Results tagged ‘ Logan Schafer ’

Bold 2013 Predictions for Brewers’ Top 15 Prospects


TopProspects2013

The Brewers’ minor league system has  had two seasons to recover from the Zack Greinke trade that severely decimated its young, prospective talent pool.

Thankfully, however, the outlook for the system seems promising.

With two first-round selections in each of the last two amateur drafts, director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid annexed several promising youngsters who could be solid contributors for the club down the road. If not they may become valuable trade bait for general manager Doug Melvin.

Those players not included in the Greinke trade of 2010 have also helped add depth and talent to the system. Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg, among others, have progressed quite well.

Even so, one would be generous to place the Brewers’ system among the most elite in all of baseball, or even in the top half of the National League. The fact still remains that no “top-caliber” prospect has revealed himself…yet. Perhaps 2013 will be the year Milwaukee’s draft-day labors pay off with the manifestation of an elite youngster.

Below depicts how I see the Brewers’ system stacking up with February upon us. I’ve also included a prediction for each player for the upcoming season. Let’s get to it.

Click here for my 2012 prospect rankings and predictions.

#1 Wily Peralta (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

6

5

29

24

0

7.14

3.41

2.48

2.65

Brief: A standout 2011 campaign between double-A and triple-A ball made Peralta the Brewers’ top pitching prospect for good, but relatively disappointing (4.66 ERA, 1.58 WHIP over 28 starts) 2012 stay in the Pacific Coast League put his big-league future in question. But after putting on a show in his short stint in the big leagues toward the end of last season, Peralta seemed to have regained respect from scouts who once praised his upside as a youngster. His slider has great action and his velocity is legit; the only question is his control.

Prediction: Peralta doesn’t make the opening-day rotation; however, he does amass at least five spot-starts by the end of the regular season.

#2 Taylor Jungmann (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

26

26

153

159

7

5.82

2.71

3.53

3.62

Brief: Jungmann’s ludicrous senior campaign at Texas placed a heavy burden of expectation on his shoulders following the 2011 draft, so by comparison his first professional season was farm from scouts’ expectations. A slight decrease in velocity and underwhelming swing-and-miss ability was obvious over his 26 starts in high-A Brevard County.

However, I see reason for optimism. He showed an ability to throw each offering in just about any situation, his command remains plus-average and he knows how to induce ground-balls, as evidenced by a splendid 1.94 GO/AO ratio. Throw that all together and I think you’ve got an average No.3 and solid No.4 starter.

Prediction: Jungmann starts out in double-A ball and eventually moves his way up to triple-A Nashville by season’s end.

#3 Tyler Thornburg (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

8

3

22

24

8

8.18

2.86

4.50

7.09

Brief: Lurid strikeout rates between low-A and high-A ball in 2011 put Thornburg on the map, punching out a ridiculous 10.5 per nine innings that year. Given his smallish stature, scouts were astonished at the velocity with which he was able to create; his secondary offerings were impressive, too. That production carried over into his jump to double-A ball to start off 2012, where in his first eight starts he allowed just 10 earned runs and struck out 51 batters, enough to warrant a spot-start during inter-league play.

Stuff wise, I’m almost convinced he is bullpen bound. His low-90s fastball is incredibly straight and lacks consistency with respect to command and is destroyed when up in the zone; however, his curveball has very nice action and his changeup has come along well.

Prediction: Thornburg doesn’t make the opening-day roster, but (despite my intuition about his stuff) eventually carves a niche as Milwaukee’s No. 5 starter by the end of August.

#4 Johnny Hellweg (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

28

23

139.2

121

8

6.8

4.8

3.38

4.25

Brief: Odds are you won’t see Hellweg this high on many organizational rankings, so allow me to elaborate as to why I have him here: upside, upside, upside — quite possibly no other Brewers prospect has as much of it as the 24-year-old Hellweg.

His fastball touches close to triple-digits with little effort and easy arm action and his secondary offerings have no other option but to improve. Furthermore, his massive size (6’9″, 210) portends a future workhorse. Control issues are still an issue, but those are bound to see improvement with further coaching.

Prediction: Hellweg starts in double-A but quickly moves up to triple-A, where he makes a legtimate push for time out of Milwaukee’s bullpen at the end of the season.

#5 Clint Coulter (C)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

19

214

51

3

5

37

33

3

.302

.439

.444

.418

Brief: High on Bruce Seid’s draft board last summer, the Brewers took Coulter 27th overall and got one heck of a first professional season in return. The 19-year-old posted a .302 batting average and .363 average on balls in play with the rookie club in Helena, showing an advanced approach at the dish, though he wasn’t able to tap into his power, amassing only 11 extra-base hits.

While he’s still a project as a catcher, all indications are that the coaches like what they see in him from behind the plate. With more coaching, he may live up to the Brian McCann comparisons.

Prediction: Coulter flashes his line-drive power potential to the tune of 15 home runs between rookie and low-A ball.

#6 Jimmy Nelson (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

23

23

127.1

97

5

8.4

4.4

2.83

3.32

Brief: Big, strong and admittedly competitive on the mound, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound right handed-throwing Nelson pieced together a spectacular stint with high-A Brevard County last season. However, injury and heightened competition slowed him up (though not by too much) in double-A ball. Still, Nelson has legit stuff, with the system’s best sinker and a slider that grades out as plus-average. His ability to generate whiffs with his changeup may determine how effective a starter he will be.

Nelson told me earlier in January that he’s set his ceiling high for 2013, aiming to make his debut with the Brewers by the end of the season. Check out our full conversation here.

Prediction: Nelson is a standout in spring training and finds his way to triple-A by mid-season.

#7 Hunter Morris (1B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

24

571

158

40

28

40

117

2

.303

.357

.563

.413

Brief: Morris’ best professional season came in 2012, where he led the double-A Southern League in home runs, runs batted in and wRC (100), and finished in the top five in doubles and batting average. Unfortunately, that production came at the expense of a lack of patience and plate discipline, as he finished near the bottom of the league in BB/K (0.34) and fielded criticism from scouts for having too many holes in his swing.

Still, Morris is without question the top first-base prospect in the system, and with a strong spring training and start to his 2013 campaign, he may push for playing time should Mat Gamel falter once more.

Prediction: Morris starts the year triple-A and continues to pound the ball at an impressive rate.

#8 Victor Roache (OF)

Brief: After tearing through the Southern Conference as a junior in 2011, Roache’s stock at the 2012 draft plummeted after injuring his left arm last February, an injury that sidelined him for nearly all of his 2012 collegiate campaign. Still, the Brewers believe they got the steal of last summer’s draft when they took him 28th overall, with Seid quoted saying, “…at this point, we feel very confident in the makeup of the kid to work hard and that the injury will heal, and he will be who we think he’ll be.”

Roache has been rehabbing all offseason in preparation for 2013. He told me in late December that his arm is “feeling well” and that he’s not sure where he will start off 2013.

Prediction: Roache starts out in low-A Appleton and works his way up to high-A Brevard County by season’s end.

#9 Ryan (Scooter) Gennett (2B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

22

573

156

30

5

28

71

11

.293

.330

.385

.330

Brief: Gennett has been a fan-favorite since his 2010 rookie season not only for his unique name but for his productivity at the plate. The 22-year-old has a career .300/.339/.416 slash line as a professional and has been a singles and doubles machine each year. He doesn’t have much raw power, but he’s shown to pound the gaps with consistency, especially against right-handed pitchers, as evidenced by his .405 slugging percentage versus such pitchers last season.

He still has room to improve with his defensive consistency, even with his above-average range (he was a shortstop in high school) at second-base. He won’t be much of a base-stealer at the next level, but he’s an intelligent base-runner that may be of great use to manager Ron Roenicke down the road.

