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Brewer Fanatic

Rams' Top 50 Brewers Prospects


This most recent draft and Zack Greinke trade provided a much needed shot in the arm to the Brewers’ system after taking a nice step forward from the previous years. After a rough start, Wily Peralta looks back on track, and Tyler Thornburg is apparently a top 50-75 prospect in all of baseball. Jean Segura provides a solid position player in the top 3 prospects, and Jimmy Nelson has taken a giant step forward this year. This draft has also been productive – with 2 first round picks in each of the last 2 years, the Brewers have added Clint Coulter, Victor Roache, Taylor Jungmann, and Jed Bradley. While Bradley’s debut has been a disaster and Jungmann hasn’t excelled, they are each solid prospects who have a chance to contribute to a big league rotation. While the Brewers have lost Greinke and project to lose Shaun Marcum and “lose” Randy Wolf this offseason, they have freed up enough money to bring in a solid arm, and have the requisite complimentary pieces necessary to fill out a rotation without breaking the bank.

 

Specifically, arms like Thornburg, Peralta, and the 2 former Angels John Hellweg and Ariel Pena each have a chance to contribute in a big way. Further, while he’s no longer a prospect, Brewer fans can’t say enough about Michael Fiers. The former “who?” candidate is putting up peripheral stats right in line with anybody in baseball, in fact, his peripherals match closest to Justin Verlander. While he never ranked higher than 9th on my previous lists, he would now be, at bare minimum, number 2 if he still qualified.

 

There were, however, some less-than-fortunate events that took place this year. The biggest, at least so far, is Orlando Arcia missing the season (he might be back for fall instructionals) with a bad break in his leg. Other injuries have also thinned the system at the top a little bit – Mitch Haniger injured his knee and will miss the rest of the season, Cody Scarpetta recently underwent Tommy John surgery and will be out for all of this year and a fair bit of next, and Nic Bucci just began a rehab assignment last week. D’Vontrey Ricahrdson, a personal favorite prospect of mine, has decided to call it a career and is no longer playing baseball, and Osmel Perez is on the restricted list in the DSL, meaning he may have also retired (or failed a drug test, or pulled an Angel Villalona).

 

Despite those losses, the system still appears much deeper to me than it has recently. Some players like Alan Williams were just great scouting moves by Milwaukee, while the combination of lots of draft picks and the upsurging Latin American market have provided a few additional sources of depth. All in all, the system is creeping up to the middle of the pack – maybe even in the top 15. It lacks the one banner player at the top, but there is some serious depth here and more upside at the lower levels than we have seen in a few years.

 

1. Wily Peralta, RHP, AAA

 

There is a fairly close battle between 3 prospects for the top spot, but for now I’m sticking with Wily Peralta. The former DSL signing has steadily risen through the minor leagues based on his true mid-90’s heater which can touch 97, and good mix of secondary stuff including a slider, curve, and changeup. He’s still young, turning 23 about two months ago, and despite struggling after his one appearance promotion and being unable to effectively repeat his delivery, Peralta has figured it out. In his last 6 starts, he’s gone 35.1 IP with 37 K to 11 B with his usual groundball inducing abilities. At this point, he just need to improve consistency and improve his ability to repeat his motion so that he’s ready to join the big league rotation in place of an injury.

 

In terms of his raw stuff, his fastball is where everything begins - it grades out as a 65 offering, as it will sit 92-95 with substantial movement and touch more when he elevates it. He can use it up in the zone to miss bats, down in the zone to get groundouts, and even if he makes a mistake, it moves enough that he can get away with it. His slider comes in around the low-to mid 80’s and can flash plus, though he’ll hang one once in a while. It works as a put away pitch for him, though he might struggle with it a little more as big leaguers won’t flail at it as much as minor leaguers.

 

Ultimately, Peralta’s upside is going to be determined by how well he is able to throw strikes, and the quality of strikes he’s going to throw. His motion, which comes from a high ¾ slot and uses his left arm to generate additional torque, is particularly difficult to repeat, so some scouts wonder if he will ever post good walk rates. I think the most likely scenario is that he becomes a solid mid-rotation option who walks hitters but induces enough double plays (his ground ball rates are exceptional) and strikes out enough to post ERAs in the mid to high 3’s on a yearly basis. His stuff is good enough he should at least be a 4, and if he ever develops the ability to mix in his secondary stuff to get ahead of batters early in the count, he could be a #2 or a #1 on a bad team. Thankfully, he has a whole year to prepare himself for a big league role, and I expect him to come in and miss bats right from the get go in 2013.

 

2. Tyler Thornburg, RHP, AA

 

Thornburg, a 3rd round pick out of Charleston Southern in the 2010 draft (which, despite not signing Dylan Covey (a good move by the way) is looking like a potential studly class), has dominated every step up the ladder in his MLB career. The highest ERA he has posted, at any level came last year after a midseason promotion to A+ Brevard County, where he put up a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts. This season, Thornburg has continued to make strides with his command and control, capped off by taking a perfect game into the 8th inning before being spoiled, in part, by a dropped 3rd strike. His motion, which is a near over-the-top armslot and a motion that makes you think ‘Tim Lincecum’ gave some scouts questions about how well he could command the baseball. That, in addition to his small size (he’s listed at 5’11, 175, and he might not be that) made most teams think of Tyler as a future reliever.

 

From a pure stuff perspective, Thornburg can go head to head with anybody in the Brewers’ system. He features a mid-90s fastball that sits at 92-96 and can touch 98 mph when he elevates it. He’ll throw the fastball to both sides of the plate to either hitter, often works up in the zone with it, and has really begun to throw more quality strikes, especially early in the count. He also has a nice changeup and a hammer curve that allow him to put batters away. He’s not afraid to throw the changeup, and among the top Brewers pitching prospects, his secondary stuff is the most advanced and most MLB ready right now. My only major concerns are his ability to use the breaking ball down and away to induce swings and misses, the fact that he seems homer prone so far in his career, and how well he can hold his velocity throughout starts.

 

If Thornburg does end up as a reliever, he’ll be a complete monster out of the bullpen. That said, the Brewers should let him start, particularly as trades continue to thin out the rotation. Ultimately, I see Thornburg as a mid-rotation guy or a closer in the future, and he’s ready to contribute right now.

 

3. Jean Segura, SS, AA

 

Segura is the prize in the Zack Greinke deal, and fills a desperate need for a SS in the higher levels of the organization. While he’s struggled with injuries throughout his career (a torn hamstring, few broken bones, etc), he’s been healthy this year and has produced in AA before a 1 game major league callup. His line thus far, .294/.346/.404 with 7 HRs and 33 steals, seems like a fairly typical line from a productive SS, and, honestly, that’s what Segura is. He doesn’t walk very much (walks rates between 5.5 and 7.5% or so throughout his career), but he doesn’t strike out much either (K rates between 12 and 14% or so). He has a little pop (7 HRs in 94 games this year) and can steal bases, but isn’t all that efficient at it.

 

Most people expect Segura to hit for average, be productive on the basepaths, get on base alright, and surprise people with some gap power and the occasional home run. The reports vary on his defense. Some scouts question where Segura is a shortstop long term, and while they feel he might be a gold glove second baseman, they aren’t quite sold on his range at SS. For the Brewers to make this trade, they must be, as Rickie Week’s contract entrenches him at 2B for the next 3 years. Ultimately, the Brewers must be looking at Segura as a nearly-MLB ready (let’s be honest, he’s probably the best SS in the organization right now) SS who projects as a 2012 Jimmy Rollins or an Elvis Andrus type player.

 

4. Jimmy Nelson, RHP, AA

 

When the Brewers took Nelson in the 2nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft, most prospect enthusiast (myself included) immediately questioned the pick. Maybe part of it was the prevailing ‘Jeff Suppan’ comparison, which, of course, instantly makes the blood of any Brewer fan boil. Maybe it was the fact that he was a college pitcher from Alabama with fairly middling results and a reportedly low ceiling. Whatever the reason, it was wrong.

 

After really just treading water at A ball last year, Nelson was stuck in prospect limbo. He’s exploded this year in A+ ball, despite being promoted, to the tune of a 2.21 ERA (2.89 FIP). The key to Nelson’s success has been throwing strikes – he’s cut his walk rate from about 4 per 9 to 2.7 per 9 this season, all while striking out nearly a batter per inning and inducing ground balls. After 13 starts, the Brewers had seen enough to know Nelson was ready for the next level, and they gave him a midseason promotion to AA. Nelson had a chance to solidify his stock as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball with a strong showing, but has missed nearly all of the second half and just now is establishing his health.

 

From a scouting perspective, two few things about Nelson stand out - his size on the mound (he has a 6’6, 240-250 pound workhorse frame) and the easy velocity that comes with it. His fastball has always been his best weapon. It is a heavy, mid-90’s pitch that can run or sink. He, like Peralta, has enough velocity to get swings and misses when he elevates and ground balls when he gets movement down in the zone. His pitch grades out at about a 60 on the 20-80 scale, giving him a true plus offering. He compliments his fastball with a good slider that can get two-plane break, allowing him to get strikeouts and swings at balls outside the zone. While the slider has nice movement and can flash 55 to 60, he struggles with consistency (though this is to be expected from a guy 1.5 years out of college). He also can show a changeup, though mostly it is a way to keep lefties honest at this point.

 

Nelson’s ceiling will be determined by his secondary stuff. Does his slider become a true 50 to 55 pitch that he can throw consistently? That means his ceiling is likely a solid mid rotation workhorse. Does his changeup develop to the point that he can consistently throw a 3 pitch mix at any point in the count? He might be a #2. Right now, I’d say he’s more of a #3/4 starter who will be ready sooner rather than later.

 

5. Clint Coulter, C/1B/I don’t know, AZL

 

Coutler, the first of the Brewers 2 first round picks, fits the exact mold of the players the Brewers have built their organization with for the past 10 or so years. He offers tremendous upside with the bat, as his 6’3” 220 pound frame and raw strength give him outstanding power potential and bat speed, but he doesn’t really have a position as of yet. A former two-sport athlete (he was a state champion wrestler), Coutler’s wrestling background gives him tremendous core strength and nice coordination, so, despite his large size, he’s got a 50/50 shot to stay behind the plate (depending on how he grows).

