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Rams' Top 50 Brewers Prospects

Not too many changes from the last list - a few big risers (Jim Henderson, Jose Pena, etc.) and a new feature.


Milwaukee Brewers Top 50 (51?) Prospects


Before we start, a couple new things. First, I’m going to post relevant minor league stats for each player in their profile so you have them for reference. Second, and this is the big one, I’m going to be grading each player’s season by the following scale:

A – Player has dramatically improved how the industry will perceive his potential major league ability

B – Player has improved how the industry will perceive his potential major league impact

C – Player has not changed how the industry will perceive his major league ability

D – Player has damaged how the industry will perceive his potential major league impact

F – Player has dramatically damaged from how the industry will perceive his major league impact

I – Player has not played enough to conclusively change how the industry will perceive his major league ability

The noteworthy thing about these grades is that they are not designed to pander to the top prospects. Tyler Thornburg, for example, had a very nice season. He started off quite well in AA, made a few MLB appearances (albeit, not great), and more than held his own at AAA before ending up as a September callup. That’s absolutely solid progression, but he’s graded at a B-. Why? He didn’t really alter how the industry perceives him that much. He has continued to show durability, but his velocity did fade late into games. His stuff is the same, the results are in line with (his high) expectations, and he got a step closer to the big leagues. That does improve his value, but not dramatically at all.


1. Jean Segura, AA/MLB, SS, 22 years old


Stats (AA): 104 G, 451 PA, .304/.358/.413, 7 HR, 37/13 SB/CS, 25 XBH

Stats (MLB): 45 G, 166 PA, .258/.315/.325, 0 HR, 7/1 SB/CS, 7 XBH


So, technically Segura isn’t eligible for this list, or any other prospect lists, given that he has surpassed the 130 PA limit for rookies. But, considering he’s new and we haven’t had a chance to follow him for years, he gets a write up anyway. He also manages to squeak out the number 1 spot on the Brewers top 50 prospects, in a very right race between the top 2-3 players. Acquired from the Angels as the gem of the Zack Greinke trade, Segura had spent 94 games with the Angels AA affiliate before coming to Milwaukee. There he posted a very solid .294/.346/.494 triple slash line with 7 HRs and 33 steals. After coming over to Milwaukee, Segura spent the lion’s share of his time with the big league club, and his first extended taste of big league action started off terrible before Segura made a few adjustments. His total batting line is awful, and both his walk rate (7.8%) and K rate (13.9%) hint at a sign of things to come. Segura also managed to flash some solid ability with the glove and outstanding speed. Some scouts have projected that he will eventually have to move to 2B due to his body type (Segura is thickly built, particularly in the lower body), but for right now he looks to be a scratch defender at short despite less than stellar fielding instincts.


From a tools perspective, Segura is quite intriguing. He’s a fantastic runner who can display 75 caliber speed and he uses that speed effectively both on the basepaths and by getting more than his share of infield hits. He combines this with good bat speed and tremendous lower body strength that lead scouts to think that a 20 HR season might not be out of reach. While he doesn’t have great patience at the plate and his approach needs continued work, Segura never struck out too much at the minor league level and could walk more as he ages. Ultimately, you are looking at a shortstop with potential to provide some solid on base ability at the top of a lineup, flash some power, and play potentially average defense at the most rare big league position. While it’s not likely he ever becomes a true superstar, he’s got a very good shot at producing 4 WAR seasons.


Grade – B

Segura has demonstrated improved ability at SS, which was a noticeable concern for scouts headed into the year. The Brewers, by trading for him, demonstrate that they see him exclusively as a SS, at least until Rickie Weeks is gone. Further, he demonstrated he could handle AA and got a taste of MLB action. I expected that he would rank somewhere in the 40-50 range among the top 100 prospects in baseball, but his lack of eligibility will make the Brewers’ system appear weaker than it is at the top. Ultimately, he did a fair bit positive for his stock defensively while showcasing some much needed durability. The real question comes whether the Brewers can find a way to stall his MLB service time with Alex Gonzalez, or if they hand him the job in April.


2. Wily Peralta, AAA/MLB, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (AAA): 28 GS, 146.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 1.83 K/BB, 3.83 FIP

Stats (MLB): 6 G (5 GS), 29.0 IP, 2.48 ERA, 7.14 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.09 K/BB, 2.65 FIP


After a down, then way up year, Peralta slides from the top spot in the rankings, but gets lucky that Jean Segura got enough at bats to not qualify. I guess, technically, his year long run in the top spot is still ongoing. The start of his season was absolutely horrible – Peralta suffered through mechanical difficulties before finally getting everything under control near July. During the 2nd half he posted an ERA in Nashville that started with a 2, and did so by getting the walks back under control. With his mechanics in tow, Peralta made his first few MLB starts and showcased top-of-the-rotation stuff.


From a pure stuff perspective, Peralta is as talented as anybody. Let’s leave it at this; Peralta averaged 95.6 MPH on his fastball by pitch f/x during his 5 starts, which came 150 IP into the season. That ranks second in baseball to Stephen Strasburg, who averaged 95.7. Seriously. David Price, Justin Verlander, Matt More, Neftali Feliz, Max Scherzer and a ton of others all didn’t have as much zoom on their heater as Wily. Not only is the raw velocity there, but Peralta’s fastball has a ton of natural sink and cut in on a right handed hitter. In fact, while Peralta only throws 1 variety of fastball, pitch f/x struggles to classify it as a 2 or 4 seamer because it has so much run. When he keeps it low in the zone, it gets ground balls. When he throws it on the inner half to a righty, he jams them. When he elevates it, he has the raw ability to get a strikeout. It’s a true 70 offering and may flirt with a higher overall grade. His other pitches, a slider and a changeup, are much more works in progress. When his slider is on, it’s a mid to high 80’s weapon with two plane break that he can get swings and misses down in the zone with or drop backdoor. When it’s off, it’s flat or misses the plate completely. His changeup is still quite raw. It will show up in the mid 80’s, which is about where the Brewers want it, but Peralta still overthrows it and doesn’t get the necessary fade he needs to get away with tipping it in his motion. At the end of the day, he needs to continue to practice with it before he can use it to do much more than surprise a hitter in a key spot.


Physically, there is good and bad with Wily. At 6’2”, 230 pounds or so, Peralta is big and a physical mound presence. Despite having already had Tommy John Surgery early as a youngster, he’s considered durable, and we have seen him keep velocity both late into starts and late into the year. The major downside is that his extra weight does detract from his athleticism, so there are people who wonder if his control and his changeup will ever be what they have to for him to be a true number 1. Everything else in his profile is there, and at 23 years old he still has time to learn. Now it is just about learning how to pitch in the big leagues and continuing to develop his offspeed stuff and command.


Grade – D+

With his stuff and starting off in AAA, the industry expected Peralta to be ineligible for this list at the end of the year. That didn’t happen, as Peralta lost half a year with mechanical bouts and did nothing to convince doubters that he will develop the finer points of pitching soon. His final stats are far from exciting, and while he will be among the first in line for a full time rotation spot, it appears that, despite his outrageous raw stuff, he might not be a top-of-the-rotation option until he improves.


3. Tyler Thornburg, AA/AAA/MLB, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (AA): 13 GS, 75 IP, 3.00 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 2.96 K/BB, 3.39 FIP

Stats (AAA): 8 GS, 37.2 IP, 3.58 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 3.23 K/BB, 2.51 FIP

Stats (MLB): 8 G (3 GS), 22.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 2.86 K/BB, 7.07 FIP


Thornburg’s rise through the minor league system has been simply astronomical when you look at it in its entirety. Signed late in 2010, he had only 23 IP in rookie ball before debuting in Wisconsin full time. Since then, he has made 12 starts in A ball, 12 in A+ ball, 13 in AA, and 8 in AAA with 2 MLB starts in between. That is just outrageous. Really, he’s spoiled us. His 3.58 ERA in AAA Nashville is his highest ERA at any level, and of the 5 levels he’s been at in his career, 3 of the 5 have an ERA at 3.00 or under. Simply dominant.


Why then, is he not number one? After all, this is the type of progression we would expect from a Gerrit Cole type prospect. Quite simply, the answer is size. Thornburg is 6’0”, 190 pounds in the media guide, and he might not be that. He’s not an incredible athlete, so his over the top motion with a hint of Tim Lincecum and an awkward hitch turns scouts off. Thornburg has frequently been labeled an injury risk throughout his career, though he has yet to miss any significant time in full season ball. That said, he only pitched 135 IP this year due to a major league callup and quick bullpen stint this year. This, after 136 IP last year, means there is a fair bit of work to do until Tyler is a 200 IP/year guy. In fact, realistically, he should be limited to about 170-180 IP next season, regardless of where he is pitching.


Thornburg’s stuff is, in a word, excellent. His fastball is 92 to 96 mph, though he may struggle to hold velocity deep into games. He pounds the zone both inside and out with it, and mixes speeds enough to keep hitters off balance. He compliments his heater with a curveball and a changeup. His changeup is a true weapon, coming in somewhere in the low 80’s with lots of fade, and his awkward delivery makes it tougher for hitters to pick up. His curveball is still a work in progress, as he typically leaves it up in the zone and sometimes doesn’t get the necessary break to get away with it. This has, at least thus far, let him prone to the major league gopherball that a minor league hitter wouldn’t have the experience to hit. This is going to be Thornburg’s major adjustment as he settles into a big league rotation. Will he, or will he not be able to keep his curveball down in the zone to try and get whiffs in the dirt, the occasional ground ball, and most important, avoid the home run. If that comes together, I think he’s a mid-rotation starter. If not, the fact that his stuff can play up in short stints makes him a potential closer, and an elite one at that, out of the bullpen.


Grade – B-

Thornburg had an excellent season in terms of minor league production, but the community is still divided on whether he can start in the long term. Obviously, he’s going to get a shot now in the Brewers’ rotation, but the Brewers limited his innings by calling him up at an inopportune time. He needs to prove he can be durable and get deeper into games before the ‘starter until he’s a reliever’ mantra fades, but in the meantime it certainly is nice that he’s major league ready.


4. Clint Coulter, AZL, C/1B/DH, 18 years old


Stats (AZL): 49 G, 214 PA, .302/.439/.444, 5 HRs, 3/5 SB/CS, 11 XBHs


This may be an aggressive ranking on my part. That’s fine; a year from now you guys can call me ahead of the curve. Fact is, I really, really love Coulter, and the more I put his pro debut into context, the more I can’t stop raving about it.


Coulter was the Brewers’ 1st pick in the 2012 draft as a catcher out of a Washington HS. A former wrestler, Coulter was at 189 pounds throughout winter, then beefed up to about 220 by spring. At 6’3”, he’s already a pretty big guy at 18, but with a wrestler’s background, you expect him to have the requisite agility and core strength to at least give catching a shot. Obviously, his real size gives some insight as to his raw power. And make no mistake about it, Coulter can mash. He has big time bat speed from the right side and offers potential premium power ability. Given that, it was impressive that he was able to hold his own in terms of batting average in Arizona, especially after a dreadful start.


What has separated Coulter (slightly, you could make an argument the next 4-5 guys are all in the same tier below the top 3) for me is his patience at the plate and ability to adjust to competition. He had roughly 40 at bats his senior year. Then, he started off in the AZL like you would expect a raw high schooler to – batting below the Mendoza line. But he made the necessary adjustments, and over his final 40 he brought hit average way up. In addition, his patience at the plate is simply phenomenal. He walked 37 times in 49 games while striking out only 40 games for a walk rate of 17.3% (!!!!) and a strikeout rate of 18.7%. That’s absolutely incredible, since Adam Dunn lead the league in walk rate with 16.8% this year, and he K’d in 33.9% of his PA’s doing so.