Prediction: Gennett starts in triple-A Nashville and stays the entire season.

#10 Tyrone Taylor (OF)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

19

83

29

9

2

6

11

6

.387

.434

.667

.483

Brief: The Brewers took a calculated risk when they took Taylor with their second-round selection last summer, as Taylor had been a Cal State Fullerton commit with a football background. That risk payed off in a big way, as the athletic former high school football standout produced a .435 batting average on balls in play and 1.100 OPS between the club’s two rookie-level clubs in just his first professional season.

Evaluating a player based off 83 total plate appearances is far from just. However, scouts seem to believe Taylor has an incredibly high ceiling. A knack for putting solid contact on the ball, impressive defensive range and palpable base-running skills, this 19-year-old is a youngster to keep an eye on.

Prediction: Taylor comes back down to earth once he reaches low-A Appleton.

#11 Ariel Pena (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

26

26

141.7

129

18

8.7

3.9

3.88

4.32

Ariel Pena / MiLB.com

Ariel Pena / MiLB.com

 

Brief: Probably the least well-known piece to last summer’s Greinke trade, Pena is difficult to evaluate and project for several reasons. Though he has tremendous raw stuff, with a fastball regularly touching the mid-90s and changeup worthy of high praise, and great physical and athletic ability at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, his lack of control has toubled scouts. In seven starts with double-A Huntsville last season, the young 23-year-old walked 23 batters in just 32.1 innings, which offset his tremendous swing-and-miss capabilities. Improvement in that area could give him a back-end rotation opportunity; regression could lead to a long stay in the minors.

Prediction: Pena starts off in double-A Huntsville and sees improvement with his control, eventually leading to a call-up to triple-A by August.

#12 Jed Bradley (LHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

22

20

20

107.1

136

9

5.03

3.61

5.53

4.54

Brief: Bradley’s inaugural season in the system got off to a scorching start, allowing zero earned runs to cross home over his first 19 innings of work. Then, May rolled around and it wasn’t until late June that he put together a respectable outing. It was a disheartening campaign for the touted southpaw, to be sure.

One of the big things that plagued Bradley in 2012 was his inconsistencies around the strike-zone. At Georgia Tech, he pounded the zone and generated swings-and-misses from start to start, therefore having confidence in his stuff on a regular basis. In the Florida State league, hitters capitalized off his lack of command and weren’t fooled by his late-breaking action. Bradley is without question the top southpaw in this system, but it will be crucial for him to improve his control and, more importantly, become more confident in each of his offerings.

Prediction: Bradley returns to high-A ball and moves up to double-A by the end of 2013.

#13 Mitch Haniger (OF)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

22

58

14

4

1

7

13

1

.286

.379

.429

.371

[Scouting Report]

Brief: Baseball America caught many folks off-guard when they placed Haniger in its top 10 prospect rankings a few days ago, but I wasn’t surprised. I had the opportunity to scout Milwaukee’s 2012 supplemental first-round selection last summer in low-A Appleton, and I can tell you that this is the type of kid Roenicke would love to have on his roster. Strong, accurate arm; good range in the outfield; intelligent base-runner who can also steal a few bases here and there; puts solid contact on the ball; still improving with pitch recognition. It will be interesting to compare his game from 2012 to this coming season.

Prediction: Haniger returns to low-A ball and quickly proves to be ready for a call-up to high-A by August.

#14 Hiram Burgos (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

28

27

171

128

8

8.05

2.58

1.95

2.95

Capture

Brief: Burgos was the fastest-riser in the system last season, moving up to triple-A ball by season’s end after starting in high-A Brevard County. Consequently, the 25-year-old heightened his reputation with scouts and casual fans each step of the way. For me, the biggest determining factor in whether he can push for a late rotation spot will be if he can continue to generate ground balls and hold batters in check. Last season, Burgos posted a ground-ball rate of 42.4 percent and held batters to a .265 BABIP, though he hit a rough patch against tougher Pacific Coast League competition late last season. Control, command and offerings seem to be in place; it’s his ability to help out the defense with ground balls that will be critical moving forward.

Prediction: Burgos picks up where he left off in triple-A Nashville, earning a September call-up with a spot start by season’s end.

#15 Drew Gagnon (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

22

25

25

149.2

123

9

6.86

2.22

2.83

3.36

gagnon

Drew Gagnon / MiLB.com

Brief: Being drafted after the likes of Jungmann and Bradley in 2011, Gagnon has proved to be yet another solid find for Seid and company. The Cal State Long Beach product last season started 25 games between the low and high-A levels and was productive at both. He wasn’t and probably never will be a strikeout hoarder, as he lacks one true swing-and-miss pitch to his repertoire. However, his command has been stellar and hitters simply haven’t figured him out just yet — as evidenced by a .264 BABIP last season. He’ll turn 23 years old in June.

Prediction: Gagnon returns to high-A ball to start 2013 and remains there for the entire season.

Two to Watch in 2013

Yadiel Rivera (SS)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

20

506

115

26

12

26

119

7

.247

.290

.402

.312

[Scouting Report]

Brief: Scouts have had the scoop on Rivera since his rookie 2010 season, where he put up a .209/.243/.257 slash line with a ludicrous 5.04 range factor at the rookie level: a plus defender with a well below average approach at the plate. While there is some merit to that widespread sentiment, I don’t believe it is completely indicative of the type of player Rivera might one day become.

Yes, it is true that Rivera has struggled with pitch precognition and his plate discipline is far from big-league ready. However, posting a career-low in strikeout rate (23.5 percent) and career-high in walk rate (5.1 percent) is reason for optimism. Add that to what I’ve seen to be very nice raw power, hastened bat speed and tremendous range and feel for the shortstop position, and I think 2013 could be a breakout season for the young Puerto Rico native.

Prediction: Rivera lights up Midwest League pitching and finds himself in high-A Brevard County by season’s end.

Christopher Mcfarland (2B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

20

313

85

17

6

23

79

15

.301

.358

.433

.360

Brief: With just one pro season to his resume, Mcfarland has flown relatively under the radar for his brief stay in the system, which is surprising given his outstanding production at the rookie level last season. The 20-year-old showed a solid approach at the plate and a knack for getting hits (as evidenced by a superb .397 BABIP) whenever he makes contact. One scout described Mcfarland as being “athletic, great hands with glove and bat, quick release, puts ball in play, runs like hell.” If he continues to garner such respect while putting up big numbers across the board, he’ll have a change to hasten quickly through the system.

Prediction: McFarland witnesses slight regression at low-A Appleton, but nonetheless remains one of the most intriguing of Milwaukee’s prospects.

Milwaukee Brewers Prospects With Best Odds to be Recalled for 40-Man September Roster


Just days following the Zack Greinke trade, the Brewers made yet another roster splash when it was announced they had recalled 22-year-old and newly acquired shortstop Jean Segura from double-A Huntsville to take over the starting job at shortstop on Monday night. Segura, the centerpiece to the aforementioned trade, held a stifling .433/.500/.533 line in his first eight games with the organization and apparently received a vote of confidence from management having been recalled to the big-league roster just days after being dealt.

The transaction may have seemed a bit abrupt to some, but it should come as no surprise to most that the Brewers are in somewhat of a rush to indoctrinate many of their top prospects to the big-leagues. General manager Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio remain staunch in their believe that Milwaukee will have the pieces necessary to compete for a division title in 2013, and its tough to argue with that notion when you consider the fact that A.) The Brewers have witnessed significant improvements down on the farm this season, B.) They [should] be at full health by the start of next season and also that C.) Rickie Weeks’ god-awful offensive yield this season can’t possibly replicate itself over 162 or some odd games next season.

