Brewers’ 7 Most Impressive Minor League Prospects of 2011

The Milwaukee Brewers dealt away a number of top minor league prospects last  offseason, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re weak when it comes to talent down on the farm.

A number of prospects are working their way through the system, gaining recognition and making a name for themselves along the way.

Let’s take a look at the seven most impressive prospects in Milwaukee’s farm system of 2011.

Tyler Thornburg

I’ve been raving about Thornburg’s future with the franchise for quite some time now, and he’s backing up my claim quite handsomely.

Milwaukee’s second-round selection in the 2010 amateur draft is spinning heads down on the farm in just his second full season in the system.  Starting the year with class-A Wisconsin, Thornburg went 7-0 while posting a 1.57 ERA.  He’s run into a stiff patch since being called up to class-AA Brevard County earlier in the year, but is still producing like no other starter in the system.

The 23-year-old phenom leads all pitchers with 144 SO to his credit in just 124.2 IP, is second in wins (10), and ERA (2.60) among all hurlers down on the farm.

Wily Peralta

With just days left until rosters expand from 25 to 40, it would be a surprise if Peralta isn’t called-up from class-AAA Nashville.  In fact, reports indicate the Brewers may already be planning on bringing his talents to the bullpen to add depth.

Thus far in 2011, his fifth year in Milwaukee’s minor league system, Peralta boasts a 3.32 ERA, 134 SO and leads all Brewers pitchers in wins (11).

Peralta maintains three solid pitches to his credit, of which include a 92-94 mph fastball topping out at 96. He also has what scouts would call an “above average” slider in the low 80s.  The only thing holding him back from the majors to this point is his command issues.

A future starter in the making, Peralta’s stint with the Brewers will be crucial in his development as a young player.

Mat Gamel

The 26-year-old Gamel has been waiting in the wings to take over for either Casey McGehee or Prince Fielder for the past three seasons now, and may suffer in the minors for a much longer time than expected if the Brewers re-sign Fielder after the season.

Nonetheless, you simply can’t argue with what he’s been able to accomplish as a minor-league — particularly in 2011.

Leading all Brewer minor leaguers in home runs (26), RBI (90) while ranking in the top five in hits (138), BA (.317), and SLG (.557), Gamel is in the midst of yet another solid season for Milwaukee’s class-AAA affiliate Nashville Sounds.

Michael Fiers

When the Brewers drafted him back in the 22nd round of the 2009 amateur draft, they had no intention of making him a starter on the major league level.

Working his way through the ranks of Milwaukee’s system, Fiers has never posted an ERA above 3.70 in any such season, and is the current leader among all Brewers minor leauge pitchers in ERA (2.14).  The 26-year-old Fiers is an older prospect than most, but remains one of the most impressive prospects of the 2011 season.

A September call-up isn’t likely, but you can’t argue with the production he’s been able to administer for class-AAA Nashville.

Scooter Gennett

Though you’d probably mistake him as a bat-boy rather than a top-notch prospect, Gennett’s 5’9″ 164-pound frame has enabled him to be one of the most well-rounded players in the Brewers’ system.

The versatile infielder has experience at shortstop, but made the move to second base after making the transition to the minor leagues.

Leading all Brewers in hits (154), Gennett has one of the more consistent bats in the system.  His quickness and reaction has worked wonderfully, amassing 11 stolen bases thus far in 2011.

He may be a few years off from a starting job in the majors, but the talent is certainly there.

Caleb Gindl

Milwaukee took Gindl in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, the same year they drafted current starting catcher Jonathon Lucroy, interestingly enough.

Since then, Gindl has worked his way through four of Milwaukee’s minor league clubs, now residing with class-AAA Nashville.  The 5’9″, 205-pound outfielder has tremendous potential and carries a big bat — amassing 14 home runs and a .471 SLG thus far in 2011.

Expectations weren’t as high as others coming into his fifth season in the Brewers’ system, but Gindl has outperformed many other top prospects to get to where he’s currently at.

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