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Baseball America releases Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospect list

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Brinson stays atop, a large jump from a toolsy outfielder, and a former first round pick slides.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-All Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s prospect ranking season! Baseball America has released its Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects list for 2018. The list is as follows:

  1. Lewis Brinson, OF
  2. Brandon Woodruff, RHP
  3. Corbin Burnes, RHP
  4. Keston Hiura, 2B
  5. Monte Harrison, OF
  6. Luis Ortiz, RHP
  7. Brett Phillips, OF
  8. Lucas Erceg, 3B
  9. Isan Diaz, 2B/SS
  10. Corey Ray

Best Tools:

Best Hitter for Average: Keston Hiura
Best Power Hitter: Monte Harrison
Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Trent Clark
Fastest Baserunner: Johnny Davis
Best Athlete: Monte Harrison
Best Fastball: Josh Pennington
Best Slider: Brandon Woodruff
Best Curveball: Corbin Burnes
Best Control: Corbin Burnes
Best Defensive Catcher: Dustin Houle
Best Defensive INF: Antonio Pinero
Best INF Arm: Lucas Erceg
Best Defensive OF: Lewis Brinson
Best OF Arm: Brett Phillips

Project 2021 Lineup:

C: Manny Pina
1B: Travis Shaw
2B: Keston Hiura
3B: Lucas Erceg
SS: Orlando Arcia
LF: Monte Harrison
CF: Lewis Brinson
RF: Domingo Santana
SP: Brandon Woodruff
SP: Corbin Burnes
SP: Luis Ortiz
SP: Zach Davies
SP: Freddy Peralta
CL: Josh Hader

It’s no surprise to see Lewis Brinson atop this list. Brinson has been sitting as the #1 prospect since the Brewers acquired him in a 2016 trade involving Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. Brinson is the only prospect that BA drops tool grades on, 55 Hit, 60 Power, 60 Speed, 55 Field, 60 Arm, which continues to paint the picture of a future elite prospect.

The only true surprise to me is how high Brandon Woodruff ranked. Woodruff had difficulty at AAA after a very impressive run of starts to begin the season. Then, as he came to big leagues, he didn’t necessarily light the world on fire. If recency determines the results (and considering Monte Harrison’s placement on the list, it does), Woodruff’s performance doesn’t qualify him for the #2 spot, but definitely a top 10.

Speaking of Harrison, it is obvious after last year’s great performance he will be a big riser on many lists this year. Haudricourt writes that he has the pieces to be an elite outfielder, especially if he continues to develop his plate recognition.

Phillips also saw a decent bump after a great performance at AAA and a decent showing in the majors. He should be competing with Brinson to be a regular in centerfield this season.

Meanwhile, Corey Ray’s disappointing season saw him plummet from top 3 on most lists to barely making pre-season top 10s. Haudricourt points out some major mechanical flaws in his swing, especially a moving head, that have caused his struggles. If you see Ray make a Jake Gatewood-like adjustment in the offseason, he should rise to prominence once again.

Haudricourt lists the biggest strength of the system as outfielders, which is an easy enough claim to make given the number of outstanding athletes at the position. He also lists catcher as the system’s weakness, suggesting KJ Harrison is the farm’s best catcher. I strongly disagree and would put Mario Feliciano pretty high on that list.