Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 Brewers Prospects in 2013

Pitchers and catchers are set to report for the Milwaukee Brewers in 40 days. It is time again to look over our farm systems and rank the top prospects the Brewers have. Last season, we seen many players in the likes of Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta, Jim Henderson, and Mark Rogers come up through our system and succeed in 2012. We also seen Jean Segura, Angels' top prospect, come over in a trade, who also opened people's eyes last year. With all of those men now on our major league roster, I really don't consider them prospects anymore, with the exception of Wily Peralta. With that, here's a rundown of who I see as the Top 10 prospects for the Brewers.

10. OF Victor Roache - The Brewers drafted Victor with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Not many people knew where Victor would fall on the draft board because of his broken wrist he suffered during his sophomore year in college. Before he broke his wrist, he was on an absolute tear in college, mustering up 30 home runs. He will be ready to go this spring, and will likely be assigned to Helena or the Timber Rattlers. projects him making his major league debut in 2015. He has one of the best power bats in our minor league system. His average speed and range will  compliment him nicely as a corner outfielder. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on in 2013 to see how he progresses after his wrist injury.

9. C Clint Coulter - Just like Roache, Coulter was also picked in the first round in the 2012 MLB Draft. Coulter was 27th overall, one pick ahead of Roache. This pick was awarded to the Brewers from the Tigers when Prince Fielder signed his contract with Detroit last January. Clint is only 19 years old, however he is 6'3" 210 pounds and is full of integrity. He didn't hold out for a large contract after the Brewers drafted him. He quickly signed and began playing for the Brewers rookie level Arizona league in June. Clint has about as much power as Victor Roache, but he isn't a a pure hitter like Victor potentially could be. As for catching, he has a great arm. He needs to most work on his footwork and fluency behind the plate, as well as spotting balls from going past him. projects him making his debut in 2016.

8. LHP Jed Bradley - Bradley is an interesting placement here. Last year, the southpaw was in everyone's Top 5 or better. But, after a very down 2012 season, he has a lot of work to do to be ready for the majors. He finished with a 5-10 record in the minors last year with an extremely high ERA of 5.53. He was sent to the DL mid-season with a groin injury. Then, in August, Bradley was shut down for the rest of the season with arm fatigue. His statistics and tired arm will both be set-backs for Jed. projects Jed to arrive in the majors in 2013. However, I would say 2014 or 2015 is more realistic. Jed has a 4 pitch mix when he's on the mound. He has a mid-90s level fastball, a on or off slider, and also mixes in a change up and curveball. Keep an eye on Bradley this season to see if he can bounce back after his off 2012. With the Brewers already running on empty with a honorable lefty in the rotation, the Brewers hope to see Bradley sooner, rather than later.

7. OF Logan Schafer - Schafer is one of those good stories in our farm system. Logan has been dealt with injury after injury since being drafted in the 3rd round in 2008. His first set-back injury was a nagging thumb injury. Following that, in 2010 he was on and off the DL with numerous other injuries. In 2011, he bounced back nicely and played great ball in Triple-A. Logan then made his major league debut for the Brewers in mid 2012. He doesn't have much power, nor a lot of speed. He hits to all over the field, he is a smart baserunner, and he players great defense in center field. Logan is projected to be the number four outfielder on the Brewers 25 man roster to start the 2013 season, which is very convenient as projected his MLB debut would be in 2012.

6. 1B Hunter Morris - Morris was drafted by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 Draft. Morris is coming off his best year as a minor leaguer. In 2012, Morris was the Southern League Most Valuable Player after hitting .303/.357/.563 with 28 home runs and 113 runs batted in. He also won the Robin Yount Performance Award as the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year. Hunter Morris is currently ranked the 4th best first base prospect in the MLB. Depending on how serious the Brewers are about retaining Corey Hart, or seeing how Mat Gamel turns around this season, we may be seeing Hunter Morris sooner rather than later. MLB projects him to debut in 2013, which I see as an accurate arrival time. Hunter will likely be a September call up in 2013, which could be a nice preview heading into the 2014 offseason.

