01. Mat Gamel 3B (21) [AA] - .309/.371/.507 (.303/.363/.464), 25 errors
As you can see by his MLE, defense is the only thing keeping Gamel from being the Brewers' third baseman right now. His stats take a bit of a hit after adjusting for luck, but they're still quite strong.
02. Jeremy Jeffress RSP (20) [A+] - 2.83 FIP, 19 H%, 11 BB%, 31 K%, 51 GB%, .38 HR/9
Jeffress' 4.63 ERA belies his truly dominant performance so far this season--he's striking out almost a third of the batters he faces! For a guy widely considered to be a project when drafted and who also missed 50 games with a well-publicized drug suspension, he's made remarkable progress. In particular, this year has seen a marked increase in his groundball rate. His upside trumps that of any other player in the system and earns him the #2 spot on this list, Gallardo to Gamel's Braun.
03. Jonathan Lucroy C (21) [A+] - .339/.405/.547, 9 PB
Lucroy hasn't blinked at all after being promoted to Brevard County, whose Space Coast Stadium is supposedly death to right-handed power. His defense, a question mark coming out of college, has improved dramatically; he's thrown out 20 of 34 would-be base thieves at Brevard according to Kevin Goldstein (he was 22/58 at West Virginia), who calls Lucroy, without exaggeration, "one of the better catching prospects in the game".
04. Alcides Escobar SS (21) [AA] - .307/.339/.407 (.284/.315/.362)
Escobar hasn't really fallen from #2 to #4 so much as Jeffress and Lucroy have proven themselves enough to overtake him. Escobar's glove, as Josh Kalk (dixieflatline) recently confirmed first-hand, is Major-League ready now, and he could probably hit .300 given a little seasoning. Unfortunately, there's not much behind that batting average, as you can see by his MLE. He would've been a star in the 70s or 80s, but he'll be a #7 hitter on the Asatte Brewers.
05. Angel Salome C (21) [AA] - .314/.372/.481 (.289/.347/.425), 9 PB
While Salome is the better pure hitter, Lucroy is starting to distinguish himself from his fellow backstop based on his defensive work and advanced plate approach. Even so, Angel's own improved plate discipline deserves note; his 25 BB in 286 ABs this year, while not notable on its own, blows away his 12 in 258 last year. Still though, as Josh/dixie reports, there are concerns; his open stance coupled with a step in the bucket may hinder his plate coverage, and his defense remains, euphemistically, a work in progress.
The park and luck adjustments really make his current .298/.387/.448 line shine. Despite Mat Gamel currently sporting a "3B" next to his name, this is your third baseman of the future--if he doesn't get traded to Cleveland.
07. Michael Brantley OF (21) [AA] - .311/.394/.401 (.272/.356/.344)
Brantley hasn't played much in the last month due to a sprained ankle that currently has him on the DL. I'm still anxious to see whether he can handle center field, which has a tremendous effect on his valuation.
08. Caleb Gindl OF (19) [A] - .273/.357/.409
Very young for full-season ball, Gindl is plugging along and hanging in there, making the most progress in his walk rate, which is nice to see; however, it's on defense where Gindl is really catching my attention. I've heard several rave reviews of his shoulder-mounted missle launcher, and the Brewers have been deploying him in center field quite a bit lately, ahead of two players more experienced at the postion in Logan Schafer and Lee Haydel. If Gindl can play a credible center field, he becomes even more valuable.
09. Cole Gillespie OF (24) [AA] - .287/.389/.507 (.229/.335/.392)
If you're going to put money one guy on this list being an above-replacement level Major Leaguer, this is him. Gillespie is a lesser version of LaPorta with the bat, but better than our erstwhile top prospect defensively, though he may be limited to left by a surgically repaired throwing arm. At 24, he is what he is, but what he is could probably start for the Mets right now.
10. Jake Odorizzi RSP (18) [AZL] – 10/2/7 K/BB/H in 11 IP
A vocal minority of scouts and bloggers thought Odorizzi was the best prep arm available in the draft this year, ahead of Tim Melville, Alex Meyer, and Gerrit Cole. He throws in the low 90s, touching 97, and has a hard, high-80s slider. Hopefully he finds the minors "over-easy".
11. Lorenzo Cain OF (22) [AA] - .265/.345/.419
Cain must have been really happy when Matt LaPorta got traded, because it allowed him to move up to AA. He's been playing center field ahead of Michael Brantley at Huntsville, but it's hard to know if that's due to Brantley's injured ankle or the team preferring Cain's defense. Cain is very toolsy and still somewhat new to baseball, so he could get a lot better, or he could stay the same well-rounded, adequate outfielder he is right now.
12. Alex Periard RSP (21) [AA] - 3.75 FIP, 25 H%, 6 BB%, 16 K%, 58 GB%, .53 HR/9
Periard throws a low-90s fastball and has a good breaking ball, which coupled with his great control and groundball tendencies makes a pretty good pitching prospect. He's never struck out a lot of guys, but has individual games where he flashes great stuff. He just made his first start at AA, so we're about to see how good of a prospect he really is.
13. Zach Braddock LSP (20) [A+] - 4.03 FIP, 21 H%, 14 BB%, 26 K%, 36 GB%, .66 HR/9
The former best pitching prospect in the system (non-Jeffress division) has fallen behind a bit lately, both because of his control problems at Brevard County and injury problems. I don't know if his current DL stint is related to the shoulder problems that shelved him early last year, but at a minimum, it's delaying his development.
14. Cutter Dykstra OF (18) [R] - .285/.399/.452
Currently in the Arizona League rehabbing his strained groin, Dykstra is a converted middle infielder who's very fast and should become a good center fielder. He's displayed an advanced plate approach in his short professional career to this point, but some people question his power potential, though he himself has no doubts.
15. Erik Komatsu OF (20) [R] - .349/.412/.567
Komo's putting on quite a show at Helena. He's played half of his games in center field, and he's young for a college draftee, both of which earn him extra credit. His height gets demerits, which caused him to fall to the eighth round in this year's draft, but it hasn't seemed to matter so far.
16. Chris Dennis OF (19) [R] - .293/.405/.545
Probably the first double take on the list; I'm going a bit out on a limb because Jeff's arcane formulas think Dennis is hitting into some pretty bad luck (his real line is .229/.345/.458). He obviously has some serious power, which is all the more valuable coming as it does from the left side of the plate, and he's still very young.
17. Luis Pena RRP (25) [AAA] - 4.87 FIP, 22 H%, 17 BB%, 22 K%, 48 GB%, .64 HR/9 (4.93 FIP)
No one understands how Pena gets hit as hard as he does. I watched him in the AAA All-Star Game, and he was throwing 97-98 with a 94 MPH splitter, which would seem to be enough to succeed with in AAA even with Pena's mediocre control, but apparently not so. His filthy stuff will keep him high on prospect lists for awhile longer, and it's that splitter that makes a world of difference between him and Omar Aguilar.
18. Logan Schafer OF (21) [A} - .324/.372.564
The third-rounder has hit the ground running, first at Helena and now at West Virginia (his 5 for 6 performance on Monday night isn't included in these numbers). He can play center field but been stuck in a corner lately in deference to Caleb Gindl's development.
19. Evan Anundsen RSP (20) [A] - 3.75 FIP, 26 H%, 6 BB%, 18 K%, 61 GB%, .54 HR/9
His adjusted numbers are almost exactly the same as Periard's, though at one level lower, but Anundsen doesn't have Periard's stuff. I was disappointed to hear that was only throwing 86-88 recently at West Virginia, which has dropped him a few spots for me. Still, he has very heavy sinker and a precocious knowledge of how to pitch, so I'm cautiously optimistic.
20. Cody Scarpetta RSP (19) [AZL] – 17/8/6 K/BB/H in 10.7 IP
A second- or third-round talent that fell in last year's draft because of a tendon injury in his hand, Scarpetta has been quite good in his professional debut, especially if you attribute some of the control issues to rustiness. I'm excited to see what he can do at Helena.
Lintz is a very similar pitching prospect to Jake Odorizzi in both size and stuff...His body is still growing, as he has a projectable frame and many seem to believe he'll be 6'3" and around 200 pounds when his body is done maturing...he now throws in the 90-92 range consistently and can touch 94, but that upward trend is expected to continue. He also throws a very sharp, true curveball, although he does need to become more consistent with that pitch. His fastball has good, late life, but he can struggle to command it at times...
22. Steffan Wilson 3B (22) [A] - .291/.352/.533
The third base prospect no one knows exists (and if you knew anything about him, it's that he went to Harvard), Wilson is quietly having a very nice season, despite being a little old for the Sally League. I wish I knew more about his defense.
23. Eric Fryer C/OF (22) [A] - .304/.372/.490, 4 PB
Relegated to the outfield while Lucroy was on the team, Fryer is catching a lot more lately, which gets him out of Andrew Lefave territory and closer to being a legitimate prospect. Honestly, no one really saw this kind of performance coming, kind of like Taylor Green last year, so stay tuned.
24. Evan Frederickson LSP (21) [A] - 4.68 FIP, 19 H%, 19 BB%, 24 K%, 51 GB%, .31 HR/9
Really tall lefties that throw 97 and walk a bajillion guys sometimes turn out to be Randy Johnson, but more often become Ryan Anderson. Frederickson's mechanics are pretty inconsistent, and his velocity varies wildly accordingly. Hopefully the Brewers didn't just draft a workout warrior.
25. Shawn Zarraga C (19) [AZL] - .312/.415/.529, 2 of 34 CS
Zarraga got the third-highest bonus of any Brewers draftee last year as a 44th-rounder, and he can definitely hit, but the catching...eh, not so much, at least so far (where have I heard that refrain before?).
26. Michael Bowman RSP (21) [A] - 4.16 FIP, 26 H%, 7 BB%, 24 K%, 49 GB%, 1.00 HR/9
Interviewing Bowman and his catcher at VMI, Mike Roberts, gave me the idea that he had a little better stuff than was reflected in his college strikeout numbers, based on the fact that he was being told to pitch to contact and shouldering the load for an otherwise-inexperienced staff. His results so far have validated my interest.
27. Brock Kjeldgaard 1B (22) [R] - .272/.355/.517
Here's my favorite sleeper. Kjeldgaard was drafted in the 34th round as a RHP in 2005 and spent the last two years toiling at Helena in mediocrity in that role. After converting to first base this spring, though, he's sudden getting a little more attention, which tends to happen when you register 24 extra-base hits in 149 at-bats. Yeah, he's older by now, but think of how pleased you'd be with this kind of production from a 34th-round first baseman drafted out of college this year, which is what Kjeldgaard essentially is. Plus, he reminds me of my childhood, and he's an Alberta native, so I've given him the ultra-cool nickname "The Albertosaurus."
28. Omar Aguilar RRP (23) [AA] - 5.57 FIP, 20 H%, 17 BB%, 16 K%, 54 GB%, .78 HR/9
This is what happens when you throw hard but don't have a secondary pitch upon promotion to AA: you slide down prospect lists.
29. Efrain Nieves LSP (18) [R] - 4.52 FIP, 28 H%, 3 BB%, 15 K%, 53 GB%, .96 HR/9
The Brewers' 7th-round pick last year, Nieves is very young, throws left-handed, and has preternaturally good control. If his stuff perks up and he starts striking more guys out, he could get interesting in a hurry.
30. Brad Nelson 1B/3B/OF (25) [AAA] - .300/.400/.493 (.254/.366/.396)
If we're going to 30, Brad Nelson probably deserves a spot on this list, as the acquisition of Ray Durham showed how prized a decent lefty stick off the bench can be. Plus, word around his hometown is that his hamate-less wrist feels better than it has since he originally broke it, so there might be a tiny bit more upside here than it appears at first blush.