In all seriousness, though, there should be no reason to believe Milwaukee won’t have those essential pieces to make a run at the playoffs next season. However, as this season begins to wind down, there are a few things that have yet to be checked off the “to-do” list, and it all begins on September 1 when rosters expand from 25 to 40.

Which Brewers prospects have the best odds of being recalled to Ron Roenicke’s 40-man September roster? Let’s start our list by ranking the five most plausible:

1.) Tyler Thornburg, RHP (stats)

Making mince meat of double-A Southern League hitters in the first half of the season, Thornburg became the darling of Brewers fans everywhere when he made his first big-league start on June 19. Since then, he’s seen limited time, making just one other start to go with three separate relief appearances for Ron Roenicke. Consequently, management demoted back to triple-A Nashville on July 30 for him to regain his rhythm as a starter, and he’s performed well ever since.

In a system that’s been yearning for a young player to step up and fill at the very least a somewhat important role this season, Thornburg has made his name known. For that reason, you can wager your mortgage that he’ll be on the 40-man September roster.

2.) Wily Peralta, RHP (stats)

Wily Peralta / MiLB.com

Command issues plagued the early stages of what looked to be his final season in the minors, but after making his big-league debut in late April, he’s come around quite nicely. This past month, Peralta, 23, posted a 2.78 ERA and 1.31 WHIP over six starts, held batters to a .275 batting average and struck out over a batter per inning. His first August start was one to forget (3.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 BB, 6 K), but his swing-and miss stuff that has made him Milwaukee’s top hurler on the farm still remains.

With such a blatant shortage of arms out of the bullpen, it’s tough to imagine a scenario where Peralta isn’t on the 40-man roster come September; the Brewers have questions to answer regarding their starting-five next season, and they’ll need to determine if he’s the mid-to-backline starter scouts project him becoming in the near future.

3.) Logan Schafer, OF (stats)

My top-rated Brewers position prospect when the season started, Schafer’s entire 2012 campaign has been spent in triple-A Nashville where he’s strove to return to the big-league roster as he did last September. But after a strong spring training, Schafer struggled to hit the  ball where defenders were not, resulting in an uncharacteristically low .266 average between April and May. Schafer regathered himself to hit a scintillating .354/.385/.521 in June but was equally as abhorrent in July where he posted an on-base percentage of .197 — yes, 1.97. To make matters worse, Schafer was placed on the 7-day disabled list on July 30 where he was reported to have a sore left knee and hasn’t suited up since.

Seen as a player with a chance to see legitimate playing time in 2013, things just haven’t gone Schafer’s way this season and his odds of making the 40-man roster next month have consequently taken a beating. I still think there’s a very good chance he’s recalled, as Roenicke could use his base-running prowess on a few occasions,  but not to the extent of which we all previously thought.

4.) Taylor Green, 2B/3B (stats)

Receiving a decent amount of playing time after his recall from triple-A in early May, Green’s offensive output just wasn’t up to snuff and he was demoted back to Nashville early on in July, where the Brewers hoped he’d return to his slugging ways just in case Aramis Ramirez was dealt (it didn’t happen) at the trade deadline.

Unfortunately, Green hasn’t been able to tap into his power stroke, garnering just a .372 slugging percentage between July and August. He’s still a serviceable defender at third but all signs point to Ramirez sticking there for the remainder of the season as his own statistics continue to climb. Expect Green on the 40-man roster but as a pinch-hitter/runner almost exclusively.

5.) Caleb Gindl, OF (stats)

Coming off one heck of a 2011 season in triple-A where he hit .307/.390/.472 with a .357 BABIP, Gindl too seemed on the cusp of getting some real playing time by the beginning of 2013. A disciplined hitter with a very good approach at the plate, the stocky outfielder impressed Ron Roenicke this past spring. Since then, he’s been anything but impressive (at least up to his standards). With a career-worst .246/.302/.392 line to go with a heightened amount of strikeouts and diminished walks, Gindl’s big-league future has been put in serious doubt and his odds at making the 40-man roster have also taken a blow.

The Brewers are and will be heavy in outfielders, so there’s a slim chance he gets any substantial playing time should he make the September roster. Right now I’d say he has a 50/50 shot at making it.

Others (in no particular order)

Johnny Hellweg, RHP — A bit of a stretch considering he’s still in double-A ball, but its tough to ignore a guy who throws upwards of 100 MPH and has future strikeout machine written all over him. Will need to work on control issues but some big-league experience next month would do him wonders.

Jeff Bianchi, SS — Despite Segura and Cody Ransom already on the roster, the Brewers simply cannot get enough infield help so they might as well consider promoting him next month.

Tim Dillard, RHP — I don’t necessarily care for his stuff, but he can be good.

Hiram Burgos, RHP — The starting rotation is in disarray anyways, so why not try out one of Milwaukee’s top pitcher-of-the-year candidates a few times?

Fautino De Los Santos, RHP — Melvin might as well see what he got in return for Kottaras.

Mitch Stetter, LHP — Why not recall a southpaw reliever?

Edwin Maysonet, SS — Is it possible to have too many shortstops on this roster? There is a limit, but it has yet to be reached even with Maysonet.

Eric Farris, 2B — Elite speed could be utilized on the bases and, hey, maybe he shows he can hit at a mediocre level after all.

Ariel Pena, RHP — Like Hellweg, Pena has back-line starter material and has performed well thus far in double-A. Might as well see how he fairs against big-league hitting, right?

10 Biggest Speedsters in the Brewers’ Farm System


The need for speed on the baseball diamond has always been a necessity at the major league level. Elite speed can not only be utilized in the batter’s box and on the basepaths, but it can also be an extremely valuable tool on defense. Consequently, players with tremendous speed have continuously been in high demand.

Of course, you’d be deeply mistaken to think speed only resides in the big leagues. There are countless minor league prospects, particularly in the Milwaukee Brewers’ system, that have elite speed and are able to utilize it both on the basepaths and in the field of play. Once developed, these young players could turn out to be extremely useful for base-stealing advocate Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Who are these young players and why are they considered to have above-average to elite speed on the baseball diamond? Let’s find out.

10. Khris Davis

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 195

DOB: 12/21/1987

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, seventh round (Cal State Fullerton)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .323/.443/.874, HR, 9 RBI, 7 R, .111 ISO, 3.8 SPD, 168 wRC+ (79 PA)

Overview: Drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, Khris Davis has been a formidable base-running threat dating back to his college days. As a three-year starter at Cal State Fullerton, Davis successfully nabbed 32 stolen bases, averaging roughly 11 per season, while getting caught stealing just four times. Now in his fourth professional season, Davis has tallied 33 stolen bases in 47 attempts.

But for as solid as his speed has proven to be on the basepaths, it hasn’t completely translated to the field. He is by all accounts a solid defender in left-field, garnering a career .980 fielding percentage, his 1.77 range factor shows that his speed is primarily an offensive tool. For comparison’s sake, Davis’ career range factor is parallel to that of Arizona Diamonbacks outfielder Jason Kubel.

MLB Speed Comparison: Jason Kubel, Arizona Diamondbacks

9. Chadwin Stang

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190

DOB: 3/26/1989

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, eighth round (Midland College)

2012 Stats

Low-A: .245/.339/.469, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 17 R, .234 ISO, 8.2 SPD, 147 wRC+ (115 PA)

Overview: Quite possibly more well-known for his name than his on-field production, Chadwin Stang’s speed has helped to transform him into one of the most versatile prospects in the Brewers’ system. He has proven to be a dependable base-stealer and a tremendous glove in the outfield.