Grade – B+

Coulter’s upside will be determined by whether he can play catcher or not, but his ability to adjust and advanced approach makes me think Low A Wisconsin will be his destination as a 19 year old. He has a very, very legitimate chance to step into the number 1 spot next season, and if he ends up in the top 100 I would absolutely not be surprised.


5. Taylor Jungmann, A+, RHP, 22 years old


Stats: 26 GS, 153 IP, 3.53 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 2.15 K/BB, 3.62 FIP


Jungmann was the Brewers’ top pick in 2012, and, in the proud words of Denny Green, was who we thought he was. The 22 year old definitely held his own in a tough high A assignment, posting a very solid ERA and FIP to boot, mostly on the strength of his ability to limit the home run (7 all year is outstanding) and his ability to generate groundballs. An advanced college arm out of Texas with tons of experience, I think we had hoped Jungmann was good enough to warrant a AA promotion, but a full year in the FSL should allow him time to work on his secondary pitches.


At 6’6”, Jungmann is a prototypical physical pitcher who combines a low 90’s fastball with some sinking action and a downward plane in order to generate ground balls. He also mixes in a slider and a changeup, and while the slider has been okay, the changeup has been awful thus far. Don’t believe me? Take a look at his lefty/righty splits –

RHH: .224/.295/.315, 2.94 K/BB

LHH: .309/.366/.392, 1.57 K/BB


Jungmann can’t use his slider to put away lefties and his changeup isn’t doing enough right now, so he becomes a one pitch guy and loses the ability to get in on the batters’ hands (remember that his fastball cuts in on a righty and away on a lefty). Against a lefty, all of his weapons are gone, and quite frankly, he’s just been overmatched. The way forward for Taylor is clear. If he wants to develop as a pitcher, he needs to get lefties out at a higher clip. If he can do that, expect him to rocket through this system and settle in near the higher end of a rotation. If not, he still has back end rotation ability.


Grade- C+

Tough to imagine a prospect who has held serve more than Jungmann. He came into the FSL right out of college, and while he didn’t rack of K’s, we didn’t expect him to. He got grounders, didn’t walk many, and struggled with his offspeed stuff. That said, his ability to get righties out means that there is a glimmer of hope for upside.


6. Jimmy Nelson, A+/AA, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (A+): 13 GS, 81.1 IP, 2.21 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.08 K/BB, 2.81 FIP

Stats (AA): 10 GS, 46.0 IP, 3.91 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 7.2 BB/9, 1.14 K/BB, 4.55 FIP


This is the obligatory part of the write up where I mention that Nelson was compared to Jeff Suppan out of college. And this is the follow up where I say that is just a terrible, terrible comparison. Nelson has managed to completely shed any of those type of derogatory labels with his performance this season. He treaded water in Low A Wisconsin last year, but improved his control and use of his secondary pitches. That, when combined with a very heavy fastball that can be 92-96 and touch 98 made him a mismatch for FSL hitters. He dominated the league and earned a midseason promotion to AA. Not long after, he missed a month with shoulder fatigue, and everything he had put together seemed to fall apart given the increased level of competition. Really, the two lines aren’t much different if you take out the walks, and Nelson’s inability to control the zone was his downfall in AA. As the season went on and he began to re-establish his health, we began to see glimpses of what he is capable of. His last start, a 7 IP masterpiece in which he allowed only 1 hit and faced only 3 batters over the minimum, may be a sign of things to come.


Nelson is a classic power pitcher. He is 6’6”, 240 pounds and has a mid 90’s fastball with movement and sink that he uses as the basis for his arsenal. When he gets ahead of hitters with it, he can put people away with a slider that is beginning to flash plus and a changeup that still might be a weapon. His fastball is similar to Wily Peralta’s in the number of uses he has for it – he can get swings and misses up in the zone, ground balls at the bottom of it, pound either corner with it, and jam hitters by running it in on their hands. He’s still learning how to mix it up and throw his offspeed stuff in more counts, but for a guy who struggled to simply throw strikes in Low A last year, this is a world’s worth of improvement. The next step for Nelson is the Arizona Fall League, where he is going to get some much needed innings and do so while being challenged. An assignment to AAA next spring might seem a touch aggressive, especially given how crowded that rotation could be, but it wouldn’t be outrageous either.


Grade – A-

I’m not sure how much the scouting community gave up on Nelson, but hope was fading. For him to simultaneously advance a level and drastically improve his performance like this is fantastic. He has also offered a glimpse of number 2 starter upside, something quite impressive given his low ceiling label coming out of Alabama.


7. Johnny Hellweg, AA, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (AA): 28 G (23 GS), 139.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 1.40 K/BB


Hellweg was the middle piece brought over in the Zack Greinke deal, and might be my personal favorite of the 3 players we brought over. The first thing that stands out about Hellweg is his size: he’s 6’9” and quite thin (listed at 210 pounds). The second thing that stands out about Johnny is his fastball. In terms of raw velocity, movement, and plane, it’s the best in the system (and that’s saying a lot given that Wily Peralta is still eligible), as it can touch triple digits, moves a fair bit, and his size establishes such a strong downward plane that hitters are going to have a terrible time squaring it up. To that end, all season Hellweg allowed only 30 XBHs.


The problem with Johnny, as is the problem with most tall pitchers, is control. Hellweg has really struggled to get ahead of hitters and allow his stuff to take over and get strikeouts. He also walked a very high percentage of hitters this season, and frequently put himself in binds while raising his pitch counts. His ground ball abilities can help mitigate that to some degree, but he’s going to need to start throwing strikes in order to improve as he moves up the ladder. There is some cause for optimism that Hellweg can make it as a starter, however. His control and performance improved greatly after he was moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation last year, and he’s only been starting for 2 years now. 23 might feel older, but considering how much longer it takes taller guys to figure out their mechanics, Hellweg actually has plenty of time left to continue figuring it out. While he won’t ever lead the league in walk rate, his raw stuff means that provided he can throw enough strikes, he projects as a number 2 starter. Even if he never figures it out enough to start, he’d be an impossible to hit reliever with his 75 grade fastball and swing-and-miss slider.


Grade – B-

Hellweg continues to struggle with his control in his second full season of starting. The industry is probably looking at him as a bullpen arm who has a chance to be an impact starter, and while Hellweg did do a fair job in AA (especially for how often he was in self-induced jams), more work is needed. The Brewers are going to be patient with him, but more polish is needed for him to move up this list. To that end, the Brewers are going to try and get him as much experience as possible, so Hellweg will be in the Arizona Fall League in October.


8. Drew Gagnon, A/A+, RHP, 22 years old


Stats (A): 14 GS, 82.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 3.4 K/BB, 3.37 FIP

Stats (A+): 11 GS, 67 IP, 2.82 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 2.7 K/BB, 3.35 FIP


With the acquisition of all of the top arms in the Greinke deal and 2011 draft, the breakout of Jimmy Nelson, and the continued showing of Tyler Thornburg and Wily Peralta, Drew Gagnon has really gone unnoticed. It’s a shame too, because his full season ball debut has been fantastic thus far. After starting in Low A Wisconsin and pretty thoroughly dominating the league, Gagnon earned a well-deserved bump to High A Brevard County. He walked a few more, struck out a few less, but prevented home runs at an excellent rate and managed to duplicate his Low A ERA and FIP. From a performance perspective, Gagnon has done everything the Brewers could have asked of him when they made him a 3rd rounder out of Long Beach State and 2011.


Gagnon is the prototype the Brewers have targeted in the draft. At 6’4”, 200 pounds he has the frame to be durable and has the physicality the Brewers love. While none of his pitches grade out as overpowering, he mixes a fastball that can get up to 94, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. The less-than-outstanding caliber stuff does negatively impact his ceiling, as Gagnon is not going to be the ace of a staff. He could, however, profile as a nice pitcher in of the middle of a rotation. He’s also demonstrated solid ability to mix his offerings up, meaning that his stuff could play up a notch in the big leagues.


Grade – A-

In virtually every aspect, this season was a success for Gagnon. He managed to throw 150 IP of 2.8 ERA ball across 2 levels. He prepared himself for a potential AA assignment after only 1 full year of pro ball, and he has established himself as a solid middle to back of the rotation option for the Brewers moving forward. While he wasn’t a reach in the 3rd round, he wasn’t considered a great pick either. Gagnon is quickly changing that perception, even if he isn’t getting the notoriety of other Brewers.


9. Hunter Morris, AA, 1B, 23 years old

Stats (AA): 136 G, 571 PA, .303/.357/.563, 28 HR, 2/1 SB/CS, 74 XBHs


To start, read the stats again. Particularly the XBH totals. Morris was the Southern League MVP based on the raw offensive production he put together, and quite frankly, his season was astounding. He hit .300 (more than he OBPd in Brevard County last season). He hit nearly 30 home runs. He hit 40 doubles. He had 113 RBI (if you care about stats like that). That is domination, and it was a breakout year for a guy who desperately needed one. Morris was the Brewers’ 4th round draft pick out of Auburn in 2010 after being a 2nd round pick by the Red Sox (and ALMOST signing with them) out of high school. The pick was generally praised by the scouting community, and the Brewers stuck Morris in A ball after signing him quickly, where he held his head above water. In 2011, we had hoped to see Morris make huge strides, but a line of .274/.301/.469 wasn’t quite what we expected, even if he did hit 20 bombs.


Then comes 2012. AA, generally, is the level where a player puts himself in a MLB organization’s future plans or fizzles out, so for Morris to get bumped up a level, then subsequently improve his OBP by nearly 60 points and his slugging by 100 points is absolutely amazing. The kicker, at least for me, is that he walked at double the rate he did in A+ ball, so there is hope for his plate approach as he ages. While a walk rate of 7% isn’t exactly outstanding, especially when he struck out 20% of the time, it’s solid enough for a young guy.


From a scouting perspective, Morris has 1 thing going for him – his bat. He’s a scratch defender at 1st on a good day, he’s not a great baserunner, and his eye at the plate still needs work, but all of that is forgiven as long as he continues to hit. With the Brewers’ current situation at 1B, Morris will start pushing Mat Gamel/Corey Hart for playing time sooner rather than later. That said, he’s not major league ready and is exactly the type of player who could benefit from some additional work in AAA. Even if he never develops into a full time starter, his L/R splits tell us he could be a dynamite option in a platoon:

LHP - .266/.305/.448 and 7/34 BB/K

RHP - .318/.378/.611 and 33/83 BB/K


So, while he’s 2011 Hunter Morris against lefties, he’s 2012 Ryan Braun against righties. That means, at least to me, he’s a good bet to see platoon action for a little while. And, more importantly, he could be really successful in that role.


Grade – A

This season was flat ridiculous, as Morris dramatically improved in almost every offensive aspect while being promoted to the minor league level that is historically toughest on players. Given his ability to destroy righties, he should have at least a platoon type role in Milwaukee, but I think the Brewers have set their sights on him as the guy who can replace Corey Hart full time in 2014. It will be interesting to see where they go with Mat Gamel, who suddenly finds himself between Hart and Morris with no real playing time in sight.


10. Victor Roache, LF, Unassigned, 20 years old


No stats as of yet


Roache was the second of the Brewers two first round picks, taken 28th overall. If healthy, he could have gone much higher than that, but a bad break in his wrist caused his stock to drop. In fact, he was projected as a top 10 pick before the injuries took their toll.


