With spring training for many clubs beginning today and our own Milwaukee Brewers’ pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale tomorrow, “prospect season” is finally wrapping up. Almost all of the major publications have released their top overall prospect lists, and today Baseball Prospectus joined the fray by releasing their Top 101 prospects for 2017. The Milwaukee Nine was well represented on the list with seven players; only two franchises (the Yankees with 9, Atlanta with 8) can boast more prospects in the top 101 than Milwaukee has. Those players are:
12. OF Lewis Brinson
OFP: 70 (on 20-80 scouting scale) - multiple time All-Star
Brinson is rated as the 10th-best positional prospect in the league and currently looks like Milwaukee’s best chance for a true star-caliber player in their lineup. His outcome will likely hinge on how well his hit tool translates to the big leagues.
19. LHP Josh Hader
OFP: 60 - #3 starter
Only four pitchers are ranked higher on BP’s list than Hader, who has become perhaps the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game. His changeup and command will ultimately determine if he can remain as an impact starter or if his future lies as a high-leverage arm in the bullpen.
41. OF Corey Ray
OFP: 60 - above-average outfielder
Ray played in center field during his professional debut but if he can’t stick there, his arm likely limits him to left field. He has an advanced approach at the plate, but there are some questions about his ability to make enough contact with a bit of a long, noisy swing.
59. SS/2B Isan Diaz
OFP: 60 - above-average second baseman
Diaz’s arm and limited range will eventually lead to a move to second base full-time, but he played mostly shortstop in the Midwest League last year. He’s got real power potential and a patient approach, though there’s still plenty of swing-and-miss to his game.
68. RHP Luis Ortiz
OFP: 60 - #3 starter
Ortiz commands all four of his pitches well, including a plus fastball and slider to go along with an improving curveball and changeup. He’s had injury issues during his young career, however, and his weight and conditioning will be a point of emphasis going forward.
75. OF Brett Phillips
OFP: 55 - above-average regular
Phillips proved his power was for real last season and worked an impressive amount of walks, but also struck out in more than 30% of his plate appearances in AA. His hit tool is a huge question, but his cannon arm and solid speed should help his defensive floor.
99. OF Trent Clark
OFP: 55 - Good enough center fielder and two-hitter for a first division team
Clark’s hit tool is his carrying tool, and he has shown above-average bat speed and pitch recognition. The arm will likely limit him to left field if he can’t stick in center, however, and he doesn’t offer the power profile one would like to see from a corner outfielder. He’s missed significant chunks of time in each of his first two professional seasons with injuries.