Every once in a while, when the top of prospects comes up, I would get a tweet or see a comment here or on Facebook about how Keith Law--or insert negative review of Brewers farm/prospect--hates the Brewers or is biased against them. At first I would try to explain to people how unlikely that was. That his job depends entirely on his ability to evaluate prospects. And so if indeed he was showing a bias, that would put said job in jeopardy. Cries of bias continued unabated and so I just stopped trying to reason with people. Well now at least I shouldn't have to hear about this for a while. Keith Law released his farm system rankings today and the Brewers are number five on that list!
This is easily the highest I've seen the Brewers farm system since I started covering them. As Law notes, just two years ago he considered them to have the worst farm system in baseball. He wasn't alone either. Many farm system rankings had them at or near the bottom of the list. To jump into the top five this quickly is a testament to the end of Doug Melvin's reign as Brewers GM.
Don't forget, it was still under Doug Melvin the Brewers hired Ray Montgomery to head their amateur scouting department. Last year was his first draft and many considered it a resounding success including Keith Law who calls it "one of the strongest draft classes in 2015." Trent Clark, Milwaukee's top pick in 2015, was recently ranked in Baseball Prospectus and MLB Pipeline's top 100. Klaw notes that 4 Brewers made his Top 100, which I think releases tomorrow, and it seems likely Clark will make that list too.
The most likely options for the other three spots are Orlando Arcia, Jorge Lopez, and Brett Phillips. The first two have been in the Brewers farm system for years. The latter was part of the Carlos Gomez/Mike Fiers deal. Say what you will about Doug Melvin's overall value as Brewers' GM, he left it in a great position for new GM David Stearns--who has had an impressive offseason himself.
You will be please to learn Keith Law has ranked the Brewers system ahead of the Pirates (8), Reds (12), and Cardinals (19. The Cubs are still the reigning NL Central farm champions at 4th overall. They have 6 representatives in Law's Top 100. I have to hand it to them. What they've been able to do with their rebuild has been damn impressive. But keep in mind, it took them 5 or so years to get to this point. The Brewers are just starting their rebuild and I think they're in a much better position than the Cubs and Astros were during theirs. Honestly, much better.
And the Brewers still have Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith, and Khris Davis who each have moderate to significant trade value. On top of that, there's still a chance Ryan Braun, Wily Peralta, Chris Carter, Chase Anderson, and Matt Garza could build up trade value over the next one to two seasons. Folks, this is an exciting time to be a Brewers fan.