Tagged: Hunter Morris

Biggest Winners, Losers of Brewers Camp 2013 Thus Far


Every year, it seems there are at least a handful of players on each Major League roster whose job security hinges on his performance over the course of Spring Training.

At Milwaukee Brewers camp in this spring, there are a number of players who have either elevated their opening-day roster spot security or have increased the likelihood of their being either sent to minor league camp, or released from the organization altogether.

Just past the midway point of spring training, now seems a perfect time to pinpoint those players who have impressed and disappointed. Here is a look at a few winners and losers of Brewers camp thus far.

Loser: Hunter Morris

Although his scintillating 2013 campaign — he hit .303/.357/.563 and with 74 extra-base hits — warranted national recognition, scouts questioned his big league power potential at the next level, with many saying his swing entails too many holes for him to become a productive everyday first baseman.

In his first go-around with the big-league camp this spring, he seems to be backing those evaluations.The 24-year-old Huntsville, Ala. product has in 27 plate appearances hit .120/.185/.280, striking out six times to drawing just two walks.

With Corey Hart out for what could be the first month of the season, Morris hasn’t done much this spring to increase his value within the organization. His chances of landing an opening-day roster spot (and Major League salary) have taken a hit this spring, to be sure.

Winner: Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez has cashed in this spring — literally.

After his best season as a professional, hitting .260/.305/.463 with 19 home runs and 37 stolen bases, the 27-year-old center fielder procured a four-year, $28.3 Million contract extension from Milwaukee on Wednesday, Mar. 13. The deal will keep Gomez with the club through the 2016 season, and presumably validates the club’s confidence in his ability to be the starter in center field for the future.

Exactly what compelled general manager Doug Melvin to extend Gomez? His aforementioned 2012 campaign had a lot do with it. However, a terrific spring training may too have had a strong affect. In 28 plate appearances, Gomez is presently hitting .474/.615/.684 with six walks to just five strikeouts and 13 total bases.

Loser: Mat Gamel

Mat Gamel doesn’t have much to smile about these days.

Once considered the heir-apparent to Prince Fielder as Milwaukee’s first baseman of the future, the now 27-year-old suffered his second ACL tear in consecutive springs. The difference between the two? Last year’s came well over a month into the season, whereas this year’s incident came before he stepped into the batter’s box in spring training. Unfortunately for Gamel, this year’s ACL tear will cause him tomiss the entirety of his 2013 season. With this injury, Gamel’s future with the organization has been put in jeopardy. No player at camp this spring has lost more than Gamel.

Winner: Mike Fiers

It’s funny how dramatically a person’s situation can change over the course of 12 months. Mike Fiers is a perfect example. At this time last year, the Nova Southeastern University product was having a rough go at spring training,registering just eight total innings while allowing 10 earned runs to cross home on 12 hits, three of which were home runs.

This spring, Fiers is rekindling the stuff that gave him an opportunity for the Brewers’ starting rotation from mid-season onward. Over 12.1 innings, the 28-year-old right-hander boasts a 2.19 ERA with 11 strikeouts to four walks. The concerns that surrounded Fiers toward the back end of last season seem to be fading away with each preseason appearance. Should he continue at this pace, he may find himself as the team’s No. 3 starter come April in a rotation desperate for stability.

Loser: Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers wishes he could push the ‘redo’ button this spring.

After getting his long-awaited opportunity to contribute to the starting rotation last season, garnering a 3.92 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9 rate over seven starts, Milwaukee’s former first-round draft selection has labored this spring to a 7.50 ERA and 3.00 WHIP over six innings. He hasn’t fooled anyone with his stuff, as evidenced by his walking 10 batters to striking out just one to this juncture.

Given his respectable and often impressive 2012 campaign, many surmised at the start of spring training that Rogers would contend for a back-end starting rotation spot to start 2013. But for Rogers’ command to be as shaky as it has been this spring, all signs point to him starting this season in triple-A Nashville.

Winner: Jean Segura

The centerpiece to the trade that sent Zack Greinke from Milwaukee to Anaheim, Jean Segura’s first go-around as an everyday big league shortstop left something to be desired. In 44 games as the Brewers de facto everyday shortstop, the 22-year-old struggled putting consistent contact on many offerings, leading to a .264/.321/.331 slash line toward the bottom of Ron Roenicke’s order over that span. His speed on the bases wasn’t utilized and he labored a bit defensively, too.