 

After starting out slow, Coulter has demonstrated a dominating approach at the plate, as he is currently sporting a triple slash line of .299/. 425/.439 with an excellent 22/21 BB/K ratio. While the power hasn’t quite shown up (6 XBH’s in 31 games), it will in time. Concerning are the reports of his defense – some teams have started stealing at every opportunity and I do not remember Coulter throwing out a single batter (despite 8 or 10 opportunities in one game – seriously). Further, his past ball rate must be well in excess of 1 per game. It’s been a rough start to his pro career, but his ceiling is still considerable and Coulter has plenty of time to turn it around. The Brewers will have an interesting decision to make regarding Coulter – do they challenge him with full season ball, or curb his development a little bit and stick him in Helena? Personally, I’d love to see them challenge him, but ultimately it is going to depend on how Coulter produces in instructionals.

 

6. Taylor Jungmann, RHP, A+

 

Jungmann, the first Brewers pick last season (12th overall), was generally praised by the scouting community (by not so much by me). A 6’6”, 220 pound righty out of Texas, Jungmann has a great frame and could even put a few more pounds on. He compliments his nice size with a good (50 to 55) fastball that is usually 91 to 93 mph with nice movement. He uses it down in the zone to generate ground balls and weaker contact – think the ‘Dave Duncan way of pitching’.

 

At first glance, this rating might seem low (most prospect guys had him either 1st or 2nd in the Brewers’ preseason prospect lists), and you could definitely argue that he could be as high as number 4. However, there are a few reasons why I’m putting him here:

 

1. Everyone else progressing, a big trade and two nice draft picks. Thornburg and Nelson have taken substantial steps forward, we acquired Jean Segura, Wily Peralta is still eligible, and we took two more guys in the 1st round, one of whom checks in at #5.

 

2. Jungmann’s secondary stuff is really below average. He has a slider and a changeup, but they are each inconsistent and his funky delivery doesn’t give me much hope that they will develop into anything more than below average offerings. The combination of a 55 FB, 40 SL, and 40-45 CH makes him a #4 starter who can induce ground balls, not a potential superstar.

 

3. Jungmann came into the system as a polished pitcher – he racked up a ton of innings as a three year starter at Texas, pitched in the college world series, and had a good deal of college success. Thus far, his time in the FSL hasn’t been the cakewalk some would have thought – his FIP is a nice 3.50, but he is only striking out 5.4 batter per 9 innings. That is the kind of ratio that will catch up to him as he moves up the ladder – Jungmann has to learn to miss bats and get strikeouts.

 

Ultimately, Jungmann’s secondary stuff will determine his upside. Some prospect gurus think he can be a #2 starter. That, to me, is a perfect world projection. If his changeup becomes a weapon that he can use consistently, I think he’s the kind of guy you stick in the middle of a rotation. If not, he’ll always be able to use his fastball to generate grounders.

 

7. John Hellweg, RHP, AA

 

Hellweg was actually one of my favorite prospects in the Angels’ system, so while I don’t love the package we got in return for Greinke, I do love that Hellweg was part of it. A 6’9”, 210 pound righty, Hellweg immediately becomes the hardest throwing starter in the system, with a fastball that routinely touches 97 and can actually touch 100. That’s exciting in and of itself, but even more tantalizing is the fact that his fastball actually has some good run to it. Depending on his ability to keep it down in the zone, it might project as high as a 75 offering in the big leagues. He compliments that with a low-80’s curveball that has good break, and a developing changeup that, at least right now, is more of a show-me offering.

 

Since he became a starter in 2011, Hellweg saw his walk rate drop from over 1 per inning (***) to 5.9 per 9 innings, to 4.5 per 9 innings so far. It’s not uncommon for people of his height to struggle to develop control and take longer to develop, and while some figure it out, most always struggle a little bit with repeating a motion effectively enough to develop requisite command. Hopefully this trending walk rate is evidence that Hellweg can continue to improve his control. Further, while his K rate has plummeted in AA this year, it’s not due to the lack of putaway stuff – rather, Hellweg has had trouble getting to 2 strike counts. Once he gets there, he’s more than able to put hitters way, and if his control continues to improve, he’ll be able to operate ahead of hitters.

 

Ultimately, Hellweg could either end up as a starter or a reliever. If he does start and his command improves to the point where it’s passable, his raw stuff could make him a true #2. Otherwise, he will likely be able to fill out either the back of a rotation, where he will frustrate the hell out of Brewers fans, or the bullpen, where he projects as a ‘good luck you’re gonna need it’ type arm.

 

8. Victor Roache, LF, Unassigned

 

The second highest rated 2012 Brewers draft pick on the list, Roache dropped into the Brewers’ lap after injuries slowed him down his 2012 season after a flat ridiculous 2011 campaign where he put up 30 HRs (the most by a college player in nearly a decade) and did it with wooden bats instead of the metal ones college kids used previously. There will be a prevailing theme in this year’s Brewers picks – one outstanding tool. Roache’s, obviously, is his power. At full strength, Roache has 65 or 70 raw power and translates it well to game situations. In addition, his time in the Cape Cod league forced him to learn to deal with offspeed pitches. As a result, he projects as a middle of the order bat and a potential force to be reckoned with, and that goes double if he can continue to improve his plate discipline.

 

Defensively, Roache is limited to a corner OF or 1B, and likely projects as a below average RF. With a certain guy in left for the foreseeable future, Roache might find his best path to the big leagues at first base. That said, the Brewers are likely going to give him a shot at right and see if he can’t stick there. He has decent defensive tools – he’s not horribly slow (though he’s not a base stealer) and his arm can flash decent from time to time.

 

While Roache has signed already, he’s currently out with a bad break in his wrist that required pins to be inserted. Once healthy, I expect him to spend some time in Wisconsin, but the Brewers may surprise people with an assignment to Brevard County right out of the gate.

 

9. Hunter Morris, 1B, AA

 

I had mentioned a couple of offensive surprising in my intro to these write-ups. Morris is one of them, and almost assuredly the biggest. The Brewers’ 4th round pick in 2010 out of Auburn, Morris has done a fairly good job progressing through the system after being aggressively assigned to low A ball right out of college. He was originally taken in the 2nd round by the Red Sox as an OF, but age and loss of general athleticism have relegated him to 1B, and apparently, he’s not a very good one at that. Fortunately, Morris does have 1 thing going for him – his bat. He has good ability to hit for average and shows very good power off of a 6’3”, 220 pound lefty swing. And this season, he’s had it all come together. After setting the Brevard County record for HRs in a season with 19 (yeah, offense is tough to come by in High A Brevard), Morris already has 21 this year. He’s also triple slashing a very, very nice .309/.364/.557, all which accumulating a whopping 63 extra base hits in 110 games.

 

The major thing keeping Morris down on this list is his position, defense, and, most importantly, his inability to take walks or (to this point in his career) develop a better approach at the plate. He swings at everything and doesn’t walk…well…very much at all. In order for him to improve on his current line and force his way into the Brewers long term plans at 1B, he’ll need to continue to raise his OBP. Otherwise, he projects more as a platoon type player or second division starter who will struggle to crack the everyday lineup for a contending team, or possibly as a power bat off the bench.

 

That said, Morris is only 23 and could move up this list quickly if he can improve his plate discipline and have walk rate climb to the 10 percent range (it currently sits at 7.2% with a 21% strikeout rate to boot). In addition, he’s raised his walk rate significantly from the beginning of the year, so there is reason to be optimistic that he will improve his plate discipline as he ages. If he does so, his potential with the bat would make him an above average 1B.

 

10. Tyrone Taylor, CF, Helena

 

Taylor, the Brewers 2nd round pick out of a California high school, was a two sport star (a great RB in football) who the Crew managed to sign. The early reports were that he’s a toolsy, speedy CF and while he doesn’t offer much power potential, he should play great defense in CF with his speed and arm, steal bases, and provide gap power or lots of singles with his level swing. The major downside was how raw he was, but the upside was fairly impressive and worthy of the pick.

 

Taylor began his career in rookie level Arizona, and through his 1st 10 games he posted a ridiculous .385/.467/.641 line. The Brewers had seen enough and promoted him to Helena, where he is currently sporting a .389/.395/.694 line through 8 games. He’s missed some time with an arm injury, and was assigned to Arizona to rehab it. Provided he can get healthy and continue to perform at a high level, Taylor seems like a good bet to get serious playing time at Low A Wisconsin as a 19 year old next season and could rise up this list really quickly.

 

11. Ariel Pena, RHP, AA

 

Pena is the 3rd piece of the Greinke deal after being signed by the Angels 5 years ago in the Dominican. He’s steadily risen through the minor leagues, and has posted ERAs under 3 the past 2 years with the Angels in High A and AA. He boasts a nice repertoire, including a 92-94 mph sinking fastball, a low to mid-80’s slider and show-me changeup. His stuff projects him as a solid middle of the rotation guy, but he leaves too many pitches up in the zone, leading to a higher home run. This likely pushes him to the back end of the rotation, and while he’s had a good deal of success this year in AA (8.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 2.99 ERA), his HR rate is too high to keep that success up.

 

I expect him to be major league ready by the middle to end of next year, and, depending on how the rest of the rotation shakes out, he might end up at the back end of the rotation starting in 2014.

 

12. Drew Gagnon, RHP, A+

 

Drew Gagnon was the Brewers 3rd round pick out of Long Beach State in the 2011 draft, and generally was considered a solid pick. With a 6’4”, 200 pound frame, he has all the size necessary to eat innings, and his 90-94 mph fastball gives him at least one league average pitch to work with. That said, his fastball doesn’t have much life, even though it can move a little bit, so don’t expect him to miss too many bats with it. Instead, expect him to generate a fair bit of ground balls with it due to downward plane. He compliments that with a changeup, curveball, and slider (though the breaking stuff needs to be more distinct). That 4 pitch mix gives him a chance to start in the big league level, albeit more than likely as a mid-rotation or back end starter.

