Results tagged ‘ Scooter Gennett ’

Brewers Minor League Report: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, April 2013


Scooter Gennett / Courtesy of sportsnashville.wordpress.com

Scooter Gennett / Courtesy of sportsnashville.wordpress.com

At the beginning of the season, the Brewers maintained a minor league farm system that many scouting databases deemed one of the worst Major League Baseball. Despite utilizing four first-round draft picks in each of the last two first-year player drafts, the organization entered 2013 without any of its prospects considered to be future stars at the next level. As of Wednesday evening, no Brewers farmhands were featured in Jonathan Mayo‘s top 100 rankings over at MLB.com.

Yet the first month of the minor league season proved Milwaukee’s farm system may not be as shallow as previously thought. Several pitchers and position players with relatively low stocks heading into the season have caught the eyes of scouts early on, and could be well on their way to promotions in the near future. Conversely, some prospects have witnessed their stocks decline after a month’s worth of play.

Position Players

Who’s Hot: Cameron Garfield, C, class-A advanced Brevard County Manatees

2013 stats: .265/.294/.510, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R, .358 wOBA (102 PA)

Quite possibly no prospect in the system got off to a hotter start at the plate with respect to power numbers this season than Garfield, who with five home runs in 24 games is already approaching the 12 home runs over 66 games he mashed last season with low-A Appleton. Behind the dish, Garfield improved immensely in April, committing just three errors and allowing three passed balls in 20 games, boasting an improved 8.00 range factor that’s on par with the likes of Buster Posey.

Who’s Not: Clint Coulter, C, class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2013 stats: .186/.275/.356, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R, .291 wOBA (69 PA)

Coulter, last summer’s 27th overall selection in the first-year player draft, certainly gave fans enough reason for optimism after posting a slash line of .302/.439/.444 and a .419 wOBA over 49 games in rookie ball last season, and his decent play behind the plate only added to that. His first month of 2013, however, was far from that. In his first stint in low-A ball, Coulter’s strikeout rate (23.2%) increased, walk rate (10.1%) decreased and has yet to produce a multi-hit game. His fielding efficiency (.953 Fld%) and range (7.36 RF) behind home plate regressed, too.

Who’s Hot: Mitch Haniger, RF, class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

2013 stats: .289/.367/.474, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R, .380 wOBA (90 PA)

Haniger’s 2012 campaign in low-A was cut short by a PCL injury in his right leg, but after a strong spring training showing in Arizona and scalding return to the Timber Rattlers, the injury doesn’t seem to be affecting his performance. While his batting average and slugging percentage remain close to where they were last season, April revealed a much more selective approach from Haniger. He cut his strikeout rate (11.1%) by a handsome 12 points from where it was last season and his range in the outfield has improved a notch.

Who’s Hot: Scooter Gennett, 2B, triple-A Nashville Sounds

2013 stats: .403/.425/.468, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 12 R, 4 SB, .406 wOBA (81 PA)

With each passing day, it seems the debate over whether or not the Brewers should give Gennett an opportunity to contribute gains considerably more steam — and his hot start at the plate in April is a big reason why. Though his strikeout rate (13.6%) is up and walk rate (2.5%) are down from last season, he found plenty of holes in defenses, producing a .470 BABIP with triple-A Nashville. Gennett’s lack of power may be the only thing holding him back from a big league promotion.

Pitchers

Who’s Not: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, double-A Huntsville Stars

2013 stats: 1-4 (5 GS), 7.89 ERA (5.42 FIP), 16 K/14 BB, 1.57 WHIP, .250 BAA

When the Brewers took Jungmann at No. 12 overall in the 2011 draft, they were told they were drafting a pitcher with great command, tremendous strikeout capabilities and a guy who would more often than not go deep in to each start. But in his first month in the double-A Southern League, he looked far from that. In five starts, Jungmann put nearly as many men on base via walk (14) as he did strike out (16), and he lasted on average only 4.2 innings in those starts. Granted, he held batters to a .250 average and .290 BABIP, but the fact that his previously touted command has been nearly non-existent this season is reason for concern.

Who’s Not: Drew Gagnon, RHP, class-A advanced Brevard County Manatees

2013 stats: 1-2 (5 GS), 7.36 ERA (4.02 FIP), 22 K/11 BB, 1.82 WHIP, .319 BAA

Gagnon’s April began underwhelmingly, allowing 18 earned runs to cross home over his first four starts of the season, which totaled just 16.2 innings. However, he would rebound in his final start of the month in which he pitched 5.1 innings and allowed just four baserunners. Hopefully the end of the month is sign of good things to come because, as a whole, Gagnon’s command regressed tremendously. His WHIP of 1.82 in April was a far cry from the impressive 1.10 WHIP he posted last season in high-A ball.

Who’s Hot: Jimmy Nelson, RHP, double-A Huntsville Stars

2013 stats: 3-0 (5 GS), 1.30 ERA (1.65 FIP), 32 K/5 BB, 0.83 WHIP, .177 BAA

Though the Alabama product made huge strides during his stay at high-A and double-A ball last season, Nelson told me in Janurary that the biggest concern for him was being consistent from start to start . And that’s exactly what he did in April. In none of his five starts did he last through less than five innings and in none of those did he allow more than five hits. His swing-and-miss capabilities have revealed themselves on a regular basis and his command has been superb. Shouldn’t be too much longer before Nelson gets the call to triple-A.

Who’s Not: Ariel Pena, RHP, double-A Huntsville Stars

2013 stats: 1-2 (5 GS), 4.84 ERA (6.87 FIP), 12 K/18 BB, 1.52 WHIP, .208 BAA

Acquired in the Zack Greinke trade last season, many scouts believed Pena had the potential to be a back-of-the-rotation arm. Not even a year later, and there are concerns that he may not be a serviceable reliever. In five starts with double-A Huntsville this April, Pena’s swing-and-miss stuff vanished and his command only worsened, in turn leading to an obscene 7.25 BB/9 rate and disheartening 4.84 K/9 rate. No starter in the organization had a more rough opening month than Pena.

Who to keep an eye on

Michael Reed, OF, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (.323/.384/.446, .382 wOBA) -Accumulated four doubles, two triples and 29 total bases in April, finishing out the month with a nice seven-game hit streak.

Nick Ramirez, 1B, Brevard County Manatees (.245/.312/.439, .320 wOBA) - Strikeouts are still a problem, but raised his walk rate by over three percentage points from last season en route to 45 total bases.

Jacob Barnes, RHP, Brevard County Manatees (2-0, 1.08 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 12 K/5 BB, 16.2 IP) - Held batters to a palty .177 average and posted a 0.96 WHIP in three starts and one relief appearance.

Damien Magnifico, RHP, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (2-0, 4.00 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 19 K/7 BB, 18 IP) - Walks are down and strikeouts have increased, and has strutted his triple-digit four-seam fastball on a regular basis. Tremendous potential as a late-inning reliever if these all continue.

