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BCB Mailbag 3: Prospects and Cubs

Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Rafters Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s dive right in to your questions:

roguejim asks:

Picking up on our Maverick discussion

How concerned should we be that our top 10 prospects all kind of sucked this year?

Because it’s fun to obsess over these things, I’m wondering that even though we have the best farm system in the majors right now, is it (as a whole) good enough to turn the Brewers into a contender in the next few years. Is it comparable quality-wise to what the Cubs had in their recent rebuild?

I’m not all that concerned about some of the struggles of the top prospects because there are still positives to glean from them. For example, as much as Phillips’ .229/.332/.397 looks uninspiring, he still walked at a 13% clip, slugged 16 home runs with a .168 ISO, and stole 12 bags. That translated to a well above-average 113 wRC+, and he was two years younger than league average. Even in a year that he ‘struggled’ he still performed better than a good portion of his peers.

As far as comparing to the Cubs, let’s look back to their MLB Pipeline top 20 from the end of the 2014 season, before the club broke out in 2015 and made the playoffs. Their system was a bit more top-heavy with Bryant (70 overall) and Russell (65), followed by four players graded at 55 overall and six players graded at 50. Milwaukee’s current MLB Pipeline top 30 has eight players graded at 55 and 11 players graded at 50, with Orlando Arcia (60) having just recently graduated off the list. There’s not exactly a “can’t miss” like Bryant, but the Brewers have a lot more depth and balance.

Legitimate Brewers Fan asks:

Orlando Arcia

What should we look for from Arcia in 2017? What does a successful year look like to you?

I tried to remind folks when Arcia came up that his best tool is his defense and not to expect a ton with the bat, so it’s not a huge surprise to me that he managed only a 64 wRC+. I’d be pleased if Arcia could put up something like a .270/.320/.390 slash line. Shortstop is generally such an offensively challenged position league-wide that if he can manage to consistently post between a 90-100 wRC+ with his defense, he’ll be a well-above average performer for the position.

nullacct asks:

When does the Cubs' domination end?

They have so much talent under control for so long… Bryant isn’t a free agent until 2022. Is there any realistic hope at all that the Brewers are ever able to compete in this division? This feels much more hopeless than just chasing the Cardinals.

I know the Cubs look primed to dominate baseball forever, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Remember when the Phillies were supposed to be a dynasty? They made the playoffs five years in a row from 2007-2011, going to two World Series’ and winning only one. With how much hype those teams got, those results don’t really scream dynasty to me. Injuries and performance variances happen; you can never quite predict the future. We can only hope for David Stearns to put the best group of players he can assemble out on the field and then let the chips fall where they may.

selvington02 asks:

I have (2) questions

That I was pondering this morning.

1) How long does CC manage. Will he be just here for rebuilding then put back in the front office for an experienced type manager when we are contenders, or do they stick with CC through our contention period too?

2) Who’s on 3B next year. Someone like Valbuena who we overpay for at the end of his career or someone like Valencia, who we can get a discount on because of his character issues. Or do the Brewers shock us and pick up a young stud in a trade like Solarte? What’s your take?

  1. I don’t really foresee Counsell going anywhere anytime soon. He and Stearns seem to work rather well together though he isn’t David’s “guy.” He’s a hometown favorite and popular with the fans, Mark A. clearly loves the guy, and he’s not a half-bad manager either.
  2. Given Stearns’ penchant for signing going after former Astros, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brewers make a play for Luis Valbuena. I’d be supportive of the idea. Coming off of surgery his value might be down a little, though he did post a 123 wRC+ in 90 games last year and he’s not terrible at the hot corner. He’ll be 31 next year; something like a two-year deal with an option might be fine. Alternatively, I’d LOVE to see the Brewers make a play for Jeimer Canderlario currently ranked as the Cubs’ #4 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The MLB-ready 22 year old debuted this season and still has a full 6 years of club control, but is obviously blocked at third base by Kris Bryant.

Ullsperj asks:

Should the DH come to the NL?

When you were watching Game 7 of the World Series, did you once think to yourself “man, this would wayyyy more exciting if Kyle Hendricks was hitting instead of Kyle Schwarber”?

I like to see pitchers pitch and hitters hit. I don’t want to see Zach Davies or Junior Guerra get hurt having to run the bases or something stupid like that. It’s odd to me that there’s two different sets of rules for the two different leagues. Unify the DH.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs