COMMENTARY | In Minor League Baseball, it's not whether you win or lose, but rather how individuals are performing and fine-tuning their skills as they progress through the system.
Only one of the four Milwaukee Brewers' affiliates sports a winning record at the midway point of the minor league season (Brevard County), so it's just as well that records don't really matter -- at least to the Brewers.
There is promise at every level in Milwaukee's farm system, especially at pitcher where a handful of young arms have taken a step forward. Some of them should be knocking on the big league door come next season, but for now, it appears the Brewers will allow them to develop further in the Minors.
We'll run down each level's most valuable player through one half of the minor league season and be sure to point out others who narrowly missed out on the honor, but are still garnering the attention of the parent club.
Low-A Wisconsin: OF Mitch Haniger
Haniger only needed a total of 55 games -- 14 last season and 41 this season -- up in Appleton before getting the call from Brevard County. While with the Timber Rattlers, Haniger had a .297/.399/.510 split and hit 5 HRs with 25 RBIs. A first-round selection of the Brewers in 2012, the 22-year-old is currently second in batting average with the Manatees.
Notables: RHP Austin Blaski (3-2, 2.01 ERA), OF Tyrone Taylor (.297 AVG, 4 HRs, 28 RBIs)
High-A Brevard County: 1B Nick Ramirez
To be a regular first baseman at the major league level, power is almost a requirement, and Nick Ramirez supplies plenty of that for Brevard County. A fourth round pick of the Brewers in 2011, Ramirez's .242 average (.312 OBP) could use a boost, but he's also belted 14 HRs and driven in 43 runs in just 64 games. That production might merit a promotion to Huntsville by the end of the year.
Notables: OF T.J. Mittelstaedt (.385 OBP, 6 HRs, 15 RBIs), RHP Brooks Hall (2-3, 2.78 ERA)
Double-A Huntsville: RHP Jimmy Nelson
It's down at Double-A Huntsville where the pitching has been at full display this season, and it's been Jimmy Nelson drawing the most excitement. He did enough to earn a call-up from Nashville after 12 starts with the Stars during which he went 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA. Now, the 24-year-old is merely one step away from donning a Brewer uniform after being selected in the second round three years ago.
Notables: RHP Ariel Pena (5-5, 3.00 ERA), C/DH Adam Weisenburger (.362 AVG, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs)
Triple-A Nashville: RHP Johnny Hellweg
The man many Brewer fans have been waiting to be set free, Johnny Hellweg has unquestionably shined the brightest at the Triple-A level for Nashville. Standing at a towering 6'9," Hellweg has been the only adequate starting pitcher for the Sounds, going 6-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts. You would think that if Milwaukee was going to call up Hellweg, it would have happened by now, but look for the 24-year-old bringer of heat to compete for a roster spot in 2014.
Notables: 2B Scooter Gennett (.297 AVG, 1 HR, 13 RBIs), RHP Rob Wooten (2.55 ERA, 12 SVs)
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
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- Sports & Recreation
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- Brevard County