clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Brewers Minors by Position: Corner Outfield

New, 8 comments

With three major-league ready corner outfielders and only two corners to put them in, Milwaukee needs to make some decisions about their personnel

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

You made it! We're out of the infield. Outside of the shortstop position, it's a little sketchy over there, huh? You're probably about ready for some dang prospects. Well buddy, you're in luck. I've got a whole mess of 'em right here, piping hot and fresh. Please note that any exclusions from this list are probably not exclusions, and you'll see them when we discuss center fielders on Friday. A couple of the young men on that list might profile better as right fielders, but they've been playing in center field for most of their careers and I'm certainly not one to tell them they shouldn't.

MLB Assets

1) Ryan Braun (32)
Contract status: Signed through 2020 (5 years, $105 million), mutual option in 2021 for $20 MM ($4 MM buyout)
2015 with Milwaukee: .285/.356/.498, 25 HR, 24 HR, 129 wRC+, 2.8 fWAR (568 PA)

2) Khris Davis (27)
Contract status: Pre-arbitration, earliest eligibility in 2017, free agent in 2020
2015 with Milwaukee: .247/.323/.505, 27 HR, 6 SB, 121 wRC+, 1.3 fWAR (440 PA)

3) Domingo Santana (23)
Contract status: Pre-arbitration, earliest eligibility in 2019, free agent in 2022
2015 with Milwaukee: .231/.345/.421, 6 HR, 2 SB, 109 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR (145 PA)

4) Ramon Flores (23)
Contract status: Pre-arbitration, earliest eligibility in 2017, free agent in 2020
2015 with AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: .286/.377/.417, 7 HR, 3 SB, 133 wRC+ (321 PA)

Milwaukee has a bit of an embarrassment of riches at the corner outfield position at the major league level right now. This isn't necessarily a bad problem to have, and they're currently dealing with it by playing their youngest slugger out of position. Braun, the erstwhile savior of Milwaukee baseball, is the face of the franchise, whether you want to admit it or not, and chances are that he'll remain in Milwaukee for the duration of the contract extension he signed in 2011 which begins next year. And that is fine. He's still a great hitter--he was one of only four 20/20 players in 2015 -- and appears to be trending in the right direction regarding his lingering thumb injury. Given his PED-stricken past, he's probably worth more to Milwaukee as a player than he ever would be in a trade.

The general consensus seems to be that offensively Santana will be much the same player that Davis is now, and since he is four years Davis' junior and has two more years of control, that Davis will be moved to make room for Santana in his natural position. Of course there's a little more to it than that and Santana does have a much higher ceiling defensively. But the fact that Davis is possibly nearing the end of his Brewers tenure remains given the Brewers logjam at the MLB level. For now, Santana is penciled in as the starting center fielder for next spring, but that's not a position he can play long term.

Twice-traded Flores, who came to Milwaukee in the Luis Sardinas trade just a couple of months after being traded from the Yankees to Seattle, is almost certainly going to make the Opening Day roster, since he's out of options. Chris Mitchell of FanGraphs' KATOH projection system is in love with Flores, and ranks him 30th among all prospects in projected WAR through his age-28 season (he's the second Brewer on the list behind #5 Orlando Arcia). Flores is coming off a gruesome leg injury that ended his season in August, and it remains to be seen if he will be healthy when Spring Training rolls around.

The Prospects

5) Clint Coulter (22)
Acquired: 1st round of the 2012 draft
2015 with High-A Brevard County: .246/.329/.397, 13 HR, 6 SB, 123 wRC+ (569 PA)

6) Michael Reed (23)
Acquired: 5th round of the 2011 draft
2015 with AA-Biloxi: .278/.379/.422, 5 HR, 25 SB, 129 wRC+ (377 PA)

7) Demi Orimoloye (18)
Acquired: 4th round of the 2015 draft
2015 with AZL Brewers: .292/.319/.518, 6 HR, 19 SB, 138 wRC+ (144 PA)

8) Victor Roache (24)
Acquired: 1st round of the 2012 draft
2015 with Biloxi: .247/.321/.430, 8 HR, 2 SB, 113 wRC+ (249 PA)

9) Daniel Fields (24)
Acquired: Claimed off waivers from Detroit in September
2015 with AAA-Toledo: .228/.335/.367, 7 HR, 17 SB, 106 wRC+ (526 PA)

10) Malik Collymore (20)
Acquired: Traded from St. Louis in exchange for Jonathan Broxton in July
2015 with Rookie-level Helena: .311/.375/.434, 1 HR, 6 SB, 111 wRC+ (138 PA)

A lot of people are down on Coulter as he enters his fifth professional season -- I am not among them. His stats for 2015 don't look great, until you remember that he was in Brevard County, which is far and away the most brutal park for hitters in far and away the most brutal league for hitters. Nobody hits in the Florida State League. He wasn't as good as in his 2014 campaign that saw him win Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year honors, but those are some pretty lofty standards, folks.

Reed is an interesting piece, and although he's currently blocked at the major league level, he might be just about ready, having handled Triple-A pitching fairly well after getting called up to Colorado Springs following the trade that brought Brett Phillips to Milwaukee. He sports an incredible 14.5% walk rate over his five-year minor league career, which combined with his speed (86 steals over last three seasons) makes him a great candidate for the top of the order.

Orimoloye is young and raw, but many scouts around baseball consider him to be one of the biggest steals of the 2015 draft so far. His plus power played to the tune of a .226 ISO with the AZL Brewers, and while the plate discipline needs some work (27.1 and 2.1 K% and BB%, respectively), that's to be expected from an 18 year old.

Roache is neither young nor raw, but after a sub-par showing at Brevard County saw him repeating the level in 2015, Roache showed enough to earn a mid-season call-up to Biloxi, where he played well. Given the depth of the organization at the position, he'll likely begin the season with Biloxi again, but he's probably ready for the bright lights of Colorado Springs.

Finally we've got a pair of prospects that were not home-grown. Fields was waived by Detroit in September and Milwaukee claimed him as part of their innovative strategy to acquire as many ex-Tigers prospects as possible in 2015. Fields has hung around the bottom half of the Tigers' organizational top 30 throughout his career. He strikes out way too much (27.8% in 2015), but he also walks a bunch, so he's potentially interesting as a fourth outfield type. Collymore is a young lottery-ticket type player that the Brewers received from St. Louis in exchange for Broxton, He performed well with Helena after a rather disappointing start to the year with the Cardinals' rookie-level team, and could be coming to an A-level ballpark near you very soon, especially if you live in the Fox Cities.

All stats via FanGraphs, contract information via Baseball Reference