 

This season, I would say Gagnon has exceeded expectations. His first season at low A has been successful one (2.83 ERA in 14 starts with 7.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 3.37 FIP). He was recently promoted to High A Brevard County, and, has held his own in High A with an ERA and FIP in the low to mid 3’s. That said, we have seen his strikeouts drop and walks rise, so it appears the new level is an appropriate challenge for Drew. If he can continue this through the rest of the year and become more comfortable with High A, he might start 2013 off in AA and could be a big league option as soon as September 2013.

 

For what it’s worth, John Sickels has him somewhere in his top 150 or so, as he had Gagnon (among many other Brewers) as others to watch in his midseason Top 120. I’m not quite as bullish, but do like Gagnon’s frame, think his fastball will get it done, and how he can mix his stuff. It’s clear to me that at this point the Brewers have to be quite happy with how he’s progressed.

 

13. Scooter Gennett, 2B, AA

 

Ryan ‘Scooter’ Gennett is an undersized 2B, who, after being a middle round pick by the Brewers, has impressive scouts with his hit tool – a true 65 on the 20-80. That said, that’s really all he offers. His arm, range, glove, and power all profile around the 40 mark, meaning he’s limited to 2B, won’t be great defensively there, and is limited to the top of the order or the bottom of the order. That said, he’s basically been a .300 hitter every step up the ladder, and is doing it at a reasonably valuable position.

 

I’ve always been fairly low on Scooter, because despite hitting for average, he doesn’t walk enough to give him the OBP to be a really valuable player. That said, he’s continued to hold his own at each level and keeps his strikeouts low enough to post league average offensive numbers. At 22, he’s an appropriate age for the level, and with Rickie Weeks signed for the next few years, Gennett will have a chance to continue to refine his plate approach and work on providing enough OBP to force his way onto a big league roster as an up-the-middle leadoff guy who gets on base at a good clip.

 

14. Mitch Haniger, CF/RF, A

 

Haniger is the Brewers supplemental first round pick in the 2012 draft, and was aggressively assigned to Low A Wisconsin right out of the gate. He held his own with a nice triple slash line of .286/.379/.429. A CF/RF hybrid who likely ends up as a very good RF defender rather than a below average CF, Haniger has two outstanding tools in his arm and potential power ability. After a mediocre sophomore season, Haniger has improved his swing technique and approach simultaneously throughout his college career. He stopped flailing at low and away offspeed stuff and walked 34 times against 32 K’s.

 

His ultimate projection varies, and he will always strike out a little bit, but he has good bat speed, power potential, and very good defense in RF. While his ceiling isn’t much higher than an average regular, the Brewers are hoping he’s more of a Hunter Pence type player (his perfect world projection). A knee injury has derailed the rest of his season, but a potential Arizona Fall League assignment or substantial work in instructionals could have Haniger assigned to High A Brevard County out of the gate in 2013.

 

15. Jed Bradley, LHP, A+

 

It is safe to say that this is not the debut Brewers fans were hoping for Jed Bradley. Our first round pick last year, Bradley was a top 5 pick 6 months from the draft, then fell to 15, where the Brewers happily snagged him with the second of their 2 1st round picks. This was a pick pretty much universally praised by scouts and fans – Bradley had all the tools to be a top of the rotation type starter. He’s a lefty with a 6’4”, 225 pound frame that left no questions about durability. He complimented that with nice mechanics, a solid 3 pitch mix, and not much left to develop in the minors.

 

The reason he was available at 15 was because of his inconsistent stuff. Early in the year, he was 91-94 mph with the fastball, giving him a repertoire similar to Colorado stud Drew Pomeranz. Later in the year, he was 88-91 mph. This season out of the gate, he’s been consistently topping out around the 90 mph mark. This is a substantial concern to me, especially when combined with the lackluster first half. Bradley’s first 3 starters were unbelievable, he didn’t give up an earned run in 18 IP, struck out a ton, didn’t walk many, and looked to be a midseason promotion candidate. Following a groin strain, he hasn’t been the same and his first half performance (5.53 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9) makes me think he might even need to repeat High A Brevard County next year.

 

Bradley needs to start missing bats in order to improve his MLB projection. Right now, he looks like a guy who won’t ever see the big leagues. If he can develop his secondary stuff, get healthy, and maybe get a tick or two of velocity back, he could be a #2 starter. If he doesn’t necessarily do all of that, maybe you’ll see him in the back end. But I think Brewers fans need to brace themselves for what is quickly becoming the most likely scenario - he’ll need to battle to make the big leagues. While it’s not quite time to panic, I’m very, very concerned.

 

16. Orlando Arcia, SS, Helena (out for the year)

 

Arcia is the gem of the Brewers’ new Dominican facility. As a 16 year old SS, he dominated the DSL, demonstrating an advanced approach (more walks than strikeouts), surprising power, good power, and ability to hit for average. In addition, scouting reports praise his tools as average to above average nearly across the board and can stick at SS provided he doesn’t get too much bigger.

 

The Brewers believe in Arcia as much as I do, and they showed it by assigning him to Helena as a 17 year old (Helena is typically reserved for mostly college draft signees). That said, Arcia won’t be delivering in rookie ball this season – he suffered a bad break in his leg and is out for the year. Hopefully he can come back in time for fall instructionals and get enough experience to get some time at Low A Wisconsin next season. If not, he still profiles as quite young for Helena, and, like all prospects, will create his own big league timetable depending on how he performs.

 

17. Fautino de Los Santos, RHP, AAA

 

de Los Santos, the return from the George Kottaras deal, is a pretty simple scouting report. He has unbelievable stuff, including an upper-90’s fastball that moves and a wicked slider. That said, he has pretty much no idea where it’s going, and struggles to consistently throw strikes (much less good ones). That said, he’s in AAA right now and projects to help the Brewers bullpen fairly quickly.

 

Originally groomed as a starter by the White Sox, and a key piece in the Nick Swisher deal, de Los Santos has dealt with injury and never quite progressed like scouts envisioned. If the Brewers improve his control, he projects as a true closer out of the bullpen. Provided it’s even serviceable, his raw stuff still makes him a late inning type reliever. Considering he’s under team control for a whopping 6 years, I’d say the Brewers made out well for Kottaras – a nearly big-league ready reliever with substantial upside. Hopefully the staff can tweak him mechanically a little bit, and maybe simplify his delivery, in order to push along his development.

 

18. Michael Reed, CF, A+

 

A 5th rounder whom the Brewers lured away from Arkansas, Reed was a toolsy CF out of a Texas high school, with true 60 speed, potential defense, and arm. That said, scouts were divided on how well he could hit – some saw a potential 1st round talent and others saw a middle round type guy. Thus far in his minor league career, Reed has done a nice job, though he still has work to do.

 

Reed started his career in Arizona last year, where he had middling results. That said, the Brewers clearly saw something in him that they liked, giving him a much longer look than other young players in extended spring training. Reed was brought back to instructionals, and most assumed he would be assigned to Helena. That’s when it gets weird.

 

People following the box scores did a collective ‘huh?’ starting a while ago when Reed started appearing in AA Hunstville box scores. Apparently, the Brewers wanted to give him some extra experience prior to Helena, and a vacancy in Huntsville provided the opportunity. Once that was filled, Reed was, as expected, demoted to High A Brevard County. That’s when it goes from weird to SAY WAT – Reed crushed it in High A. In his 11 Brevard County games, he OBP’d .425 with 3 steals and an outrageous 8/8 K/BB. Small sample size, yes, but his approach at the plate has been absolutely outstanding and he’s doing this probably 2 levels ahead of where he should be.

 

The Brewers moved Reed down to Helena (despite moving mega-sac bunter Lance Roenicke up to A ball – 1 guess says you know why), and Reed has continued to demonstrate an excellent approach at the plate. It remains to be seen where he ends up, by I think he is a candidate to join Wisconsin next year in what appears to be a very talented OF (Haniger, Roache, Taylor, and Reed all may be competing for spots!).

 

19. Logan Schafer, CF, AAA

 

Logan Schafer is among the safest bets in the organization; we pretty much know exactly what he is at this point. A good defensive CF, he should be fine to handle any spot in the OF at the big league level. Further, he should hit for decent average and walk a little bit. That’s about where the good ends, however. Schafer projects as a platoon player or 4th outfielder at the big league level, where most of his value will come from his ability as a defensive replacement and situational type player.

 

This season has been a down year for Schafer so far, with his walk rate down in AAA and his strikeout rate up. In order for him to force his way onto a big league roster that has Carlos Gomez, Nyjer Morgan, and Nori Aoki as potential CF options, Schafer needs to demonstrate complete mastery of the strike zone in AAA. At 26, there isn’t too much room for improvement, but Schafer should still be a valuable bench piece. Morgan, of course, has done Schafer a huge favor by essentially making himself a non-tender candidate at the end of the season, and I expect the Brewers to try and knock about $1.5 M off their payroll by making Schafer the 5th OFer this next season.

 

20. Chris McFarland, 2B/SS, Helena

 

McFarland was a late round signing for Milwaukee who was drafted despite a strong commitment to Rice. The Brewers pried him away from the Owls with a $400k+ offer (give or take – 4th round money) and he took it. Since he was a late signee, his first pro action has been in Helena, where thusfar he’s played 2B and hit the living crap out of the ball with a triple slash line of .297/.362/.383. With a K% of nearly 27%, it won’t be sustainable until he learns to lay off of the nasty stuff and gets more used to the pro arms, but this was quite a jump for a high school kid and McFarland has adjusted well in a small sample.

 

Tools wise, he likely could stick at SS (which makes me wonder why the Crew are trying him at 2B – his arm is plenty strong enough for the left side). At either CF or 2B, he projects as a potential stud. In addition, he has nice, strong wrists and good contact ability, with the type of wirey strength that makes you wonder if he couldn’t hit 15 or 20 HRs in a peak year. Obviously he’s raw, but the skillset is there and the early results are promising.

