The Milwaukee Brewers continue to receive good reviews for their collection of talent down in the minor leagues. MLB Pipeline recently ranked the system #8 overall, and yesterday Fangraphs released their updated top-100 prospect list. The Brewers had six players make the list, as assembled by Eric Longenhagen:
#13 || OF Lewis Brinson
Brinson batted .331/.400/.562 with 13 homers and 11 steals in 76 games for Colorado Springs this season and has hit .106/.236/.277 with 2 home runs in 55 MLB plate appearances. He’s now shelved with a hamstring strain and is questionable to return this season.
#27 || OF Corey Ray
Ray has reportedly struggled with facing premium velocity in the Carolina League this year, batting just .242/.315/.370 with 6 home runs and 21 steals while striking out 31% of the time. Still, Fangraphs remains more bullish on his future potential than other sites have been this summer.
#55 || RHP Brandon Woodruff
Last season’s organizational MiLB pitcher of the year, Woodruff has followed up with a nice campaign this season. He posted a 4.46 ERA across 72.2 innings in the harsh environment of Colorado Springs, and has so far thrown 12.0 innings in two MLB starts while allowing just two earned runs.
#66 || RHP Luis Ortiz
Ortiz has seen an increase in both his walk rate and home runs allowed this season while pitching in AA, but still has four pitches graded as potentially average or better along with command that projects to be above average. He’s posted a 3.98 ERA in 81.1 innings for Biloxi.
#73 || 2B/SS Isan Diaz
Diaz isn’t hitting for quite as much power with Carolina as he did in Wisconsin last season, but his walk and strikeout rates have remained about the same. A large decrease in BABIP appears to be the main culprit for his still above league-average line of .225/.339/.374 with 12 homers through 446 plate appearances.
#79 || LHP Josh Hader
While no longer technically a prospect, Hader is still rookie eligible and apparently qualified for this list. He struggled to a 5.37 ERA in 52.0 innings with Colorado Springs, but has been a valuable member of Milwaukee’s bullpen since being promoted in June. He’s posted a 0.71 ERA in 25.1 innings, striking out 32 batters. He has walked 19 in that time, though, and we will have to wait until at least next season to see how he’ll do in a starting role in the MLB.
All 6 of the above players made Fangraphs’ preseason top-100 list, along with one other player - 3B Lucas Erceg - that has dropped off by virtue of his showing this season. Erceg does still rank within Milwaukee’s top-10 organizational prospects according to Longenhagen, though, which rounds out like this after the players already mentioned in this post:
#7 || 2B Keston Hiura
Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2017 has hit the ground running offensively, batting a cumulative .382/.432/.624 with 4 homers, 12 doubles, and 7 triples in his first 39 games as a professional between Helena and Wisconsin. He also recently made his first appearance in the field after completing a rehab and throwing program for his elbow.
#8 || RHP Corbin Burnes
A 4th-round pick last season, Burnes is easily the favorite to win this year’s organizational MiLB pitcher of the year. He’s posted a combined 1.67 ERA in 129.2 innings pitched between Carolina and Biloxi, striking out 128 batters against just 26 walks.
#9 || 3B Lucas Erceg
As mentioned earlier, Erceg has had a bit of a rough go of things in Carolina this season. He’s batted just .242/.285/.392 there in 2017 while slugging 13 home runs, though his strikeout rate remains rather low at 17.8%. Plus power and a rocket arm at the hot corner are the standout tools here.
#10 || 2B/SS Mauricio Dubon
While he hasn’t hit quite as well as he did during his breakout season last year, Dubon is putting together a nice season in the advanced minors. He’s batted .277/.333/.383 with 7 home runs in 114 games between AA and AAA, and has also stolen 38 bases while playing solid defense at both second base and shortstop.
Here’s what Longenhagen had to say about Milwaukee’s system as a whole:
Ray, Hader, and Erceg have all struggled at times this year but two of those players are enduring their first full pro season and Hader was feeling the effects of Colorado Springs. Tooled-up outfielder and personal cheeseball, Monte Harrison, has finally started to perform and just missed the list, as did RHP Freddy Peralta, who has been up to 95 and missing bats with his changeup and breaking ball.
Boy, it sure is nice to be following a team that’s both experiencing success at the major league level and also has a top-ranked farm system.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs