Here's a project to give you something to think about on what could be a quiet week for Brewer news. For the last several days, Noah, Rubie and I have been collaborating on a set of trade value rankings for 40 players in the Brewer organization. We'll unveil the bottom half of the list today, and the rest over the next three days.
Before I get to the rankings, a few quick disclaimers:
- The Brewers currently have 34 players on their 40 man roster, and I added six non 40-man prospects to the list to make it an even 40. Because of this, there are some discrepancies - there are prospects that won't make the list that are worth more than some of the guys at the bottom. Actually, a crisp $5 bill might be worth more than #39 and 40.
- Rubie, Noah and I each voted on these rankings, then averaged our votes for the final results.
- These rankings reflect the roster as of Sunday. If anything changes this week, the rankings won't reflect it.
So, without further adieu, let's start from the bottom:
40: Luis Cruz. Cruz was last on one ballot and 39th on the other two. He had a career year in the minors this season and still only posted a .309 OBP. If the Brewers had any organizational depth at shortstop he'd likely be long gone, especially after he called Ken Macha a racist after only appearing in seven games in September.
39: LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins was voted last on two ballots, and if we'd added ten more non-roster players I would have ranked all of them ahead of him too. Hawkins is easily the worst contract still on the books for the Brewers: Even if he was healthy, the $4 million he'll earn next season would be a lot to commit to a reliever that will turn 38 in December.
38: Martin Maldonado. Maldonado is a very good defensive catcher and is probably on the 40 man so he can be called up to serve as an emergency backup if something happens to Jon Lucroy or George Kottaras. But his bat is very weak (.225/.300/.303 career in the minors) and it's hard to imagine him ever being a major leaguer long-term.
37: Justin James. Plucked off waivers from the A's a few weeks ago, James had a very nice 2010 season as a minor league reliever (1.83 ERA in 39.1 IP between AA and AAA), but that's a pretty small sample size and his peripherals looked nothing like his career numbers. He'll get a shot to make the team this spring, but the fact that he's 29 years old, getting ready for his ninth pro season and has pitched in just five major league games should tell you something.
36. Mitch Stetter. Stetter's stock took a pretty significant dive this season - after getting into just nine early games, he was sent to Nashville, posted a 6.86 ERA and wasn't even called up when rosters expanded. Stetter is still good against lefties, but you could make a case that he's not good enough against them to outweigh the fact that he can't get righties out at all.
Follow the jump for #35-21!
35. Brandon Kintzler. A great story, Kintzler is a former independent leaguer who earned a September callup by posting a 1.47 ERA in 42 games between Huntsville and Nashville this season. He works in the low 90's and has a good slider, but the top of his upside is probably middle reliever.
34. Mike McClendon. Another pitcher most of us didn't expect to see in Milwaukee this season, but he earned a callup and acquitted himself well in 17 games, striking out a batter per inning while keeping his walk numbers down. He doesn't throw as hard as Kintzler but generated some confusion with a tricky delivery and can likely be effective if he's not overexposed. Like Kintzler, the top of his upside is likely middle relief.
33. Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva has posted some great peripherals as a Brewer (11.5 K/9 this season) but it's clear the organization isn't high on him: They left him sit in AAA for a month in August and let him go 21 days between outings in September. There's a good chance he'll be non-tendered this offseason, and if he is he'll probably contribute to someone else's pen in 2011.
32. Chris Dickerson. Dickerson didn't show much during his brief time in Milwaukee in 2010 (.208/.271/.264 in 25 games), but he's still a capable defender in all three outfield spots and his career numbers (.267/.356/.403) would suggest that he could be a capable fourth outfielder, at least.
31. Logan Schafer. In 2009 he was the Florida State League batting champion and the organization's Minor League Player of the Year, but injuries caused him to lose a year. He's back playing center field in the Arizona Fall League and could be poised for a nice rebound season in 2011.
30. Cody Scarpetta. This is one of the cases where the voters differed greatly: the three of us had Scarpetta 22, 26 and 37 on our ballots. He's got a very high ceiling but getting him to the major leagues as a Brewer will be a challenge: Despite the fact that he only played in the Florida State League in 2010 (A+), a roster rule quirk has already caused the Brewers to burn two of his options. He'll qualify for a fourth but would have to stick with the team for good in spring training 2013 or be designated for assignment. He was good but not great and had control issues for Brevard County this season.
29. Todd Coffey. Like Carlos Villanueva, Coffey could be non-tendered this offseason but will likely contribute somewhere next season anyway. Since the start of the 2009 season Coffey has appeared in 147 games, the eighth most in all of baseball. No other Brewer has appeared in more than 114.
28. Josh Butler. Butler was a great story in 2009, climbing the ladder all the way from Brevard County to Milwaukee. 2010 was a lost year, however, as he posted a 4.94 ERA and struck out just 5.6 batters per nine innings between three levels. Butler will be 26 when he comes to Maryvale next spring, and needs a nice bounce-back season to resurrect his prospect status.
27. Joe Inglett. Inglett did everything he was asked to do as a utility man last season, hitting .254/.331/.401 while splitting time between four positions (including one inning pitched) and picking up 20 pinch hits. It's probably unlikely he'll put up numbers like that again in 2011, but his versatility and bat make him worth having around.
26. Kameron Loe. Loe came out of nowhere to be a reliable workhorse out of the pen in 2010: Despite working as a starter in the minors until June, he was a reliever in the majors and 34 of his 53 appearances were on one or no days' rest. He also pitched more than one inning on 20 occasions. That workload probably increases his injury/regression risk a bit for 2011, but he's still an asset in the bullpen.
25. George Kottaras. Despite hitting just .203 this season. Kottaras drew a lot of walks to get to a .305 OBP and a .701 OPS, the highest by a Brewer catcher with 250 PA since 2006 (Damian Miller). He's also still under team control for four more seasons.
24. Carlos Gomez. Despite a very disappointing 2010 season, Gomez is still a strong defender with good speed. He might have lost his starting job to Lorenzo Cain, but if utilized correctly Gomez could have a lot of value as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. And if he improves his plate discipline a bit he could be even more of an asset.
23. Manny Parra. We all know the story with Parra: He's likely pitched his way out of the rotation for the foreseeable future but did pitch better out of the bullpen. Rick Kranitz will become the latest new pitching coach to attempt to figure him out in 2011, and if he can do it he'll likely reach folk hero status.
22. Caleb Gindl. Scouts aren't always impressed by Gindl because his size and frame (5'9", 185) don't look like that of a major league outfielder, but all Gindl does is hit: .272/.352/.406 as a 21 year old in AA in 2010. He'll likely never be an excellent defender, but the fact that he played 50 games in center this season would suggest he's a little better out there than you'd expect.
21. Amaury Rivas. The organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, Rivas took a small step backwards in 2010. As a 24 year old in AA, his ERA went up (from 2.98 to 3.37) and his already low strikeout numbers went down (from 8.3 to 7.2 per inning). Rivas will be 25 in December and still could develop into a solid starter, but he's not showing the kind of dominance you'd like to see from a top prospect.
Check back tomorrow for #20-11!