The Brevard County Manatees were the worst full-season minor league affiliate of any MLB team at any level in 2016. Their 40-97 record was a full 18 games behind the second-worst team in the high-A level Florida State League this season, the Palm Beach Cardinals. The Manatees didn’t treat their fans to many victories in their last season at Space Coast Stadium and as an affiliate of the Brewers (the team relocated to Kissimmee following the season and signed a 4-year PDC with the Braves), but there was still some premium talent to watch in Brevard County, especially on the pitching staff. According to Baseball America, two prospects were named to the FSL top 20:
6. OF Corey Ray (Age 21)
The Brewers nabbed Corey Ray with the fifth overall pick in this past summer’s draft and inked him to a bonus in excess of $4 mil. The Louisville product was assigned straight to the Manatees, an extremely aggressive placement for a player straight out of the draft. His overall batting line may not be that impressive at first glance, but consider the fact that the average 21 year old in the FSL hit a meager .236/.297/.327. Ray is ranked as the Brewers’ #2 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, who describe him as having “a quick left-handed bat and makes consistent hard contact, giving him the potential to hit for both power and average” along with plus speed and the ability to play center field.
254 PA || .247/.307/.385 || 5 HR || 20 XBH || 9 SB
16. RHP Brandon Woodruff (Age 23)
Woodruff was Milwaukee’s 11th-round pick in the 2014 draft and he improved his prospect stock in a big way this season. An increase in fastball velocity has him now sitting in the mid-90s and touching 97+ MPH to go along with a solid slider and changeup, an arsenal that he commanded very well this season. Brandon dominated the Florida State league for 8 starts before spending the rest of the season in AA en route to winning the Brewer organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. He’s currently rated as Milwaukee’s 25th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, but that is sure to change this winter as the rankings are updated. Brandon could get a chance to appear in the big league rotation as soon as next season.
44.1 IP || 1.83 ERA || 9.9 K/9 || 2.0 BB/9 || 0.970 WHIP
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference