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Brewers Minor League Report: Who's Hot and Who's Not, July 2014

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Updates on some of the system's best talent from the month of July.

Could Tyler Wagner have possibly produced BETTER in July?
Could Tyler Wagner have possibly produced BETTER in July?
Baseball America

Though the month of July brought about two prospect suspensions in the matter of a week and a trade that shipped away Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda in return for Gerardo Parra, the past 31 days were still fantastic from a production standpoint -- especially on the mound.

Let's take a detailed look at the production yielded by of those prospects at each level of the minors in July with our monthly update.

Previous Reports: April MayJune

2013 Season Reports: AprilMayJuneJulyAugust

Midseason Top 25 Prospect Rankings

Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers prospect scene for Brew Crew Ball and also contributes to Peter Gammons' MLB Analysis site, Gammons Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @alecdopp.

Who's Hot: Pitchers

RHP Tyler Wagner (A+ Brevard County)

July Output: 0.51 ERA | 0.71 WHIP | 3.31 FIP | 25 K/7 BB | 1.57 GO/AO | .194 wOBAA

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The legend that has become Wagner's 2014 campaign seems to build with each outing, and July offered plenty of things worth remembering. Aside from allowing a monthly low 0.51 earned runs per nine innings, Wagner held opponents to a ridiculous .153/.200/.237 slash line -- each monthly bests, as well -- and  the feeble .176 BABIP he conceded to hitters. Development of the changeup -- which when completed will give him three credible offerings -- is the only thing holding him back from the Southern League.

RHP Ariel Pena (AAA Nashville)

July Output: 3.60 ERA | 1.11 WHIP | 2.95 FIP | 43 K/13 BB | 0.64 GO/AO | .260 wOBAA

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Pena had his way with hitters in the month of July, holding them to a .192/.284/.280 line and just one home run over 35.1 innings of work. Meanwhile, the lethal swing-and-miss ability he's best become known for was on full display, inducing whiffs at a 16% clip (!) on his way to punching out 11.1 batters per nine innings. Perhaps the most impressive stat for Pena was his 15 walks all month -- a massive improvement from June, when he issued 20 walks compared to just 19 punchies in 22.2 innings.

RHP David Goforth (AA Huntsville)

July Output: 2.92 ERA | 0.97 WHIP | 2.07 FIP | 10 K/2 BB | 1.78 GO/AO | .257 wOBAA

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Goforth's first full season in the Southern League had been underwhelming from April through June, posting a 3.4 K-BB% on his way to a lofty 4.13 fielding-independent pitching mark over a total of 40.1 innings. But July brought about the best who many scouts deem to be a top prospect in the system, generating an encouraging 65% strike rate and 12% swinging strike rate to just two walks in 10 relief appearances for double-A Huntsville.

RHP Taylor Williams (low-A Wisconsin)

July Output: 1.40 ERA | 0.94 WHIP | 1.41 FIP | 36 K/5 BB | 1.29 GO/AO | .241 wOBAA

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With just two back-to-back starts this season with low-A Wisconsin, Williams has had little trouble adjusting his game from the rotation to the bullpen. And that was never more evident than in July, when the 23-year old Kent State product yielded a 1.40 earned run average and impressive 7.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio split between three relief appearances and two starts. Given the way his August campaign started, don't be surprised if Williams challenges Wagner and Jimmy Nelson for the system's 'pitcher of the year'.

LHP Tyler Linehan (Rk-lvl Helena)

July Output: 1.08 ERA | 1.20 WHIP | 2.85 FIP | 10 K/3 BB | 6.00 GO/AO | .299 wOBAA

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Linehan, Milwaukee's ninth-round pick from Cal State Fresno last summer, was the lone member of Helena's pitching staff not to struggle in the month of July, allowing just one earned run home over 8.1 total innings of relief. The 6-foot-0, 240-pound left-hander was efficient at inducing soft contact (14 of the 21 balls hit in play against him came on the ground), too, and generated 10 strikeouts compared to just three walks in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League.

RHP Miguel Diaz (AZL Brewers)

July Output: 2.70 ERA | 1.16 WHIP | 3.91 FIP | 29 K/7 BB | 0.95 GO/AO | .293 wOBAA

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Diaz's first stint in the rookie Arizona League has started off on a fantastic note, nearly doubling his strikeout capacity while showing an ability to make the adjustments needed to succeed against right-handed batters. July was particularly impressive for the 19-year-old Dominican now in his third season in the system, holding opponents to a sub-.300 on-base percentage, inducing approximately as many grounders as fly balls and raking up more punchies (29) than innings pitched (23.1).

LHP Joan De  La Cruz (DSL Brewers)

July Output: 2.89 ERA | 1.18 WHIP | 2.14 FIP | 29 K/7 BB | 1.11 GO/AO | .266 wOBAA

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Physically raw and projectable at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds from the left side of the mound, De La Cruz's July campaign gave reason to believe he could be one of the more high-ceiling (and high risk) arms in the system. The 19-year-old Dominican hoarded 28 strikeouts in exactly 28 innings of work, walking just seven while holding the opposition to a .294 slugging percentage and showing a knack for ground ball-inducing ability. If he can develop his secondaries and find the zone on a consistent enough basis -- something did not do in 2012 and 2013 -- he's a name worth watching for in the future.

