On Monday I paid a little visit to Friday’s at Miller Park. But before I walked in I stopped at the Fanzone. The first thing you see as you walk in are two new Brewers jerseys: Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. As I looked at them, I couldn’t stop smiling. Zack Greinke is a Brewer, and that is really, really exciting.
As fun as it is to think of how much better our rotation will be next year, it came at a steep price. Our farm system, which was pretty blah to begin with, was robbed of the majority of our top prospects this offseason. With the trades for Marcum and Greinke, the Crew traded away 4 of their top 10 prospects (according to the Brewerfan.net Power 50), and then some. Today, we’re here to look at what’s left.
Follow the jump for a little bit on some of our new top prospects.
Let’s start with the position once occupied by Lorenzo Cain. It was fun to watch Lo-Cain run down fly balls last season, and I’m sad to see him go, but I’m not too worried about the future of CF with the Crew. The Brewers last two minor league players of the year, Logan Schafer in 2009 and Erik Komatsu in 2010, will both be vying for the title of "centerfielder of the future" next season. Both had breakout seasons in Brevard Co. and both have struggled with injuries. They’re similar players, however Komatsu has a clear advantage in OBP and base running. Both seem like they will be solid regulars at the major league level,* much like Lorenzo Cain was said to be.
Moving to the OF corners we have a few interesting prospects. 2009 supplemental first round pick Kentrail Davis struggled a little in Brevard Co. last season, but blossomed in for the Timber Rattlers. Manning the other corner in Wisconsin was Khris Davis, who set a new Rattler record with 22 homers last season, and had a nice slash line of .280/.398/.499. Caleb Gindl had his first rough season in 2010, but still had a decent line of .272/.352/.406. Although with the departure of Cain, we could see Gindl moving over to CF next season in Nashville. I’m not going to worry too much about the corner OF spots because those are pretty much set at the major league level for the next few years.
Our infield situation is looking pretty bleak at the moment. The departure of Brett Lawrie cleared the path for Eric Farris and Scooter Gennett. Farris may be strong defensively and swipe a lot of bases, but many doubt his ability to hit at the major league level. Tiny Gennett isn‘t as strong defensively as Farris, but its hard to argue with the offensive season he had this year: .309/.354/.463. Some other interesting IF prospects to keep an eye on next year include 3B Cutter Dykstra, first basemen Hunter Morris and Cody Hawn, and catchers Cameron Garfield and Tyler Roberts.
Despite the departure of Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress, pitching remains a strong point in the Brewers system. We’ve still got guys like Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas, Wily Peralta, Cody Scarpetta, and Kyle Heckathorn. However, scouts aren’t very high on any of our pitching prospects. Heckathorn probably has the highest ceiling out of the aforementioned pitchers, and most scouts see him as no more than a number three starter or a reliever. I however would recommend keeping an eye on Scarpetta, as he made a slight mechanical adjustment towards the end of last season that helped him to dramatically cut down on his walks. He also been on the 40-man roster for the past two seasons, so his minor league options are running out.
Before the trades for Marcum and Greinke, the Crew really only had two front-line prospects (Lawrie and Odorizzi) and a bunch of others that were solid yet unspectacular. Well, now we’ve only got the latter. But its not all doom-and-gloom, gang. Most of the prospects mentioned could probably be solid regulars at the major league level. And despite the losses of Lawrie and Odorizzi, the Crew‘s system is in pretty much the same situation it was before- short on elite prospects. Let's hope that over the next couple years we can restock our system with our extra draft picks.
Note: I am not a scout, so I could be totally wrong here.