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.

Updating Brewers’ Top 25 Prospects at the 2012 All-Star Break


With the All-Star break now upon us and Major League Baseball’s 2012 first-year player draft in the rear-view mirror, the natural inkling of many baseball fans is to check up on how well things are going down in the minors. If you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, it would behoove you to know that things are going very well this season down on the farm — at least much better than what was expected.

Coming into the season, the Brewers were noticeably dry on the farm despite a talented flock of youngsters from the 2011 draft itching to get their feet wet in professional ball. But after a strong 2012 class that saw general manager Doug Melvin add a few power bats early on, the Brewers are yet again proving that their scouting department is among the best in baseball and that they’re nearly recovered from the trade that put Zack Greinke in blue and gold back in the winter of 2010.

So in an effort to help satisfy your crave for Milwaukee’s top minor league youngsters while Ron Roenicke and company reboot for a second-half run, here is my updated top 25 prospects at mid-season.

25. Amaury Rivas

Signing on as a non-draft pick free agent way back in 2005, Rivas has now spent upwards of eight seasons in Milwaukee’s system. Having gone through Tommy John surgery, demotion and now conversion from starter to reliever all during that timespan, Rivas has had both extreme highs and lows thus far in his career.

Once thought to have the stuff of a back-line starter in the bigs following a stellar 2009 campaign, the now 26-year-old Dominican Republic native pitches exclusively out of the bullpen in Triple-A, and he hasn’t exactly flourished. He’s walked nearly as many batters as he’s struck out, posting a groundout-to-airout ratio of just 1.28 and a WHIP of 1.70.

Rivas throws a low-90s two-seam fastball that gets good movement and a mid-90s four-seamer that straightens out and gets crushed by opponents when left in the zone. His slider has been anything but a swing-and-miss pitch, as he’s struggled his whole career to command it. Rivas’ best pitch is his changeup, which Baseball America rated as the best pitch in the system after the 2009 and 2010 season. If he has any intention of sniffing the majors, he’ll need to develop his slider.

24. Santo Manzanillo

2012 Stats (Double-A): 12 G, 6.08 ERA, 5.90 FIP, 10 K/10 BB, .255 BAA (13.1 IP)

Brought into the organization as an extremely raw 16 year old from the Dominican ranks in 2006, Manzanillo struggled mightily with his command, walking a wholesome 47 batters over 16.1 innings in the Arizona Rookie League. His next two seasons in rookie ball were almost as unsightly, posting a WHIP of 1.97 over 27 appearances during that span.

Manzanillo then blew out his elbow prior to the 2009 season and underwent Tommy John surgery that cast a serious shadow of doubt over his career. However, he came back in 2010 and saw massive improvements with his command in low-A ball and then proceeded to crack Huntsville’s bullpen in double-A by the end of last season. Last year, he overpowered hitters with a strikeout rate of over 23 percent and notched 17 saves out of the closer role.

Stuff-wise, Manzanillo has what it takes to flourish out of a setup role. He utilizes a four-seam fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and has reportedly hit triple-digits on a few occasions. He complements it with an effective changeup and power slide to get hitters off balance. If he can continue to hone his pitches and ward off injury, he’ll have a bright future in Milwaukee for years to come.

23. Cody Scarpetta

2012 Stats: N/A (Injured)

Once a glistening prospect considered to be on the cusp of a big-league promotion at the end of last season, Scarpetta put on an abhorrent showing at the Arizona Fall League where he posted an ERA of 19.43 over just 7.1 innings of work. Things would only get worse from there, when doctors told him he would miss his entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Still, Scarpetta is only 23 years old and has the stuff of a back-line MLB starter in a best-case scenario. He features a low to mid 90s fastball with some sink to it, a hard-breaking curveball that was nearly plus-average before his surgery and a changeup that improved massively as he progressed through the system. He generated a lot of strikeouts with these three pitches but was also markedly inconsistent command-wise, walking nearly five batters per nine innings pitched over the course of his professional career.

With the physique of a big-league innings eater and a determination to break through soon after his surgery, Scarpetta could still definitely offer value as a bullpen type for Milwaukee down the road. His future will rest heavily on his recovery from surgery and a refinement of his control.

22. Gregory Hopkins

2012 Stats (Low-A): 286 PA, .300/.323/.453, 24 XBH, 112 wRC+ (71 G)

A lifetime .339/.409/.515 hitter during his three seasons at St. John’s University, Hopkins was especially impressive during his 2010 junior campaign with the Red Storm, where his .358 BA topped that of Big East rivals George Springer and Mike Olt, both of whom are now considered consensus top-50 prospects in all of baseball. The Brewers got him as a mid-round pick that year, and it’s now looking like another huge steal for general manager Doug Melvin.

While he posted adequate numbers in rookie ball and the following season in low-A ball, he has been fairly impressive this season in low-A. With a .300/.323/.453 line though the first half, Hopkins has an outside shot to finish atop the organization in those three categories. If he could perpetuate those numbers in subsequent seasons, he would profile nicely at third base sometime down the road.

Right now, Hopkins simply needs to make sure his batting average stays above at least .285. He has the defensive skills and hard-working demeanor to play third base. His bat is the only thing keeping him from cracking Triple-A (yes, I said it) by the end of next season.

21. Kyle Heckathorn

2012 Stats (Double-A): 17 GS, 5.18 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 72 K/27 BB, .282 BAA (92 IP)
A three-year contributor to the Kennesaw State rotation, Heckathorn was heralded as one of the better right-handers of the 2009 draft class. He was a strikeout machine in college and that was a big reason the Brewers took him at 47th overall that year. Since then, however, he’s been anything but what Milwaukee drafted him for.

Finally making his way to double-A ball this season, Heckathorn has harbored a K/9 ratio of just 6.77 during his professional career. His sometimes plus-average control can compensate for his lack of strikeouts, which is what you would hope for considering he doesn’t have a true swing-and-miss pitch. His offerings include a rather flat fastball that sits in the 92-94 MPH range, a hard slider with some projection left on it and a changeup that’s fringe-average at this point.

Looking the part of a big league innings-eater at 6’6″, 223 pounds, Heckathorn’s career will ultimately be determined by his ability to spot his pitches. A lack of strikeout pitch coupled with the fact that he leaves the ball over the plate at a high rate (he has a H/9 ratio of 10.1 this season) shows that he’s still a ways off from a big-league appearance.

20. Eric Farris

2012 Stats (Triple-A): 314 PA, .263/.310/.305, 10 XBH, 63 wRC+ (83 G)

Once thought to challenge Rickie Weeks for the full-time role at second base, Farris is now in the midst of his third consecutive season in Triple-A ball. The difference between this season and his past two seasons, however, seems to be his production at the plate; he’s garnered just a .304 slugging percentage this season compared to a .372 last season.

