As we wait for something (anything) to happen this winter, it's easy to count down the days to next week's winter meetings. The Brewers are expected to make an upgrade or two sometime this winter, and the meetings present the best opportunity to swing a deal. According to the latest prospect list to come out today, the Brewers will have plenty of prospect depth in order to swing a deal if they so choose.
Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs always puts together some of the most thorough prospect scouting reports you can get these days, and definitely the most in-depth reports you can get for free. He released his list of Top 30 Brewers prospects (and quite a few prospects outside that range) today.
The top five or so names are the ones you'd probably expect -- Lewis Brinson, Keston Hiura, Monte Harrison, Luis Ortiz and Corbin Burnes, in that order -- and Longenhagen gives all five above-average Future Value grades of at least 55.
He gives Brinson a FV of 60, but does note his history of hamstring problems and the fact he's not as good defensively as Keon Broxton or Brett Phillips could push him to a corner outfield spot, which would hurt his value. It's also noted that Brinson's big league development could be hindered -- at least this year -- if the Brewers have aspirations of contending for a wildcard spot. The consensus on Brinson seems to be he'll have a large learning curve at the big league level, and a team chasing a wildcard spot may have a hard time letting him take the necessary lumps as he learns.
While Brinson is still the top prospect in the system, Longenhagen is clearly extremely high on both Hiura and Harrison, labeling both as potential All-Stars, albeit with some conditions. Hiura needs to prove his arm is healed and he can handle second base, while Harrison could still use some work on pitch recognition and making more contact. Still, he gives Hiura a future hit grade of 60 and 55s for both raw power and game power. Harrison got a glowing report of 60 raw power, 55 game power, 60 run, 55 fielding, and 80 throw. Just for fun, he also included YouTube highlights of Harrison throwing down monster dunks during his high school basketball days and weaving through defenses on the football field.
But the depth is really the strength of the farm system these days, as evidenced by Fangraphs rating 10 guys at 50 FV or above, and six additional prospects earning 45 grades. It also looks like the future is now for many of those guys -- 10 of the Top 30 have and ETA of 2018, although that does include guys like Brinson, Brandon Woodruff and Brett Phillips, who made their debuts last year but are still clinging onto rookie eligibility.
The Fangraphs write-up is extensive, but well worth the read. With a major 40-man roster crunch coming next offseason, many of the names listed could find themselves being included in deals as early as next week.