Who's Not: Pitchers

RHP Drew Gagnon (AA Huntsville)

July Output: 4.84 ERA | 1.36 WHIP | 3.97 FIP | 30 K/12 BB | 1.17 GO/AO | .326 wOBAA

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Gagnon's July campaign was an extension of his porous month of June -- mainly in that he labored to get the baseball over the plate. Milwaukee's third-round pick in 2011 issued 12 walks compared to 30 strikeouts in July, which would have actually been a nice improvement from the 1.34 K/BB ratio he posted from April-June had it not been for his four hit batters, which brought opponents' OBP against him up to .331 last month. Without one true above-average offering, the key will be getting his sinking fastball over the plate early in counts.

RHP Devin Williams (Rk-lvl Helena Brewers)

July Output: 7.33 ERA | 1.93 WHIP | 5.76 FIP | 22 K/9 BB | 0.88 GO/AO | .438 wOBAA

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It was a collective struggle to get outs for Helena's entire staff in the month of July, including Williams. After conceding no home runs in the month of June, Milwaukee's second-round pick last summer ceded four over 23.1 innings of work this past month. The ground ball frequency we saw in June wasn't there in July, either, and though the strikeout-to-walk totals have been consistent for the most part, his overall control as a starter (10 BB/17 K) has not been -- at least in comparison to when he pitches in relief (5 BB/21 K).

Who's Hot: Position Players

1B/3B Sthervin Matos (Rk-lvl Helena)

July Output: .354/.376/.573 | .375 BABIP | 133 wRC+ | 3 BB/13 K | 6 SB (101 PA)

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Promoted from rookie ball in Arizona to the Pioneer League on July 4, Matos found tremendous success throughout last month, clubbing four home runs, six doubles and a triple on his way to an isolated power of .225 over 23 games with Helena. The 20-year-old corner infielder from the Dominican Republic had previously flashed a patient approach over his first three campaigns in the Dominican Summer League, but has since become an aggressive hitter at the plate -- and the results are showing. If can drive outer-half pitches with consistency in the future, he'll be a name to watch for.

OF Tyrone Taylor (A+ Brevard County)

July Output: .326/.363/.453 | .337 BABIP | 133 wRC+ | 5 BB/6 K | 7 SB (102 PA)

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The toolsy attributes that make Taylor the system's best outfield prospect all came together at once in the month of July, showing an advanced feel for strike zone and a fantastic ability to go up the middle with line-drive contact on a consistent basis. Taylor aggressively and effectively picked his spots on the bases, too, hoarding seven stolen bases in seven attempts -- giving him 12 nabbed bases and an impressive 145 wRC+ since June 17.

SS Yadiel Rivera (AA Huntsville)

July Output: .293/.333/.415 | .348 BABIP | 109 wRC+ | 5 BB/13 K | 2 SB (88 PA)

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Rivera's range and sure-handedness at shortstop has not revealed itself since making the jump from advanced-A to double-A ball late in June, but the 22-year-old's bat certainly has. Over 88 plate appearances in the month of July, Rivera tagged Southern League pitching with a .341 weighted on-base average (ML-average for shortstops this season is .307), which was a product of his progressively improving plate discipline and ability to find gaps in the outfield. There's little chance he'll ever reach double-digit home run numbers, but if he can spray the ball to all fields and adjust defensively, he could make Milwaukee's long-term shortstop plans interesting.

C/DH Clint Coulter (low-A Wisconsin)

July Output: .253/.400/.480 | .288 BABIP | 151 wRC+ | 14 BB/20 K | 1 SB (95 PA)

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Most of us realized the .324/.457/.608 line and 200 wRC+ Coulter posted in the month of April was not likely to be sustain for an extended period of time, and that thinking has proven true, as the recently turned 21-year-old owns a much more down-to-earth .252/.396/.480 line and 150 wRC+ since. Yet while the statistical output has diminished, one thing has remained: Consistency. Coulter has now OPS'd .883, .881 and .880 in consecutive months since April, to go along with a stable strikeout and walk rate. A continuation of this trend will bode well for Coulter as he prepares himself for the Florida State League next season.

OF Joantgel Segovia (DSL Brewers)

July Output: .347/.434/.429 | .382 BABIP | 152 wRC+ | 9 BB/9 K | 2 SB (113 PA)

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Presently in his first Dominican Summer League stint at 17 years old, Segovia lived off his ability to find holes between the edge of the infield dirt and outfield defenders last month, with a commanding majority of his base hits coming off singles. That being said, he has shown an ability to spray the ball down the lines and into outfield gaps from time to time, which is an encouraging sign for such a young player. Throw in the fact that he walked (9) as frequently as he struck out (9) last month, and it's clear that the raw 6-foot-1 outfielder maintains advanced plate coverage and knowledge of the zone beyond his years.

Who's Not: Position Players

SS Jacob Gatewood (AZL Brewers)

July Output: .128/.167/.218 | .178 BABIP | 12 wRC+ | 4 BB/33 K | 3 SB (84 PA)

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The struggles that have befallen Gatewood to begin his pro career mainly include his propensity to strikeout in massive quantities, and that issue was on full display in the month of July. The 18-year-old shortstop accumulated 33 punchouts compared to just two walks to go along with an in-play average of just .178, which was a product of his inability to barrel the ball up with any amount of regularity.

1B Nick Ramirez (AA Huntsville)

July Output: .245/.297/.353 | .329 BABIP | 79 wRC+ | 8 BB/31 K | 0 SB (111 PA)

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Ramirez had been a model of consistency from the beginning of the season through June, posting a .249/.331/.472 slash line over 350 plate appearances in that span. But the lack of patience at the plate in July truly ate away at his production, piling up just eight walks in 111 trips to the plate in the Southern League. If he wants a legitimate shot at the first base starting job down the road, that patience must be regained.