Roache was projected that highly mostly based on two major (related) things – his bat speed and his great raw power. He’s 6’2”, 225 pounds with a rock solid frame and the raw strength to simply muscle balls out of the park. However, he’s also got great bat speed and a fairly short swing, mean he can also put the barrel on the bat and not have to completely extend his frame to get a ball out. The end result is a guy who could hit 30 plus a year in the big leagues and a legitimate middle of the order threat. Roache also has begun to develop some patience at the plate to the point where scouts can project a fair bit of walks, when combined with his bat control makes me think he’ll be able to get on base at an effective clip. Defensively, Roache is more of a question mark. Scouts don’t think he necessarily has the arm for RF, though if his bat mandates playing time, the Brewers will make it work. In addition, he’s probably too good a pure athlete for 1B. However, if it hits, the Brewers will make room for him somewhere.


Grade – I

Roache has yet to make his pro debut because he is rehabbing his wrist injury. Apparently he is participating in instructionals and should be completely healthy well in time for spring training next year. You can expect him to debut in Low A Wisconsin and primarily play in LF.

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11. Scooter Gennett, AA, 2B, 22 years old


Stats (AA): 133 G, 573 PA, .293/.330/.385, 5 HR, 11/5 SB/CS, 37 XBH


Ryan ‘Scooter’ Gennett was a 16th round draft pick for the Brewers back in 2009 and has steadily risen through the system. In 2010, he turned some heads by hitting .309/.354/.463 as a 20 year old in Low A and managed to more or less hold his own in the Florida State League in 2011. Coming into AA as a 22 year old, we had hopes that Gennett would start to develop the type of plate approach that could make him a valuable asset at the top of a lineup. We were disappointed. Gennett has essentially continued to post the same type of line, though this season the power dropped a little bit, leading critics to wonder If this is simply who he is.


Gennett is a short lefty at 5’9”, but he’s built pretty well and has a nice stroke. He projects as a potential 65 hitter in the big league level, but that’s pretty much where the good on his scouting report ends. He isn’t a good defender at 2B and he doesn’t have the arm to shift anywhere else. In addition, he isn’t going to have anything more than doubles power, meaning that he’s going to struggle to slug enough to keep him up. What saves him is his bat, but he ruins some of that value by not walking enough to have top of the lineup OBP.


Grade – C-

Gennet is the posterchild for the problem with 2B prospects in general. Because there is nowhere to move a guy from 2B in order to get him bat to work, they are either starters, or they aren’t real prospects. Scooter was a guy who scouts thought could really hit and might be able to shore up the weaknesses in his game as he moved up the ladder. He has continued to hit, but it is looking less and less likely that he’s going to develop the defensive or OBP ability to barge the doors down at the MLB level and become an every day starter. However, he’ll have plenty of time in AAA to figure it out as Rickie Weeks is entrenched in 2B and no one strong is right behind him in the organization. A few years in AAA may end up being a blessing in disguise.


12. Orlando Arcia, SS, HEL, 17 years old


Stats (DSL as a 16 year old): 64 G, 254 PA, .294/.386/.459, 6 HR, 13/4 SB/CS, 23 XBH


Arcia was a $100k signing out of Venezuela who started for the DSL club as a 16 year old. He immediately turned heads with the above triple slash line. While that may not seem impressive, remember that the DSL is a serious pitchers league, the 6 HRs are actually near the league leaders, and anyone who walks more than they strike out is automatically labeled as a stud. By the way, that offensive profile came from a SS, who, by all accounts, has a chance to stick and displays a solid set of tools.


What shot Arcia up this list was the Brewers’ assignment of him. They moved him straight to Helena (bypassing rookie level Arizona) to try and hang with the college kids as a 17 year old. The last time the Brewers brass did this with a Latin player, it was Alcides Escobar. Arcia was primed to break out stateside (I really thought he could end up in the top 2 or 3 on this list), but instead he broke his leg which cost him his season. He, like Roache, is nearing full health and will be available for fall instructionals. I think all Brewer fans should be eager to learn more about his specific skillset and see how he performs at quite a young age.


Grade – I

Unfortunately Arcia’s stateside debut was delayed. However, depending on how he performs in instructionals, Arcia might see time at Low A Wisconsin simply because the organization doesn’t have many shortstops. If that’s the case, he has a chance to make a serious statement and climb into the top 100 overall prospects. Even if Arcia sticks with Helena next year, he still should be quite interesting to follow.


13. Mark Rogers, AAA/MLB, RHP, 26 years old


Stats (AAA): 18 GS, 95.1 IP, 4.72 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.51 K/BB, 5.12 FIP

Stats (MLB): 7 GS, 39.0 IP, 3.92 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 2.93 K/BB, 3.83 FIP


Rogers shoots back up this list after being the Brewers’ top prospect after an amazing 2011, then falling off again due to a 25 game suspension and struggling with his mechanics. His up-and-down status on this list is a microcosm of his career, having undergone not 1 but 2 shoulder surgeries after being the 5th overall draft pick in 2004. Amazingly enough, after all of that and 18 starts, Rogers averaged 93.6 mph on his fastball in 7 big league starts. The premium velocity on his fastball, which in practice sits about 91-96, gives him a great offering to base his arsenal on. Rogers also throws two distinct breaking balls (though he has been known to blur them together a little bit). His slider sits in the low to mid 80’s and has solid break horizontally and vertically. His curveball is in the low 80s and high 70’s, and has a little bit more of each break. He also sports a changeup, though he mostly uses it to keep hitters off balance.


While Mark Rogers raw stuff points to a #2 starter upside, his command and mechanical difficulties make him more of a mid rotation caliber pitcher. Rogers has never had great control, in spite of his great athleticism, and he’ll always walk a fair bit of people. He also has durability issues (to say the least), despite his great frame of 6’3”, 200 pounds, because he throws across his body and has a fairly stressful motion. Fact is, Rogers will almost assuredly not be a 200 IP per year guy, and the Brewers know this, which is why they shut him down in September.


Grade – B

Rogers has proven that he is resilient once again. He came back from some early season struggles to earn a callup and has pitched quite well in his first 49 career MLB innings (keeping his eligibility for this list) before getting shutdown. Rogers will almost certainly be in the MLB rotation next year in some capacity, as the Brewers will have to expose him to other teams to send him down in 2013, and the Crew seems determined to keep him in the rotation despite his bouts with control and health. Ultimately, I think he still has a shot to carve out a nice career as a late-inning MLB reliever, but if the Brewers think they can get some effective starter innings out of him, they may as well try.


14. Ariel Pena, AA, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (AA): 26 GS, 146.2 IP, 3.93 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 2.15 K/BB, 4.4 FIP


Pena was the 3rd and final piece in the Zack Greinke trade, and while he apparently was the piece who put the Angels over the top in terms of getting Greinke, he ranks substantially lower than Johnny Hellweg or Jean Segura. Pena does have some solid ability, and has posted nice strikeout numbers throughout his minor league career. With the Angels this year, his ERA might have been a bit deceptive at 2.99, but it quickly normalized to his FIP as Pena completely fell apart in the Southern League.


He’s a good pitcher, despite the middling results thus far in his Brewer career. His fastball is a solid 55, coming in around the low 90’s and flirting with 94 and 95 mph when he elevates it. He also throws a slider and changeup, the latter of the two being the better offering right now. Pena is still a little bit raw, despite the number of innings he’s thrown and a fair degree of success as he moves up the ladder. He struggles with his control and command fairly frequently, and unlike a Wily Peralta, he doesn’t boast the raw stuff to get away with a fastball up in the zone. This has led to a historically high home run rate, and, quite frankly, it’s something that will continue to be a problem until Pena either develops more dynamite secondary offerings or improves his control.


Pena’s ultimate projection in a major league roster is more up in the air. He profiles as a solid back of the rotation option, and you might see him more in the middle of a rotation in a not-so-competitive team or if everything breaks right. Personally, I see him as more of a bullpen arm, especially in Milwaukee given the plethora of starters who are in the high minors right now. As a reliever, Pena’s expected velocity spike would cause his fastball to grade out more like a 60-65 offering and as a result you could stick him near the end of a bullpen, particularly if he is able to generate swings and misses with the slider.


Grade – C

Pena pitched over his head in his first 19 starts with the Angels, then fell way back to earth with Milwaukee at the end of the year. While not the debut he was hoping for, he did enough to warrant starting next season in AAA and giving himself some more time to figure it out in order to start. There is definitely still room for growth and potential here, which is encouraging, but the jury is still out on where he ends out and what his ultimate big league impact can be. Personally, I find him to be a guy I want to rank higher on this list, but there is a sudden burst of talent in this system and Pena is the victim of that, both in terms of his ranking and the fact that there may not be room for him in the big league rotation long term.


15. Tyrone Taylor, AZL/Helena, CF, 18 years old


Stats (AZL): 8 G, 38 PA, .389/.395/.694, 0 HR, 3/1 SB/CS, 8 XBH

Stats (HEL): 10 G, 45 PA, .385/.467/.641, 2 HR, 3/2 SB/CS, 6 XBH


Tyrone Taylor was the Brewers’ 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft and just lit up box scores to start his career before getting hurt. A 2-sport standout in football, Taylor rushed for 1,500 yards, scored 32 touchdowns (rushing and receiving), while recording 190 tackles and 4 picks on defense. That said, the 6-2, 180 pounder is all baseball, signing with Milwaukee. Considered more of a raw athlete than a baseball player, I think most people were hoping that Taylor keep his head above water in rookie ball and get ready for instructionals. Instead, he decided to hit nearly .400 across both rookie ball levels while averaging an extra base hit 3 out of every 4 games.


From a tools perspective, Taylor has 4. His speed is downright awesome, as he’s been clocked to first base in 4.1 seconds (grading out around 70), and he combined that with a strong arm, potentially very good glove, and solid line drive swing to give him all the attributes of a solid leadoff hitter who players great defense in centerfield. The intriguing thing, apart from the fact that he destroyed leagues people weren’t sure he was ready for, is that Taylor also showed outstanding power (at least to the gaps).


Grade – A-

The only thing that stops this from being an A is the lack of playing time. While his first 18 pro games couldn’t have gone much better, they are only 18 games and Taylor missed the remainder of the season with an injury. He will report to instructionals, where I hope the Brewers can try and get him back on track for a full season debut in Low A. While that may seem aggressive, if Taylor can hit there he will shoot up this list and potentially into the top 100 prospects in baseball. His ceiling is certainly considerable as he offers potentially great defense and offensive production at a premium position. Now we just have to see how quick a learner he is.


16. Mitch Haniger, A, CF/RF, 21 years old


Stats (A): 14 G, 58 PA, .286/.379/.429, 1 HR, 1 SB/0 CS, 5 XBH


Yet another prospect who saw his season end prematurely due to injury, Haniger was off to a very promising pro debut before a knee injury derailed his season and left him looking forward to instructionals. The Brewers supplemental first rounder in exchange for Prince Fielder, Haniger was a college bat who started to sneak up draft boards, because, well, he just hits. At 6’2”, 180 pounds, he played CF for his college team, and maybe can play there while he’s fairly young, but projects to move to right long term. On the bright side, his arm is more than good enough to stick there and he projects as an above average to plus right fielder.


The Brewers, as seems to be their M.O., designated him as their advanced college hitter worthy of an immediate full season assignment. Haniger didn’t disappoint, hitting for average, getting on base at a very good clip, and slugging a little bit during his first 14 pro games. This seems to be what we should be expecting, as he has solid bat control, a level swing that makes you think doubles, but actually might produce 20 HR pop due to his bat speed, which is plus. He will always strike out a fair bit, and he did so in his debut, but as his ability to recognize pitches improves I expect him to be a solid regular in the big leagues and he might end up being a little better than that.


Grade – B-

Any time a prospect makes a full season debut and has success, it’s a very good sign. While Haniger didn’t get much playing time, he did show some solid skills and has prepared himself for an offseason of instructionals with a potentially challenging assignment to Brevard County next year. With a solid debut, he could move quite quickly through the system, but for now I’m eager to see if he can continue to get on base at a high rate and potentially flirt with CF.


17. Nick Bucci, ARZ/A+, RHP, 21 years old


Stats (AZL): 4 GS, 11 IP, 1.64 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 0 BB/9, Undefined K/BB, 3.65 FIP

Stats (A+): 6 GS, 31.2 IP, 1.99 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.26 BB/9, 2.47 K/BB, 3.80 FIP


Nick Bucci has been a very steadily pitcher with Milwaukee throughout his entire career up until this season, just moving up through the system 1 level at a time and remaining young whatever level he was at. This past season was essentially lost to biceps tendonitis, but Bucci did manage to get about 40 IP and will get some more time at the Arizona Fall League in preparation for a long awaited AA debut where we will begin to get a clear picture of how he fits into a big league rotation. He certainly appeared to make strides this season in terms of missing bats, striking out a whopping 10.5 batters per inning by being effectively wild in High A.


In terms of his progression up the system, you might wonder why Bucci isn’t a little higher on this list. The big thing is his lack of premium velocity, as up until 2010 Bucci was more in the 88 to 91 range with his fastball. What really inspired his original rise up this list was his (apparently random) velocity surge, as he put about another 2 mph on his fastball and now is about 90 to 93 with it, giving him enough velocity to really be a contender for a big league spot. He compliments that with a solid changeup and a curveball, and the entire repertoire makes me wonder if he isn’t going to be a solid number 4 type starter. The Brewers brass has always loved Bucci, often giving him challenging assignments despite his low (18th round) draft status, so maybe there is more here than meets the eye.


Grade – I

Bucci essentially lost the season before coming back and prepping himself for an Arizona Fall League and an expected AA appearance. We will know a great deal more about his ability as a pitcher this time next season. If Bucci can have success in AA at 22, he has to be considered more of a mid rotation option, but if he falters the Brewers may have to resort to trying him as a reliever, where the additional velocity may result in a solid bullpen arm.


18. Chris McFarland, HEL, 2B, 19 years old


Stats (HEL): 72 G, 313 PA, .301/.358/.433, 6 HR, 15/6 SB/CS, 24 XBH


McFarland was the Brewers 18th round pick last year, but wasn’t expected to sign due to a collegiate commitment to Rice. The Brewers managed to snag him for about $400k on the signing deadline, though he wasn’t able to play last season due to how late he signed. He made his debut with the Helena Brewers (an aggressive assignment for a high schooler) this year and demonstrated why the Brewers thought of him as a 4th round type talent.


A very good pure runner with solid range and a strong arm, scouts projected McFarland at either SS or CF, but the Brewers immediately moved him to 2nd base, where he was a work in progress (18 errors in 65 games played). That said, his raw athletic ability gives him the potential to be an above average defender on the right side of the diamond. This, when combined with his offensive ceiling, makes him an intriguing prospect to say the least. McFarland has strong wrists, good bat speed, and solid hand-eye that makes him a threat to hit .300 with doubles and a touch more power than you’d expect a 6 foot, 190 pounder to have.


Grade – B

Chris’ pro debut went quite smoothly, as he produced a .300 batting average in a league full of college players. While he walked some, he struck out at a fairly alarming rate (79 Ks in 72 games), making me nervous for him to take that next step. However, an additional offseason of work in instructionals should help his pitch recognition somewhat. He’s a work in progress defensively, but he’s 19 and has plenty of time to put everything together. As Helena’s full time 2B, he has an open slot in full season ball next season and he can establish himself as the next Brewers’ 2B in the pipeline.


19. Logan Schafer, AAA/MLB, CF, 25 years old


Stats (AAA): 124 G, 513 PA, .278/.332/.438, 11 HR, 16/7 SB/CS, 43 XBH

Stats (MLB): 16 G, 25 PA, .304/.320/.522, 0 HR, 0/1 SB/CS, 3 XBH


The Brewers have seen Schafer twice now as a September callup this year and in 2011, and, oddly enough, he’s hit over .300 in sparse duty. Schafer was probably ready for the show this year, but the surprise signing (and subsequent breakout) of Nori Aoki left him in the cold as far as playing time, so the Brewers decided to let him burn in AAA for a year. With Nyjer Morgan a non-tender lock, Schafer is a the next man in line to make the Brewers in a super outfield utility role out of spring training next year.


A utility outfielder is actually a really nice role for Logan. Ron Roenicke thinks he is the second best defensive outfielder in the entire system (to Carlos Gomez) and he might be right. Schafer is not only a CF, he is a good one and he can play all 3 outfield spots with a solid arm, very good speed, and great fielding instincts. Offensively, he has a swing geared to try and get on base, he doesn’t strike out often, and has a fair eye at the plate. While he won’t hit for much power at all, he can turn on the occasional inside pitch. Ultimately, his offensive ability probably limits him to a bench player type role, but he’s suited perfectly for it.


Grade – D

Schafer was repeating AAA this year, and while that might not have been the best move for his development, the fact that the took a step backward in the offensive department marginalizes his upside a fair bit and leaves people to wonder if he’s ever a starter for a decent team. Ideally for Milwaukee, he’s a career bench player who provides solid, cheap depth and gets on base when he’s needed. I think Schafer has the type of ability where he could also help fill the void in the case of a (non-Braun) outfield injury. While this write up doesn’t evoke a ton of upside, he’s as safe a prospect asset as you will find and he will be valuable, just not every day.


20. Jed Bradley, A+, LHP, 22 years old


Stats (A+): 20 GS, 107.1 IP, 5.53 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.40 K/BB, 4.54 FIP


I really bought the Jed Bradley Kool-Aid headed into this season. I was thinking his low 90s fastball and solid offspeed profile would pretty much overpower the FSL hitters and he’d be a midseason promotion candidate. Holy crap was I wrong. And I was wrong on just about every single thing.


Bradley was the 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft and was generally praised by the scouting community (both traditional and sabermetric). A 6’4”, 225 pound lefty out of Georgia Tech, Bradley had routinely touched the mid 90’s as a collegiate pitcher, though he lost some velocity towards the end of his junior season. The Brewers weren’t phased, but maybe they should have been. Bradley debuted with Taylor Jungmann in High A and was phenomenal for his first 3 starts before a groin injury kept him out. Once returning, he was awful. His fastball was 87-90, not 91-94 as billed. His secondary stuff was inconsistent, with a slider that lacked crispness and a changeup he struggled to throw for strikes. The end result was, well, that he didn’t strike many out, walked too many, and gave up tons of hits and runs. The Brewers mercifully cut his season short by placing him on the DL with a fatigued arm, which, at that point, was probably the most they could do to resurrect his stock.


If Bradley really was pitching hurt the whole year, hopefully he comes back. However, I’m skeptical, since I can’t imagine the Brewers would ever let a multi-million dollar farm investment pitch hurt, especially when a noteworthy velocity decrease is present and his results are awful. If Bradley comes back at 91-94, he offers mid to top of the rotation upside, but those days seem to be behind him in my opinion. We’ll see what an offseason of rest does, but Bradley looks poised to repeat High A Brevard County in what has all-too quickly become a make-or-break season.


Grade – F

I can’t think of many more prospects in baseball that have done more to hurt their stock than Jed Bradley this season. From disappointing stuff to terrible results to the high expectations to the injury, nothing went right. Hopefully it’s a lost year and a speed bump, but this ranking might even be too high. Be concerned.

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21. Jim Henderson, AAA/MLB, RHP, 29 years old


Stats (AAA): 35 G (0 GS), 48 IP, 1.69 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 2.55 K/BB, 2.91 FIP

Stats (MLB): 36 G (0 GS) 30.2 IP, 3.52 ERA, 13.2 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 3.46 K/BB, 1.95 FIP


Henderson explodes onto this list after being an afterthought on previous lists (I missed him, sorry guys). Yes, he’s 29. Yes, he’s a reliever. But he’s got everything you’re looking for in a bullpen arm. The Brewers picked him up from the Cubs minor league system in 2009 and he moved quickly, settling in at the AAA level for the better part of the previous 2 years. Finally, everything came together for Henderson as Nashville’s closer, and he shut the door very effectively. The Brewers saw what they had and brought him up to Milwaukee, where he has settled in as a 7th or 8th inning option for Milwaukee.


Henderson has a lot going for him. First, he’s got great size at about 6’5”, giving him a solid downward plane and some cut on his fastball. Second, his fastball has some solid giddyup. He averages 95 mph per pitch f/x, giving him a true mid-to-high 90’s heater that a hitter is going to struggle to square up on. He also mixes in a devastating mid 80’s slider that has 2 plane break and manages to play up due to the fastball velocity. The end result is that he racks up strikeouts and has the stuff to project double digit strikeout rates as a reliever moving forward. Further, Henderson has been effectively wild as a reliever, often being able to pitch slightly backwards with his fastball because hitters are so off balance.


Grade – A

Hard to imagine a better turnaround to his career – Henderson settles in the back of the Brewers ‘pen as the latest Brewers bullpen reclamation project that worked. His stuff projects as a potential closer option, and though he still needs to work on his control, it’s hard to argue with the results thus far. Henderson won’t be on this list much longer, but we can look forward to seeing him entrenched in Milwaukee’s bullpen for the foreseeable future.


22. Hiram Burgos, A+/AA/AAA, RHP, 25 years old


Stats (A+): 7 G (6 GS), 41.1 IP, 0.87 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 6.83 K/BB, 2.04 FIP

Stats (AA): 13 GS, 83.1 IP, 1.94 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 2.75 K/BB, 2.94 FIP

Stats (AAA): 8 GS, 46.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 2.33 K/BB, 3.85 FIP


Let’s set the stage with Burgos a little bit before we get into his outrageously good year. He was a 6th round pick out of a Community College, but only got a $15k signing bonus (not a typo). He was an organizational arm until this season, which he started by repeating High A as a 24 year old. Then, he exploded. He allowed 4 ER total in those 6 starts and earned an early promotion to AA, where he made 13 starts and posted an ERA under 2. He finished the year out with 8 starts in Nashville, bringing his season total in innings to about 170 (which ultimately cost him a September callup). While he was still quite good, the level jumps finally did catch up with his peripherals.


Burgos would be substantially higher on this list if he had enough stuff where I would feel really good about his ability to get MLB hitters out. His fastball is 88 to 91 mph, and even though he mixes his offspeed (he throws a slider, cutter, curve and changeup) well in order for his stuff to play up, that’s a warning sign. While a guy like Mike Fiers has beaten the odds with a similar repertoire, his delivery is loaded with deception, he dominated each level in the minors instead of breaking out like Burgos did this year (and Fiers’ curveball was underrated by scouts). Ultimately, the more normal delivery for Burgos might be a knock against him, but at this point he has absolutely earned a chance to see if he can get big league hitters out.


Grade – A+

Would you expect anything else? This guy went from an organizational player who was considered literally worthless to a potential back end starter on the cusp of the big leagues, and he did it in 1 season. That’s amazing. While I think his ultimate role is a long reliever or spot starter on a not-so-good team, it’s pretty wild how dramatic his improved command has changed his major league outlook.


23. Cameron Garfield, A, C, 21 years old


Stats (A): 66 G, 257 PA, .298/.385/.524, 11 HR, 3/1 SB/CS, 29 XBH


It seems like Cameron Garfield has been around forever since he was so young when he was drafted in the 2nd round of 2009. Expectations were quite high for him, as he was a young catcher with good defense and an offensive ceiling that scouts loved. Thus far in his MiLB career, It hasn’t been what we expected, but Garfield managed to turn his stock around in a big way and remind us that just because a prospect doesn’t have a great debut, doesn’t mean their career is over. Garfield debuted in the Pioneer League with Helena, then spent 2010 in Low A Wisconsin before missing all of 2011 with a dislocated kneecap. The Brewers, partially due to a thin catching corps in the low minors, sent Garfield back to Wisconsin this year once he was completely healthy. Though he only got half a season, the results were quite impressive. Garfield hit for really good power, nearly hit .300, and walked more than 10% of the time.


