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John Sickels on the Brewers' Top Prospects

Minor League guru John Sickels has released his preliminary Top 20 Prospects list for the Brewers:

  1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Grade A (one of the best young pitchers in the game)
  2. Ryan Braun, 3B, Grade A- (only question is how patient they will be with his glove)
  3. Will Inman, RHP, Grade B (the numbers are outstanding but durability is a concern)
  4. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, B (the fastball is outstanding but control is a major concern. Grade A arm, Grade C- command leads to Grade B)
  5. Lorenzo Cain, OF, B- (developing tools player to watch)
  6. Cole Gillespie, OF, B- (big bat from '06 draft but I want to see him above the Pioneer League)
  7. Dennis Sarfate, RHP, C+ (nice arm should fit better in the bullpen)
  8. Manny Parra, LHP, C+ (can he stay healthy? Should be good if he does)
  9. Mark Rogers, RHP, C+ (like Jeffress, a Grade A arm with Grade C- command and now a shoulder concern)
  10. Mat Gamel, 3B, C+ (promising bat but I don't like his home/road split)
  11. Hernan Irrabarren, 2B, C+ (will hit for average)
  12. Steve Hammond, LHP, C+ (underrated arm to watch)
  13. Angel Salome, C, C+ (good numbers, strong arm, but advanced A will challenge his bat)
  14. Robert Hinton, RHP, C+ (relief sleeper)
  15. Tim Dillard, RHP, C+ (could be a good swingman)
  16. Mike Brantley, OF, C+ (leadoff prospect with speed and walks)
  17. Brent Brewer, SS, C+ (good tools, but skills?)
  18. Zach Jackson, LHP, C (I really don't like the collapsing K/IP ratio)
  19. Vinny Rottino, UT, C (solid utility player)
  20. Chris Errecart, OF, C (want to see him against better competition)
Others of Note: Drew Anderson, OF; Andy Boucie, C; Steve Bray, RHP; Stephen Chapman, OF; Alcides Escobar, SS; Charlie Fermaint, OF; Steve Garrison, LHP; Anthony Gwynn, OF; Kevin Roberts, RHP; R.J. Seidel, RHP.
Before commenting, I'll repeat John's disclaimer: "ALL GRADES ARE PRELIMINARY"

Again, the top three are obvious, though, like many of the posters at John's site, I am surprised Inman received "only" a B; however, given the Brewers' history with high school pitchers and shoulder injuries, perhaps caution is warranted, even if Inman did only suffer what was officially termed a "strain." I find less explicable Angel Salome's C+ grade; just as with Kevin Goldstein's rankings for Baseball Prospectus, Salome doesn't crack the top 10 here. Salome may indeed have a hole in his swing, as has been reported, but in my judgement he still has enough offensive potential, combined with fantastic defensive tools (and pretty good skills), to yield more than a C+ grade. I certainly don't think he's "interchangeable" with guys like Robert Hinton and Hernan Iribarren.