 

21. Zach Quintana, RHP, Arizona

 

Quintana was the Brewers’ 3rd round pick this year. The high school righty might have been a surprise pick to some because the Brewers place such a premium on size (Gord Ash has said they prefer pitchers 6’2” or higher) and Quintana is only 6 foot. That said, you can’t deny his stuff – Quintana was in the high 80’s and low 90’s early in the year, but as the year went on he managed to move into the 92-96 mph range. He compliments this with a changeup that has decent feel and nice action, as well as a looping mid-70’s curveball.

 

Zach has missed bats in his first taste of pro ball, with 8.4 K/9, but has walked too many to be successful (5.1 BB/9). Overall, his FIP is a solid 3.50, but his ERA is a terrible 5.74. Hopefully, he can continue to get more comfortable with the Arizona league and prepare for a stint in Helena next year.

 

22. Jorge Lopez, RHP, DSL

 

The Brewers second rounder out of Puerto Rico, Lopez was ranked 35th on the Baseball America top 100 draft projects as a RHP out of Puerto Rico. Draft followers loved the pick, because of the raw package of tools he had, but it remained to be seen whether he would translate the tools into on-field success. As of last draft, he was about 88-91 mph with the fastball, though his fastball grades out higher than that since it has a great deal of run and sink. He complimented that with a curveball that he had feel for (and could throw for strikes) and a changeup that still was rough around the edges. That, in and of itself, is not overly impressive. Where Lopez begins to shine is his projection – that stuff came from a 6’4”, 165 pound (dripping wet) frame with a tremendously easy motion. Lopez is an absolutely fantastic raw athlete – he was the best volleyball prospect in Puerto Rico in addition to the best baseball prospect. I haven’t seen any reports on his updated velocity, but the Brewers certainly got him in the weight room over the winter.

 

It’s been a really rough 2012 for Lopez – I really expected him to take that next step to Helena and showcase his stuff. Instead, he’s done the exact opposite. Arizona league hitters ended up hitting him around and the Brewers responded by demoting him to the DSL. He’s not getting tons of strikeouts, he’s walking more than last year, and his ERA/FIP (5.3/4.3) don’t jive with a former highly drafted player repeating rookie ball/the DSL at 19. Since he’s a substantial project, the Brewers are going to take it quite slow with him, but people should be concerned. Don’t give up on him yet, however, because the potential is there.

 

23. Damien Magnifico, RHP, Helena

 

Magnifico was the Brewers’ 5th round pick, and he was taken there for 1 reason and 1 reason only – velocity. The hardest pure thrower in the draft, Magnifico has been clocked at 103 mph and has hit 100 mph in basically every outing. That alone makes him worthy of the pick. The reason he wasn’t taken higher is because his offspeed stuff is virtually non-existent, his college results were fairly poor, and he has a little injury history. This should remind Brewer prospect-nuts of David Goforth, which makes me wonder if the Brewers will try the 6’2”, 200 pounder out as a starter.

 

Personally, I think both he and Goforth should be moved to the bullpen, allowed to rear-back and let it fly, and make the big leagues quickly by developing fringe average sliders and cutters. If that was the case, they’d project as potentially elite arms. If not, it remains to be seen how Damien will adjust to pro ball (though the early returns on Goforth are really disappointing).

 

24. Mark Rogers, RHP, AAA

 

We all know about Rogers at this point – a former top 5 pick who has had virtually every injury and yet is still pitching, Rogers came back from a banned substance suspension and struggled early in the year. As the year has gone on, the reports of his stuff have gotten better – recently I’ve heard he’s touched 97 mph frequently. His last minor start served as a reminder of his talent, as he threw a beautiful 7 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 7 K performance while facing only 2 batters over the minimum with only about 75 pitches. He’s made 2 big league starts after that, and has produced a solid 3.2 xFIP with 10.1 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9, though his ERA is ugly in a small sample.

 

The ultimate projection on Rogers at this point has to be a reliever – he’s been injured so often that it is simply unrealistic to expect him to ever be able to throw 200 IP in a year. However, out of the bullpen Rogers projects as a ‘good luck hit it if you can’ reliever. His command issues won’t be as big a deal, his velocity will likely tick up to consistently flirting with 100, and the fact that he has a 4-pitch mix means he’d be able to keep any hitter off balance. Hopefully the Brewers see the light and promote Rogers quickly to get as much mileage out of his arm as possible.

 

25. Cameron Garfield, C, A

 

Garfield might seem like he’s been around forever, as he was the Brewers’ 2nd round pick in 2009, but he’s still only 21 (and just barely, as he sipped his first beer about 6 weeks ago). A very good catcher who will have no problem sticking behind the plate (and could excel there, for that matter) so really any offensive production from him feels like a huge bonus. After a knee injury essentially cost Garfield his 2011 season, he recently made his debut in full season ball for Low A Wisconsin. The early results have been outstanding, as in 45 games he’s hit .261/.358/.464 with an 10.8% BB rate to go with a 17.6% K rate, and even a little power sprinkled in (6 HRs, 13 2Bs).

 

It’s good to see Garfield back on track to contribute – while I (and the Brewers) never gave up on him, he was splitting time with Tyler Roberts in Helena, constantly injured, and never OBPd .300 in a significant sample. Hopefully this offensive surge is real, because if Garfield can get on base consistently, he could be the latest under-the-radar catcher the Brewers have developed.

 

26. Nic Bucci, RHP, AA or High A (just started playing this year)

 

Bucci has really tumbled down the list this year, because he’s essentially missed the entire season with “biceps tendonitis” (originally, but I’ll bet the house it was a shoulder injury). A mid-round pick back in 2008, Bucci had steadily advanced up the ladder each season, despite being young for each level (he would have been 21 this season in AA and on track for a potential big league callup at 22 or 23). Not only that, but his stuff took a significant turn for the better last season, often sitting in the low-90s instead of the high 80’s.

 

Now that he’s healthy, he should be able to rise up this list. What’s going to be critical is seeing how his stuff looks – is he back to 2011 Bucci or is he more like the high-80’s version we saw previously? In addition, I’ll be interested in seeing when Bucci makes it back to AA. The Greinke trade has crowded the rotation a little bit, but I don’t see Josh Stinson exactly getting in his way. His first rehab start in High A was excellent, 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Hopefully he keeps it up and puts himself back on track for a young-20’s MLB callup. Depending on his stuff, he may have a chance at being a mid to back end rotation starter.

 

27. Yadiel Rivera, SS, A

 

Rivera was the Brewers’ 7th round pick out of Peurto Rico in 2010. The pick was praised because, despite his size, he’s an outstanding defensive SS capable of making the spectacular play and making the routine play look easy. He fell to the Brewers because his offensive ability was called into question. After spending two years in rookie ball, Rivera has finally stuck in full season A ball as a 20 year old, keeping him at an age-appropriate level despite being so raw.

 

As for his specific performance, Rivera has hit for a meh .222/.269/.389 triple slash line, but shown impressive power (11 HRs, 35 XBHs) which keeps people interested because the upside is tremendous. While his current BB% and K% are an abysmal 5.7 and 23.3, respectively, they are actually each career bests (seriously). Optimally, Rivera will continue to refine his approach as he moves up the ladder, causing his average and OBP to slowly climb to more respectable levels. We’ll see how he develops, but in the meantime, he’s an intriguing player who, even if he just maintains his current skillset, could be a defensive replacement with pop off the bench.

 

28. Cody Scarpetta, RHP, AA (out for the year)

 

Scarpetta was a draft and follow from 2007 who has seen his career take a serious detour pending Tommy John surgery after a significant finger injury also derailed his progress for a long time earlier in his career. The first injury allowed the Brewers to get a 4th option to send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers, and hopefully this injury gives the Brewers a 5th option, as Scarpetta would almost certainly be picked up by another team and used as a reliever.

 

His ultimate projection is more up in the air following his surgery. He’s always has his struggles with command (and control), typically walking around 4 per 9. That said, his stuff is nothing to fool around with, he boasted the best curveball in the system before his surgery and had a mid-90’s fastball to compliment it. The Brewers tried letting him start for a long time, most recently having some success in AA in 2011. Now it appears that they are out of time before exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft and waivers, so this might finally be the last straw that makes him a reliever, where his raw stuff will make him profile as a late inning guy who misses bats like crazy.

 

29. Tyler Wagner, RHP, Helena

 

A 6’3”, 200 pounder from Utah, Wagner has 2 things going for him – a fastball that touches 95 mph and a plus slider. The reason that he was available in the 4th round was because there are legitimate questions as to whether he will be a starter in the big leagues – in fact currently the Brewers are using him in 4 inning stints. Ultimately, I think he’s a reliever, and his raw stuff means that with any semblance of command, he could be a decent closer or a very good set up man.

 

Wagner’s pro debut hasn’t gone smoothly, as he’s struggled tremendously to keep guys stranded on the basepaths (39% left on base) and given up too many home runs (more than 1.1 HR/9), leading to a 7.6 ERA. That said, he has missed some bats (7.2 K/9) and reports on his stuff have been fairly good. Hopefully the Brewers see the light with Wagner more quickly than they have with Goforth and let him move to the bullpen.

 

30. Brooks Hall, RHP, A+

 

Brooks Hall was a 4th rounder back in 2009 who was praised for great raw stuff (most notably a mid to high-90’s fastball), but has yet to see that stuff translate to pro ball. While he’s steadily made his way through the minors, he’s doing so while throwing more 87-91 and not missing bats enough to be successful. While he’s managed to keep his head above water, I’m predicting a Kyle Heckathorn style blowup in AA (and, quite honestly, his current 5.0 FIP doesn’t inspire confidence anyway).

 

I think a trip to the bullpen is in order at some point, as Hall doesn’t seem to have the ability to miss bats when going 6 IP at a time. Hopefully, a bullpen move will get him more to the 90-93 mph range, where his ability to get ground balls and 3-pitch mix (slider and changeup, if you were wondering) should make him at least a marginally useful bullpen arm.

 

31. Hiram Burgos, RHP, AAA

 

Burgos is certainly an interesting prospect – he might be the most controversial ranking here (if people actually care 30 prospects deep). Unquestionably, he’s had the most impressive statistical year of any Brewer pitcher, farmhand or otherwise. He’s thrown about 110 IP with ERAs of 0.87 and 1.84 between High A and AA (with FIPs of 2.04 and 2.91). He’s striking out nearly a batter per inning and walking about 2 per 9. Quite impressive all the way around. His first two starts in AAA haven’t been great, but, given the rest of his season and the fact that this is his second promotion of the season, it’s fair to throw Burgos a mulligan.

