With Orlando Arcia graduating from prospect status, the Milwaukee Brewers were due for a new name atop their offseason top prospect lists.
Baseball America released their Top 10 Brewers prospects today, with outfielder Lewis Brinson taking the top spot. Josh Hader, Luis Ortiz, Corey Ray and Isan Diaz are the rest of BA's Top 5, while Trent Clark, Brandon Woodruff, Phil Bickford, Lucas Erceg and Marcos Diplan round out the Top 10. You can read the writeup here, but you'll need a Baseball America subscription to read the scouting reports past Brinson.
The list looks very different than it did last year, when Arcia was followed by Jorge Lopez, Trent Clark, Brett Phillips and Gilbert Lara in the Top 5. Hader didn't make the Top 10 following the 2015 season, but Kodi Medeiros, Tyrone Taylor, Clint Coulter, Cody Ponce and Devin Williams did.
Clark is the only player on last year's Top 10 list to also appear on this year's. Part of that is General Manager David Stearns continuing to add depth to the system with the trades of Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith, while guys like Hader took huge steps forward in 2016 (in fact, 6 of the Top 10 were acquired via trade). This past summer's draft is also well-represented on the list, with Ray heading into the draft being ranked by some as the top-rated prospect in the class and Erceg hitting a combined .327/.376/.518 between Rookie ball and Low-A after being drafted in the second round.
Woodruff may also be a surprise inclusion to some after flying under the radar for much of 2016. After making 8 starts in High-A with a 1.83 ERA and 9.9 K/9, he was promoted to Double-A Biloxi and kept impressing with a 3.09 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 20 starts, with 124 strikeouts compared to just 30 walks.
Also surprising is the exclusion of Phillips on this year's list. After ranking 4th in last year's Top 10 list, it looks like Phillips may be getting penalized for struggling to hit for average at Double-A. Despite hitting only .229/.332/.397 with 154 strikeouts in 517 plate appearances, the walk rates were still strong and he's still a very good defender in the outfield. There will be debate about how these lists are compiled, but the fact that a prospect the quality of Phillips was left off the Top 10 is indicative of the quality and depth of the Brewers system right now.
While the list falls under the Baseball America name, it's worth noting Tom Haudricourt does most of the work in compiling the list. We'll likely get a better idea of what BA thinks of the Brewers' prospects when they do their Top 100 list and organizational ranks.
What does BCB think of the list? Did Phillips get snubbed? Who else should be in consideration for a Top 10 spot?
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference