Milwaukee Brewers Top 5 Prospects
Are you sure there are only 30 teams in baseball? Has anybody really sat down and counted?
The Brewers are one of my favourite organizations in baseball; they just always seem to make good decisions. With a large amount of top young talent in the majors as well as, as you’ll see shortly, a significant amount of minor league talent, the Brewers seem to have solidified themselves as long-term contendors.
1. RHSP Jeremy Jeffress
Who?: Despite some flaws, one of the best pure arms in the minors. Jeffress has had his problems both off and on the field: He has been suspended for marijuana use off the field, while having his issues with erratic pitching on the mound. Jeffress has walked 121 batters in 214.1 minor league innings (12.8%), including 34 in 48 July/August innings this year after a promising start. Despite all this, Jeffress is a 20-year-old who can hit the high-90s accompanied by a sharp curve.
Projection: I believe that you can count all the pitchers in the minors with true ace potential on one hand; Jeffress belongs on that list.
2. C Jonathon Lucroy
Who?: An offense-first catcher who can hold his own defensively. Lucroy showed an excellent plate approach to go with good power on his way to a .900 OPS in High-A and an .850 OPS in AA this year. (15.4 K%, 10.6 BB%, 20 HR). He’s not a Buster Posey or Bryan Anderson defensively, but he’s improved to the point where he’ll certainly stay at catcher (provided he’s not blocked by Angel Salome), even to the point where you could stretch to call him an above-average defender.
Projection: Did I already use my Jason Varitek comparison? There aren’t a whole lot of guys to choose from at catcher. He’s certainly got the .280/.360/.450+ potential you rarely see at catcher.
3. 3B Mat Gamel
Who?: With 119 errors in the last 3 years, Gamel joins the ranks of players whose current position listing is as much for decoration as anything else. If he ever plays 3B for a major league team, it better be in an emergency situation. The inevitable position switch does hurt his value, but Gamel’s great strides forward offensively this year cancel that out. Gamel’s ridiculous first half was buoyed by a .400+ BABIP, but besides the luck, there’s a lot to like here. He doesn’t make the greatest contact in the world, he doesn’t take a huge amount of walks, and he doesn’t have superb power, but he does all three pretty well, which should help him on his way to becoming an above-average 1B/LF/DH.
Projection: Uhh… an above-average 1B/LF/DH?
4. C Angel Salome
Who?: Did somebody say BABIP? Salome’s big-looking season (.973 OPS) has earned him both some perhaps undeserved acclaim as a prospect as well as a definitely deserved September call-up. He’s good - but he’s not that good. Salome’s .399 BABIP suggests that perhaps expecting this 5′7″ catcher to touch the .900 - or perhaps even the .800 - OPS range is a tad ridiculous. However, he does make pretty good contact with decent enough secondary skills for a catcher.
Projection: An above-average catcher, sort of. There are so many very good catcher prospects who will remain catchers right now that the level of play at the position seems likely to rise significantly in the near future.
5. 3B Taylor Green
Who?: After all the talk of Taylor Green being the PTBNL in the Sabathia deal, with the Indians only waiting to see how well he handles 2B, Green didn’t play a single game at the position - he played more catcher than 2B. It’s a shame, because 1:1 K:BB ratio with mediocre power and less than mediocre defense would be much more valuable at second than third.
Projection: A very good 2B prospect, a meh 3B prospect or a very fringey 1B/LF type prospect.