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Josh Hader Ranked as Milwaukee Brewers #1 Prospect by 2080 Baseball

Apparently not everyone thinks Lewis Brinson is the cream of the crop.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers-Media Day Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

As the top prospect lists continue to get released, a consensus seems to be forming that the Milwaukee Brewers’ top three prospects are Lewis Brinson, Corey Ray, and Josh Hader. Brinson has topped just about every list that’s come out, but yesterday a new index of organizational top prospects for the Milwaukee Nine was released by the folks over at 2080 Baseball (a newer site on the scouting scene founded by Dave DeFreitas, who has worked for the Yankees and Indians, and Milwaukee native Nick J. Faleris, formerly of Baseball Prospectus), and there was a different name at the top. Here is 2080’s Top 10 with a summary of each player’s profile, though I highly recommend reading the full, highly detailed scouting reports by following the link above:

  1. LHP Josh Hader - “The profile is that of a potential high-end number three or quality number two starter with big swing-and-miss ability.”
  2. OF Corey Ray - “There is all-star potential in the profile thanks to the lofty tools with which Ray is working, and it isn’t unthinkable to project a quick assent to Milwaukee given his feel for the game and highly lauded work ethic.”
  3. OF Lewis Brinson - “An upside comp for the profile is Adam Jones (OF, Orioles).”
  4. SS/2B Isan Diaz - “Though he’s unlikely to match the stolen base totals when all is said and done, Diaz profiles similarly to Jason Kipnis (2B, Indians), with a chance to hit for average and pop from the left side while providing on-base value and a solid glove at second base.”
  5. RHP Luis Ortiz - “There’s number three upside in the profile thanks to his live arm and command, but still work to be done to get there. If he doesn’t prove durable enough to stick in the rotation long term, he’s a candidate to lock down the closer role in short order.”
  6. 3B Lucas Erceg - “There’s impact potential in the profile with Matt Carpenter (3B, Cardinals) serving as a quality comparison at the major league level.”
  7. SS Mauricio Dubon - “A plus athlete with plus bat-to-ball skills and the potential for a plus hit tool, Dubon projects to stick in the middle of the field and have the offensive tools to impact the top of a big league lineup.”
  8. RHP Brandon Woodruff - “It isn’t a high-ceiling profile, but the sturdily-built right hander looks the part of good number four who, at a minimum, could throw high-leverage innings out of the pen.”
  9. RHP Marcos Diplan - “Expect the good ground ball rates to return and ultimately he should pitch with a plus fastball and two above-average secondary offerings. Two solid number four starters Ivan Nova (RHP, Pirates) and, ironically, Yovani Gallardo (RHP, Mariners) both come to mind as comparables at the big league level.”
  10. RHP Phil Bickford - “He has a projectable frame with room to add some strength, but the stuff likely is what it is at this point.”

Friend of BCB @Brewernation discussed the rankings with Nick J. Faleris from 2080, who elaborated that having Hader ranked first overall is “a product of how much we like Hader, and not a reflection of being down on Ray or Brinson.” Indeed, Hader’s report from 2080 is perhaps the most bullish I’ve seen on the lefty, projecting him for a 55 changeup on the 20-80 scouting scale and average control and command (while most outlets I’ve seen project fringe average grades of 45 for each). If that profile holds true, Hader should have no issues making an impact out of the big league starting rotation in the near future. Faleris also added that Corey Ray’s on-base skills were the reason that he was ranked ahead of Brinson, saying they add “cushion” to the likelihood of Ray’s projections. That’s not to say 2080 is ‘down’ on Brinson at all, given that they comped him to multiple All-Star and Gold Glove winner Adam Jones.

In addition to listing the top organizational prospects, the folks at 2080 also included profiles of several other Brewer farmhands in their organizational review. There are pf course notes on notables like Brett Phillips and Cody Ponce, but here are some of the more obscure players graded within Milwaukee’s system:

OF Kyle Wren - “He has a chance to offer some value as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement who can spot start across the grass from time to time – not a sexy profile, but one that could have some value for Milwaukee”

C Mario Feliciano - “If he can get to average defensively, the bat will obviously play better at the catcher position and prove to be his best shot at everyday playing time.”

RHP Nash Walters - “If the strength comes and he is able to refine the secondary stuff, he has a chance to end up in the back of a rotation down the road.”

RHP Josh Pennington - “He will need to continue to improve his command of his four-pitch mix (4.3 BB/9 in 2016) to have success in the rotation as he advances, but he is tough to square up and the ingredients are there for him to be a contributor. If the command stays below average, or if injuries persist, the stuff should play up in shorter stints giving him value out of the pen.”

1B Gabriel Garcia - “It is tough to envision an athletic 19-year-old being limited to first base so early in his career, and the profile becomes significantly more interesting if he makes a serious run at sticking behind the plate. Even if he steers clear of the tools of ignorance, expect Milwaukee to continue to find ways to get his bat in the lineup to allow for the hit tool to develop while he works to find a defensive home.”

C Payton Henry - “The defense is a bit of a question mark and he does not throw particularly well, demonstrating average arm strength at best. So if he ultimately moves out from behind the plate, the value of the power plays down a bit since he would only be suited for a corner position, ala former catcher Peter O’Brien (LF, Royals).”

2B Franly Mallen - “Mallen is still incredibly raw, but the hands work well at the plate and if the approach develops he could be an offensive asset in that infield-utility role.”

LHP Quintin Torres-Costa - “The walks are not great for a reliever (3.81 BB/9 in 2016) and he does give up some hard contact (55 hits in 59 innings pitched and a .347 BABIP), but he keeps the ball on the ground. With improved fastball command, he has a chance to be a quality lefty specialist down the road.”

RHP Jordan Yamamoto - “The upside is that of a back-end rotation option for the Brew Crew, perhaps as early as 2019.”

OF Troy Stokes - “If he can come out in 2017 and find gains in his line drives/ground balls to better utilize his plus run tool, a more impactful player could emerge and make him a real asset for the Brewers going forward.”

DeFrietas and Faleris close their organizational audit on the Brewers with a five-year outlook, summarizing that “If things break right, the Brewers could find themselves putting together a competitive club as early as 2018, but 2019 seems the more likely target.”