This spring, Segura is putting to bed much of the doubt had by scouts last season. Over 29 plate appearances, Dominican-born youngster boasts a .321/.345/.464 slash line at the plate with three runs scored and a stolen base. His defense has improved, as he’s committed just one error on 31 total chances while turning three double plays in 10 games.

Winner: Khris Davis

Khris Davis

Khris Davis

No minor leaguer upped his value within the system as much as Davis has this spring.

Rated as my No. 10 prospect at the end of last season, the 25-year-old Davis has never been one to overwhelm scouts with his skill-set. Indeed, talent evaluators seem to agree that he doesn’t possess one ‘plus’ tool. Instead, Davis has let his production do the talking.

Between rookie, double-A and triple-A ball last season, Davis posted a .350/.451/.604 slash line with 15 home runs and 52 runs scored. This spring, he has made an impression on Milwaukee’s coaching staff by leading all players with three home runs, eight runs batted in, six runs scored and a .655 slugging percentage over 31 plate appearances.

A spot on the opening-day roster may not be in the cards for Davis, but if he continues to put solid contact on the ball while showing versatility defensively, he will be of great value once rosters expand in September.

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Bold 2013 Predictions for Brewers’ Top 15 Prospects


TopProspects2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for my 2012 prospect rankings and predictions.

#1 Wily Peralta (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

6

5

29

24

0

7.14

3.41

2.48

2.65

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

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

#2 Taylor Jungmann (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

26

26

153

159

7

5.82

2.71

3.53

3.62

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

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

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

#3 Tyler Thornburg (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

8

3

22

24

8

8.18

2.86

4.50

7.09

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

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

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

#4 Johnny Hellweg (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

28

23

139.2

121

8

6.8

4.8

3.38

4.25

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

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

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

#5 Clint Coulter (C)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

19

214

51

3

5

37

33

3

.302

.439

.444

.418

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

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

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

#6 Jimmy Nelson (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

23

23

127.1

97

5

8.4

4.4

2.83

3.32

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

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

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

#7 Hunter Morris (1B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

24

571

158

40

28

40

117

2

.303

.357

.563

.413

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

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

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

#8 Victor Roache (OF)

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

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

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

#9 Ryan (Scooter) Gennett (2B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

22

573

156

30

5

28

71

11

.293

.330

.385

.330

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

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

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

#10 Tyrone Taylor (OF)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

19

83

29

9

2

6

11

6

.387

.434

.667

.483

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

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

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

#11 Ariel Pena (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

23

26

26

141.7

129

18

8.7

3.9

3.88

4.32

Ariel Pena / MiLB.com

Ariel Pena / MiLB.com

 

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

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

#12 Jed Bradley (LHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

22

20

20

107.1

136

9

5.03

3.61

5.53

4.54

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

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

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

#13 Mitch Haniger (OF)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

22

58

14

4

1

7

13

1

.286

.379

.429

.371

[Scouting Report]

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

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

#14 Hiram Burgos (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

24

28

27

171

128

8

8.05

2.58

1.95

2.95

Capture

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

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

#15 Drew Gagnon (RHP)

Age

G

GS

IP

H

HR

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

22

25

25

149.2

123

9

6.86

2.22

2.83

3.36

gagnon

Drew Gagnon / MiLB.com

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

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

Two to Watch in 2013

Yadiel Rivera (SS)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

20

506

115

26

12

26

119

7

.247

.290

.402

.312

[Scouting Report]

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

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

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

Christopher Mcfarland (2B)

Age

PA

H

2B

HR

BB

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

20

313

85

17

6

23

79

15

.301

.358

.433

.360

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

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

Milwaukee Brewers Top Prospects: July 2012 Edition


The month of July is a very important one for many top minor league prospects. More or less the midway juncture of the regular season, prospects who wowed early in the season and perpetuated their success into June are now enjoying the fruits of their labor in the form of a promotion to the next level of the minors.  For comparison’s sake, July is essentially the baseball equivalent of Saturdays on the PGA Tour: Moving days.

For many of the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospects, July 2012 was one we’ll never forget. Following a month where we witnessed a few noteworthy promotions and a colossal and unexpected one in Tyler Thornburg, the July dog-days also produced a number of headlines and superb performances. More specifically, a number of players within the system found an acute amount of success during July, putting up gaudy numbers at a prolific rate and moreover raising their respective stocks within the organization.

The following 10 prospects depict those aforementioned players.

Hunter Morris, 1B (stats)

July Line: 106 AB, .340/.393/.736, 20 XBH (10 HR), 24 K/10 BB (28 G)

There are few players in the system who’s power rivals that of Morris, and that was never more evident than in his stellar July showing. This month, he managed to raise his 2012 isolated power (ISO) rating to a career-best .255. His approach will still need refinement before he challenges for the starting first-base job, though is yield at the plate this month is still nonetheless impressive.

Caleb Gindl, OF (stats)

July Line: 91 AB, .319/.370/.527, 11 XBH (4 HR), 18 K/8 BB (25 G)

Gindl’s otherwise impressive power was nowhere to be found early on in 2012, though he turned things around in a big way in July. The 23-year-old hoarded four round-trippers to go with seven two-baggers this past month, raising his slugging percentage back above the .400 mark for the first time this season. A solid finish to his season could put him in prime position to battle for a roster spot this September.

Wily Peralta, RHP (stats)

July Line: 6 GS, 2.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 42 K/8 BB, .275 BAA (35.2 IP)

Peralta got off to a miserably slow start to his season, struggling to command his pitches and keep batters at bay through 2012’s first two months, so anything better than that would have been viewed as a successful July. However, he turned things around in the big way this past month; he effectively commanded his breaking pitches, striking out well over a batter per inning with a mere eight base-on-balls over six starts. This month could be a big reason he’s called up to the 40-man September roster in a few weeks.

Jose Pena, OF (stats)

July Line: 90 AB, .333/.413/.511, 8 XBH (5 3B), 22 K/13 BB (22 G)

Pena, a non-draft pick free agent who signed in 2010, finds himself with the rookie club in Arizona for the third straight; the only difference between 2012 and the two years previous have been his power at the plate, and that was extremely noticeable this month. With plus-speed at 6’2″, 195 pounds, the Dominican native collected three triples on his way to eight total extra-base hits, raising his wOBA to .422, his ISO to .242 through 30 games this season. Still very raw, this could be a major sign of maturity from Pena and may just cause management to scoot him along through the system.

Nick Ramirez / wetheprospects.wordpress.com

Nick Ramirez, 1B (stats)

July line: 104 AB, .287/.306/.611, 18 XBH (8 HR), 41 K/2 BB (25 G)

Nearly a consensus top-25 prospect at the beginning of the season, Ramirez performed well below expectations in the season’s first two months, struggling with strikeouts and a power shortage at the plate.

While the former was still of clear concern in July, posting a strikeout rate of 37 percent in 25 games, the latter seems to have improved drastically. Belting eight home runs and 11 doubles this past month, Ramirez raised his season wOBA to .344 and his ISO to .224. While both of those numbers are still well below what management had expected entering the season (his power is his only big-league projectable tool at this juncture), such a profound improvement at the plate this past month should offer up some optimism heading into the season’s final stretch.

Ranking the Milwaukee Brewers’ Top 10 Power-Hitting Prospects


Over the last decade, the Milwaukee Brewers have become notorious for their surplus of power hitters in their minor league affiliates. A large reason for that distinction has come through the draft, where they’ve been able to develop a collection of current sluggers at the big league level.

But if you took a quick peek at the present state of their minor league partners, however, odds are you’d respectfully disagree.

With a farm system looking to reload at this June’s draft, the Brewers have hardly any positional prospects who could push for a call-up in the immediate future, let alone any with exceptional power potential. However, there have been a few youngsters who’ve gotten off to a hot start this season, strutting their power as best they can. Just who are these youngsters and what qualifies them as a “slugger”? Let’s find out.

*All statistics through May 15, 2012

10. Chadwin Stang

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190 pounds

DOB: 3/26/1989

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, eighth round

2012 Stats

Low-A: .248/.343/.440, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 20 R, .192 ISO, 129 wRC+ (146 PA)

One of the biggest speedsters in Milwaukee’s system, Chadwin Stang can also hit for a surprising amount of power. The 23-year-old outfielder proved in his first two professional seasons that he’s more than capable of barreling up the baseball on a regular basis.

While he’s certainly not a big home run threat (he has tallied just six career home runs to this point in his career), he’s accumulated 23 doubles and 14 triples. This season has been his best as far as power goes, already mashing three home runs and eight doubles for a .438 slugging percentage that ranks as one of the best among all Brewers prospects.

A solid overall talent, Stang’s power is nothing to write home about, so the fact that he makes this list mostly speaks to how very few sluggers are in Milwaukee’s system.