While Garfield’s results are solid, Keith Law had some serious questions regarding his receiving ability behind the plate, meaning that the injuries and growth might have knocked Garfield’s good defensive ability down a notch from when he was drafted. Further, Garfield is not known for elite bat speed, meaning we don’t know how his power ability is going to transfer as he moves up the ladder. So while his ultimate major league impact might not be outstanding, young catching is something you can never have enough of, and the Brewers will see if Garfield can continue to put it all together in a challenging offensive environment in High A Brevard County.


Grade – B+

While Garfield is still working on convincing the industry he can make a substantial impact at the big league level, he has shown that he is still a guy who could make the big leagues at some point after wallowing around rookie ball for a few years. Hopefully he can continue to work on his defensive game, and, given his draft status, you can be confident the Brewers will take their time with him. If he does develop defensively, he could carve out a nice niche as a Maldonado type player who ends up getting 40 or so starts a year.


24. Damien Magnifico, HEL, RHP, 21 years old


Stats (HEL): 9 G ( 1 GS), 21.2 IP, 5.82 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 6.2 BB/9, 1.67 K/BB, 4.17 FIP


Magnifico was the Brewers’ 5th round pick, and a consensus strong one. He really has only 1 thing going for him, and that is sheer velocity. Magnifico’s fastball touches triple digits routinely and has been as clocked as high as 103 (W.T.F.), giving him a true weapon. The reason he lasted until the 5th round was because that’s really it – his fastball is straight, doesn’t have a great deal of life, and that’s really all he throws right now. Further, Magnifico does have some health concerns, as he has four screws in his right (throwing) elbow. His lack of secondary offerings, tremendous velocity, spotty control/command, and previous health problems scream reliever, and Magnifico could be one heck of a good one.


The Brewers, however, may have other ideas in mind. Magnifico made multiple inning outings in nearly all of his Helena appearances, topping out with a 4 IP appearance. The Brewers have tried to convert David Goforth into a starter after drafting him in the 7th round last year despite him having premium velocity, only 1 pitch, and not much else, so they have a history of trying this experiment. Ultimately, I don’t see that Magnifico lasting as a starter, as while velocity is helpful, it isn’t everything and premium bats will be able to turn on it. Personally, I hope to see the Brewers teach Magnifico a slider and possibly a cutter, then let him fly at the back of a bullpen in full season ball. If they do, he’ll move quickly and could be in the big leagues in short order.


Grade – C-

While the stats are bad (and, keep in mind that highly drafted college prospect should dominate rookie ball), they aren’t all bad. It’s a small sample size and he’s not being utilized correctly, but he’s still able to miss bats and he still has that velocity that makes him so appealing. How his career ends up likely has a lot to do with what the Brewers decide to do with him following this season, and Magnifico will have plenty of time to work on refining his awesome arm in instructonals. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on.


25. Jose Pena, AZL/HEL, RF, 19 years old


Stats (AZL): 40 G, 183 PA, .299/.350/.527, 5 HR, 1/1 SB/CS, 21 XBH

Stats (HEL): 21 G, 92 PA, .306/.337/.529, 2 HR, 1/1 SB/CS, 10 XBH


Jose Pena was the first major Latin American signing of Milwaukee when the Brewers rebuilt their Dominican program in 2008. He got a $400k bonus, and expectations were pretty high for the 16 year old. Baseball America lauded his bat speed and power potential and at 6’2”, 190 pounds Pena was built to hit the ball out of the ball park in the middle of someone’s order. For 2 years, he floundered in the pitching-friendly DSL and prospect followers had started to write off the former bonus baby. Then the Brewers made a surprising move calling him up to the states and sticking him in the AZL. It proved to be the right move, as Pena exploded to the tune of a 22% better than league average OPS before being called up once again to Helena and nearly matching his success.


One of Pena’s major weaknesses is his plate approach, and it will need to be improved as he moves on to full season ball. The old Dominican phrase “you can’t walk off the island” applies here, and hopefully extended time in instructionals and constant exposure to US coaching can help convince Pena that a walk is almost as good as a single. If that does come around and Pena develops some more OBP skills, look out, as he has the rest of the tools to be successful. I’d have to imagine he is a member of the Timeber Rattlers next year, meaning he will have shot to make a name for himself.


Grade – A-

Pena managed to completely revive his prospect stuff by being promoted twice and performing. Suddenly, he looks to be making his full season debut at a very reasonable 20 years old and could be in the middle of the TimberRattler order. If he can round out his offensive game, he looks to be another mainstay in what suddenly seems like a very deep core of young outfielders.


26. Michael Reed, AA/A+/HEL, CF/RF, 19 years old


Stats (AA): 3 G, 8 PA, .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0/0 SB/CS, 0 XBH

Stats (A+): 11 G, 41 PA, .281/.425/.281, 0 HR, 3/0 SB/CS, 0 XBH

Stats (HEL): 48 G, 208 PA, .246/.337/.302, 1 HR, 11/1 SB/CS, 7 XBH


Reed was the Brewers’ 5th round pick in 2011 out of Texas high school after the Brewers paid him about $600k to keep him away from a college commitment to Arkansas. He played sparingly in 2011, but managed to impress Brewers’ brass enough to get an a taste of full-season ball in both AA Huntsville and A+ Brevard County before being assigned to Helena. While that was certainly fun to follow, Reed struggled a fair bit in Helana, the major problem being strikeouts and making contact.,


From a tools perspective, Reed has shown an advanced approach, and if he can tap into some of his power potential and/or improve his contact ability, he could be a 4 tool type CF with good defense and speed and a potentially plus arm. The key here will be patience, as Reed is more raw than the Brewers probably thought moving into the year.


Grade – B

Reed has had some struggles making contact, but has everything else and is loved by the organization. I imagine he’ll get a chance to polish his skills in instructionals before heading off to full season ball next season. If he’s able to get his batting average up and strikeouts down, he’ll advance quickly through the system. If not, he’s still a potential option as a defensive replacement type player.


27. Cody Scarpetta, AA, RHP, 23 years old


No stats this season


Scarpetta used to be an annual fixture in the top 10 of previous lists, but injuries, lack of development, and other acquisitions have pushed him way down. A starter who had steadily worked his way up the ladder despite nagging command concerns, Scarpetta had a mid-rotation ceiling and had some success in AA in 2011. He was poised to polish everything up in AAA this year, then make a big league debut not long after. Unfortunately, he ended up needing Tommy John Surgery in June and will likely miss significant time next season in addition to all of this year.


Scarpetta has also been a member of the Brewers’ 40 man roster for the past several seasons, and was already awarded a 4th minor league option so that the Brewers could send him down without exposing him to waivers. The Brewers recently outrighted him to AAA (off the 40-man), and apparently there were no takers, meaning we might have gotten away with one. I was worried, as a team like the Astros looking solely for upside could have jumped in and nabbed him. Speaking of his upside, a healthy Scarpetta could be a weapon for the Crew. While the starter ship has likely sailed due to durability concerns, control and command issues, and the ridiculous depth in the upper minors for Milwaukee, Scarpetta projects as a potential impact arm out of the bullpen. In short stints, he would sport a mid-90’s fastball that might be able to touch higher and a curveball that was frequently referenced as the best in the system a few years ago. He would walk some, but strike out a ton and would be outrageously difficult to square up on a consistent basis.


Grade – I

Scarpetta still has the upside that caused him to rank highly on previous lists, but injury concerns, command/control issues, and an ever-shrinking clock in Milwaukee’s system have made him a bullpen arm instead of a back-of-the-rotation type guy. Scarpetta needs to be in the big leagues sooner rather than later but out of the bullpen, he could be an impact arm based on raw stuff, so his prospect status is far from extinguished.


28. Jorge Lopez, AZL/DSL, RHP, 19 years old


Stats (AZL): 7 G (2 GS), 25.1 IP, 5.33 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 1.67 K/BB, 4.31 FIP

Stats (DSL): 5 G (3 GS), 22.2 IP, 4.76 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 2.60 K/BB, 2.76 FIP


Lopez has always been a guy I was quite high on – he ranked as a possible 1st round draft pick in 2011 but the Brewers took him with the 70th pick. A raw youngster from Puerto Rico (the second of many, if you count Hiram Burgos, on this list) who had never seen a weight room but was still 88-91 mph with a fastball and offered the type of athleticism that makes scouts drool. To top it all off, his first pro innings in 2011 were good – he made 4 3 IP appearances and posted an ERA of 2.25 and a FIP to match. Expectations were really high moving into his second year. Most penciled him in the Helena rotation and thought he would be on track for a full season debut as a 20 year old, so it was concerning to see him back with the lower rookie level Arizona squad. It was substantially more concerning to see him post an ERA above 4. When word came around that Lopez was actually being demoted to the DSL, it was full on panic. While the cause of the demotion, apparently, wasn’t performance related (it was supposedly educational or family related), a 19 year old with Lopez’s draft pedigree and potential should dominate high school competition and demolish the DSL. He didn’t.


That doesn’t mean his career is done, though. Lopez still has all of the tools that made him a potentially dominating player when the Brewers drafted him. He just needs to continue to work on maturing physically, developing his velocity, and getting more game action. The Brewers will tell us a lot based on where they assign him this coming season, and if Lopez repeats the Arizona level for a 3rd time, expect his stock to plummet further.


Grade – D-

Lopez didn’t shatter his stock, but he came close. The saving grace is that he’s raw and his ceiling has remained unchanged strictly from a tools standpoint. However, Lopez was the type of prospect we expected to make strides once he joined a pro organization and received solid training and coaching. In a small sample, he didn’t really make progress. He is headed back to instructionals this fall, meaning that he should get some solid game action and all-day coaching. At this point, Lopez isn’t likely to make his full season debut until he’s 21, but we’re going to remain hopeful that everything comes together.


29. Khris Davis, AA/AAA, LF, 24 years old


Stats (AA): 44 G, 154 PA, .383/.484/.641, 8 HR, 2/2 SB/CS, 17 XBH

Stats (AAA): 32 G, 140 PA, .310/.414/.522, 4 HR, 1/0 SB/CS, 16 XBH


Those are some pretty darn impressive numbers all the way around. Davis was a 9th round pick out of Cal State Fullerton for Milwaukee in 2009 and has done his best to make himself relevant. The owner of a career MiLB line of .294/.400/.513, the man certainly can hit. In addition, he has moved through the 4 levels in 3 seasons despite missing some time with an injury this year, so certainly the Brewers are well-aware of his abilities.


A big question is why is he ranked below guys like Jorge Lopez on this list? Well, the statistics and production are what’s keeping him alive as a prospect. Defensively, he’s limited to LF based on his lack of elite range or arm, so unless he plans to stick around in Milwaukee until 2021, it appears bench and pinch hit duty is the most Milwaukee can offer him. Further, at 6’0”, he doesn’t have the elite power potential you like to see from a corner OF, and his swing has been repeatedly described as long by scouts. This means people expected him to have trouble moving up the ladder, specifically at AA and AAA, where pitchers are able to use high fastballs to make him swing and miss. Fortunately for Davis, that hasn’t happened yet, giving some credit to the notion that he will be able to have at least some big league success.


Grade – B

Davis hit in the upper minors for average, walked a bunch, and hit for power. He’s essentially proven himself at every minor league level and at this point, there isn’t much for him to do to improve his stock until he gets to the big leagues. Problem is, there really isn’t a clear path to the big leagues for him in Milwaukee. I think a trade would be in order, though I’m unsure what team would be willing to give him a shot as a full time starter given how limited he is defensively and his lack of a prospect pedigree.