Since Stang doesn’t have much consistency or power in his bat (he has a career .248 BA with a .373 slugging percentage), he has to rely on his barn-burning speed in order to contribute in the lower minors. Last season, Stang’s six triples tied for the most among all low-A hitters and in just 119 plate appearances this season, he’s already amassed four triples. He notched 12 stolen bases last season and already has five in 2012, additionally.

Defensively speaking, Stang is without a doubt one of the best outfielders in Milwaukee’s system. In 109 games playing center field, Stang has garnered an impressive 2.16 range factor while committing just eight errors.

MLB Speed Comparison: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

8. Logan Schafer

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 180

DOB: 11/8/1986

Bats/Throws: L/L

Drafted/Signed: 2008, third round (Cal Poly)

2012 Stats

Triple-A: .255/.311/.400, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB, .132 ISO, 4.5 SPD, 78 wRC+ (122 PA)

One of the standout prospects from Brewers spring camp 2012, Logan Schafer has been on Milwaukee’s call-up radar for a while now. The biggest reason for that has been, you guessed it, his very impressive speed — both offensively and defensively.

Of course, Schafer’s speed extends well beyond base-stealing alone. He’s been a consistent triples threat since his rookie season in 2008, amassing 17 triples in just over three full professional seasons. Moreover, he’s shown to be able to work the bases, with a runs scored percent slightly above 41 percent.

The Cal Poly product has also made a name for himself in the field. He’s an incredibly gifted outfielder with tremendous range, posting a 2.33 range factor and .990 fielding percentage during his career as a center fielder. It shouldn’t be too long — potentially as early as 2013 — before he’s Ron Roenicke’s starting centerfielder.

MLB Speed Comparison: Drew Stubbs, Cincinnati Reds

7. T.J. Mittelstaedt

Position: UTIL

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 185

DOB: 2/13/1988

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2010, 44th round (Long Beach State)

2012 Stats

High-A: .269/.361/.495, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 12 R, 3 SB, .236 ISO, 6.0 SPD, 158 wRC+ (112 PA)

A very productive all-around player in four years at Long Beach State University, T.J. Mittelstaedt has wasted no time in perpetuating his productivity to the Brewers’ farm system in the lower minors. The 24-year-old Cali native uses his above-average speed to his benefit on the bases and in the field.

By no means a slugging presence, Mittelstaedt utilizes his quickness out of the batter’s box on a consistent basis. Now in his third professional season, he’s tallied 11 triples and scored 113 runs in just 187 minor league games. His 41 career stolen bases — 28 came last season in low-A ball — furthermore adds to his reputation as a real speedster.

Of course, Mittelstaedt’s versatility doesn’t end there. A jack-of-all-trades defensively, he can play just about anywhere on the diamond and play it well, thanks in large part to his athletic abilities. Primarily as a second baseman, Mittelstaedt boasts a very solid 3.92 range factor, though he is also a very capable outfielder with experience playing left field.

MLB Speed Comparison: Mark Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers

8. Scooter Gennett

Position: 2B

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 164

DOB: 5/1/1990

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, 16th round (Sarasota HS)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .276/.297/.398, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 R, 3 SB, .125 ISO, 5.4 SPD, 90 wRC+ (128 PA)

Ryan “Scooter” Gennett has turned heads over his first two professional seasons for his exceptional hitting dispute his slightly undersized stature. However, one of the most neglected facets to his game has been his speed.

By no means does Gennett have elite-level speed on the bases, he is a very productive base-runner. The Sarasota, Florida native has tallied 28 total stolen bases on 43 attempts up to this point in his career, and has also amassed 11 triples thanks to his gap power.

While he’s still a bit of a project as a defensive second baseman, Gennett still covers a lot of territory in the field. In 272 games at second base, he’s garnered a 4.72 range factor with much room to improve in his consistency as he’s managed a career .967 fielding percentage. Once that develops, though, his defense could be a real strong-point to his game.

MLB Speed Comparison: Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners

5. Kentrail Davis

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 210

DOB: 6/29/88

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, supplemental first round (Tennessee)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .273/.329/.348, 6 RBI, 6 R, 2 SB, .066 ISO, 3.5 SPD, 95 wRC+ (73 PA)

Kentrail Davis has always been known for his superb speed; from his college days at the University of Tennessee up until his promotion to double-A ball this season, he has consistently strutted his quickness on the bases and in the field of play.

Though he wasn’t a notorious base-stealer at the collegiate level, he’s quickly developed into one at the minor league level. Last season in high-A ball, Davis swiped 33 bases on 41 attempts and moreover compiled eight triples out of the leadoff role in Brevard County. This season, his hitting inadequacies have limited his chances to steal bases as he’s stolen just two in three attempts.

Davis’ defensive prowess is another impressive facet to his game. In 61 games in center field, the former Volunteer garnered an eye-opening 2.23 range factor to go with an average .971 fielding percentage.

MLB Speed Comparison: Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

4. Josh Prince

Position: SS, OF

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195

DOB: 1/26/1988

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, third round (Tulane)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .218/.316/.317, HR, 7 RBI, 10 R, 4 SB, .103 ISO, 6.0 SPD, 81 wRC+ (118 PA)

Drafted in the third round of the 2009 draft, Josh Prince has always been known for having deadly speed on the bases. Scouts took notice to his tremendous agility during his junior season at Tulane University, where he swiped 44 bases in just 59 games for the Green Wave. His quickness has garnered attention thus far in his professional career, as well.

In his 2009 rookie campaign, Prince stole a combined 38 bases in 50 attempts between rookie and low-A ball and followed that up with a 44 stolen-base season in 2010 with high-A Brevard County. Last season, he totaled 24 stolen bases in 32 attempts. Long story short, Prince’s speed has terrorized the competition.

Not only that, but his athleticism has translated nicely to the field of play. In 239 games at shortstop, Prince boasts a 4.08 range factor but has committed 52 errors at that position, conversely.

MLB Speed Comparison: Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

3. Lee Haydel

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 170

DOB: 7/15/1987

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2006, 19th round (Riverside Academy HS)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .352/.397/.463, HR, 3 RBI, 10 R, 2 SB, .113 ISO, 7.1 SPD, 141 wRC+ (59 PA)

By far and away the most underrated speedster in Milwaukee’s system, Lee Haydel has posted better and more consistent speed numbers than any other Brewers prospect over the last five seasons. He’s been an absolute force on the basepaths. The only downside is that he hasn’t transitioned that speed into his defense.

Since Haydel is far from a power-hitter, his game is almost solely predicated off his elite quickness on the bases. Excluding this season, the former 19th round selection has tabbed 124 stolen bases for an average of 25 per season to go with over six triples and 60 runs per season. In short, Haydel should probably be deemed the most productive speedster in Milwaukee’s system from an offensive standpoint.

Though for whatever reason, that speed hasn’t transferred over to his defense. Garnering a career 1.79 range factor as a center fielder and 1.63 as a left fielder, Haydel is only average when it comes to covering vasts amount of territory in the outfield.

MLB Speed Comparison: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs

2. Reggie Keen

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 180

DOB: 1/13/1988

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: Signed as UDFA in 2010

2012 Stats

High-A: .243/.284/.291, 8 RBI, 6 R, 9 SB, .051 ISO, 3.7 SPD, 50 wRC+ (113 PA)

Signing on as a non-draft pick free agent in 2010 after four years at Radford University, Reggie Keen exploded onto the scene in his first two seasons in Milwaukee’s system, staking his claim as arguably Milwaukee’s biggest young speedster. He’s shown he can steal bases with the best of them and can also play very good defense in the outfield, primarily as a center fielder.