9. Gregory Hopkins

Position: IF

Height/Weight: 6’1″, 200 pounds

DOB: 11/22/1988

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2010, 24th round

2012 Stats

Low-A: .302/.316/.457, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 18 R, .159 ISO, 124 wRC+ (134 PA)

A three-year starter at St. John’s University, Gregory Hopkins was a doubles machine during his collegiate career and also showed he can go yard every once in a while. The Brewers recognized his productivity and acted on it, selecting him in the 24th round of the 2010 draft.

His first two seasons were up-and-down as far as hitting for power goes. Hopkins swatted six home runs and 48 RBI for a .412 slugging percentage in his rookie 2010 season. He followed that up with seven home runs and 53 RBI in 2011, though he saw his slugging percentage drop to .333 with a concerning .104 ISO. He’s returned to his slugging ways this season in Low-A ball, already with three home runs and a solid .457 slugging percentage.

Hopkins has average power-hitting capabilities, and unless a severe spike in production is on the horizon, I wouldn’t put too much stock into his future with the organization.

8. Ben McMahan

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 201 pounds

DOB: 10/14/1989

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2011, 23rd round (Florida)

2012 Stats

Low-A: .293/.330/.465, HR, 14 RBI, 15 R, .167 ISO, 131 wRC+ (107 PA) 

Taken by the Brewers as a mid-rounder at last summer’s draft, Ben McMahan was never known as a power hitter during his days at the University of Florida. Moreover, he was never known as a very productive player altogether, garnering a career .253/.293/.358 line in his three seasons with he Gators. However, he’s quickly turned into a decent slugger in professional ball.

As a 21-year-old in the rookie ranks, McMahan amassed seven home runs and 10 doubles on his way to an impressive .519 slugging percentage and .204 ISO. An anxious hitter by nature, he drew just three walks all season and struck out in over 21 percent of his at-bats. He’s off to a fast start this season in Low-A ball, posting a .465 slugging percentage that ranks second-best among all Brewers prospects.

7. T.J. Mittelstaedt

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 5’10”, 185 pounds

DOB: 2/13/1988

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2010, 44th round

2012 Stats

Low-A: .238/.336/.429, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 14 R, .194 ISO, 121 wRC+ (146 PA)

One of the more versatile and well-rounded bats in Milwaukee’s system, T.J. Mittelstaedt by no means possess raw home-run power. The California native has proven, however, that he is more than capable of raking up the doubles and triples to compliment his raw speed in the field and on the bases.

Now in his third professional season, the Long Beach State product has compiled just 16 home runs but has amassed 30 doubles and 11 triples. His solid, yet not astounding power has led to a career .433 slugging percentage and .157 ISO.

Mittelstaedt has a very smooth and quick swing and despite being a bit undersized, I think his bat has enough to make an impact at the big league level, possibly as a utility infielder.

6. Michael Walker

Position: 1B/3B/DH

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 215 pounds

DOB: 6/12/1988

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2010, 14th round

2012 Stats

High-A: .241/.329/.383, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 16 R, .147 ISO, 104 wRC+ (149 PA)

Taken in the 14th round of the 2010 draft after four productive seasons at Pacific University, Michael Walker has been one of the more underrated power hitters in the Brewers’ system since his rookie campaign in 2010, where he posted an impressive .413 on-base percentage and .434 slugging percentage in 74 games.

The very next season, the tall utility infielder socked 14 home runs and drove in 72, upping his slugging percentage to .455 and .182 ISO. He’s gotten off to a slow start in 2012 from a power standpoint, posting just a .383 slugging percentage and .143 ISO through 149 plate appearances against High-A Florida State League pitching.

Walker doesn’t hit for a very high average, so most of his production comes from his power. He’s an average talent all around, so the only way he could break through to the majors will be if his power develops more fully.

5. Sean Halton

Position: 1B

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 245 pounds

DOB: 6/7/1987

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2009, 13th round

2012 Stats

Double-A: .267/.350/.410, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 9 R, .137 ISO, 95 wRC+ (120 PA)

Picked up in the 13th round of the 2009 draft, Sean Halton has never been and will likely never be known as a home run threat. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he shouldn’t be deemed a power hitter.

Now in his fourth season in Milwaukee’s system, the cumbersome 24-year-old has amassed just 25 career home runs, none of which have come at more than 10 per season. Yet, he’s managed just shy of 23 doubles and a .431 slugging percentage per season. His most impressive campaign came in 2010 in Low-A ball, where he drove in 88 runs and posted a .123 ISO.

Halton is a seasoned minor leaguer at this stage of his career. And while he’s still only 24 years old, his future with the organization remains up in the air.