 

This might make people mad, but, frankly, he’s not that good a prospect. He doesn’t have much in the way of velocity, he’s already 24, and while his 3 pitch mix keeps hitters off balance, he shouldn’t be counted on as more than a long man. Now, you might ask, “Why was Mike Fiers ranked so much more highly? He doesn’t have big velo either.” Legitimate question. There are 2 major differences between Fiers and Burgos. First is consistency. Fiers ate the minors alive at every single level, never stumbling once. Burgos has broken out, yes, but his ERAs at other levels (> 50 IP) are 5.62, 4.48, and 4.89. This is not a dominating guy, and as a result, this season feels more flukish. The second is deception. Fiers has a great cutter off a funky delivery that makes 87 feel more like 91 to the hitter. Burgos has neither of these things, and his more traditional repertoire is going to make it tougher for him to adjust to higher levels. Obviously, he will rise if he continues this performance, but until he does at the AAA level, I’m wary of him as anything more than a ‘someone got hurt so we need an arm’ starter.

 

32. Santo Manzanillo, RHP, AA

 

Santo broke out in a big way last year, finally harnessing his huge stuff and getting some outstanding results out of the bullpen. Then came the offseason, in which he got in a serious car accident and ended up needing substantial physical therapy. This season has also been less than stellar for Santo, as he’s seen his ERA and FIP each hover around 6 based on poor command and an unusual number of long balls.

 

Manzanillo is going to get tons of breaks and the Brewers are going to be incredibly patient with his development because he has outrageously good stuff. It all starts with a wicked fastball that can be anywhere from 96-100 mph, has tons of life, and is generally just beastly. He adds a really nice high-80’s slider with 2 plane brake that projects to miss tons of bats at the MLB level. Until he gets his command under control, and potentially his health, he’ll likely toil around in the high minors. If he ever does start throwing quality strikes, he projects as a top shelf relief arm.

 

33. Khris Davis, OF/1B, AA

 

I’m still not buying it. Davis is probably someone you expected higher on this list if you follow the minors on your own. While this season has been cut short by injury, his 51 pro games between AA and AAA have been dominant, posting a net average over .360, a net OBP over .460, and a slugging percentage around .630. The walk rate is outstanding and he’s not striking ut too much, but the scouting reports don’t lie. Davis is a 6’0, 195 pound LF/1B who is 24 now and will be 25 come December. While that puts him on track for a big league career starting at about 25 or maybe 26, that’s far from the norm. In addition, his swing is reportedly long and scouts expect him to struggle as he moves closer to big league pitching. A right handed option off the bench? Seems like a decent bet. A pinch-starter if someone goes down with an injury? Works for me. Much more? Doubt it.

 

34. Caleb Gindl, RF, AAA

 

Gindl’s 2012 season has been a complete disaster so far, and honestly I don’t know why. Thus far, his walk rate is down 4%, his K rate is up nearly 3%, he’s hitting 70 points lower, OBPing 90 points lower (!!!), and slugging 90 points lower despite repeating a level. That is a substantial problem, especially for a guy who’s height (5’9”) and position (RF) means he needs to barrel down the doors to make the big leagues. With the Brewers deep in the OF and his limited positional flexibility, Gindl has even more of a raw deal than Schafer does among the “OFers who could be bench players but need to step it up” club in Nashville.

 

When Gindl is on, he can hit for some surprising pop, he has a nice arm and range in RF, and he is a patient hitter at the plate who might OBP more than you’d think. But he needs to regain that form before he can make the next level. I expect him to be in the running to make the Brewers’ bench in 2013, but I don’t expect much more than that.

 

35. Edgardo Rivera, CF, AZL

 

Rivera was the Brewers 8th round pick this year and an overslot signing not too long ago. The Puerto Rican speedster was essentially an unknown going into the season, but dazzled scouts with a ridiculous 6.3 second 60. This prompted him to shoot up draft boards, making it into BA’s top 200 draft prospects. He’s outrageously raw with notable mechanical flaws in his swing, but, despite that, his ceiling is impressive. He has good natural contact ability, decent enough wrists, and *** speed that makes me optimistic he can hit doubles. He has great range in the OF and a good enough arm to be a very good defensive CF.

 

Obviously, he’s a project. But his first 16 games in rookie ball have been impressive, as he has 13 walks and 13 strikeouts in 73 PA’s to go along with a nearly .300 batting average and 5 steals (0 caught stealings too). We’ll see how he continues to perform in rookie ball, but whenever a raw player starts off hot, and especially when they demonstrate a more advanced skillset (in this case the walks) than you expected, you have to be cautiously optimistic. At this point, he’s not much more than a name to stash away, but is still someone worth keeping an eye on due to his massive ceiling and quick start.

 

36. Alan Williams, LHP, A

 

Alan Williams has been one of the more under-the-radar signings the Brewers have picked up in years, and the early results have been quite good. Signed out of Independent ball, Williams is a 6’3” lefty with low 90’s gas and a nice breaking ball out of the bullpen. He started off in A ball last season, where he struck out 21 in 18 IP of 3.3 ERA ball. This season, he moved to High A Brevard County, where he’s K’d 27 in 24.2 IP with a 2.55 ERA. At 22, he’s fairly young and should be able to miss bats. While I haven’t been able to find much on whether he’s more of a LOOGY down the line, currently the Brewers are using him against both lefties and righties, making me think he’s more of a traditional reliever. A really nice find by Milwaukee and potentially an under-the-radar bullpen arm down the line for us.

 

37. David Goforth, RHP, A

 

David Goforth was the Brewers’ 7th round pick last year, and was generally praised (he was in Keith Law and BA’s top 200 available draft prospects) by the scouting community. While he was a college senior who is undersized (6 foot even) and didn’t have much secondary stuff, he did have a 100 mph fastball and a low 90’s cut fastball that he could control fairly well. Most scouts thought the Brewers would teach him a slider, stick him in the 9th inning, and let him throw. They didn’t, and, quite frankly, of all of the puzzling prospect decisions they have made, this one might make the least sense.

 

Goforth is currently starting in low A. He still doesn’t have too much secondary stuff, but now his fastball is of the less exciting low 90’s variety as he focuses on getting ground balls. He’s not missing bats (5.2 K/9), not showing great control (3.6 BB/9) and has allowed a good deal of home runs, all adding up to his ERA and FIP each around 4.6. Maybe this is a way to force him to learn how to pitch and a change to the ‘pen is imminent, but isn’t that what instructionals are for?

 

38. Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, AA

 

Heckathorn is the Brooks Hall before there was Brooks Hall – had great stuff in college (he hails from Kennesaw State (impress your friends, pitch up chicks (bitties love Kennesaw State))) but it magically disappeared the second he entered pro ball. Nevertheless, Heckathorn has climbed the ladder and this season has shown some improvement in AA after repeating the level. More interesting, the Brewers have recently begun using him out of the bullpen.

 

Heckathorn is at about 90 mph right now with his fastball and compliments that with a nice changeup, decent breaking ball, and fairly good control of 3 pitches. Hopefully this move helps him regain some of his lost velocity, as if he was able to touch 95 mph on a fairly regular basis, he would be a very useful bullpen arm, especially because he has 3 pitches and can use them in different counts.

 

39. Jose Pena, OF, AZL

 

Pena, a former $400k signing out of the Dominican Republic, has finally made the trip stateside after 2 fairly mediocre years in the DSL. This year, he’s shown some substantial improvement, triple slashing a robust .317/.377/.554 with 18 XBHs in 34 games (including a whopping 6 triples already). That’s certainly exciting, as the Brewers brought in Pena based on his bat, which offered contact ability an power. A guy who likely ends up in RF, I’ll be interested in where the Brewers take Jose moving forward. At 19, he’s a guy I’d like to see accelerate through the program fairly quickly, and somehow see some time in Wisconsin as a 20 year old. That said, given the fact that he spent 2 years in the DSL and was signed as a 17 year old, it might just be too much too soon. For now, the Brewers seem content to let him mash, and, let’s be honest, that’s an AZL team that is starving for good hitters.

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40. Tommy Toledo, RHP, A+

 

Toledo was a mid-round pick of Milwaukee last year out of Florida, where, despite being a 3rd round pick out of high school, he was pushed out of the everyday rotation due to Tommy John Surgery and really nice recruiting classes. He was still fairly raw for a college kid, but at 6’3”, 190, had a loose, live arm with a fastball that can touch 95 mph and a fairly solid breaking ball. The Brewers took him exclusively as a reliever, and after starting the year off in Low A and pitching quite well (a sub-2.00 ERA), Toledo earned the promotion to High A Brevard County.

 

While he doesn’t boast the top shelf stuff of the relievers above him, Toledo definitely could be a reliable bullpen arm (albeit, probably not a closer or set up guy). More to the point, this midseason promotion is indicative of how quickly he could reach the big leagues. I expect Toledo to start the next season in AA and potentially to see big league action by as soon as the end of next year.

 

41. Angel Ortega, SS, Arizona

 

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar, but Angel Ortega was the Brewers 6th round draft pick out of Puerto Rico. A wiry, 6’2” true SS with a nose for the spectacular play, Ortega shouldn’t have any trouble sticking at short. He has a nice arm, good hands, good balance, and smooth action. What needs work is his offense – while his frame and surprisingly strong wrists provide tantalizing power potential, Ortega is raw and will need a great deal of time to refine his approach at the plate, work on his contact skills, and showcase his power in game.

 

No, this report wasn’t from Yadiel Rivera. That is the report on Angel Ortega, who has boom-or-bust written all over him. So far, he’s kept the strikeouts to a minimum in order to keep his head above water in the AZL league, but hasn’t done much of anything else. Keep an eye on him. If he starts hitting, start drooling.