5. 2B Scooter Gennett - Gennett was drafted by the Brewers in 2009 in the 16th round of the MLB Draft out of Sarasota, Florida. Many call Scooter an "undersized overachiever". Standing at only 5'10" and weighing a buck sixty five, he is the little engine that could. Scooter is currently ranked the 8th best second base prospect in all the MLB. Gennett represented the Brewers at the 2012 All-Star Futures Game. Scooter's biggest accomplishment in 2012 was when he was still 21 years old, he hit for the cycle against the Royals farm team in March. Many wonder how long Scooter will remain in our organization before he becomes trade bait. With Rickie Weeks currently at second base, Scooter doesn't really have another option other than wait it out. However, if the Brewers decide they need more cap space, freeing up Weeks may be a future option and Gennett would be in line to take over the helm at second.

4. RHP Johnny Hellweg - Hellweg is another interesting story. Hellweg was a relief pitcher for the Angels organization until 2011 when they switched him to a starter. Now, in normal circumstances, the success rate of this kind of switch is next to nothing. The exact opposite scenario is where the success is found, as in when a starting pitcher is converted into a relief pitcher. But, Hellweg has proved that statistic wrong. Johnny came over to the Brewers along with Jean Segura and Ariel Pena from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade. Hellweg stands at 6'9" 210 pounds. He has the potential to be a great strikeout pitcher, as he carries a good fastball, a moving change-up, and a few off speed pitches. If he can control his walks, he could see some time later on in 2013 if and when Mark Rogers gets shut down again.

3. RHP Taylor Jungmann - Out of all of our starting pitching prospects not currently in Triple-A Nashville or on our major league ball club, I would say Jungmann is the closest player to be ready for our starting rotation. In Single-A ball, Jungmann had a pretty decent line in 2012. In 26 starts, Taylor went 11-6 with a 3.53 ERA with 99 strikeouts and 46 walks. One stat that is alarming is that he gave up about 1 hit per inning. (159 hits in 153 innings pitched). 2013 will be a huge test on Jungmann's progression as he looks like advance in our minor league system. If all goes well, I see Yungmann ending 2013 in Triple-A Nashville, and maybe even a spot on the Brewers' roster when rosters expand in September.

2. RHP Tyler Thornburg - Tyler is probably the most ready pitcher in our farm system coming into 2013. We saw him make a spot start in 2012 when the Brewers were shorthanded in their rotation due to injury. The one thing Thornburg needs to pick up to become ready for the big leagues is that when you're behind in a count, you cannot serve up a fast ball done the middle. You will be punished every time. As a result, Thornburg gave up a lot of home runs during his short time in the Brewers rotation. Thornburg was most dominate in Double-A ball last year, going 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA with 71 strikeouts on 24 walks. If Tyler can make a few tweaks in his game plan when behind in a count, there is no doubt he is ready for the Brewers' starting rotation.

Photo: Fox Sports Wisconsin
1. RHP Wily Peralta - Peralta is here by default, too be honest. I see him being the odd man out of the Brewers rotation once spring ball is over with. Peralta no doubt will have his spot in the rotation when the time is right, but I think between the control issues Peralta had last season and his arm fatigue that shut him down before the 2012 season concluded, I think the best choice is to put Peralta in Triple-A to start the season off. Similiar to what Washington should have done with Stephen Strasburg last year, the Brewers could choose to not start up Peralta until May to preserve his arm for any potential success the Brewers have come October. But, in any case, Peralta has all to potential in the world to have a bullpen built around him, much like what the Brewers are doing with Yovani Gallardo in 2013.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

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1 comment:

  1. I can't believe that players are going to start reporting in just over a month. Thinking about baseball makes it feel just a little less cold outside. BTW, great read.