We're almost through January and pretty soon we'll be able to say "spring training starts this month!" Of course it's also spring training for the minor leaguers, and we'll be seeing those Baby Brewers filling in during the late innings of spring training games. Now that out farm system has apparently been ravaged by various trades, we're going to be hearing a little more about prospects the average fan might not be very familiar with.
To help along said average fan, I'll be hosting this über exciting series that takes a position-by-position look at what's left in the Brewers farm system.
Starting with first base we find...
Chris Dennis starts our alphabetical list, although it is hard to call him a first baseman. The Ontario native spent a significant amount of his games for the Rattlers as a DH last year, while playing only 66 games at first. Taken in the 13th round of the 2007 draft, Dennis' calling card is his power. His 18 homers last year was second on the Rattlers to Khris Davis. He showed decent patience last year (61 BB), as well and the ability to strike out a ton (143 K). If he is to move up the prospect rankings, he's going to need to prove he can handle first and add a little more power and patience to his game. He's also a bit old for his level (he's 22), so he'd better hurry up.
2010 line: .270/.362/.497. 455 AB, 18 HR, 87 RBI, 11 SB.
Follow the jump for more on the top first and second basemen in the Brewers farm system!
Sean Halton began his 2010 in Wisconsin, but moved up to Brevard Co. after 23 games. Much like Dennis, Halton was also drafted in the 13th round (in 2009) and also finished second on his team in homers; 10 compared to Brock Kjeldgaard's 17. Space Coast Stadium is generally where power hitters go to die, but Halton doesn't seem to have first baseman-type power anyway. At a whopping 6'5" 240 lbs, you'd expect more power, but we'll have to see how he does next year in Huntsville.
2010 line: .280/.332/.389. 483 AB, 10 HR, 88 RBI, 2 SB.
Cody Hawn was listed as a third baseman for Tennessee when he was taken in the 6th round of the 2010 draft, but played a mere one game there after being drafted. Defensive positioning aside, Hawn dominated the Pioneer league in 2010. He finished first or second on the H-Brewers every major offensive category while playing what I'm going to have to assume is solid defense (only 1 error (no easy task with Carlos George as your SS)). The 6'1" 195 lb. slugger does have an uphill battle ahead of him, as Chris Dennis and Hunter Morris are most likely ahead of him on the depth chart.
2010 line: .308/.407/.542. 253 AB, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 0 SB
Rounding out the first basemen we find Hunter Morris. Morris had a decent debut for the Rattlers this year, considering he was fresh out of college, but I think the masses were expecting more. He followed up his season with a similarly unspectacular showing in the AFL. Although the 2010 4th round pick is listed as a first baseman, he also dabbled in the other IF corner and both corner OF spots. Morris has plain raw power, and the front office seems pretty high on him. With the imminent departure of Prince Fielder, he will probably be moved quickly through the system, and it will be up to him to play his way out of his top prospect status.
2010 line: .251/.306/.436. 291 AB, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 7 SB.
Moving on to second base...
Speedy Eric Farris missed most of the 2010 season with various injuries, but performed pretty well when healthy, especially considering he skipped AA. He really shined in the AFL, posting a .847 OPS in 74 ABs. From what I've heard, Farris plays great defense, but his true calling card is his speed. He put himself on the prospect map after 2009 when he stole 70 bases for the Manatees. Farris, however, it a rather light hitter, with a career .385 slg%. It seems rather unlikely that Farris will be allowed to make his big league mark with the Brewers, as a Rickie Weeks contract extension seems to be in the works.
2010 line: 271/.305/.366. 264 AB, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 15 SB.
One of my personal favorite prospects, tiny Scooter Gennett had quite an impressive debut for the Rattlers. The 2009 16th round pick shot up the prospect lists and by hitting .350 well into the season and socking 9 homers with his tiny 5'9" 165 lb. frame. His size and defense is questionable, but there's no denying that he's a good hitter. If he can improve his defense and his OBP, he profiles as a Mike Fontenot-type player, except with more OBP. His distance away from the majors will probably help him here, as a possible Weeks contract extension should give him plenty of time to develop.
2010 line: .309/.354/.463. 482 AB, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 14 SB.
Shea Vucinich was pretty impressive for the first couple weeks in Helena in 2010, but cooled off as the season went on. Taken in the 20th round of last year's draft, Vucinich played SS for Washington State, but spent most of the season at 2B, despite the fact that he is considered a plus defender. He's a free swinger, and has plenty of power potential, but that didn't show up much in Helena last year. A move back to SS could do wonders for his prospect status.
2010 line: .265/.371/.393. 275 AB, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 4 SB.
Stop by next week Monday for part II in the series!