Knocking on the door of 27 years old, Farris’ power decline at the plate will likely keep him from a starting job with the Brewers. He’s an above-average defender at second base and can hold his own at shortstop and the outfield, but the fact that his bat has been lagging so much this season says that he just doesn’t have the capacity to be an effective all-around big leaguer. It’s a shame, too, because he possesses top-tier speed that Ron Roenicke would love to utilize on the bases.

19. Kentrail Davis

2012 Stats (Double-A): 302 PA, .252/.336/.350, 19 XBH, 100 wRC+ (72 G)
After putting up tremendous numbers across the board against tough SEC competition at Tennessee, Davis fell to the Brewers at 39th overall in the 2009 draft and was considered one of the bigger steals of that year’s draft. The athletic outfielder was considered to have the ingredients necessary to be a future five-tool player at the next level. Now, he’s lucky if to sniff the majors in the next two seasons.

After tearing up the Midwest league to the tune of a .335/.421/.518 line during his rookie 2010 season, Davis was promoted to high-A Brevard County, where he batted just .244 in 150 plate appearances and witnessed a palpable spike in strikeouts. He spent his entire 2011 season in high-A again, and now resides in double-A, where his ability to hit for power has actually gotten worse.

Right now, the only thing keeping him in our top 25 rankings is his speed tool. Davis has tallied 55 career stolen bases to go with a 6.3 SPD rating this season, according to FanGraphs. Of course, his ability to steal bases is severely limited since his below-average bat has almost no projection left on it. Consequently, if Davis has any shot at the bigs, his bat will need major refinement.

18. Drew Gagnon

2012 Stats

Low-A: 14 GS, 2.83 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 65 K/19 BB, .217 BAA (82.2 IP)

High-A: 2 GS, 2.25 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 12 K/3 BB, .227 BAA (12 IP)

A third round pick from last summer’s draft, Gagnon came into this season overshadowed by the likes of fellow draftees Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley. While he is still pitching a full level lower than each, you could make the argument that he’s outperformed both.

After blowing through the rookie ranks in seven starts last season, the Long Beach State product has witnessed his strikeout rates diminish noticeably against Midwest League hitters. However, that’s the only area that’s witnessed regression, as he’s been able to hold batters in check to the tune of a .213 BA and a .254 BABIP. He’s looked even better over his first two starts in the Florida State league since his promotion.

With a four-pitch mix that includes a low-90s fastball and developing slider, curveball and changeup, Gagnon has the potential to be a quick-riser to the bigs with a chance to be a back-line starter.

17. Yadiel Rivera

2012 Stats (Low-A): 317 PA, .226/.260/.401, 29 XBH, 82 wRC+ (78 G)
A late-round pickup out of Puerto Rico in the 2009 draft, it’s taken Rivera just over two years to be named the consensus best overall shortstop in Milwaukee’s system. Mind you, there isn’t much competition for the title, however, there are some positives to take away from his game.

First and foremost, Rivera is an exceptional defender at shortstop. While he doesn’t have elite speed by any stretch of the imagination, he does have great athleticism that allows him to cover a lot of ground in the infield. Baseball Reference cites that he’s harbored a career range factor of 4.48 over 223 professional games. For comparison’s sake, that not too far off from what former Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy’s posted this season.

Yet while Rivera could probably play a decent shortstop in the bigs right now, it’s his bat that’s held him back from shooting through the system. He’s an aggressive hitter, rarely drawing walks and striking out at a concerning clip. If he can continue to make his swing more compact and continue to work on hitting offspeed offerings, he could see a spike in his offensive yield. Until then, though, he likely won’t see double-A for a few more seasons, which isn’t all that troubling since he’s still very young.

16. Hiram Burgos

2012 Stats

High-A: 6 GS, 0.87 ERA, 2.04 FIP, 41 K/6 BB, .147 BAA (41.1 IP)

Double-A: 10 GS, 2.05 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 61 K/24 BB, .234 BAA (61.1 IP)

The undoubted ace of the small-school Bethune Cookman rotation during his 2009 senior campaign, Burgos fell to Milwaukee in the sixth round of that year’s draft. Since then, his value within the organization took a massive beating due to poor performance against competition in the lower-minors. Then this season came around, and the Puerto Rico native flipped the switch on his previously dwindling career.

While he has a bevy of pitches at his disposal that he can throw for strikes, Burgos’ main pitches are a low 90s fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. None have much projection left and they don’t grade out as plus-average, either, though his command with each has been exceptional. He posted a walk rate of just four percent over six starts in high-A ball to start this season.

Burgos was pushed up to Double-A ball early on this season and while he flashed glimpses of success, he’s fallen off a bit. His walk rate has more than doubled and batters have teed off on him due to leaving the ball over the plate. If he’s to crack Triple-A or the big-league roster anytime soon, he’ll need to polish up his command a bit more.

15. Khris Davis

2012 Stats (Double-A): 86 PA, .324/.442/.479, 7 XBH, 168 wRC+ (27 G)

A guy who’s arguably outperformed any one player from Milwaukee’s abysmal 2009 draft class, Davis has proved to be one of the better bats in a farm system that has been starving for outfield position talent.

At 6’0″, 195 pounds, Davis doesn’t possess any one tool that projects to be plus-average at the next level, however, he doesn’t have any known weakness, either. He’s proven to be able to hit for average and little bit of power. He draws a fair number of walks but by that same token has struggled somewhat with strikeouts, most notably posting a strikeout rate of 23.3 percent this season against double-A Southern League pitching.

Davis was enjoying a tremendous season at the plate until suffering a leg injury back in mid-May, so much so that he currently holds true to a 168 wRC+. If he can get back to his line-drive hitting ways after returning, there’s a good chance he starts his 2013 campaign in triple-A.

14. David Goforth

2012 Stats (Low-A): 17 GS, 5.42 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 49 K/39 BB, .273 BAA (84.2 IP)
A full-time reliever turned starter by the end of his three-year collegiate stay at Ole Miss, Goforth fell to the Brewers in the seventh round at last year’s draft and should be considered a steal because of it. He showed to have good command of his pitches and the ability to strike out a ton of batters, additionally.

Strictly out of a relief role with the rookie club in Helena last season, Goforth struck out 42 batters in just 40.2 innings and posted a walk rate of just 5.8 percent. As a reliever in low-A ball this season, his strikeout yield and command have each witnessed regressions similar to what he went through in making the transition from reliever to starter in college. Those declines have a lot to do with Goforth’s “overpowering” mentality on the bump; he has a four-seamer that touches the upper 90s and a cutter slider that he gets batters off balance with.

The Brewers love what this kid has to offer and if he doesn’t start finding success as a starter, management is convinced he has the makeup of a legitimate big-league setup man/closer once his secondary pitches come around.

