- Full name Tyler Joseph Wagner
- Born 01/24/1991 in Las Vegas, NV
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Utah
- Debut 05/31/2015
Drafted in the 4th round (155th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 (signed for $250,000).
View Draft ReportWagner will likely be the first player drafted out of Utah. He has a solid pitcher's build at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. Used as the Utes' closer, Wagner didn't have a great year statistically, but his stuff was strong all season. His fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range and he touches 95-96. He flashes an above-average slider and has a good changeup, though he doesn't need it much.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Wagner won the Southern League ERA title (2.25) in 2015 while going 11-5 and recording a 1.15 WHIP at Double-A Biloxi, but he had major issues in three starts for the Brewers,. He depends on precise control and keeping the ball down to be successful, and he had excelled in those areas in pro ball since coming out of Utah in 2012 as a closer. The Las Vegas prep product depends heavily on a low-90s sinker that has good life and results in many groundball outs. He also uses a sharp-breaking slider in the 84-86 mph range that is a strikeout pitch against righthanded batters. Wagner uses his adequate changeup to try to keep lefthanders honest. He has excellent mechanics out of a low three-quarters arm slot, with command and deception, and repeats his delivery well. The Brewers are intent on finding groundball pitchers in homer-friendly Miller Park, so Wagner should get more chances to show he deserves consideration for the rotation. He generally is calm on the mound and hard to fluster, traits that will be important in 2016 as he advances to the pitching nightmare known as Triple-A Colorado Springs.
A Las Vegas high school product, Wagner turned in one of the most impressive showings of any pitcher in the system in 2014, backing up his strong showing at low Class A Wisconsin in 2013. The closer at Utah when the Brewers drafted him in the fourth round in 2012, he has the stuff to start. He ranked among the Florida State League leaders in 2014 with a 1.86 ERA, 118 strikeouts and .221 opponent average. Wagner's bread-and-butter is a heavy sinker that has good life, and he keeps the pitch down in the zone to induce groundballs. He sits in the low to mid-90s but also reaches back for 96 mph when he needs it. For the second year in a row, he finished near the top of his league in innings (150), a tribute to his command and economy of pitches. Wagner has a sharp-breaking slider that he throws at 84-86 mph and uses to torment righthanders (.570 opponents OPS). He also has an effective changeup that keeps lefties at bay (.617 OPS). He has a high leg kick in his delivery and throws from a three-quarters arm slot with excellent command and deception. With two quality seasons under his belt, Wagner has proven he has the repertoire as well as the mentality to pitch in the rotation. He'll likely be promoted to Double-A Biloxi in 2015.
No player in the system improved his stock in 2013 more than Wagner, who showed surprising staying power as a starter at low Class A Wisconsin. He worked as closer at Utah when the Brewers drafted him in 2012, but the club saw him as a rotation candidate. The results weren't pretty at Rookie-level Helena that same year--7.77 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP in 49 innings--but the Brewers stuck with Wagner and he bounced back in a big way at low Class A Wisconsin in 2013. His fastball features good sink and heavy life in the low- to mid-90s, touching 96. He uses it to induce groundballs, posting a 3.01 groundout/airout ratio, best among all minor league starting pitchers who qualified for their league ERA title. He induced 16 double plays, second in the Midwest League, finished third in the league in innings and eighth in ERA. Wagner has a sharp-breaking slider at 84-86 mph that is a big out-pitch against righthanded hitters. He also displayed an effective changeup that kept lefties off-balance; they posted a .652 OPS versus .629 for righthanded hitters. Wagner, who has a high leg kick in his delivery and low three-quarters release point, made strides in commanding the ball and executing clutch pitches when necessary. The mainstay of the Timber Rattlers' rotation, Wagner just might have the pitchability to profile as a starter, with a likely next step to high Class A Brevard County for 2014.