 

42. Max Walla, RF, A

 

Walla was one of my favorite draft prospects when he first came on to the scene in 2009. A 2nd rounder out of New Mexico, Walla showed absolutely ridiculous power as a prep bat to go with decent enough defense in right, a good arm, some contact ability, and enough upside to convince the Brewers to pay him. They did and expectations were high all around. For whatever reason, things just haven’t really gone to plan. Walla struck out over 35% of the time each of his first 2 pro seasons in rookie ball, all while hitting a total of 4 HRs in 86 games over 2 years. While the K’s are now under control (relatively speaking) and the walks are up (12% this year in A ball), Walla still has yet to show the type of slugging ability that made him a high draft pick. At 5’11”, 200 pounds, you might not expect it, but he’s built like a truck and the fact that the in-game power isn’t there is quite frustrating. While I don’t have his current line of .238/.335/.343, I don’t love it from a 21 year old going on pro season number 4. If the power shows up as he climbs the ladder, he might have a shot as an interesting complimentary OF/bench player. For now, I’m not so optimistic.

 

43. Eric Arnett, RHP, A+

 

Everyone’s favorite prospect, Arnett still has the ability to potentially contribute to the big league ballclub, but it won’t be as the impact starter we imagined when the Brewers made him a 1st round pick out of Indiana. But what if I told you his career seems to be on track with a move to the bullpen? This year as a reliever, Arnett has appeared in 28 games (47.2 IP, so not exclusively a 1 IP guy yet), struck out more than a batter per inning, and, until fairly recently, was walking around 3 per nine. Considering this was a guy who couldn’t get past rookie ball and be effective, this is a miracle.

 

While reports of his stuff vary crazily year to year, Arnett the reliever sports a slider, splitter, and low 90’s fastball. That type of repertoire is enough to be a big leaguer, and while I think his fastball will always be hittable, if he can use his secondary stuff to keep hitters off balance, and maybe even learn to pitch a little bit backwards, he could be a 7th inning type guy.

 

44. Sthervin Matos, 3B, Arizona

 

Matos was a key contributer as a 16 year old to the Brewers DSL squad, and recently got the call stateside. While we don’t know much about him at this point, we do know he has a grade 80 name, he walks a ton (12.3% DSL, 13.9% Arizona), has some stolen base ability, and doesn’t appear to have power at the moment. That said, the Brewers don’t call over stateside kids very often, and he’s a BABIP boost away from being a solid contributor as a 17 year old. We may have a winner here, but it’s too soon to know.

 

For what it’s worth, we haven’t seen him in a game for a long time, and I don’t have any update regarding his status. While he’s only 17, so time isn’t of the essence, the more stateside ABs Matos gets, the sooner we know what, if anything, he could mean for the Brewers’ club.

 

45. Joel Dicent, RHP, Arizona

 

Dicent was a nice under-the-radar find for Milwaukee out of Latin America. While he isn’t especially young (nearly 21 already and in Arizona), he got a late start to his pro career and has the tools to succeed. Specifically, he’s got a nice 6’3” frame with a solid 91-95 mph fastball and developing secondary stuff. The Brewers called him up to the states this offseason, and while the transition has been less than smooth for him thus far, as long as he can touch the mid 90’s, he’ll get consideration to be a part of the big league club. For him to take the next step, he needs to improve his control.

 

46. Kentrail Davis, RF, AA

 

Some of us might still hold out hope for Kentrail, but for me I think his ability to contribute as a big leaguer is all but a pipe dream. A former 1st rounder out of Tennessee, Davis was praised for his bat, scouts thought he might have pop, and wondered if he might even be able to play a big league CF. They were wrong on all 3 counts. Right now Davis is batting .268, his ISO is .125, and he’s striking out 25% of the time. That simply doesn’t add up to a big league corner outfielder.

 

If the pop shows up, awesome. If not, he’s patient enough at the plate to maybe warrant a 5th OFer role in an emergency, especially if the Brewers think he can survive in CF for an inning or two at a time. But the idea that he’s an impact player seems long gone.

 

47. Alex Lavandero, RHP, Arizona

 

Alex or Alejandro, whatever he goes by, was the Brewers 9th round pick and is mostly an intriguing HS arm to watch out for at this point. He’s 6’3” or 6’4”, about 180 pounds with a fastball that is 89 to 92 right now. That said, apparently he has a few mechanical flaws (he drops his release point once in a while and has a short stride) which make you wonder If he doesn’t have 91-95 in him. While his first 8 pro ball innings haven’t gone well (ERA of 17), I think the Brewers might have seen a project with upside once the necessary tweaks are made.

 

48. David Otterman, LHP, Helena

 

Otterman is everything the Brewers love – he’s a big (6’3”, 210 pound), lefthanded, and Canadian without premium velocity. Seriously, it’s every Brewers farmhand stereotype in one. Anywho, he’s from the University of British-Columbia, and based on the competition and coaching level, he’s a bit more raw than you’d expect a college pitcher to be. That said, right now he’s about 88-91 with the fastball, throws a slider, change and curve (the slider’s all right, the others aren’t anything to write home about) and might pan out of he’s got another tick or two of velocity in his arm. If not, since his slider is a nice offering, he could definitely work as a LOOGY if that’s a route the Brewers are interested in taking him.

 

49. Ruben Ozuna, CF, Helena

 

The stateside adventure for Ruben Ozuna been a fairly mixed bag, and as a result he’s in danger of not seeing his name on this list (which he definitely reads). His 1st 28 games in the Pioneer league have resulted in a solid, but not elite .283/.327/.424 triple slash line. That said, this was his second stint in Helena and he’s 20 years old in his 3rd pro season. Hopefully Ozuna can move quickly, and it’s nice to see that he is on pace for full season ball, but he might get crowded out due to the emergence of other players ranked higher on this list. Ultimately, there is some upside here, as he is a true CF defensively and has a little bit of upside with the bat. The Brewers don’t call over Latin American players in bunches, so they clearly like him, and solely because of that, I’ll keep my eye on him.

 

50. Gian Rizzo, LHP, DSL

 

Unlike most of the immediately preceding write-ups, Rizzo hasn’t been a statistical flop and isn’t a raw guy with little-to-no pro success. In fact, he’s been the exact opposite of that his entire. An 18 year old lefty in the DSL, Rizzo has dominated his entire career there. He made 10 starts (64 IP) last season with 9.4 K/9, 2.0 BB.9, while allowing 1 HR for a 1.82 ERA and a FIP to match. This season? 9.9 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0 HRs, a 0.47 ERA and 1.56 FIP in 33 IP.

 

Why isn’t he stateside yet? Is he a craft lefty without the velocity necessary to get hitters out in the US? A promotion is really the thing that can do the most for his stock right now, because those type of numbers don’t just warrant a promotion, they make you wonder why he isn’t promoted already.

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you've done a good job here...tremendous amount of work...i think you are giving this years draft picks too much credit and bashing some guys who are higher up the chain for no clear reason....i understand thinking some people overate Khris Davis...but 33rd...behind people like Tyler Wagner? that's a bit extreme...Wagner is 4-5 years from AAA and Kris Davis could easily be with the Brewers next week...i understand projection over what we've currently got, but you can take it too far
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you've done a good job here...tremendous amount of work...i think you are giving this years draft picks too much credit and bashing some guys who are higher up the chain for no clear reason....i understand thinking some people overate Khris Davis...but 33rd...behind people like Tyler Wagner? that's a bit extreme...Wagner is 4-5 years from AAA and Kris Davis could easily be with the Brewers next week...i understand projection over what we've currently got, but you can take it too far
Khris Davis could be with the Brewers next week, but will he do anything of note if he was up? The answer to that is clearly no.

 

Wagner's stuff gives him a late inning reliever ceiling, and Brewer fans have found out how valuable that is this season. Khris Davis, on a good team, doesn't get more than 50 PA's a year in his prime. He's hitting well in the minor leagues, but he's nothing more than a bench bat or a platoon type guy (on a bad team). Give me the guy who might never make it, but could be impactful if he does.

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Phenomenal write-up. Very enjoyable read. I will re-read it numerous times. Great resource. I think we are a one more good draft away from having an upper echelon farm system again. With us heading for a top 10 draft pick next year, maybe this time next year, we will have a great system again.

 

Just some random thoughts:

 

1. I hope at the end day that our teenage brigade of Coulter, Arcia, and Tyrone Taylor end up being in the the top 5 someday. I know Arcia is hurt so you slotted him appropriately, but these three have so much potential and upside, that hopefully they can grow together. Maybe someday we will look back at this list and say that those are the three that ended up as the biggest studs.

 

2. I wonder if Coulter can ever play 3rd? That, along with closer, are spots where I don't like our prospects. It would be nice if Coulter could become a Mike Olt type of prospect. If not him, somebody.

 

3. I hope I am wrong, but I think Peralta and Nelson are too high on your list. Peralta is pitching better of late, but his production overall just doesn't warrant this high of a slot IMO. Love Nelson's size and that he got his BB rate down. But, I think 4th is rather optimistic.

 

4. I like the Jungmann, Hellwig, and Pena rankings. Three guys I am high on. I wonder if Jungmann is a back of the rotation guy eventually. Hellwig may have higher upside in my mind. I see Pena as a Jose Veras type 7th inning guy.

 

5. Khris Davis seems awfully low considering how he just flat out hits.

 

6. I hope some good relievers come out of this. I liked Manzanillo, and hopefully he will really recover all the way from the accident. Magnifico, de los Santos, and Wagner are also possibilities (along with the aforementioned Pena). But overall, this seems like an area where we need really good coaching. Melvin has been trying to get some power arms so hopefully we can get an upgraded bullpen like some of our division rivals.

 

7. I like how low you put guys like Logan Schafer, Gindl, Heckathorn, etc. These were hotshot prospects a couple of years ago, but it shows the uncertainty of prospects since their ceilings ended up so low. I like Shafer's glove, but he just seems like a backup.

 

8. I'm not sure Gennett is really a front line major league starter. I think he projects as a marginal slap hitter. I'm not all that excited about him.

 

9. Interesting that you didn't totally throw Arnett under the bus. I had totally written him off and I hope you are right that maybe he could become a Kam Loe type guy.