30. Zach Quintana, AZL, 18 years old, RHP


Stats (AZL): 13 G (4 GS), 43.1 IP, 5.82 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.77 K/BB, 3.82 FIP


At first glance, those stats are hardly sexy, and Quintana definitely didn’t do good things for his stock with a shaky pro debut in the AZL. However, there is still a ton to like with the Brewers’ 3rd round pick. At 5’11, 180 pounds, Quintana is the newest tiny pitcher the Brewers have drafted in the 3rd round after some guy named Thornburg. The comparisons don’t quite mesh though, as Quintana’s deliver is downright normal (http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22010259&topic_id=29113154&c_id=mil). Stuff wise, however, they are a little more alike. Quintana is 91-93 mph with the fastball and has enough giddyup to touch the mid 90’s when he needs to. His fastball also has great run to it (see the video), cutting in on the righthander and away from the lefty. He compliments that with a curveball that is more of a mid-70’s looper than an 80-ish hammer and a changeup that he has some feel for.


Despite being undersized, there is still some projection here. His arm speed should increase as he matures, making me wonder if he won’t be able to add another tick or two to his fastball. Provided he can develop a little sharper curveball and continue to progress with the changeup, Quintana offers considerable upside.


Grade – C-

The debut was pretty ugly, but all things considered, it’s too small a sample to make any conclusions based on his AZL performance thus far Quintana will continue to get more experience in pro ball with the rest of the Brewers’ draftees in instructs this year. It might be a while, as he’s only 18, but the stuff is exciting.

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31. Yadiel Rivera, A, SS, 20 years old


Stats (A): 127 G, 506 PA, .247/.290/.402, 12 HR,7/3 SB/CS, 43 XBH


Yadiel Rivera was a 9th round pick for Milwaukee in 2010 out of Puerto Rico and has continued to entice followers of the Milwaukee organization for years with his tools. At 6’2”, 175 pounds he’s wiry thin but has excellent range and an outstanding arm at SS. He makes the routine play look effortless and has the potential to make the unbelievable play, giving him serious upside with the glove. While he’s still raw and error prone, his ability to stick is not questioned at all. In addition, when he squares up on a ball, he can drive it. He has strong wrists and the type of frame you don’t expect from a SS, leading to a pretty impressive 12 HR, 26 2B year in Low A this past season.


All of this sounds great, right? Rivera just can’t get on base effectively. His .290 OBP this year was a career high (though, I’m not totally doing him justice, as the Brewers have been aggressive with him and overmatched him a few times). To his credit, Rivera is starting to improve on his dismal approach at the plate, offering a career high in walk rate and a career low in strikeout rate. The problem is, his walk rate was 5.1% and his K rate was 23.5%. In order for him to establish himself as a potential big league starter, he will need to continue to learn to recognize pitches, stop swinging at breaking balls in the dirt, and develop patience at the plate. The second he does that will be the second he takes off on this list, as he has everything else you would want from a SS prospect.


Grade – B

Despite his shortcomings in the OBP department this year, Rivera proved he could more-or—less handle full season ball and showed really impressive pop in his bat. He’s going to get as much time as possible to show the Brewers he can learn to recognize and lay off of offspeed stuff given his toolsy profile. Expect him to start next season in Brevard County, and keep your eye on him, because his raw ability is still tremendous.


32. Caleb Gindl, AAA, RF, 23 years old


Stats (AAA): 127 G, 498 PA, .261/.317/.423, 12 HR, 4/1 SB/CS, 44 XBH


The second of ‘The Smurf Brothers’ (after Scooter Gennett) Caleb Gindl is a 5’9” OF who has worked his way up through the system. A 5th rounder in 2008, Gindl started at Low A as a 19 year old, and was actually on the short list of potential big league OFers for Milwaukee this year after a great .307/.390/.472 slash line in Nashville as a 22 year old. It wasn’t to be, as the Brewers signed Nori Aoki, relegating Gindl to AAA. There, he was a disappointment.


From a tools perspective, Gindl can make some contact, has more pop than you’d suspect, and has a great arm, even for RF. Unfortunately, he’s not the pure runner to play CF and doesn’t quite have the raw contact ability to mandate a corner outfield spot in the big leagues. He is patient, however, and as a lefty, he will have some time to see what else he can develop. However, with Nori Aoki entrenched in RF and an army of potential OFers coming his way, Gindl might be relegated to more of a bench role. Perhaps even more disheartening is that Logan Schafer has clearly surpassed Gindl in the eyes of Brewers brass given his substantially better defense. For Gindl to earn some big league time, he’s going to first need to start crushing the ball in AAA, then see if a spot opens up. He’s still a potentially useful big league player, but I think the hopes of him being a starter have dwindled.


Grade – D+

This was the first year Caleb Gindl had ever repeated a minor league level, so our expectations were really high. After all, this was a guy who continued to excel throughout the minors despite being substantially younger than most players he was facing for 4 consecutive years. For him to lose 70+ points of OBP is pretty frightening and, when you look at where he must rank on the Brewers’ depth chart in the OF, you have to get fairly creative to get him on the big league roster. If he could play CF more consistently, it might be different. Gindl has plenty of time to get it back on track, but at 5’9”, nothing will be handed to him and he will need to bust down the doors to the big leagues.


33. Fautino de Los Santos, AAA, RHP, 26 years old


Stats (AAA): 39 G, 49.2 IP, 5.80 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 3.00 K/BB, 2.7ish FIP


de Los Santos is the most recent acquisition in the ‘let’s find bullpen arms who throw really, really, really hard’ trend in Milwaukee. Brought over in the George Kottaras trade from the A’s, de Los Santos was a former top prospect with the White Sox who never developed the command to start. Oakland shortened him up, told him to throw hard and mix in a slider, and tried to make him a reliever. So far, the jury is still out, as at 26 de Los Santos is certainly pushing Father Time a little bit. That said, he’s on the cusp of the big leagues now and has all of the raw ability to close.


His bread and butter pitch is a fastball that sits in the high 90’s and can touch 100 mph. It has good life, but is fairly straight, meaning that a hitter could square up on it if they make contact. He also mixes in a devastating slider as his out pitch. Given how hard each of his offerings are, de Los Santos can rack up the K’s. His downfall, at least this season, was entirely BABIP related. He had .400+ BABIPs at each of his AAA destinations this year (starting with Oakland and finishing in Milwaukee). While 50 IP isn’t a huge sample size, he will need to work on reducing the number of hits allowed.


Grade – C-

Another year has gone by and de Los Santos has yet to make the big leagues. Given the impending overhaul of Milwaukee’s bullpen and how much upside he has, I certainly think he will be given every opportunity to make the club out of spring training. If he does, expect to be frustrated with him, at least initially, as he simply does not have the required command/control to be an elite reliever yet. Hopefully the Brewers get rewarded for their patience with him, however, as they have done a nice job at finding diamonds in the rough in the bullpen these past few years.


34. Santo Manzanillo, AA, RHP, 23 years old

Stats (AA): 12 G, 13.1 IP, 6.08 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 6.8 BB/9, 1 K/BB, 5.90 FIP


Santo Manzanillo has been a substantial project of the Brewers for years now. A 23 year old who was signed in 2006 by Milwaukee, it’s taken them a while to get him on the precipice of the big leagues. In 2011, it looked like he had figured it out. Manzanillo, a reliever who sports a fastball that is 96-100 in short stints and a wicked slider to boot, had finally gotten control of his raw stuff enough to be effective. He posted ERAs of 1.5 and 2.2 during 2011 between High A and AA. I assumed the Brewers would let him spend some time in AAA this year, and potentially even call him up to the big leagues as a supplement to their bullpen.


Everything has gone backwards this year. It all started with a car crash in the off season that left Manzanillo injured. While he didn’t require surgery, he did require extensive rehab and missed a good deal of the season as a result. Further, when he came back his control was completely gone again and his results reverted back to 2010. While Manzanillo later admitted to the Brewers’ staff that he wasn’t healthy and tried to pitch at less than 100%, the damage to his prospect stock has been done. He’s on this list because of his stuff, and that’s really it. If he ever learns to throw strikes, he’s a potential closer. If he ever learns to throw quality strikes, there’s no point in stepping in the batters’ box. But at this point, the odds are that he’s going to struggle with his control and be more of a pull-your-hair-out middle inning type guy.


Grade – D

I thought about an F, but gave him a medical break. Manzanillo has an offseason to work on his mechanics, get 100% healthy, and come back strong. Hopefully he rediscovers his 2011 magic and gets me excited again, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m still going to follow him though, because his stuff is just incredible.


35. Carlos Belonis, DSL, 17 years old, SS


Stats (DSL) 47 G, 191 PA, .259/.319/.351, 2 HR, 25/9 SB/CS, 10 XBH


Belonis was the Brewers’ single biggest splash on the international market this year, joining Milwaukee for an impressive $550k. A 6’3”, 175 pound righty, Belonis played SS but likely moves to 3B or even an OF spot down the road. He is also an impressive runner and has a solid group of tools across the board. While his offensive production doesn’t jump off the page at you or anything, remember that this is the single most pitching friendly league in the minors and Belonis will likely see a substantial jump in his offensive statistics once he comes stateside. Obviously, it’s difficult for us to get any more substantial information than that, but I have a feeling the Brewers will be aggressive with Belonis and try to get him in rookie ball so they can see what they have in him.


Grade – I

It’s really tough to judge grades on Dominican players, and Belonis is largely where he is on this list because of the investment Milwaukee made in him. Hopefully we see him in Arizona soon so he’s not such a mystery.


36. David Goforth, A, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (A): 28 GS, 150.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 1.48 K/BB, 4.78 FIP


David Goforth was a 7th round draft pick by Milwaukee last year, and a highly rated player at that. The senior from Ole Miss was shortened to a reliever by the Rebels due to a lack of secondary stuff, but could sling it at 100 mph when he needed to and mixed in a low-90’s cut fastball for a secondary offering. The presumed path for Goforth was really simple – teach him a slider, tell him to throw hard, let him move through the system, and see if he can get big leaguers out. The Brewers decided to make him a starter, and it’s been a disaster so far.


Goforth has managed to survive for 28 full season ball starts on the strength of his fastball, which can still touch the mid-90s as a starter. But he doesn’t have the secondary pitches to get hitters out and (even worse) has referenced that he’s “pitching to contact”. That has resulted in an unsustainably low K/9, his high ERA/FIP, and general ineffectiveness. Hopefully the Brewers used this as a learning experience for Goforth to at least get him to try and work on his secondary stuff, but in case there weren’t enough warning signs already, it’s time to move him to the bullpen. Once there, I expect him to have a great deal more success, and he could certainly be in the mix for save opportunities down the line if everything breaks right.


Grade – C

This season demonstrated David Goforth is not a starter long term, but everyone knew that already except Brewers brass. Now the time comes to let your fireballer do what he does best. While I guess you have to applaud the Brewers for creativity, Goforth being used as a reliever and having success there is going to be the only way the industry buys into him long term.


37. Edgardo Rivera, AZL, CF, 18 years old


Stats (AZL) 32 G, 148 PA, .262/.356/.310, 0 HR, 9/1 SB/CS, 6 XBH


Man, the Brewers love them some Puerto Rican players. Edgardo Rivera was their 8th round pick this year and an overslot signing. His debut was quite solid, especially given how raw his offensive approach and contact ability is. That said, his overall toolbox is not in question. Rivera ran the 60 yard dash in a crazy good 6.3 seconds, giving him a solid 70-75 speed tool. When combined with his arm, which is solid average, you are looking at a potential difference maker in CF. In addition, Rivera will be a terror on the basepaths and garner plenty of IF hits (especially as a lefty). At 6’0, 155 (!), he won’t hit for power, and didn’t in his debut, but hopefully he can learn to crank out enough doubles to compensate for his lack of home runs.


Grade – C+

It’s a very small sample, but his walk rate of 12% is certainly encouraging. Scouts think that if he can fix some mechanical issues in his swing, he could be an impact player at the leadoff spot, and his debut did nothing to subside that. He managed to OBP nearly .360 as an 18 year old, and should be in line for a promotion following instructionals. If he can find a way to put the bat on the baseball consistently and improve his pitch recognition, he’s a 4-tool player.


38. Josh Stinson, RHP, AA/MLB, 24 years old


Stats (AA) 29 G (24 GS), 145.1 IP, 3.16 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.28 K/9, 4.27 FIP

Stats (MLB) 6 G (1 GS), 9.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 2.9 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 0.59 K/BB, 5.45 FIP


Stinson was actually a waiver claim from the Mets this past season, and was expected to be ‘high minors SP fodder’ in an organization that was really weak in the high minors. The Brewers assigned him to AA and he had a good deal of success, even if his peripherals don’t support it. At 6’4”, 210 pounds, Stinson definitely has the frame to support his innings workload, and with a fastball that averages 93 mph and can touch 95 mph, he’s got the velocity. The problem here is the secondary stuff, as Stinson just can’t put hitters away. He throws strikes, gets ahead, gets ground balls, all that good stuff, but doesn’t quite have the slider/curve/change to get the swings and misses he needs to start in the big leagues.


There is a way for him to be a potentially useful arm though, and that is as a big league reliever. His fastball should move up a tick once he goes max effort, and if the Brewers can manage to teach him to get a little more bite on the slider, he would have a very solid arsenal. As it is now, he’s more of a 6th inning option who can go more than 1 inning if necessary, but those guys aren’t particularly valuable. For Stinson, his ceiling will be determined by how many he can strike out per 9. If it’s 7, he’s a potentially useful arm. If it’s 9, he’s more of a back end guy.


Grade – C+

Stinson has the fastball to pitch in the big leagues, meaning he will likely get a shot at some point. Whether he can have sustained success is another thing altogether, but given the Brewers pitching depth right now, it seems like a bullpen move could be the thing that gets him a permanent big league role. Certainly Stinson is looking like a solid claim by the Brewers here.


39. Alan Williams, A+, LHP, 22 years old


Stats (A+): 26 G (12 GF), 35.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 2.92 K/BB, 2.78 FIP


When I mention how much better off the Brewers’ system is, I like to talk about how they’ve used multiple outlets to acquire talent. Williams is one of the more unique examples of this, as he came from Independent Ball (I’ll pause to wait for you to google it in case you don’t know what it is). The Brewers brought him in as a 21 year old reliever, and he shined compiling a career ERA of 2.52 to date. This season, Williams moved up to the FSL, where he had more success in a ‘long closer’ type role where he would often get saves, but pitch multiple innings to do so.


There is a lot to like about Williams from a raw stuff perspective. At 6’3”, 200 pounds he has the size to support a low’90’s fastball that hitters have not yet been able to square up on. He compliments that with a breaking ball that has turned into a true out pitch and is the basis for his high K rates all throughout his career. While he is left handed, Williams has been used against lefties and righties. That might not be the best move, however, as against lefties this season he compiled a triple slash line of .234/.265/.340 with a 15/1 K/BB.


Grade – B

Williams continues to show that he can be an effective left handed reliever, and has also demonstrated that he can be virtually untouchable against lefties. The biggest hurdle for him will be this next season in AA, but hopefully has he climbs the ladder the Brewers will be more selective with his use, as he offers considerable value as a LOOGY.


40. Tyler Wagner, HEL, RHP, 21 years old


Stats (HEL): 14 G (13 GS), 48.2 IP, 7.77 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 2.14 K/BB, 4.41 FIP


Wagner might be one of the biggest droppers on this list. The Brewers’ 4th round pick out of the University of Utah was praised for a mid-90’s fastball and solid slider. While they weren’t sure whether he was a starter or reliever, the raw stuff was certainly exciting and the Brewers pounced on him and assigned him to Helena. Given his stuff and college pedigree, he should have dominated, but he didn’t. You can blame part of it on a .365 BABIP and 46.5% stand percentage (!!!), but he did not profile as a starter in 50 IP with Helena.


Wagner will almost assuredly make the full season ball rotation in 2013, but Brewers’ fans have to be hitting the panic button a little bit.


Grade – D

When a college player has success in Helena, it’s easy to get your hopes up. However, that is the expectation. When a college player gets hit around in Helena, that’s a substantial problem. Wagner will need to show that he’s made some major improvements in A ball next year. Hopefully he will be able to get the kinks work out in instructionals and get back on track.

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41. Eric Arnett, A+, RHP, 24 years old


Stats (A+): 33 G (3 GF), 60.2 IP, 3.26 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.97 K/BB, 3.73 FIP


Arnett has done an unbelievable job simply restoring his baseball career after floundering the Brewers’ system since 2009, when he was a 1st round draft pick. His stuff, historically, has been up and down, but with a fastball touching 94 mph, a splitter, and a slider out of the bullpen, he’s been much tougher to hit. It’s tough to know what kind of ultimate upside he possesses as a big league reliever given how finicky his stuff seems to be, however, provided he can work on limiting the walks and developing more of his secondary pitches, he might be a 7th inning type guy.


Grade – B

It’s still amazing that Arnett is even relevant in the Brewers, but the real challenge is AA. If he can get AA hitters out, it would be time to consider him a potential cog in the MLB bullpen. Otherwise, the Brewers will finally be forced to finally cut ties with one of the more disappointing first rounders in recent memory.


42. Angel Ortega, AZL, SS, 18 years old


Stats (AZL): 46 G, 192 PA, .242/.284/.315, 1 HR, 9/4 SB/CS, 9 XBH


Angel Ortega is the latest in the ever-lengthening line of tall Brewers’ SSs. A 6th round draft pick from Puerto Rico (seriously, they love Puerto Ricans) Ortega is a good defender at 6’2”, 170 pounds and provides a little bit of pop in his bat, but needs to learn to make contact and recognize pitches. Sound familiar? It’s Yadiel Rivera reincarnated. That said, the first 50 or so games for Ortega have provided some upside we haven’t seen with Yadiel. Specifically, Ortega’s offensive line leaves a fair bit to be desired, but his 12.5% K rate is outstanding and he had enough discipline at the plate to walk nearly 6% of the time. If he can learn to hit the ball with some authority, that’s a very nice start to a career for a 6th rounder who was raw as could be.


Grade – B-

He wasn’t supposed to have success in the AZL, and he didn’t, at least offensively. However, he likely surprised a few people with his approach at the plate, and maybe he isn’t as raw as originally suspected. The next challenge for Ortega is instructs, and then he will likely be the full time SS for Helena next season. If all goes well, he could make a full season debut at 20 years old.


43. Tommy Toledo, A/A+, RHP, 23 years old


Stats (A), 21 G (13 GF), 37 IP, 1.95 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 2.82 K/BB, 3.55 FIP

Stats (A+) 11 G (3 GF), 19.1 IP, 6.05 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 6.1 BB/9, 1 K/BB, 4.70 FIP


Tommy Toledo was actually a highly sought-after HS player, drafted in the 3rd round, who ultimately signed with the Florida Gators. The Brewers got him in the 11th round last year after injuries and Kharsten Whinston bumped him from the rotation, and his career looked to be off to a nice start in full season ball. Toledo was great in relief and earned himself a midseason callup to Brevard County, where the wheels promptly fell off. A 6.05 ERA and 1 K/BB is pretty much all you need to know regarding the stiffer competition in the FSL. Thankfully, it was a 19 inning sample size, but that’s still fairly concerning, so Toledo took a hefty tumble in this ranking (though that was also due to all of the new faces in Milwaukee uniforms).


Grade- C-

Toledo started off great and stumbled to the finish. He’ll have an offseason to work on polishing up his secondary stuff and low 90’s fastball, and then he’ll get sent to High A for a repeat performance. Depending on how he does there, he may project as a middle relief type player.


44. Yosmer Leal, DSL, RHP, 16 years old


No stats of yet


Leal is the second major Latin American splash made by Milwaukee after Carlos Belonis. A 16 year old righty who signed for $370k, Leal can touch 91 with the fastball and has some feel for a slider and a curve. While that is all we know about him at this point, it’s certainly exciting that a heralded young arm is headed to Milwaukee (and throwing 91 at 16 years old is no easy feat in itself). Leal will begin next year in the DSL, and hopefully head stateside for his age 18 season. The two major things he can do to improve his stock are demonstrate feel for his secondary pitches and work on increasing his velocity. If that happens, it will be time to get excited.


Grade – I

Obviously the man hasn’t thrown a pro inning yet, but this ranking is a reflection of the bonus money the Brewers think he’s worth and the vague knowledge we have on him.


45. Kyle Heckathorn, AA, RHP, 24 years old


Stats (AA): 35 G (17 GS, 7 GF), 119.1 IP, 4.75 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 2.32 K/BB, 3.77 FIP


Kyle Heckathorn was an early darling for the Brewers’ squad after being a supplemental 1st round draft pick in 2009. He posted an ERA under 3 between 2 levels in 2010, and the future was bright. A velocity drop left him without his mid-90’s heater, however, and Heckathorn has yet to regain his prior stuff. The results have been less than promising as a result – the ERA has hovered near 5 and after 2 full years, he’s still in AA. This finally culminated in a trip to the bullpen, in part due to so many new pitching acquisitions and breakouts, and in part due to general ineffectiveness as a starter. The Brewers are hoping Heckathorn will regain his velocity once he starts going max effort, but it’s still an uphill battle for him to make the majors in any type of impactful way.


Grade – D+

He bombed out as a starter in AA, but managed to salvage his season (and possibly his career) with a fairly strong showing as a reliever. He’s now in the AFL and has gotten off to a fairly good start, so maybe there is still hope here. His great size (6’6”, 250 pounds) suggests that there is more velocity here than the low 90’s, but he’s yet to demonstrate it since college. If he can get a little of that back, his changeup will undoubtedly be even more effective, and his ability to mix 3 pitches as a reliever might let his stuff play up.


46. Joel Dicent, AZL, RHP, 20 years old


Stats (AZL): 14 G ( 8 GS), 52.0 IP, 5.19 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 1.43 K/BB, 4.32 FIP


Dicent was an under-the-radar signing for Milwaukee out of the Dominican Republic as an 18 year old. Scouting director Bruce Seid raved about him, citing that he was 91-95 mph with the fastball at the date of signing. At 6’3”, 175 pounds, Dicent also has the raw frame to suggest he could handle a starters’ workload, even if he still needs to fill out a little bit. Seid failed to mention exactly how raw Dicent was, but after putting it together in the DSL last season, the Brewers brought him stateside to start in the AZL league as a 20 year old. Thus far, it’s been tough sledding, mostly based on his lack of control/command. While we don’t know much about his secondary stuff, I do know that if that walk rate goes down, the earned runs will starter to disappear.


Grade – C-

Dicent make the trip to the US and kept his head above water, for the most part. That’s a marginally successful season, even if you would like to see a guy dominate the league at his age. For him, the next step is getting with US coaches and refining his pitches, as he already has fastball to anchor his repertoire. Where he starts next season is a little bit of a mystery, but you have to hope that the Brewers like him and can be aggressive with him based on his progress.



47. Adam Giacalone, HEL, 1B, 20 years old


Stats (HEL): 69 G, 298 PA, .317/.394/.425, 3 HR, 3/5 SB/CS, 21 XBH


Giacalone was the Brewers’ 16th round draft pick out of Junior College, and he signed for $100k on the nose before being assigned to Helena. While he struggled initially, he went on to just beat the crap out of the baseball, hitting for average, walking, and hitting a ton of doubles. While the home runs weren’t quite there, Giacalone’s 6’2”, 220 pound lefty swing suggests there might be potential for some more down the line. Despite not having a high draft pedigree, he gets on this list for dominating Helena as a 20 year old (he was a young signing for a collegiate draftee).


