10)

5. Michael Fish, of, Angels (32)

Best Pro Debut -- Junior College Players

1. Vic Caratini, 3b/c, Braves (2)

2. Omar Garcia, of, Brewers (7)

3. Tim Anderson, ss, White Sox (1)

4. Kenny Mathews, lhp, Indians (7)

5. Toby Thomas, ss, White Sox (21)

***

Read the entire report at the link.


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Offline  Re: Your 2013 Helena / Maryvale Brewers
#60

Posted: October 17, 2013, 8:37 PM Post
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This article ran on August 28th -- have to admire the dream of undrafted Maryvale 2nd-year pro catcher Joe Andrade (MiLB player page), he'll turn 24 in April:

Joe Andrade: Former Red Storm catcher experiences life in minor leagues


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