 

10. I'm high on Thornburgh. If he gets his HR rate down, this guy can be a solid number 3 starter. I don't see reliever in his makeup but I could be wrong. I just see a classic solid starter.

 

Overall, I liked your work here, and this was a tremendous read.

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Phenomenal write-up. Very enjoyable read. I will re-read it numerous times. Great resource. I think we are a one more good draft away from having an upper echelon farm system again. With us heading for a top 10 draft pick next year, maybe this time next year, we will have a great system again.
Thanks a bunch!

 

Just some random thoughts:

 

1. I hope at the end day that our teenage brigade of Coulter, Arcia, and Tyrone Taylor end up being in the the top 5 someday. I know Arcia is hurt so you slotted him appropriately, but these three have so much potential and upside, that hopefully they can grow together. Maybe someday we will look back at this list and say that those are the three that ended up as the biggest studs.

 

2. I wonder if Coulter can ever play 3rd? That, along with closer, are spots where I don't like our prospects. It would be nice if Coulter could become a Mike Olt type of prospect. If not him, somebody.

Me too. I think I ranked Coulter and Taylor aggressively on this list because of how much potential they have. I originally had Arcia 7th going into the year (I believe), and it's not so much that the injury knocked him down as there are just so many new players in the system (Pena, Hellweg, Coulter, Roache, Segura, and Taylor) AND you had some nice seasons from Nelson and Morris. That's what made him drop.

 

3. I hope I am wrong, but I think Peralta and Nelson are too high on your list. Peralta is pitching better of late, but his production overall just doesn't warrant this high of a slot IMO. Love Nelson's size and that he got his BB rate down. But, I think 4th is rather optimistic.
I guess my question is, which guys would you have over Peralta/Nelson?

 

Personally, and I bet everyone got this impression from my list - I love stuff when I rank pitchers. I am a FB whore - if you have a good fastball, you get on this list. If you have a very good fastball, I will be patient with you. The biggest thing Nelson and Peralta have going for them is their FB - each is in the mid-90's and has movement. They can get swings and misses, AND ground balls with them. That's a wicked combination.

 

For what it's worth, I think you could rank the guys 4th through 8th in almost whatever order you want.

 

4. I like the Jungmann, Hellwig, and Pena rankings. Three guys I am high on. I wonder if Jungmann is a back of the rotation guy eventually. Hellwig may have higher upside in my mind. I see Pena as a Jose Veras type 7th inning guy.

 

5. Khris Davis seems awfully low considering how he just flat out hits.

Thanks for 4. I am higher on Pena and Hellweg than Jungmann, but it's hard to ignore the communities' thoughts on Jungmann. He's held his own in High A, which is good. I just am worried about the strikeouts.

 

I just don't see Khris Davis as an impact MLB player. He's a good bet to make it, but will he actually contribute in an impactful way?

 

6. I hope some good relievers come out of this. I liked Manzanillo, and hopefully he will really recover all the way from the accident. Magnifico, de los Santos, and Wagner are also possibilities (along with the aforementioned Pena). But overall, this seems like an area where we need really good coaching. Melvin has been trying to get some power arms so hopefully we can get an upgraded bullpen like some of our division rivals.
I'm pretty convinced there is a bullpen in here. Between any extra starters, the guys you mentioned, Rogers, Scarpetta, Goforth, Williams, etc. etc.

 

7. I like how low you put guys like Logan Schafer, Gindl, Heckathorn, etc. These were hotshot prospects a couple of years ago, but it shows the uncertainty of prospects since their ceilings ended up so low. I like Shafer's glove, but he just seems like a backup.

 

8. I'm not sure Gennett is really a front line major league starter. I think he projects as a marginal slap hitter. I'm not all that excited about him.

 

9. Interesting that you didn't totally throw Arnett under the bus. I had totally written him off and I hope you are right that maybe he could become a Kam Loe type guy.

As far as guys like Schafer and Heckathorn, I think they are good bets to be big leaguers. But I don't see them ever being much more than up-and-down guys. That hurts their stock. (If you can't tell, I love upside.)

 

I agree with Gennett. He keeps hitting, but I don't know if he can do anything else.

 

10. I'm high on Thornburgh. If he gets his HR rate down, this guy can be a solid number 3 starter. I don't see reliever in his makeup but I could be wrong. I just see a classic solid starter.

 

Overall, I liked your work here, and this was a tremendous read.

I agree on Thornburg, the more he can use the bottom of the zone effectively, the better he will be. No one is going to question his raw stuff.

 

And thanks!

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I know bullpen arms in the minors tend to be overlooked, but seriously no Jesus Sanchez in the top 50? He's a converted starter who had 2.99 ERA at age 22 in high A in 2010. This year between AA and AAA, he's thrown 57 innings out of the pen with a combined 1.26 ERA and 1.047 WHIP.
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I know bullpen arms in the minors tend to be overlooked, but seriously no Jesus Pena in the top 50? He's a converted starter who had 2.99 ERA at age 22 in high A in 2010. This year between AA and AAA, he's thrown 57 innings out of the pen with a combined 1.26 ERA and 1.047 WHIP.
I'm assuming you mean Jesus Sanchez. He just missed (I believe I had him in my top 50 pre-Greinke trade). Here's why:

 

1. I don't know how good his stuff is. I've heard high-80's low 90's fastball and a good mix of pitches. That's fine and dandy, but relievers, at least for me, better be at least 90 with the fastball.

 

2. He doesn't miss bats at an elite rate. A guy like Alan Williams (who wasn't exactly super high on the list either) has nice stuff and it shows - he's striking out more than a guy per inning. Sanchez keeps the walks down, which is definitely good, but does he have putaway stuff?

 

 

And, at the end of a list like this, you could rank them almost however. You want to put him over Kentrail Davis? I don't think anyone is going to call you nuts.

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I know bullpen arms in the minors tend to be overlooked, but seriously no Jesus Pena in the top 50? He's a converted starter who had 2.99 ERA at age 22 in high A in 2010. This year between AA and AAA, he's thrown 57 innings out of the pen with a combined 1.26 ERA and 1.047 WHIP.
I'm assuming you mean Jesus Sanchez. He just missed (I believe I had him in my top 50 pre-Greinke trade). Here's why:

 

1. I don't know how good his stuff is. I've heard high-80's low 90's fastball and a good mix of pitches. That's fine and dandy, but relievers, at least for me, better be at least 90 with the fastball.

 

2. He doesn't miss bats at an elite rate. A guy like Alan Williams (who wasn't exactly super high on the list either) has nice stuff and it shows - he's striking out more than a guy per inning. Sanchez keeps the walks down, which is definitely good, but does he have putaway stuff?

 

 

And, at the end of a list like this, you could rank them almost however. You want to put him over Kentrail Davis? I don't think anyone is going to call you nuts.

 

Yes, I meant Sanchez. At what point does performance outweigh radar gun readings? Carlos Villanueva has now logged 7 years in the majors. He never ranked high on prospect lists for the very reasons you cite for Sanchez, a high 80's-low 90's fastball. Then there's the "missing bats" argument. Hello Taylor Jungmann.

 

With all due respect to Alan Williams, Sanchez has had success facing more advanced hitters and he's only been pitching for a short time.

 

While I appreciate your list and the work you put in, it seems to me more a ranking of measurable tools in the system than it is a list of actual predictions of success. Some tools can't be measured. Command for a pitcher is one of those, and it usually determines success and failure.

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I know bullpen arms in the minors tend to be overlooked, but seriously no Jesus Pena in the top 50? He's a converted starter who had 2.99 ERA at age 22 in high A in 2010. This year between AA and AAA, he's thrown 57 innings out of the pen with a combined 1.26 ERA and 1.047 WHIP.
I'm assuming you mean Jesus Sanchez. He just missed (I believe I had him in my top 50 pre-Greinke trade). Here's why:

 

1. I don't know how good his stuff is. I've heard high-80's low 90's fastball and a good mix of pitches. That's fine and dandy, but relievers, at least for me, better be at least 90 with the fastball.

 

2. He doesn't miss bats at an elite rate. A guy like Alan Williams (who wasn't exactly super high on the list either) has nice stuff and it shows - he's striking out more than a guy per inning. Sanchez keeps the walks down, which is definitely good, but does he have putaway stuff?

 

 

And, at the end of a list like this, you could rank them almost however. You want to put him over Kentrail Davis? I don't think anyone is going to call you nuts.

 

Yes, I meant Sanchez. At what point does performance outweigh radar gun readings? Carlos Villanueva has now logged 7 years in the majors. He never ranked high on prospect lists for the very reasons you cite for Sanchez, a high 80's-low 90's fastball. Then there's the "missing bats" argument. Hello Taylor Jungmann.

 

With all due respect to Alan Williams, Sanchez has had success facing more advanced hitters.

 

While I appreciate your list and the work you put in, it seems to me more a ranking of measurable tools in the system than it is a list of actual predictions of success. Some tools can't be measured. Command for a pitcher is one of those, and it usually determines success and failure.

Just because you can point out exceptions to the rule in regards to velocity, doesn't mean you should ignore it. Jesus Sanchez might be a good reliever, but he would have to beat the odds to do so. The vast majority of relievers in baseball throw substantially harder than high-80's, and almost all of the ones who don't are either left-handed or have considerable major league experience.

 

I'm not ranking how people are performing in the minor leagues. I'm ranking how I project them to perform in the major leagues. Sanchez could be a middle relief type, and who knows, he might make me look silly. But the odds say I'm right.

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I'm not ignoring it. I fully understand your point about projectablity. I wouldn't have Sanchez in my top 20 but he certainly belongs on any list that deep. And it's quite possible we'll see Sanchez before the season is over in Milwaukee. So then we can all judge for ourselves. Chances of ever seeing a guy currently in high A are not all that great.

 

Sanchez was pretty highly regarded in the Phillies organization too.