Grade – B

An easy way to upgrade your prospect status is to hit for average, power, and walk. Giacalone did just that and put his name on the map as a result. Next season will be his first shot at full season ball, as he’ll undoubtedly be the Timber Rattler’s 1B out of the gate. If he can hit there, he just might begin to make a name for himself.


48. Ruben Ozuna, HEL, CF, 20 years old


Stats (HEL): 57 G, 226 PA, .267/.315/.366, 2 HR, 15/4 SB/CS, 13 XBH


Ozuna was another player mentioned by Bruce Seid as a potential prospect in the DSL a few years ago, and the Brewers have definitely challenged him early in his MiLB career. This year, he spent his second season in Helena and posted a fairly ho-hum offensive line while manning mostly LF. That said, the Brewers believe he can be a CF long term and were likely getting him some experience at different positions to increase his value long term. It’s also worth noting that he’s shown fairly good plate discipline for a Latin American player early in his career, and therefore, might be able to provide some OBP down the line.


Grade – C-

Ozuna did not have a great year this year despite seeing Helena for the 2nd time. While he is apparently a very good defender who can stick in CF and his raw athleticism was prized by Milwaukee, right now he finds himself in one of the deepest areas in the organization as a Low A outfielder. He will be competing with many other guys who are higher on this list for playing time, and doesn’t seem like a good bet to get all that much.



49. Gian Rizzo, DSL, RHP, 18 years old


Stats (DSL): 10 G (10 GS): 50.0 IP, 1.08 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 8.67 K/BB, 1.66 FIP


Gian Rizzo is another Venezuelan find for Milwaukee, and the 6’1” righty once again proved he is simply too good for the DSL by improving on his 1.82 ERA from 2011. It is, at least to me, inexplicable that the Brewers have not called him up, because looking at pure results, this is the best pitching line on this list. The question, then, is why not? Perhaps the Brewers don’t view Rizzo as a prospect based on his stuff (though this is the organization that gave Mike Fiers a chance, so I doubt it). Perhaps is a Visa, educational, or otherwise personal issue. That would seem to make more sense.


Grade – C+

As good as Rizzo’s season was, he is still a relative unknown in terms of stuff and still baffles me as to why he has not been brought stateside. He improved marginally on his performance from last year, but that is really just meeting expectations considering you would expect a 17 year old pitcher to improve if he’s repeating a league. While this write up doesn’t pass for too much of a scouting report (though I have heard Rizzo is somewhere in the high 80’s), the only way for him to move up this list is to begin to move up the system. Until then, I’ll just sit here confused.


50. Juan Ortiz, DSL, OF, 17 years old


Stats (DSL): 62 G, 247 PA, .229/.328/.332, 3 HR, 18/7 SB/CS, 15 XBH


Ortiz was one of the more minor moves the Brewers made in the Latin American market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fair bit to like. While the batting average leaves a fair bit to be desired, Ortiz demonstrated the raw tools that made him a $100k man for Milwaukee. 3 HRs doesn’t seem like a lot, but for the DSL, it’s not bad output, and Ortiz’s raw power has been noted off of a good lefty swing. At 6’1”, 175 pounds and still growing, you could expect a few more taters as he matures. Further, he’s also a good raw runner who will likely shift to RF (and play well there) based on a strong arm.


Grade – B-

While he didn’t blow the doors off of anybody, he was an under-the-radar type signing who played well at a young age despite a fairly raw skillset. That is intriguing. As always, the Brewers are going to need to bring him stateside before I really buy in, but there is certainly some good ability here.


51. Jesus Sanchez, AAA/AA, RHP, 24 years old


Stats (AA): 32 G (18 GF), 45.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.15 K/BB, 3.02 FIP

Stats (AAA): 20 G (9 GF), 26.1 IP, 1.71 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 2.56 K/BB, 2,48 FIP


Since Jean Segura is technically ineligible for this list, I give you the 51st/50th best prospect in the Brewers’ system – and he’s a doozy. Jesus Sanchez has had one of the more crazy paths to the big leagues that you will come across. Originally a catcher with the Phillies and Yankees, the 5’11”, 200 pound Sanchez was converted to a pitcher and claimed by Milwaukee. The Brewers assigned him to AA this year and the results were, well, phenomenal. Sanchez ended up pitching across 2 levels, closing for each at some point, and was simply lock down.


While his path to the big leagues might mirror Jason Motte, his stuff and ultimate projection, unfortunately, do not. Sanchez is more of a low-90’s hurler with the fastball and relies on spotting his pitches well rather than simply blowing it by people.


Grade – B+

He’s now produced at the highest levels of the minors, and with the Brewers bullpen awaiting an overhaul for 2013, Sanchez will have every opportunity to try and make the big league club out of spring training. Since he has only been pitching for a few years, you hope that there is another tick or two of velocity the right coach can squeeze out of him, but given his smaller frame, I don’t see much reason to be optimistic. Sanchez probably maxes out as a middle reliever, but you have to give credit to Milwaukee for bringing him in.

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Great job, Rams. May I ask--how do you have so much knowledge of minor league players? Our top 20 list looks great in terms of some potential impact guys. Arcia. Taylor. Coulter. Roache. Those 4 look like they have tremendous ceilings. Rogers, Nelson, Peralta, Hellweg, Thornburgh. Some solid MLB rotation guys.


Doug Melvin has been phenomenal.

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Great job, Rams. May I ask--how do you have so much knowledge of minor league players? Our top 20 list looks great in terms of some potential impact guys. Arcia. Taylor. Coulter. Roache. Those 4 look like they have tremendous ceilings. Rogers, Nelson, Peralta, Hellweg, Thornburgh. Some solid MLB rotation guys.


Doug Melvin has been phenomenal.

I read up on basically everything I can find, watch most video I can find, and make the list accordingly.


I wouldn't say phenomenal like an Andrew Freidmann (TB) or Alex Anthagfafdsadfsdfga (TOR), but he's done an admirable job of piecing together a system with more depth than first glance in a few years.




Thanks to everyone else too!

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Melvin may not make the draft choices, but he runs the organization. That's all I meant. The people that make the picks report to him, and organizational structure and philosophy certainly are designed by Melvin. We are lucky to have him. This organization was like Siberia before he got here. Now it's a top flight organization.
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While there have been some good picks, the high-round whiffs on pitchers have been pretty bad for the Brewers. Melvin's a solid or good GM, but I certainly don't share the opinion that he's a savior. The organization is definitely not top flight right now.
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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Thanks! I wasn't able to follow the farm as close this summer so having a summary like this is super helpful.


The system is obviously no where near where it was back during the Prince, Braun, Weeks, Hardy, Hart, etc. days but there has been notable improvement in the last two years. Hopefully we can keep that trend going!

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Rams, thanks for all your analysis. I appreciate that it's not a sugarcoated 'homer' look at the system.
You're welcome (and thanks to everyone else too for the kind words)!


I really do try and avoid being a homer. It's not easy, particuarly when you're 37 prospects deep, but it is something I really focus on avoiding.


There are some prospects in Milwaukee's system who I think will be criminally underrated this year - Wily Peralta is the big one. People will look at his ERA, think that he's fat, and move on. John Sickels didn't have him in his preliminary top 50 list, and that seems insane to me when you look at the bottom of the list:

38) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants

39) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

40) Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox

41) Dan Straily, RHP, Oakland Athletics

42) David Holmberg, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

43) J.R. Graham, RHP, Atlanta Braves

44) Victor Sanchez, RHP, Seattle Mariners

45) Nick Maronde, LHP, Los Angeles Angels

46) Michael Fulmer, RHP, New York Mets

47) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

48) Andrew Chafin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

49) Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

50) Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals


I wouldn't take any of those guys over Peralta. Not even close.

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Awesome post. Obviously some people have different opinions, but I'm with you on Coultier. It is aggressive, but he showed such a mature approach at such a young age that I think it's valid.


One tiny note though, he didn't go from 189 to 220 this year. He stopped wrestling as a Soph in HS, and the fact that he wrestled 189 suggests he was probably 200 pounds already as a Soph and has just added muscle and developed a little more since quitting wrestling as a Sophomore in HS.


That's not really the point though, just saying I don't think he's a guy who went out and just threw on 30 pounds from the end of wrestling season to the summer. Had he, it wouldn't likely be very good weight from my experience, and he doesn't look like he's done that.

Icbj86c-"I'm not that enamored with Aaron Donald either."
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There are some prospects in Milwaukee's system who I think will be criminally underrated this year - Wily Peralta is the big one. People will look at his ERA, think that he's fat, and move on. John Sickels didn't have him in his preliminary top 50 list, and that seems insane to me when you look at the bottom of the list:

38) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants

39) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

40) Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox

41) Dan Straily, RHP, Oakland Athletics

42) David Holmberg, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

43) J.R. Graham, RHP, Atlanta Braves

44) Victor Sanchez, RHP, Seattle Mariners

45) Nick Maronde, LHP, Los Angeles Angels

46) Michael Fulmer, RHP, New York Mets

47) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

48) Andrew Chafin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

49) Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

50) Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals


I wouldn't take any of those guys over Peralta. Not even close.


For what its worth the Scouting Book has Peralta ranked as the 53rd best prospect (http://www.scoutingbook.com/prospects/matrix-by-sb). Players ahead of Peralta: CHC OF Jorge Soler, SEA C Mike Zunino, MIA 3B Zack Cox, MIN OF Byron Buxton, TOR RHP Noah Syndergaard, BOS RHP Matt Barnes, TB RHP Chris Archer, SD RHP Casey Kelly, HOU OF George Springer, CHC SS Javier Baez, BAL RHP Kevin Gausman, and TOR OF Jake Marisnick.

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Is Morris legit or did he just have a great Double AA season?
A little of both?


I've heard reports on his defense ranging from Gold Glove (Baseballamerica) to horrible (Fangraphs). I've heard his bat speed is anywhere from very good to below average. The defense alone could result in a full WAR of value either way, and the bat speed could make him more of a second-tier player or bench bat versus full time starter.


Obviously, the Mat Gamel comparison looms a little large here since each cemented their prospect status with a monster season in the Southern League, but I don't think anyone is expecting Morris to be an elite 1B. I think he's a serviceable big leaguer who could be used best in a platoon.

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I don't understand the Gamel comparison other than both being left handed 1B. Gamel hit well at every level. Morris has had one good season. I hope Morris hits as well in 2013 as he did in 2012.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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Morris had a monster year. We should be excited. That being said, I'm not moving the MLB roster around to make room for him just yet. He's not a Prince or a Braun or even a Weeks / Hardy that you start planning for years in advance. He needs to start off very hot in AAA or put up another all around solid year before we start factoring him into MLB roster decisions.


on the point of the huge variations in scouting reports on Morris - I'm a very casual minor league fan, but it does always seem like there is a lot of variation in the reports from the major scouting companies for AA players. My guess is that some scouting organizations haven't actually received fresh reports and are still relying mostly on previous reports or regurgitated information from others that might not be up to date either. I assume that during his time in AAA there will be more reports on him as more teams and scouts are trying to figure out if he is legit after his big year.

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I don't understand the Gamel comparison other than both being left handed 1B. Gamel hit well at every level. Morris has had one good season. I hope Morris hits as well in 2013 as he did in 2012.

They each had great years in the Southern League offensively despite a less-than-ideal tools profile. Gamel, obviously, has gone on to do nothing of note.


Like I said, I think Morris is a valuable big leaguer, especially if you can platoon him.

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