13. Mitch Haniger

Complete Scouting Report

2012 Stats (Low-A): 58 PA, .286/.379/.429, 5 XBH, 133 wRC+ (58 G)
A three-year contributor for head skipper Larry Lee at Cal Poly, Haniger’s most productive season came this year, where he was without question one of the best hitters in the country. In 211 at bats, the stocky outfielder retained a .458 wOBA (weighted on-base average), proving that he was more than capable of racking up extra-base hits.

Physically, Haniger has the ideal build of a guy who should hit for some power at the big league level. He’s drastically improved his approach at the plate during his junior season and that’s consequently helped him to tap into his power stroke that has a real chance to be plus-average. What’s more, Haniger also boasts a strong arm that should profile nicely in right field.

12. Hunter Morris

2012 Stats (Double-A): 348 PA, .309/.362/.525, 42 XBH, 148 wRC+ (84 G)
While Prince Fielder held down the fort at first base for the past six or so seasons, it was undoubtedly a tough time to be a first-baseman in the Brewers’ farm system. Now that he’s gone (and the future of Mat Gamel is also in deep question), an opportunity has risen for a handful of players. Leading that pack by a sizeable margin is none other than Hunter Morris.

An unmitigated slugger out of the University of Auburn, Morris agreed to sign on with Milwaukee as a fourth-round pick in 2009, and has since then stakes his claim as the top power-hitter in the Brewers’ system. This season, he’s produced career-best numbers in slugging percentage (.525), ISO (.202) and wOBA (.378) in a pitching-friendly double-A Southern League.

The only cause for concern right now seems to be his approach at the plate. He struggled with strikeouts in college to some extent and has garnered a career-high strikeout rate of 21.5% thus far this season. If he can shore that facet of his game, I believe he could be playing a full-time first-base for Ron Roenicke by the end of the 2014 season.

11. Jorge Lopez

2012 Stats: 3 GS, 6.61 ERA, 5.28 FIP, 11 K/9 BB, .304 BAA (16.1 IP)

The general consensus on young talent out of Puerto Rico is that there are plenty of projectable bats to go around but not a whole lot of arms to speak of. Lopez, Milwaukee’s third selection of the 2011 draft, may be one of the very few exceptions to that presumption.

Weighing in at an athletic 6’4″, 165 pounds, Lopez is very raw physically, with a ton of room to pack on some muscle in an effort to add more velocity to his pitches. Right now, he features a fastball that sits in the 89-91 MPH range that he’s shown to throw to both sides of the plate, a curveball that’s already close to big-league ready and a developing changeup. He’ll be a project for Milwaukee to develop, but once he pans out physically, he could be a very, very intriguing prospect.

10. Scooter Gennett

2012 Stats (Double-A): 370 PA, .289/.333/.389, 26 XBH, 104 wRC+ (86 G)

One of the most undervalued prospects in Milwaukee’s system by many scouts, Gennett continues to get his cuts from the left side of the plate as he rises toward the upper-levels of the minors. The impressive part is that those same cuts have resulted in consistent numbers.

At 5’9″, 180 pounds, Gennett doesn’t hit for power with much consistency, however, he is able to hit for a high average and knows the importance of getting on base. This season, the former 2009 draft pick has batted an even .300 with a .342 BABIP that’s close to his career .344 BABIP.

Representing the Brewers at the 2012 All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, Gennett had the chance to strut his stuff at the plate in front of many scouts. If he can continue to hit at or above .300 at the double-A and triple-A level, the Brewers will have a tough time not giving him a shot at second base.

9. Caleb Gindl

2012 Stats (Triple-A): 299 PA, .242/.299/.385, 24 XBH, 74 wRC+ (79 G)

The second player taken in the 2007 draft from the traditionally talent-laden Pace High School in Pensacola, Florida, one could argue that Gindl has been Milwaukee’s top performing prospect since his 2008 rookie season. From that year up until the end of last season, Gindl has amassed a fairly high WARP rating of 12.7, according to Baseball Prospectus.

Physically, Gindl is probably a smidge undersized, however, he is able to generate a lot of home runs and gap power with a short, compact swing and strong hands at the plate. While he can run at an adequate rate, speed doesn’t really play into his game a whole lot and will be fringe-average at the next level. Moreover, his arm is nothing to write home about, which leads many scouts to believe he profiles as more of a corner outfielder if anything.

Gindl got off to an uncharacteristically slow start this season but has torched the competition this month. Still just 23 years old, the Brewers would love to hang on to him as long as they can; he could have a shot to stick it in the bigs as a platoon type right-fielder by the end of next season.

8. Clint Coulter

2012 Stats (Rookie): 43 PA, .154/.233/.282, 2 XBH, 31 wRC+ (10 G)

Designated for assignment with Milwaukee’s rookie club in Arizona to start his pro career, the 27th overall pick in last month’s draft looks to become the fastest-rising high schooler in the Brewers’ system since Prince Fielder in 2002. And if his physical tools, high school statistical yield and hard-working demeanor are any indication, he should be able to do just that.

At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Coulter is a physical specimen by any standards. Justin Roswell, Senior Director of Team One Baseball, deems the 18-year-old to have “big man strength“. That natural strength could turn him into a consistent line-drive power threat at the big league level. He has a balanced approach at the plate and a swing that’s quick and has little wasted movement.

In a Brewers farm system that was bereft of any elite bats prior to the draft, Coulter could vie to be Milwaukee’s top hitter on the farm with a solid showing at the plate this year.

7. Victor Roache

2012 Stats: N/A (Injured)

Leading the country in home runs (30) as a sophomore in 2011, Roache was one of the most productive position players in all of college baseball during his stay at Georgia Southern, where he averaged a .289/.423/.621 line as a two-year starter. Had he not suffered a broken wrist just seven games into his junior campaign, he would have surely been a top-10 pick instead of Milwaukee’s final 2012 first-round draftee.

Nevertheless, the Brewers remain staunch in their belief that Roache has a lot of helium, and it’s tough to disagree with that sentiment. At 6’2”, 225 pounds, the Michigan native has enough athleticism to play the outfield with an average arm that would profile nicely at either corner position, though he could ultimately end up in center depending on how well he performs in the next few seasons. He is an absolute force at the plate, moreover, having great pitch-recognition with violently quick-hands that drive the ball to all fields. To me, he looks like a more muscular version of Alfonso Soriano at the dish.

Roache is currently rehabbing in preparation for offseason competition, possibly even the Arizona Fall League. We should be able to gauge how quick he’ll rise to the majors based off his performance in those leagues.

6. Logan Schafer

2012 Stats (Triple-A): 347 PA, .288/.340/.449, 31 XBH (7 HR), 102 wRC+ (83 G)

One of the better all-around position players in the system, Schafer does just about everything in a proficient manner. His bat has been exceptional since his rookie season in 2008 and has been able to tap into some power with it as well. Moreover, Schafer might just be the best defender down on the farm.

After putting up a combined .315/.385/.439 line last season, Schafer has nearly worked his way back up to those numbers this season despite harboring an uncharacteristic .265 BA in the season’s first two months. His power-stroke has exhibited itself once more this season, holding true to a .138 ISO in 289 plate appearances.

Possibly his best tool, Schafer’s defense in the outfield this season has been arguably the best of his career. Right now, the Cal Poly product maintains a 2.42 range factor at the triple-A level compared to his career 2.27 range factor. Should he break through to the majors, it will be his coveted glove that will carry him.

5. Jimmy Nelson

2012 Stats

High-A: 13 GS, 2.21 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 77 K/25 BB, .210 BAA (81.1 IP)

Double-A: 3 GS, 4.73 ERA, 6.20 FIP, 9 K/14 BB, .245 BAA (13.1 IP)

Turning down the opportunity to join the Reds’ farm system as a 39thround pick in 2009 out of high school, Nelson was able to hone his pitches and grow into his massive build at the University of Alabama for three seasons before signing on with Milwaukee as a second-rounder in 2010. Since then, Nelson put together two solid seasons of professional ball. Neither, however, has been as impressive as his current campaign.

After working to develop his changeup this past offseason, the 6’6”, 245-pound Florida native was able to thoroughly dominated the competition, posting a 2.21 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 13 high-A ball starts, striking out just under a batter per inning. His achievement warranted a promotion to double-A, where he looks to see his improved offerings prompt a promotion to the Pacific Coast league in the near future.

Given his gargantuan yet still prototypical frame, credible three-pitch mix – that includes a low to mid-90s sinker, slider with plus-average movement and drastically improved changeup – and willingness to listen and get better, I’d say Nelson has the chance to reach the bigs possibly by the end of next season with a good chance to stick there by 2014.

4. Tyler Thornburg

Complete Scouting Report

2012 Stats

Double-A: 13 GS, 3.00 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 71 K/24 BB, .203 BAA (75 IP)

Triple-A: GS, 3.60 ERA, 0.80 FIP, 6 K/0 BB, .263 BAA (5 IP)

In the weeks following up to 2010 draft, there were a handful of scouts who hadn’t made up their minds over what Thornburg best projected to be – a below-average defensive position player with some pop in his swing, a slightly undersized starter who’d eventually struggle to eat innings or a kid who would utilize his hard-throwing nature to flourish out of a bullpen role.

Now just over two years later, scouts know exactly what Thornburg projects to be: A future big-league strikeout machine, no matter the role.

After making a mockery of hitters at the rookie ranks in 2010 to the tune of 38 strikeouts in just 23.1 innings, Thornburg posted almost as gaudy of number his following season between low-A and high-A ball, garnering a 10.5 K/9 ratio in 24 starts. This season, his yield was simply too overwhelming (8.5 K/9 in 13 double-A starts) to ignore, as he was able to make his first big-league start with Milwaukee on June 19.

While there are still some concerns about Thornburg’s taxing delivery and how well his arm might be able to hold up, there’s no denying that the guy simply knows how to get batters out with his stuff. If he can prove to go deeper into his starts by the end of this season, who knows where he’ll be pitching this time next year.

3. Taylor Jungmann

Complete Scouting Report

2012 Stats (High-A): 17 GS, 3.35 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 64 K/29 BB, .242 BAA (102 IP)

After putting up ridiculous numbers his junior season with Texas and being Milwaukee’s first selection in the 2011 draft, Jungmann faced tremendous expectations coming into the season. While he hasn’t been the strikeout machine many have expected, there have been plenty of positive takeaways thus farm.

In a Florida State League that houses some of the most advanced hitting prospects in the minors, Jungmann has averaged over six innings per start and has garnered an impressive walk rate of 6.8 percent. Sure, his strikeouts have been down at just six punchouts per nine innings, but the fact that he goes deep into most of his starts (he already has a complete game to his credit) says a lot about the workhorse-type of pitcher the Brewers believe he can be.

Jungmann features three pitches that graded out as plus-average at the draft last summer. His mid-90s four-seam fastball tops out at 98 MPH and his curveball has nice, sweeping bend to it. His changeup complements his fastball nicely and probably has more projection on it than any other of his offerings at this juncture.

2. Jed Bradley

Complete Scouting Report

2012 Stats (High-A): 16 GS, 4.55 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 54 K/31 BB, .278 BAA (87 IP)
Leading a shallow crop of left-handers in the 2011 draft, the Brewers were pleasantly surprised that Bradley fell to them at the No. 15 overall slot. After dominating for three seasons at Georgia Tech in which he went fanned over a batter per inning while conceding just one home run over 16 starts in his junior season, many scouts believed Bradley was one of the biggest steals of the draft – it’s easy to see why.

Having four pitches – a fastball that sits around 93-90 MPH, big-bending curveball, slider and changeup – that he has proven to throw strikes and induce a lot of swings-and-misses with, Bradley’s stuff isn’t that far from big-league ready. Moreover, his prototypical 6’4”, 225-pound frame suggests he could be areal innings-eater as a professional. Put that all together, and he’s believed to have the makeup of a solid No. 2 in a five-man big league rotation.

While he’s been fairly inconsistent in high-A ball this season, Bradley has managed to put together a string of solid starts. If he continues that type of production, there’s no doubting he has the chance to fly through the system and make his big-league debut possibly by the end of 2013.

1. Wily Peralta

Complete Scouting Report

2012 Stats (Triple-A): 18 GS, 5.10 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 79 K/49 BB, .275 BAA (90 IP)

Beginning his professional career as a undrafted free-agent out of Puerto Rico at just 17 years old in 2006, Peralta’s lengthy stay in the minors has him atop many scouts’ organization prospect rankings for a multitude of reasons. A big, durable frame to go with three big-league ready offerings are just a few of those aforementioned reasons.

At 6’2″, 240 pounds, Peralta has the a strong build that should be able to handle 30 or more starts at the big league level. He’s averaged roughly six innings per start since pitching exclusively as a starter back in 2010. For comparison’s sake, that’s about what Yovani Gallardo averaged during his stay in the minors.

Peralta throws a mid-90s fastball and an average changeup with little projection left on it. His best pitch is easily his slider, having great movement that induces a lot of swings-and-misses. The biggest reason for his delayed ETA has to be his command issues, which have been woefully obvious thus far this season, holding true to a walk rate of 13.2 percent over 14 starts.

Despite his struggles this season, Peralta is by my estimation the most well-rounded pitcher in Milwaukee’s system.

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.

MLB Arizona Fall League Results 2011: Grading Each Milwaukee Brewers Prospect


Scooter Gennett slugged his way to a fantastic 2011 AFL showing

The 2011 MLB Arizona Fall League saw many of the league’s top prospects flourish and develop into much more well-rounded players in just a few weeks’ time.  Milwaukee Brewers prospects Scooter Gennett, Jed Bradley, Zealous Wheeler and many other youngsters also bettered their games sumptuously, leading the Peoria Javelinas to a 16-19 overall record in the meantime.