Last season in low-A ball, Keen stolen 41 bases — which was fifth-most among all Midwest League prospects — in 55 attempts for a scintillating 8.5 SPD rating. He moreover scored 60 times and notched seven triples, proving to be one of the most productive top-of-the-order bats among all Midwest League players. He didn’t flash much power potential so he relied heavily on his speed to produce runs.

Keen’s tremendous speed has also allowed him to have great range in the outfield. In center field last season, the Danville, Virginia native posted a 2.15 range factor with an average .971 fielding percentage.

MLB Speed Comparison: Emilio Bonafacio, Miami Marlins

1. Eric Farris

Position: 2B

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 180

DOB: 3/3/1986

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2007, fourth round (Loyola Marymount University)

2012 Stats

Triple-A: .230/.284/.253, 4 RBI, 9 R, 6 SB, .024 ISO, 5.4 SPD, 50 wRC+ (96 PA)

There are plenty of speedsters in the Brewers’ system worthy of being on this list, but few measure up to the reputation of Eric Farris. An unmitigated barn-burner dating all the way back to his college days, Farris has employed his speed both on the bases and at second base and has proven to be an extremely valuable prospect.

As a 21 year old in his first professional season in 2007, Farris notched 21 stolen bases and two triples. Now well into his sixth professional season, all he’s managed to do is log 165 stolen bases — 70 of which came in 2010 — in 197 attempts with 13 triples for a runs scored percent of 40 percent. Farris’ elite speed has put him on the Mount Rushmore of minor league base-stealers.

The usefulness of his breakneck speed doesn’t end there, however. His sensational career 4.73 range factor at second base portends that he could be of a lot of use to a major league team sometime down the road.

MLB Speed Comparison: Howard Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels


Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.  Follow him on Twitter @alecdopp and read his blog.

15 Milwaukee Brewers Prospects Who Can Grow into Impact MLB Players


When evaluating a minor league prospect, it’s essential for scouts to ask themselves whether or not a player can become an impact player for their team sometime in the near or distant future.

Just what is an “impact player”, you ask?  In a nutshell, these are the guys who — more often than not — contribute to a team’s success on a regular basis. Ideally, these players are everyday starters for their respective teams, however that isn’t always the case. Players who have taken on a platoon-type role on their team’s roster can also make an impact despite not being the everyday guy.

Which top Brewers prospects have the best shot at becoming an impact player at the big league level? Lucky for you, we’re here to answer that very question today.

*All statistics through April 3, 2012

15. UTIL Eric Farris

2012 Line (AAA Nashville): .229/.289/.253, 3 RBI, 9 R, 6 SB, .025 ISO, 56 wRC+ (91 PA)

At one point Milwaukee’s most polished infielding prospect, Eric Farris’ path to the big leagues was derailed due to injury in 2010. However, don’t be mistaken — there’s a lot to like about what he brings to the table.

First and foremost, Farris is an unmitigated thief on the basepaths. In 2009, the former 2007 fourth-round pick stole 70 bases in just 124 games in high-A ball. Injury has taken it’s toll, though there’s no doubt that Farris has what it takes to be a base-stealer at the big league level.

The problem is, his bat, particularly the power portion, has been non-existent. In 594 plate appearances in triple-A last season, Farris amassed just a .100 ISO and .309 wOBA. That facet of his game has been the most pressing issue in his development as a prospect.

Now 26 years old, Farris has limited time to shore up that portion of his game. If he’s able to find his power stroke once more, he could turn out to be an impact player for any number of big league organizations.

14. LF Khris Davis

2012 Line (AA Huntsville): .333/.447/.444, HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 2 SB, .111 ISO, 169 wRC+ (76 PA)

One of the most overlooked positional prospects in Milwaukee’s system, no one has gotten off to a hotter start to 2012 than 24-year-old outfielder Khris Davis.

A late bloomer, Davis tapped into his slugging capabilities in low-A ball in 2010, mashing 22 home runs and 72 RBI on his way to a very solid .224 ISO and .423 wOBA in 128 plate appearances. He followed that up with an 84 RBI 2011 campaign last season between high-A and double-A ball, quickly grabbing attention from scouts through his slugging ways.

This season, Davis is absolutely destroying the ball, so far garnering a career-best .427 wOBA and .465 BABIP in 76 plate appearances against double-A Southern League pitching. It remains to be seen if he’s capable of keeping those number up, however.

At 24, there’s still time for Davis to grow improve and refine his game in preparation for the big leagues. Needless to say, if he continues to rake at this level, he’ll have no trouble finding a spot on a big league roster.

13. RHP Kyle Heckathorn

2012 Line (AA Huntsville): 1-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 27 K/5 BB, .239 BAA (5 GS)

Widely considered a steal at 47th overall at the 2009 draft, Kyle Heckathorn has hardly performed up to his billing as one of the top collegiate arms of the 2009 class thus far in his pro career. Having said that, there are a lot of things to like about Heckathorn’s game.

For one, his 6’6″, 225-pound build is extremely projectable to the next level. His lanky framework allows him to work on a downward plane and have good command, which is one of the foremost strengths to his game. Unfortunately, his biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. He tends to leave the ball over the plate at a far too concerning rate and hitters have as a consequence lit him up on a consistent basis since he lacks the velocity necessary to blow by hitters.

Improvements to his game have been palpable this season, particularly in lowering his walk rate (4.4%) and elevating his strikeout rate (23.5%). Heckathorn is still a bit of a project, however, he could definitely grow into an impact back of the rotation starter at the next level.

12. SS Yadiel Rivera

2012 Line (single-A Wisconsin): .242/.286/.363, HR, 6 RBI, 11 R, SB, .125 ISO, 79 wRC+ (99 PA)

Young shortstops who can play exceptional defense are always in high demand at the big league level, and with the Brewers’ shortstop situation where it’s at, Yadiel Rivera has a great shot to grow into a real impact player at the big league level. There’s a real potential for him to be Milwaukee’s shortstop of the future.

Drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft as an extremely raw 18 year old, Rivera has always been known for his near elite defensive range at shortstop. In just over two full professional seasons, Rivera boasts a 4.56 range factor comparable to the likes of former Brewers shortstops J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar.

Of course, there’s really no getting around his struggles at the plate. Rivera has averaged a .223/.260/.325 line with a .102 ISO and .264 wOBA per season so far in his professional career. He’s a project in that area, but if he can develop that facet of his game, there’s no doubt he can tremendous upside as an all-around ballplayer.

11. RHP Michael Fiers

2012 Line (AAA Nashville): 0-2, 3.99 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 26 K/11 BB, .268 BAA (6 GS)

Hardly a prospect at this stage of his career, 26-year-old Michael Fiers (he’ll turn 27 in June) was extremely productive both as a starter and relief man at the double-A and triple-A levels last season. In 126 total innings, he punched out 132 batters and walked just 36 for a solid 3.67 K/BB ratio. His performance warranted a promotion, where he made a couple relief appearances for the Brewers in September.

Fiers doesn’t have much velocity to speak of (his fastball typically sits in the high 80s to low 90s), however he does know how to fool batters with a plus-average changeup. He also throws in an occasional get-me-over curveball and below-average slider that doesn’t have much projection.

The Brewers are experimenting with him as a starter at the triple-A level right now, however, it doesn’t look llike he has any plans to become a starter in the bigs. His very good fastball-changeup combo portends he could thrive out of a relief role in a major league bullpen.

