All I was thinking was that it's the same game here as it was down (in Single-A). I just had to pitch the same way I had all year long. —Tyler Wagner
Former Utah pitcher Tyler Wagner compiled a pretty successful season at advanced Single-A Brevard County, and he’s now taking it to the next level.
Wagner was promoted to Double-A Huntsville — just in time to keep the Stars’ postseason hopes alive against Chattanooga in the Southern League championship semifinal series.
With Huntsville one loss away from season-ending elimination, Wagner pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk to win in his Double-A debut. He also struck out four as the Stars topped the Lookouts 4-0 Sunday afternoon to force a decisive game five in the series.
"I didn't have any doubts that I could pitch at this level when I got promoted," Wagner told MiLB.com's Sam Dykstra after Sunday's game. "But at the same time, it's nice to see some results too. All I was thinking was that it's the same game here as it was down there. I just had to pitch the same way I had all year long."
The former Ute closer’s promotion came at the end of Brevard County’s season, where he went 13-6 and posted a 1.86 ERA in 25 starts and 150 innings. He ended up on the Florida State League’s postseason all-star team, as well as being named to the Brewers' Arizona Fall League squad.
However, the largest praise Wagner has received throughout the season has been his jump from prospect oblivion to the No. 14 spot in MiLB’s Top 20 Brewers’ prospect list released in late August. MiLB.com even projects him to arrive in the majors within the next two seasons.
Wagner isn't the only baseball player with Utah ties finding success among the minor league players.
BYU alumnus Jake Hannemann went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to help his advanced Single-A Daytona Cubs past Dunedin in the Florida State League semifinals. Daytona even went through fellow BYU alum Taylor Cole to win the series.
Daytona currently trails Fort Myers 2-1 in a best-of-five series for the FSL title.
Though former Ute Parker Morin didn't play in the series, his Triple-A Omaha ball club claimed a spot in the Pacific Coast League final for the fourth consecutive season on Saturday.
Fellow Ute alum Trey Nielsen tossed six shutout innings to help the State College Spikes take a 1-0 lead in the New York-Penn League championship series.
Finally, Taylorsville High product John Buck and former Utah slugger C.J. Cron are back in the majors as September call-ups — both with the Los Angeles Angels. Cron even whacked his 10th major league homer of the season on Sunday.
John Buck (Taylorsville H.S.), Los Angeles Angels: Zero hits in two at-bats Sunday in his Angels’ debut. Buck is batting .221 in 28 games in the majors this season — mostly with Seattle.
C.J. Cron (Utah), Los Angeles Angels: Four hits, one home run, one double, three RBIs and two runs scored in eight at-bats throughout the week. Cron, in his first appearance in the majors since Aug. 9, homered in Los Angeles’ 14-4 win over Minnesota on Sunday. He went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs in the game.
The former Ute is batting .275, with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 66 games with the Angels this season.
Jeremy Guthrie (BYU), Kansas City Royals: Allowed eight hits and one run in seven innings while striking out one as the Royals beat Texas 2-1 on Tuesday. Guthrie picked up a no-decision to remain 10-10 on the season. He has a 4.31 ERA on the year, as well.
Brandon Kintzler (Dixie State), Milwaukee Brewers: 0-0, 2.25 ERA in four separate appearances over the week. Kintzler pitched three separate shutout frames against the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He then allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) in one inning on Sunday, although not factoring in a decision.
Kintzler is 2-3, with a 3.27 ERA in 56 appearances with the Brewers this season.
Matt Carson (BYU), Columbus (Cleveland Indians): Three hits, one home run, one RBI, four runs scored in 14 at-bats in Columbus’ postseason series against Durham in the International League. Durham, however, won the series in four games ending Columbus’ season.
Carson hit .259, with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 82 games with the Clippers this season.
Parker Morin (Utah), Omaha (Kansas City Royals): Went 0-for-3, with a walk in his Triple-A debut on Monday against Colorado Springs. Morin did not play in the playoff series against Memphis, but the Storm Chasers advanced to the finals of the Pacific Coast League for the fourth consecutive time with a win Saturday night.
Tyler Wagner (Utah), Huntsville (Milwaukee Brewers): Allowed two hits and one walk in six shutout innings, leading the Stars to a 4-0 win in game four of their series with Chattanooga in the Southern League playoffs. Wagner, making his Double-A debut, helped Huntsville stay alive in the playoffs with his performance.
Jaycob Brugman (BYU), Stockton (Oakland Athletics): Three hits and one run scored in eight at-bats in Stockton’s playoff series against Visalia. Visalia won twice to capture the series and end Stockton’s season.
The former Cougar batted .282 and hit 13 home runs in 50 games with the Ports. He concludes the 2014 minor league season with 21 home runs and 72 RBIs between Stockton and lower Single-A Beloit.
Taylor Cole (BYU), Dunedin (Toronto Blue Jays): Allowed six hits and six runs in 1 1/3 innings, picking up a loss to Daytona on Wednesday as the Blue Jays’ season came to an end. Cole finishes his 2014 season with an 8-11 record in 25 starts between Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. Cole also finished the season with 181 total strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings.
Jake Hannemann (BYU), Daytona (Chicago Cubs): Six hits and two runs scored in 22 at-bats over the week. The former Cougar went 3-for-5 in Daytona’s win over Dunedin on Wednesday, as the Cubs went on to defeat the Blue Jays in the Florida State League semifinals.
Daytona currently trails Fort Myers 2-1 in FSL championship series. A potential series-clinching Game 4 was washed out Sunday night. It will be played Monday instead.
Adam Miller (BYU), South Bend (Arizona Diamondbacks): Allowed one hit in one shutout inning against Lake County on Wednesday, but South Bend lost the series to the Captains in two games to end the season.
Miller posted a 3.40 ERA in 24 games with the Silver Hawks. He also went 5-1 on the season.
Short Season Leagues:
Trey Nielsen (Utah), State College (St. Louis Cardinals): Allowed one hit and two walks, while striking out four in six shutout innings as the Spikes defeated Tri-City 2-0 Sunday evening. The win gave State College a 1-0 lead in the New York-Penn League championship series.
Players currently in offseason or on disabled list: Eddy Alvarez (SLCC), Tanner Banks (Utah), Bubba Blau (Dixie State), Tyson Brummett (Spanish Fork H.S.), Chris Capper (BYU), Stephen Fife (Utah), Nick Green (Utah), Brady Lail (Bingham H.S.), Kavin Keyes (Alta H.S.), Adam Law (BYU), Marcus Littlewood (Pine View H.S.), Colter Moore (USU-Eastern), Braeden Schlehuber (Viewmont H.S.), Matt Spring (Dixie State), Dominique Taylor (Northridge H.S.), Keenyn Walker (Judge Memorial H.S.), Mitch Watrous (Utah)