4. Khris Davis

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 6’0″, 195 pounds

DOB: 12/21/1987

Bats/Throws: R/R

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

2012 Stats

Double-A: .328/.451/.448, HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, .119 ISO, 168 wRC+ (82 PA)

Selected by the Brewers early in the 2009 draft after pounding the ball at Cal State Fullerton, Khris Davis got minimal opportunities to strut his power stroke in ’09. That all changed in 2010, when the speedy outfielder socked 22 home runs with 72 RBI, garnering a .499 slugging percentage and .219 ISO in 555 plate appearances against Low-A Midwest League pitching.

The followed up his stellar 2010 campaign with a combined 17 home runs and 84 RBI last season between High-A and Double-A ball. That same season, he garnered a .474 slugging percentage and .173 ISO. Before hitting the disabled list with a leg injury last Friday, Davis was enjoying a very nice season in Double-A ball.

Davis has good overall power, but he likely won’t be too much of a home run threat at the big league level. I’d say he has a better chance at being a doubles and triples hitter once fully developed.

3. Caleb Gindl

Position: OF

Height/Weight: 5’9″, 205 pounds

DOB: 8/31/1988

Bats/Throws: L/L

Drafted/Signed: 2007, fifth round (Pace HS)

2012 Stats

Triple-A: .164/.203/.310, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R, .149 ISO, 29 wRC+ (123 PA)

Drafted as a stocky but slightly undersized prep outfielder in 2007, Caleb Gindl has disproved the belief that shorter players can’t hit for power. The 23-year-old Pensacola, Florida native has proved to be one of Milwaukee’s most productive power-hitting prospects.

Gindl’s productive ways began during his rookie 2007 season as an inexperienced 18-year-old, where he swatted five home runs and 22 doubles for an eye-opening .580 slugging percentage in rookie ball. Since then, all he’s managed to do is average 14 home runs, 27 doubles, a .453 slugging percentage and .162 ISO each season.

He’s gotten off to a slow start at Triple-A this season, most notably due to an expansion of his strike zone and subsequent poor plate discipline. However, he’s a very solid all-around player with good power. I would expect him to compete for the Brewers’ everyday center field spot by the end of next season.

2. Brock Kjeldgaard

Position: 1B/OF

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 235 pounds

DOB: 1/22/1986

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Signed: 2005, 34th round

2012 Stats

Double-A: .192/.295/.385, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, .192 ISO, 93 wRC+ (61 PA) 

A toolsy prospect originally drafted as a pitcher in 2005, Brock Kjeldgaard has been arguably Milwaukee’s most steadfast slugger on the farm since making the transition to first base in 2008. That year, he posted a very solid .225 ISO in 343 plate appearances at the rookie ranks, and has since averaged at least 20 home runs through last season.

At 6’5″, 235 pounds, Kjeldgaard’s towering frame and long arms allow him to cover the plate well. He doesn’t draw a lot of walks or hit for a good average, so his slugging prowess is where his production largely stems from. He has pretty good speed given his size, as he managed to rack up 108 doubles and 10 triples during his time in the system.

Now 26, Kjeldgaard still has time to make an impression to management. However, given that he’s labored at the plate this season at the Double-A level and has yet to reach Triple-A, I wouldn’t read too much into his future with the Brewers. He’s a solid minor league hitter, but doesn’t look to be much of a slugger in the bigs.

1. Hunter Morris

Position: 1B

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 205 pounds

DOB: 10/7/1988

Bats/Throws: L/R

Drafted/Signed: 2010, fourth round (Auburn)

2012 Stats

Double-A: .303/.357/.470, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 17 R, .167 ISO, 135 wRC+ (143 PA)

A power-hitting highlight reel during his college days at the University of Auburn, Hunter Morris has established himself as Milwaukee’s most projectable slugger on the farm. He found quick success during his rookie season in Low-A ball, posting a .436 slugging percentage and .186 ISO. He’s only continued to post gaudy numbers since then.

Against High-A Florida State League pitching last season, Morris mashed 19 home runs and 28 doubles on his way to a .461 slugging percentage, warranting a late-season call-up to Double-A ball. Though it came in just 17 plate appearances, Morris posted a scintillating .353 ISO and .706 slugging percentage to finish up his 2011 campaign.

While he’s struggled to match his past slugging numbers to start this season—along with a concerning strikeout rate north of 18 percent—he’s still without a doubt Milwaukee’s top power hitter on the farm. It should be interesting to see what management plans to do with him given that Mat Gamel’s future is in deep question.


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.