10. RHP Drew Gagnon

2012 Line (single-A Wisconsin): 3-0, 1.02 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 28 K/6 BB, .185 BAA (6 GS)

Overshadowed by Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley at last summer’s draft, Drew Gagnon, Milwaukee’s third round selection, has been equally if not more impressive than any Brewers pitching prospect early this season. He leads all Brewers prospects with a 0.64 ERA and ranks in the top five in WHIP and BAA.

Gagnon was a very productive starter on the collegiate scene thanks to a solid three-pitch repertoire — a mid to low-90s fastball, curve and changeup — allowing roughly seven hits per nine innings pitched during his junior season at Long Beach State. His command was in question though he’s seen dramatic improvements to that facet of his game, conceding under two walks per nine innings on the young season so far.

If Gagnon keeps this up, it won’t be too long until he finds himself pitching at the triple-A level and battling for a spot in Milwaukee’s bullpen.

9. RF, LF Caleb Gindl

2012 Line (AAA Nashville): .189/.232/.356, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R, .161 ISO, 44 wRC+ (95 PA)

A fifth-round draft pick in 2007, Caleb Gindl wasted no time adapting to pitching in the minor league level. The stocky 5’9″, 205 pound outfielder posted a .580 slugging percentage and .208 ISO in 231 plate appearances against Pioneer League pitching during his rookie season. Since then, he’s only continued to impress with his bat.

In his first season in triple-A ball last season, Gindl drove in 60 runs, socked 15 home runs and scored 84 times towards the top of Nashville’s batting order.  His power witnessed a decline from his first two seasons, though, posting a .165 ISO and .380 wOBA in 538 plate appearances in 2011. He’s struggled out of the gates to start his 2012 campaign, mostly with respect to his plate discipline.

Still, in a Brewers farm system devoid of any legitimate power threat — save for Hunter Morris — Gindl has staked his claim as arguably Milwaukee’s most MLB-ready positional player with respectable power.

8. 1B Hunter Morris

2012 Line (AA Huntsville): .324/.353/.505, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 14 R, .178 ISO, 135 wRC+ (116 PA)

One of the premier offensive talents featured in the 2010 draft, Hunter Morris flew relatively under the radar in his first professional season, though after socking 20 home runs between high-A and double-A ball last season, it seems he’s finally getting the notoriety he’s deserved.

There a lot to like about what the 6’4″, 205 pound Auburn product has to offer from an offensive standpoint. He has a compact, powerful swing that’s allowed him to become a formidable run-producer and legitimate slugger at the plate. Morris’ .505 slugging percentage currently ranks second-best among all Brewers prospects and his .324 batting average comes in at third overall.

Not only that, but he can also hold down the fort at first base with great efficiency. Morris holds true to a career .983 fielding percentage and 8.48 range factor at first base.

With the future of Mat Gamel clearly in question, there’s a very good chance Morris will have his shot at first-base for the Brewers soon if he keeps up his production.

7. CF Logan Schafer

2012 Line (AAA Nashville): .255/.307/.387, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 16 R, 3 SB, .137 ISO, 85 wRC+ (117 PA)

Ever since his scintillating 2008 rookie campaign in the low minors, the Brewers have had Logan Schafer on their radar. Unfortunately, both injury and Milwaukee’s overloaded outfield depth chart have limited his opportunities severely.

Still, the 25-year-old Cal Poly product has proven he can do it all: Hit for minimal power and a high average, play unparalleled defense in center field, flash a strong arm when needed and be a threat on the bases when needed.

If his power were to ever develop into its full potential, he’d be a legitimate five-tool prospect and would be without a shred of doubt Milwaukee’s everyday starting centerfielder. Now 25, those aspirations aren’t completely out of reach, though his situation isn’t exactly ideal. Nevertheless, teams are always on the lookout for outfielders with exceptional range. He could turn out to be an impact player in that regard.

6. 2B Scooter Gennett

2012 Line (AA Huntsville): .275/.290/.400, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 14 R, 3 SB, .130 ISO, 94 wRC+ (124 PA)

The Brewers don’t have a whole lot of infielding talent to speak of on the farm, but Ryan “Scooter” Gennett has clearly separated himself from the pack as Milwaukee’s top infielding prospect — and for a multitude of reasons.

The first and most obvious reason can be attributed to his exceptional hitting efficiency. Despite his somewhat meager 5’9″, 170-pound frame, Gennett has proven he’s can slug, garnering a career .134 ISO and .459 slugging percentage up to this juncture. He’s fairly dependent on singles, though he’s still produced a solid career .371 wOBA.

On top of his surprisingly impressive hitting capacity, Gennett is moreover a respectable base-stealer. The 22-year-old has nabbed 30 stolen bases through roughly two and a half professional seasons for a career 5.4 SPD rating, according to Fan Graphs.

Gennett still maintains a fair amount of skeptics who believe his stature will ultimately become his downfall against tougher competition. Based on the way he continues to produce, though, it looks like he has a real shot to be an impact player at the next level.

5. RHP Tyler Thornburg

2012 Line (AA Huntsville): 3-0, 1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 40 K/7 BB, .172 BAA (6 GS)

Weighing in at a smallish 6’0″, 190 pounds, Tyler Thornburg defied the odds that came with being one of the smaller starters in the minors in his first two professional seasons, and so far this season, he’s doing it again. He’s allowed just seven earned runs in 35 total innings against double-A Southern League hitters.

Just what makes Thornburg so effective? Despite his lack of size, Thornburg has tremendous velocity, able to run his four-seam fastball up to 95 MPH on a consistent basis and has a devastating changeup and solid curveball to go along with it. Those three pitches have bestowed him with a tremendous strikeout capacity, striking out exactly 11 batters per nine innings pitched thus far in his career.

Durability has probably been the biggest shortcoming to Thornburg’s game, averaging just under five and a half innings per start thus far in his career, though he’s greatly improved that facet of his game this season, averaging over 5.8 innings per start in double-A ball.

Whether he’s a starter or reliever, there’s no doubt Thornburg can and will make an impact at the MLB level.

4. RHP Jimmy Nelson

2012 Line (A+ Brevard County): 2-1, 1.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 39 K/13 BB, .192 BAA (6 GS) 

One of the most overlooked prospects in Milwaukee’s system, Jimmy Nelson wasn’t exceptionally productive in his first two professional seasons. However, after working to develop his changeup and command this past offseason, he’s finally enjoying the fruits of his labor. Consequently, Nelson is finally developing to the polished starter the Brewers saw when they took him in the second round of the 2010 draft.

At 6’6″, 245 pounds, Nelson just looks the part of a big league starter from a physicality standpoint. He’s proven that he can go deep into many starts and that his command issues are well behind him. Add in the fact that Nelson has three very solid pitches — mid 90s fastball with good sinking action, much improved changeup and a plus-average slider with exceptional movement — and Nelson has the makings of an impact middle to back of the rotation starter at the big league level.

3. RHP Taylor Jungmann

2012 Line (A+ Brevard County): 2-3, 2.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 25 K/10 BB, .234 BAA (6 GS)

Winner of the 2011 Dick Howsler Award as college baseball’s top player last season, Taylor Jungmann obviously knows what it takes to succeed as a collegiate pitcher. And for the that reason alone, many scouts see him growing into an impact player at the big league level.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why the statuesque right-hander projects to be an effective starter at the next level. He bears three plus pitches — a mid-90s fastball with good tailing action, a mid-80s “sweeping” curveball and a mid to low-80s changeup — that he throws with great efficiency and command. Jungmann’s lanky yet durable 6’6″, 220 pound frame allows him to go deep into a majority of his starts, additionally.

Jungmann’s first pro season got off to a bit of a shaky start, however, he’s rebounded nicely, allowing just five six runs (five earned) to cross home in 18.2 innings over his last three starts in the Florida State League. The Brewers are hoping he can fly through the system to be their No. 4 starter by the start of 2014.

2. RHP Wily Peralta

2012 Line (AAA Nashville): 1-2, 3.72 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 26 K/12 BB, .180 BAA (5 GS)

After signing on as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic at just 16 years of age, Wily Peralta has swiftly developed into a one of the most MLB-ready pitchers in all of minor league baseball. His size, durability, solid three-pitch repertoire and impressive strikeout capacity are all things to like about his game.

At 6’2″, 240 pounds, Peralta has the build necessary to become an adequate big-league starter. His frame has granted him the durability needed to go deep into a majority of his starts, averaging 5.8 IP over 26 starts between double-A and triple-A ball in 2011.

While his above-average stamina is one of his foremost strengths, his strikeout abilities are probably the most impressive facet to his game. Thanks to a mid-90s fastball with good movement and a hard-breaking slider that many scouts believe to be one of the minors’ best, Peralta has fanned well over nine batters per nine innings pitched in each of his last four seasons. Once he finishes polishing his command a bit more, there’s no doubting Peralta could be an annual 30-plus start hurler at the big league level.

1. LHP Jed Bradley

2012 Line (A+ Brevard County): 3-2, 3.34 ERA, 1.09 WHIP,  32 K/8 BB, .231 BAA

There were plenty of reasons why Jed Bradley was one of the most coveted arms of last summer’s draft. The Georgie Tech product has three projectable pitches to his repertoire and prototypical frame, was highly successful during his junior season with the Yellow Jackets and is moreover a very personable guy with tremendous baseball IQ.

Bradley’s fastball-curve-changeup combination each grade out as a plus-pitch at the next level. His fastball sits in the low 90s with good but not great movement, his curveball sits in the mid to low 80s with good curve/sliding action and his changeup consistently sits in the mid 80s and produces a low of swings-and-misses. His prototypical frame allows him to hide the ball well and also go deep into ballgames, additionally.

Throw that all together and you’ve got what looks to be a very good middle of the rotation starter who can log at least 200-plus innings and 30-plus starts at the big league level for many years to come. Bradley easily takes the cake over other Brewers prospects with respect to MLB potential.


Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.  Follow him on Twitter @alecdopp and read his blog.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ranking Top 10 Prospects with Highest MLB Ceiling


You’d be beating an already lifeless horse if you said that the Milwaukee Brewers have one of the most inept farm systems in all of Major League Baseball.  Everyone knows it, and there’s really no other way of putting it.

However, a successful 2011 first-year player draft has officially put the Brewers back on the map in terms of markedly young talent in the minors.  The club notched Texas RHP Taylor Jungmann and Georgia Tech LHP Jed Bradley in the first round last June, and both are expected to make leaps and bounds in their first year in the organization.

Outside of Jungmann and Bradley, though, things aren’t particularly saturated in talent.  However, there are a number of prospects who may have their sights set on the majors.  Let’s rank 10 prospects with the highest MLB ceilings down on the farm.

10. OF Caleb Gindl

There aren’t many true power hitters within the Brewers’ organization, and none of them look to have a very high ceiling at that.  Gindl, though, might be an exception to that fact.

At 23 years old and four solid professional seasons under his belt, Gindl is as prepared as he’ll ever be to break through to the majors in 2012, even if it means simply being an off-the-bench type player.  He’s amassed at least 13 home runs and 60 RBI in three seasons down in the minors.  Not terribly impressive, but it was enough for Milwaukee to add him to their 40-man roster.  Last season in triple-A, he maintained a .307/.390/.472 line with 15 home runs and 60 RBI.  Couple his slightly above-average power with a competent glove, and he could get a chance to platoon with a number of other players in Ryan Braun’s spot in left field.

9. CF Logan Schafer

Schafer, 25, was at one point a very promising young star but a heated battle with injuries has derailed his development.  Last year between high-A, double-A and triple-A ball, Schafer batted .315 with five home runs and 43 RBI.  He also notched 16 stolen bases and scored 66 runs.  He was promoted to the big leagues as a September call-up last season but only amassed three plate appearances.

At this point, it’s hard to distinguish what Schafer’s future holds in store.  If I had to give it my best guess, I’d say he’s bound to be a utility, off-the-bench type player who probably won’t ever get a legitimate shot at a full-time starting role.

8. SS Yadiel Rivera

Rivera is one prospect that I would advise even the casual fan to keep up on.  He’s a very young talent at just 19 years old and has the potential to be a defensive superstar at the major league level.  He has extremely quick feet and has great range in the field.

That said, there are some concerns moving forward.  In rookie ball in 2010, Rivera batted .209 with no home runs, 23 RBI and just a .257 slugging percentage.  Last year between rookie and low-A ball, he batted .236 with nine home runs and 43 RBI, though he did manage to eclipse the 100-hit plateau.  He does struggle with strikeouts, and that will be a stressing point moving forward in his development.

Tom Haudricourt projected on Baseball America last November that he expects Rivera to be Milwaukee’s starting shortstop at the beginning of the 2015 season.  If that’s the case, who knows how high his ceiling might be.

7. RHP Jorge Lopez

Seldom do the Brewers take chances on unproven players coming out of high school through the draft, but Lopez was one omission to that tendency.

A third-round draft pick in last June’s draft, Lopez posted a 2.25 ERA in four starts in rookie ball last year.  And while he only pitched 12.0 innings, there’s a growing sentiment around the organization that, with at least four years in the minors, he could be a back-end of the rotation type pitcher for Milwaukee.  There’s still a lot left to be proved on Lopez’s end as his consistency is still in question, but his plus-average curveball is definitely something worth building off of.

6. RHP Jimmy Nelson

Truth be told, Nelson hasn’t yet put up the overwhelming statistics that come with being a “top prospect”.  In 2010, Nelson went 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA and struck out 33 in 26.2 innings in rookie ball.  He also garnered a 11.1 K/9 IP and a less-than-impressive 1.61 WHIP.  Last year, he went 8-9 with a 4.38 ERA in 25 starts in low-A ball.

One thing that scouts take notice to is his big frame, which looks to translate well at the major league level.  He’s able to go deep into games thanks to a average-power arm with a fastball topping out in the mid-90s.  What separates him from the pack, though, is his plus-slider and improving changeup.  Nelson has a ton of potential and at 22 years old, he’s already a seasoned pitcher down on the farm who will challenge to break through to the bullpen by late 2013.  He projects to end up as a middle of the rotation starter.

5. RHP Wily Peralta

Fans have anxiously awaited the day that Peralta, 22, makes the jump to the big leagues for quite some time now.  The Brewers signed him to a minor league contract at the ripe age of 17, and, needless to say, he’s as ready as he’ll ever be.

Last year, the 6’2″, 240-pound right-hander went for 150.2 innings between double-A and triple-A, posting a 3.17 ERA and 9.4 K/9.  He’s become notorious for his strikeout abilities but also for his lack of consistency, which will be a stressing point at spring training in February.

His fastball tops out in the low to mid 90s and has a plus slider that has serious potential.  He’ll likely start 2012 in the bullpen and will eventually end up as an end-of-the rotation type pitcher in the coming years.

4. 2B Scooter Gennett

In a farm system largely dominated by pitching talent, Gennett has staked his claim as Milwaukee’s top infielding prospect.

At just 21 years old, Gennett already has two professional seasons to his credit.  He skipped rookie ball and went straight to low-A ball where he batted .309 with nine home runs, 55 RBI and 87 runs scored.  He also notched 14 stolen bases.  Last year at Brevard County, he batted an even .300 with nine home runs, 51 RBI and 74 runs scored.

He’s slightly undersized which will clearly limit his power potential at the major league level, but his great work ethic and likability all work in his favor moving forward.  His ceiling is limited, though, with Rickie Weeks holding down the fort at second-base.  I do expect him to push for a starting role by 2014, nevertheless.

3. RHP Tyler Thornburg

There are many differing opinions about what the future holds in store for Thornburg.  Some say he has the stuff to be a No. 2-3 starter in the big leagues, others say his stature (5’11”, 185 pounds) could keep him from being a starter altogether.

The one thing I think we can all agree on, though, is that he’s been impressive thus far.

After posting a 1.93 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 23.1 innings in rookie ball, Thornburg made his way through low-A and high-A ball in 2010.  He went 10-6 with a 2.57 ERA and struck out a remarkable 160 batters in just 136.2 innings of work in that time-frame.

Some have made comparisons of his unorthodox windup to that of Tim Lincecum’s in that it generates a considerable amount of torque on his arm.  Whether or not that effects his development moving forward remains to be seen, but Thornburg has clearly made himself known throughout the minors.  His ceiling is definitely high.

2. LHP Jed Bradley

Bradley may play second-fiddle to Taylor Jungmann once next season gets under way, but you’d be kidding yourself if you think there’s any substantial disparity in how successful their futures might be.

In his senior season at Georgia Tech, Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA, struck out 106 in 98.0 innings (9.73 K/9 IP) and allowed just one home run.  He held batters to a .239 BA and maintained a 1.22 WHIP.

His left-handed arm was a splendid addition in last June’s draft, and will be a key asset for the organization moving forward.  He made his professional debut last fall in the Arizona Fall League, be struggled.  Bradley is likely to start his 2012 campaign at the low-A level.

1. RHP Taylor Jungmann

The overwhelming sentiment shared by scouts is that Taylor Jungmann has the potential to be a future star at the major league level for years to come.  Please keep in mind he has yet to throw a professional pitch.

Last year at Texas, the tall, lanky right-hander went 13-3 with a remarkable 1.60 ERA.  He also struck out 126 in 146.0 innings (8.04 K/9 IP), held opponents to a .165 BA and allowed just four home runs in 18 starts.

Most of his success at the collegiate level can be accredited to his power fastball that tops out at in the mid-90s.  Scouts say there’s room for improvement with his secondary pitches, however his location is second-to-none.  Jungmann has all the ingredients to be a legitimate No. 2 starter at the major league level, and there’s no doubting he has the highest ceiling of any current Brewer prospect.


Alec Dopp covers the Milwaukee Brewers as a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.  Follow him on Twitter @alecdopp and read his blog.

Checking in on Milwaukee Brewers’ Arizona Fall League Prospects: 2.0


The MLB Arizona Fall League is in full swing and so are the prospects that are enrolled in it.

Three weeks ago, we updated you on the progress of the top Milwaukee Brewers prospects honing their games in the league.  Over that time span, many youngsters have vaulted themselves into the driver’s seat as top-tier prospects worth watching, while some (Cody Scarpetta), have not.

Let’s check in on the progression of the Brewers’ top prospects in the desert up to this point.

Pitchers

RHP Jed Bradley (4.50 ERA, 3 SO, 4.0 IP)

RHP Brandon Kintzler (3.68 ERA, 15 SO, 14.2 IP)

LHP Daniel Meadows (2.61 ERA, 4 SO, 10.1 IP)

RHP Casey Medlen (3.86 ERA, 11 SO, 9.1 IP)

RHP Cody Scarpetta (19.64 ERA, 7 SO, 7.1 IP)

Infielders

2B Scooter Gennett (.391 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 17 R, .990 OPS)

3B Zealous Wheeler (.265 BA, 4 RBI, 6 R, .639 OPS)

Outfielders

Kentrail Davis (.316 BA, HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 4 SB, .874 OPS)

Logan Schafer (.254 BA, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R, 4 SB, .437 SLG)

Milwaukee Brewers Prospects 2012: Checking in on Top Arizona Fall League Prospects


With the Milwaukee Brewers’ historical postseason now effectuated, it’s time to start looking into the future for some of the organization’s top minor league prospects.

Daniel Meadows is steadily working his way up the ranks in Milwaukee's farm system

Filling the void that will inevitably be left behind by Prince Fielder should be rather lucid, with 26-year-old Mat Gamel waiting in the wings to take over the starting job.  As for the other top-notch prospects honing their skills down in the Arizona Fall League, they may have to wait a while longer.

Let’s check in on each top prospect’s progressions in the early-going of the Arizona Fall League.

Daniel Meadows, LHP

In four full seasons in the minors, the 24-year-old Meadows has proved to be one of Milwaukee’s best young relievers on the farm, particularly of late.  In 21 appearances through the first half of 2011, Meadows boasted a 1.51 ERA with 39 SO in 41.2 IP for the AA affiliate Helena Stars.  This fall, he’s used his above-average command and effective slider to strut a 1.80 ERA in four separate appearances, totaling 5.0 IP.

Cody Scarpetta, RHP

Scarpetta will need to refine some of his pitches this fall if he expects to be with the club on opening day

Drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Scarpetta was on the virtual fast-track to the majors after a sumptuous rookie season with high class A Brevard County and AA-Huntsville, posting a combined 2.23 ERA with 58 SO in just 36.1 IP.  However, his production seemingly dropped off, specifically in 2011, where his K/BB ration fell to 1.6:1.  He’ll need to refine his game if an appearance with Milwaukee is imminent, and so far he’s done well.  In two appearances (including one start) Scarpetta holds true to a 2.25 ERA with 3 SO, but has also walked six in 4.o IP.

Scooter Gennett, 2B

The 5’9″, 180-pound speedy second-baseman has a bright MLB future ahead of him.  Upon being selected in the 16th round of the 2009 draft by Milwaukee, Gennett has pieced together two exceptional seasons in the minors.  In 2010, the speedster batted .309 with 9 HR and 55 RBI, including 14 SB and 87 runs scored.  Last season, Gennett complemented his previous success by batting .300 with 9 HR and 51 RBI and 11 SB for high-A Brevard County.  Thus far this fall, he’s off to another fast start — bating .333 (9-for-27), has 2 HR and 6 RBI and 17 TB to his credit.

Kentrail Davis, OF

Pardon me for being a bit too titillated, but there’s something that tells me this guy has a shot at being a superstar at the next level.  The former Tennessee Volunteer and 39th overall pick in the 2009 draft has been an absolute gem in Milwaukee’s farm system in just two short seasons.  In 2010, Davis batted .304, drove in 63 RBI and scored 64, all while stealing 11 bases.  However, 2011 would be his coming-out party, as the nimble outfielder batted .245 with 8 HR, 46 RBI and managed 33 SB.  In 25 at-bats this fall, Davis is batting .280 with an RBI and two stolen bases, and has also notably struck out 10 times.

Logan Schafer, OF

Not to be outdone, though, is the 25-year-old Schafer, who in essence could make a tremendous impact on Ron Roenicke’s clubhouse as early as next season.  The former 2008 draft selection has thrived down on the farm, most notably in 2011, where he batted a ridiculous .385 with 43 RBI and 5 HR, while also stealing 16 SB.  His production was enough to earn him a September call-up, where he would eventually play in eight total games, going 1-for-3.  This fall, Schafer is off to a scorching start, batting .243 with a home run and 6 RBI and 1 SB.

Other news and notes: 2011 first-round draft pick Jed Bradley will replace Tyler Thornburg in the Arizona Fall League.

Follow Alec Dopp on Twitter! @alecdopp

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