Now that the AFL has come and gone, how did each Brewers prospect grade out and how will their performance better or worsen their future with the club?  Let’s find out.

2B Scooter Gennett (.411 BA, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 20 R, 1.026 OPS)

Acknowledged by many to be one of the few “untouchable” prospects remaining in Milwaukee’s barren system, Gennett, 21, thoroughly backed up his claim as Milwaukee’s second-baseman of the future this fall.  The 5’9″ 164-pound Florida State product finished second among all AFL batters in BA, and ranked just behind Bryce Harper — yes, that Bryce Harper — for the league’s ninth best OPS.  His .470 OBP also ranked fourth-best.  Gennett is expected to make an appearance in double-A sometime next season, and is well-aware of the difficulties awaiting him at the next level.  Overall, though, the speedy infielder was nothing short of sensational in his stay in Arizona this fall.  Great player, bright future with the Brewers.

Grade: A

3B Zelous Wheeler (.276 BA, 8 RBI, 15 R, .755 OPS)

It’s amazing to hear how few people are aware of Wheeler’s presence in Milwaukee’s system.  At 24 years of age, the youngster has already has five surprisingly productive seasons under his belt.  This fall, the 19th-round selection out from 2007 virtually duplicated his BA from last season (.272) but was mediocre at best even in a batter-friendly league.  Many compare his versatility to Jerry Hairston in that he can play just about anywhere when asked.  Regardless, his performance this fall neither bolstered nor diminished his potential future with the Brewers.

Grade: C

OF Kentrail Davis (.325 BA, HR, 12 RBI, 16 R, 4 SB, .429 OBP)

While there’s simply no denying Davis’ physical attributes — his 8.2 SPD rating last season in class-A advanced is comparable to Jose Reyes’ 8.4many point to his inconsistencies at the plate as a serious cause for concern moving forward.  Last season, the Tennessee product batted a lousy .245 along with an abhorrent .287 BABIP in the Florida State League.  However, his .325 BA this fall comes as a refreshing statistic, without question.  If he’s able to maintain this momentum into next season, he could be suiting up for triple-A Nashville as soon as 2013.

Grade: B

OF Logan Schafer (.302 BA, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 5 SB, .364 OBP)

Now 25 years old, Schafer spent time in class-A advanced, double-A and triple-A last season on his road to recovery from a broken foot suffered back in 2010.  Needless to say, the youngster bounced back impressively, batting a combined .315 with 5 HR, 43 RBI  and 16 stolen bases, and was able to earn a September call-up.  This fall, Schafer ranked among the top hitters in terms of BA and OPS (.812).  He’s a steadfast batter and great fielder who could may very well end up on Ron Roenicke’s depth-chart this spring with Milwaukee’s uncertainties in the outfield.  Granted, he could’ve done more this fall, but it was nonetheless a stately AFL debut for the budding star.

Grade: B-

RHP Cody Scarpetta (0-3, 19.64 ERA, 7 SO, 7.1 IP)

While I’d love to sit here and brag about Scarpetta’s great stuff and tremendous upside, it’s only appropriate for me to dwell on his command issues and subsequently despicable AFL campaign.  Once a top-caliber prospect in Milwaukee’s system, Scarpetta, 23, has since seen his stock falter tremendously over the past few seasons.  Accruing such an unattractive ERA this fall probably isn’t what scouts were expecting.

Grade: F

Others

LHP Jed Bradley (1-0, 6.48 ERA , 8 SO, 8.1 IP)

Youngster flashed instances of a bright future in his first go-around against the competition.  Don’t let the 6.48 ERA fool you — too small of a sample size.  Grade: N/A

LHP Daniel Meadows (6.57 ERA, 5 SO, 12.1 IP)

You can interpret the obscene ERA to your liking.  Terrible campaign for the tall left-hander.  Grade: D-

RHP Brandon Kintzler (7.38 ERA, 5 SO, 3.2 IP)

A veteran prospect with a dwindling future, Kintzler certainly didn’t turn things around after his fall outing.  Grade: D-

RHP Casey Medlen (5.84 ERA, 12 SO, 12.1 IP)

Again, yet another unfruitful ERA for a Brewer reliever.  However, his above-average strikeout abilities are something to take note of heading into next season.

Follow Alec Dopp on Twitter: @alecdopp.

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)

MLB Prospect Rankings 2012: Milwaukee Brewers Top 15 Prospects


For the better part of the last decade, the Milwaukee Brewers have prided themselves in their outstanding scouting, drafting, and development of young players from minor-league amateurs to MLB talent.  Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart and, yes, even Prince Fielder (to name a few) are quintessential examples of that efficiency.

Last winter, however, GM Doug Melvin dealt a number of top-tier minor league prospects to furnish deals that would send Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee.  Though largely successful, the transactions would recede the level of talent in Milwaukee’s minor league system, sparing a handful of pertinent players down on the farm.

Which remaining youngsters have the best opportunity for success in the near future?  Let’s take an early look at Milwaukee’s top 15 prospects heading into 2012.

**Click here to view last year’s prospect rankings**

Honorable Mention: RHP Santo Manzanillo

Manzanillo signed with the Brewers as a non-draft pick back in 2005, but has only begun to find his stride down in the minors.

The young power-righthander put together a nice 2011 campaign between high class-A Brevard County and double-A Huntsville.  He worked 61.2 innings and posted a combined 1.75 ERA, distinctly in a reliever/closer role.  He also punched out 62 in that same time-frame.

He’s been able to find the most success with his upper-90s fastball thus far.  If he’s able to stay within himself as far as his command goes, he’ll only continue to work his way through the system.

Dishonorable Mention: RHP Mark Rogers

No matter how disappointing or enigmatic his short-lived career has been up to this point, it would be an outrage not to mention the 25-year-old former prodigy.

Drafted fresh out of high school as the fifth-overall pick in 2004, Rogers was expected to be the next best thing since sliced bread for the Brewers, but quickly found out his arm wasn’t quite ready for prime-time.  Suffering a shoulder injury in 2006, Rogers injured his right shoulder and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum.

He would not pitch until three years later, where in 2009 he would go 1-3 with a 1.67 ERA, 67 SO in 64.2 IP.  His 2010, arguably his best, Rogers went 6-8 with a 3.71 ERA while garnering 111 SO in 111.2 IP, prompting a mid-season call-up, where the youngster made his first start as a Brewer.

Then, last March, the right-hander was suspended for 25 games for testing positive for a stimulant.  He probably still has a future with the organization, but this certainly isn’t the way we all foresaw it transpiring.

Honorable Mention: RHP Kyle Heckathorn

Selected by Milwaukee at 49th overall back in 2009, the lanky right-hander made a solid impression on the organization back in 2010, going a combined 10-6 with a 2.98 ERA between single-A and class-A advanced ball.