 

From The Good Phight 2010 Phillies prospect rankings:

 

27. Jesus Sanchez, RHP Clearwater

 

Despite being 21 coming into 2009, Sanchez had logged a grand total of 1 pro inning as a pitcher - because he had been a catcher for 4 seasons, a career path he gave up after hitting .220/.295/274 over 355 plate appearances. Shifted to the mound, Sanchez had a breakout campaign at Lakewood, logging 135 innings with excellent peripherals: 7.9K/9, 2.8 BB/9,0.26 HR/9, 38.6% GB, and a 2.77 FIP. I haven't really seen anyhting in the way of a scouting report, but Sanchez always had a strong arm, and the fact that his platoon split was miniscule shows precocious pitching aptitude, especially for a conversion project. The organization liked him enough to protect him on the 40 man roster, so clearly there's some upside here.

 

Now aren't guys in A ball that get put on 40 man rosters, usually considered projectable? I don't see how what Sanchez is done in the 2 years since he was 27th in the Phils system to be outside the top 50 on the Brewers.

 

Other that that one omission, I'm okay with the list in general though I'd move some guys around.

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Good job, nice analysis.

 

I agree with pogokat, I think you were much too harsh on a couple of the guys, and too generous with some of this year's picks, but heck, if you're right, you've put it out there way ahead of the curve.

 

I strongly disagree with your "the answer is clearly no" statement on Khris Davis, since he's never played in a big league game, I would say, "The answer is clearly, we don't know yet." I also think you've got Burgos far too low. Your final conclusion on him could prove to be correct, but given the year he's had, and the fact that he's reached AAA at this point, I just can't put him as low as you did.

 

I certainly hope the Brewers are right on Roache, but until he at least puts on a uniform, he's just a name on a page to me, I can't put him ahead of guys who are actually getting close to their first shot at the big club.

 

Coulter...I love the fact that he's hitting, but until he either improves as a catcher, or changes positions, he's not top 5 material for me.

 

I like upside too, but for me, it has to come with numbers as a player climbs the ladder, great velocity with no command, or great speed with no OBP, etc...that's the stuff that gets coaches fired.

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I strongly disagree with your "the answer is clearly no" statement on Khris Davis, since he's never played in a big league game, I would say, "The answer is clearly, we don't know yet."

 

Absolutely agree, splitter. To dismiss Kh Davis out of hand like that seems really odd.

 

Great work put into compiling your list, rams -- definitely a good read.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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Good job, nice analysis.

 

I agree with pogokat, I think you were much too harsh on a couple of the guys, and too generous with some of this year's picks, but heck, if you're right, you've put it out there way ahead of the curve.

 

I strongly disagree with your "the answer is clearly no" statement on Khris Davis, since he's never played in a big league game, I would say, "The answer is clearly, we don't know yet." I also think you've got Burgos far too low. Your final conclusion on him could prove to be correct, but given the year he's had, and the fact that he's reached AAA at this point, I just can't put him as low as you did.

 

I certainly hope the Brewers are right on Roache, but until he at least puts on a uniform, he's just a name on a page to me, I can't put him ahead of guys who are actually getting close to their first shot at the big club.

 

Coulter...I love the fact that he's hitting, but until he either improves as a catcher, or changes positions, he's not top 5 material for me.

 

I like upside too, but for me, it has to come with numbers as a player climbs the ladder, great velocity with no command, or great speed with no OBP, etc...that's the stuff that gets coaches fired.

Honestly, it is my list. I base alot of it on the scouting community, as I've only seen a few guys in person, but my personal feeling on a prospect (or a certain type of prospect) are definitely going to change the list.

 

 

So, going down the line (except for Davis, who gets his own post since everyone is unhappy with his ranking):

1. Roache - I love his tools and he was an outrageously productive college player. I think you could argue dropping him a few spots, but I think his ability to not just make the big leagues, but anchor a lineup, puts him in a class above guys like Gennett. If you argued Morris over him, I wouldn't second guess you. I'd even think Pena and Gagnon have cases, since they are more advanced and have some ceiling, but I don't know how you drop him much.

 

2. Coulter - A little bit of projection on my part. I love the fact that he's hitting (and WALKING, oh my dear lord that OBP is sexy) despite not having much full time baseball experience. I also love his general athleticism. I'm going to rank him as a catcher, because I think a good deal of his problems are just lack of reps. The past ball thing isn't that much of an issue to me - he was a wrestler, and a good one - so I know he has good lateral ability and some footwork. He just needs practice.

 

3. OBP comment - I LOVE OBP. I mention walk rates in these writeups about a billion times. For me, it is the thing that I can count on for position players the most. It's what keeps Hunter Morris out of the top 5, Scooter Gennett out of the top 10, it got Clint Coulter in the top 5, etc.

 

I'm very SABR oriented, but rely on "traditional" tools (bat, defense, fastball velocity, etc.) to help determine ceilings. I then take into account position quite heavily - a very SABR idea (notice how highly ranked catchers and SSs are, and notice how much more patient I am with them).

 

Hope that helps.

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I think everyone here is on board with the Sabr stuff...but Khris Davis is exactly the kind of hitter SABr likes---he's improved at each stop, he walks, he hits for average...he doesn't play a premium position, but neither does Morris, and davis has outhit him everywhere always and the age difference between the two is minimal
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I strongly disagree with your "the answer is clearly no" statement on Khris Davis, since he's never played in a big league game, I would say, "The answer is clearly, we don't know yet."

 

Absolutely agree, splitter. To dismiss Kh Davis out of hand like that seems really odd.

 

Great work put into compiling your list, rams -- definitely a good read.

I have a meeting in 8 minutes, so this might be abbreviated.

 

Thanks for the compliment! On to Davis -

 

1. I don't ever see him starting for Milwaukee.

 

His position is essentially LF or 1B. Let's dismiss LF outright. Is he a big league 1B? His swing is long, we have no idea how his defense is, most people expect him to strike out a ton in the big leagues, and right now he's probably around 4th on the depth chart, at least IMO (Hart, Gamel, Morris - and that doesn't even count Aramis Ramirez).

 

2. He's short and right handed.

 

If he was a tall lefty, you could use him off the bench for some pop. His height gives questions to how the swing is going to translate in terms of his raw power (and the fact that he's short with a long swing is a very ominous combination).

 

3. He's not a good defender.

 

He is limited to the 2 easiest positions in the diamond, he has no 1B experience, and he's not good enough for RF, which means he probably not that good in LF.

 

 

 

 

This, to me, adds up to a guy who won't hit enough to play 1B, doesn't have a huge niche off the bench, and can't play anywhere else. I hope he proves me wrong, and he already has to an extent, but I don't see an impact MLB player. If you wanted to argue Tyler Wagner over him, fine - Wagner might be too high anyway. But give me an impact reliever like Scarpetta or Manzanillo, a bounce-back starter like Bucci or Rogers, or a useful defensive replacement with OBP potential like Schafer 10 times out of 10.

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I think everyone appreciates the depth of the reporting. Just as useful is it makes it pretty easy to see why we might value some guys differently. I like tools a lot, but anybody who can hit well enough to look like a starter in AAA (assuming they aren't level repeaters) tends to rate highly in my book because he is useful and frankly the odds of a guy being a league average player when he is doing good things at AAA are higher than your random high upside guy in A ball.

Overall the thing that stands out though is that we are back to being able to have interesting discussions about guys in the mid 30's. It wasn't that long ago that those guys weren't wort their signing bonuses in lottery tickets.

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Let's dismiss LF outright.

 

I do appreciate anyone taking the time to put together a list like this. I think you are going to get a lot of push back from this community on Davis since he is just performing like no other at this point. If his bat continues to be as good as it has been, I would take him as a below average RF, however, before I would do that, I would move Braun to RF and put Davis in LF.

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3. He's not a good defender.

 

He is limited to the 2 easiest positions in the diamond, he has no 1B experience, and he's not good enough for RF, which means he probably not that good in LF.[/quote]

 

 

Nyjer Morgan isn't good enough for RF either and he's played there. You could argue Aoki doesn't have the arm to play there and he has. Davis has the bat (or appears to) and that will play if it translates to the big leagues. They can play Aoki in CF and him in RF if it came down to it. Doesn't mean it's permanent. If he doesn't look like a long term fit but hits well they can move him.

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Let's dismiss LF outright.

 

First off, great write up. This is way more than I know about a lot of these guys and it's clear you've put a lot of time into this.

 

I wouldn't dismiss LF for Davis. I wouldn't use Brewers positional needs as part of the formula for ranking. Many of these guys might make the majors in another uniform. Just because Milwaukee doesn't see a need for LF doesn't mean another team won't. In fact, Davis is the kind of good offense, questionable defense player Melvin has spun off in the past. It's not hard to envision a scenario where Hart re-ups and moves back to RF, with some combination of Gamel / Morris at 1B, making Davis an attractive trade chip, particularly if he continues to hit.

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It's not hard to envision a scenario where Hart re-ups and moves back to RF, with some combination of Gamel / Morris at 1B, making Davis an attractive trade chip, particularly if he continues to hit.

 

Trading Davis so you can move Hart back to RF is the kind of move that eventually comes back to bite Milwaukee. Hart's defense in RF already started taking a nose dive last season. I hate to imagine how bad it would be when he is 34-35 years old. From all I've read Davis is not a bad defender. He just has a below average arm. I think offensively he has 20-30 HR potential and can at the very least match what Corey Hart has done. So essentially you'd be paying and older, slower Hart $13 million or so more a year for a RF with a better arm. Definitely not worth it. I say either put Davis in RF and use a defensive replacement late in games or put him in LF and move Braun to RF.

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It's not hard to envision a scenario where Hart re-ups and moves back to RF, with some combination of Gamel / Morris at 1B, making Davis an attractive trade chip, particularly if he continues to hit.

 

Trading Davis so you can move Hart back to RF is the kind of move that eventually comes back to bite Milwaukee. Hart's defense in RF already started taking a nose dive last season. I hate to imagine how bad it would be when he is 34-35 years old. From all I've read Davis is not a bad defender. He just has a below average arm. I think offensively he has 20-30 HR potential and can at the very least match what Corey Hart has done. So essentially you'd be paying and older, slower Hart $13 million or so more a year for a RF with a better arm. Definitely not worth it. I say either put Davis in RF and use a defensive replacement late in games or put him in LF and move Braun to RF.

 

Completely agree. It wouldn't be my choice, but I can see DM doing it, particularly if Hart approaches the team about an extension.

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