Coming off his stellar showing, Baseball America ranked Heckathorn as Milwaukee’s ninth-best overall prospect heading into 2011.  He wouldn’t live up to expectations, however, going a lackluster 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA while punching out just 89 in 22 starts.

While there’s no questioning his skill-set, the 23-year-old has yet to strut his best stuff with consistency.  The youngster will have that opportunity next spring with double-A Huntsville.

15. RHP Jimmy Nelson

Coming into 2011, the 6’6″, 235-pound power right-hander was ranked as Milwaukee’s eighth overall prospect by Baseball America — and for good reason.

In his first minor league go-around with, Nelson went 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA while punching out 33 in just 26.2 innings of work as a member of the Brewers’ rookie club in Helena.  As a starter, the University of Alabama product would go 8-9 with a 4.38 ERA, 120 SO and 146.0 IP in 25 starts with single-A Wisconsin.

He features a four-seam fastball that tops out in the mid-90s with a sinker, along with a slider and developing changeup.  Look for him to start with class-A advanced Brevard County in 2012.

14. RHP Austin Ross

Another productive pitcher taken by the Brewers back in 2010, Ross has gone relatively unknown around Milwaukee.  That may be about to change.

In five starts with Milwaukee’s rookie club in Helena, the 23-year-old went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 52 SO and walked just six in 46.2 innings of work.  He also held the opposition to a .246 BA and allowed just one home run during those starts. Yet, like so many other young pitchers, Ross’ production tapered a bit as he moved up, posting a combined 5.28 ERA and striking out 114 in 133.0 IP between class-A Wisconsin and class-A advanced Brevard County.

By no means is Ross a power pitcher that will strike out a lofty number of batters.  However, he’s able to limit mistakes — he conceded just a 1.13 HR/9 in 13 class-A advanced starts last season — making him a near lock to be promoted to Milwaukee within the next few seasons.

13. RHP Amaury Rivas

There’s no doubting the 24-year-old righty is on the cusp of being a call-up for Milwaukee in the very near future, but his poor execution has led to him dropping out of our top 10.

Signed by the Brewers back in 2005, Rivas has put together a number of splendid minor-league campaigns, most notably in 2010, going 11-6 with a 3.37 ERA and 114 SO in 141.2 IP with double-A Huntsville.

Invited to spring training prior to last season, the youngster had his sights set on another noble effort with triple-A Nashville in 2011.  That was not the case, going 7-12 with a less-than-impressive 4.72 ERA in 28 starts.  He has the stuff to be a potential No.4 starter for Milwaukee, but he’ll need to put together a complete minor league season before that becomes a reality.

12. LHP Dan Meadows

“Unheralded” doesn’t even begin to describe this 24-year-old southpaw.

A 49th-round selection out of Temple Texas College in 2008, Meadows’ 6’6″, 223-pound frame initially classified him as a future starter in the big-leagues.

Going 13-6 with a 4.07 ERA and 108 SO in his second minor league season in class-A ball, Meadows established himself as a real workhorse in the making.  The very next year, his label would change drastically.

Promoted to class-A advanced Brevard County, Meadows registered 2.86 ERA, 92 SO and a .221 BAA in 91.1 IP (42 games) in 2010, strictly in a relief role.  He would be called-up to double-A Huntsville to start his 2011 campaign, where he would go 6-2 with a gaudy 1.51 ERA while holding batters to a .185 BAA, evoking yet another promotion to triple-A Nashville later that year.

11. 2B Eric Farris

Calling the 25-year-old Farris “fleet-of-foot” would be a bit of an understatement.

In just five seasons in Milwaukee’s system, the former fourth-round selection out of Loyola Marymount has ripened into a true barn-burner on the basepaths, stockpiling a Brewers record 70 stolen bases in 2009, a year he also batted .298 with 7 HR and 49 RBI.

Like so many other speedsters before him, though, Farris truly lacks power at the plate.  The youngster maintained a .792 OPS during his lone year in rookie ball in 2007, but has seen a gradual decrease in OPS ever since.

We had him ranked higher in our preseason rankings last March, but after a pedestrian 2011 campaign with triple-A Nashville (.271 BA, 6 HR, 55 RBI, .689 OPS), Farris will have to prove himself capable once more in 2012.

10. OF Caleb Gindl

One of the few classic power-hitters remaining in Milwaukee’s system, Gindl has yet to disappoint in five minor-league seasons.

His inaugural rookie season with the Brewers’ rookie club in Helena, the then 19-year-old outfielder batted .372 with 5 HR and 42 RBI, including a 1.000 OPS in 55 total games (207 AB).  His outstanding production was enough for him to be named a Baseball America Rookie All-Star.

Since then, he’s only continued to make strides in the organization.  Last season, the now 23-year-old amassed 15 HR, 60 RBI, .307 BA and ranked fourth among all Brewers prospects with a .309 OBP.

The only thing that could hold him back from a big-league promotion is Milwaukee’s lack for talent in the outfield.  However, if he continues to generate runs at such a rapid pace, management may have no other choice than to bring him up for an audition.

9. RHP Cody Scarpetta

Blazing his way through rookie ball (2-0, 2.23 ERA, 58 SO) in 2008, Milwaukee’s 11th-round selection back in 2007 seemed intent on making a serious impact in the organization early on.

The very next year, the young Scarpetta worked his way from single-A ball to double-A Hunstville, posting a combined 3.52 ERA while striking out 116 in just 105.0 innings of work.  However, the 6’3″, 244-pounder has since gained a reputation of poor command, ultimately leading to punching out just 98 batters in 117.0 innings of work last season in double-A Huntsville.

Despite all the negativity surrounding the youngster, he still has a boatload of potential in the big leauges.  A number three spot in Milwaukee’s rotation in 2014 could be in the works if he gets his act together.

8. RHP Mike Fiers

One of the older prospects you’ll ever see — he’s currently 26 years old — Fiers has been an absolute gem in Milwaukee system in each of the past two seasons.

In just his second year in the minors, Fiers attained a 5-9 combined record, 3.53 ERA and 130 SO in 125.0 IP between class-A advanced Brevard County and double-A Huntsville in 2010.  This past season, he persevered, going 13-3 with a staggering 1.86 ERA along with striking out 132 in 126.0 innings of work in double-A ball and triple-A Nashville.

He would later be named Milwaukee’s top minor-league pitcher of 2011, and subsequently found himself in a Brewers uniform mid September.

7. LHP Jed Bradley

You know your farm system is dry when a player who has yet to make a minor-league start is a top-ten prospect.  But that’s exactly the position the Brewers find themselves in.

Bradley, taken with the 15th overall pick in last summer’s 2011 draft, is currently polishing his exceptionally raw game in the MLB Arizona Fall League, where though over three weeks of baseball, has pitched but 2.0 innings.

Nevertheless, his talent and tremendous upside makes him a top-ten prospect by Milwaukee’s standards.  Last season with Georgia Tech, the youngster went 7-3 with a 3.49 ERA, struck out 106 and allowed just one home run in 16 starts.  Expect him to be pitching with Milwaukee’s rookie club in Helena next spring.

6. RHP Taylor Jungmann

Whatd’ya know, another first-round draft pick from last June’s draft cracks Milwaukee’s top-ten preseason prospect rankings.

The recipient of the 25th annual Dick Howser Award — an award handed out to college baseball’s player of the year — in July, the 6’6″, 220-pound Jungmann has been a portrait of success at the collegiate level.  Chances are he’s well on his way toward stardom with the Brewers, as well.  Last season, the lanky right-hander went 13-3 with an insane 1.60 ERA, 126 SO in 141.0 IP.  He held opponents to a .165 BA, and an otherworldly 0.214 BABIP.

Jungmann signed a $2.525 Million deal with Milwaukee back in mid August.  Like Bradley, he’s likely to be designated to the Brewers’ rookie club in Helena next spring.

5. 2B Scooter Gennett

One of my personal favorites, Ryan “Scooter” Gennett is, unlike many prospects in the system, on the virtual fast-track to the majors.  The Florida State product has been nothing short of a sensation in just two full seasons in the minors.

In 2010, the speedy second-baseman batted .309 with 9 HR, 55 RBI, scored 87 runs and stole 14 bases in 118 games with class-A Wisconsin.  The very next year, he progressed to class-A advanced Brevard County, amassing a .300 BA, 9 HR, 51 RBI and 11 SB.

This offseason, he’s lighting up opposing pitching in the Arizona Fall League, where through 13 games, he’s batting .357 wih 2 HR and 8 RBI, with a .946 OPS.  Talk around the organization estimates he could push to be the full-time starting second baseman as soon as 2014.

4. CF Logan Schafer

An athletically capable outfielder by nature, the 25-year-old Schafer has been bustling his way through the system since his rookie season in 2008, where he batted .272 with 2 HR and 28 RBI in Helena.

He started his 2009 campaign in class-A advanced ball, and would really burst onto the scene shortly thereafter, batting .308 to go with 6 HR and 58 RBI.

A groin injury in spring training shattered his hopes for a productive 2010 season, but he would recover handsomely, amassing 5 HR, 43 RBI and a .315 BA between class-A advanced, double-A and triple-A this past season.  His performance would be enough for a September call-up last season, but was specifically limited to a pinch-hitting/running role.

Depending on how management handles their depth chart in center-field, Schafer could be in a starting role by 2013. He’s presently sharpening his skill-set with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.

3. RHP Tyler Thornburg

Through just one and a half years in the low minors, the 5’11″, 185-pound Thornburg is already drawing comparisons to Tim Lincecum.  Its easy to see why.

Milwaukee’s lone third-round pick in the 2010 draft, Thornburg went 1-0 with a gaudy 1.93 ERA, amassing 38 SO in just 23.1 innings of work while holding opponents to a .179 BA with Helena in 2010.  He started his 2011 campaign in single-A ball, going 7-0 with a 1.57 ERA, including 76 SO in just 68.2 innings.

Promoted to class-A advanced Brevard County at mid-season, Thornburg went 3-6, but still managed a 3.57 ERA and a .186 BAA.  His stature will raise question marks regarding his durability and stamina, but, for now, he looks the part of a future ace.

2. 3B Taylor Green

Working his way up through the ranks of the unknown for quite some time, Green has manifested his big-league potential in admirable fashion, being named Milwaukee’s top minor-league hitter of 2011.

Last season, Green led all Brewers prospects with a .336 BA, amassed 22 HR, 91 RBI, and an organization-best .412 OBP and .580 SLG in triple-A ball.  In brief, 2011 was a suptuous one for the rising star.

A September call-up, Green recorded 10 hits in 37 at-bats in his short stint with Ron Roenicke’s crew.  It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be the opening-day starter in 2012, but he’s nonetheless made an exceptional impression on the club thus far.

1. RHP Wily Peralta

Peralta, who signed on as a non-draft pick in 2005 at the ripe age of 16, is unquestionably Milwaukee’s top talent down on the farm and will be bound for the majors in the very near future.

His first two seasons in rookie ball were forgettable, but the young right-hander would really start materialize into a top prospect in 2009, where he went 4-4, maintained a 3.47 ERA and, most notably, struck out 118 in 103.2 IP in low-A ball.

In 2010, he went a combined 8-6 with a 3.79 ERA between class-A advanced and double-A, but witnessed his prominent K/BB ratio drop from 2.6:1 in 2009 to 1.6:1.  He then took his talents to triple-A Nashville toward the end of 2011, where he would go 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA while garnering 40 strikeouts in just 31.0 innings, also holding opponents to a .193 BA.

There were rumblings about the 22-year-old being promoted to the majors last September, but that obviously didn’t happen.  You can count on the youngster making his Brewer debut sometime in 2012, and there’s an outside chance he’ll be on the opening-day roster this March.

Follow Alec Dopp on Twitter.

Milwaukee Brewers Prospect Scooter Gennett Making a Name for Himself in AZ Fall League


Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Sarasota, Florida, 21-year-old

Gennett is soaring through the MLB Arizona Fall League

second baseman Scooter Gennett has quickly transformed himself into one of the top young minor league prospects in the Brewers’ organization.

Primarily known for his outstanding speed and quick hands at the plate, the Florida State product has used his athleticism and pure hitting skills to his advantage.  In his first season with Milwaukee’s class-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Gennett hit .309 with 9 HR, 87 runs scored and 55 RBI.  He was also able to amass 14 stolen bases as well as a .817 OPS.

Prior to the 2011 season, Gennett was swiftly promoted to high class-A Brevard County, where he would continue to strut his skills — only this time to a much more vigilant crowd.

In 134 games, (556 at-bats), the 5’9″, 170-pound infielder batted .300, including 9 HR, 51 RBI and 74 runs scored.  His 167 hits were enough to lead all minor league prospects in Milwaukee’s system, and his .300 BA ranked fifth.

This fall, the youngster is currently honing his skill-set in the Arizona Fall League — MLB’s most preeminent and well-known league; a place where many of today’s top talents sharpened their games just a few years ago.

Through the league’s first nine games, Gennett has torched opposing pitching to the tune of a .395 BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 11 runs scored, 24 TB and a 1.097 OPS for the Peoria Javelinas.

On top of his superb hitting abilities, breathtaking athleticism and quickness, Gennett is also a great fielder.  Having made the transition from shortstop (his natural position) to second base, the youngster can play virtually and infield position with outstanding effectiveness.  His strong arm may even allow him to become a future third-baseman if need be.

He’s still a raw talent, but it seems as though the young Gennett is gaining more and more recognition as a prime-time prospect for the Brewers.  If he continues to make strides down on the farm (he’s expected to start 2012 with class-AA Helena), he could become with Milwaukee by late 2103, and possibly a starting role by 2014.

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

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 421 other followers