For the first time in a few years, the Milwaukee Brewers spent this summer as trade deadline buyers instead of sellers. But that hasn’t stopped scouts from continuing to praise their collection of minor league talent. MLB Pipeline released their updated organizational farm system rankings earlier today, with the Brewers coming in at #8 overall among the 30 MLB franchises.
Milwaukee did rank at #5 in Pipeline’s preseason ranking, so the farm system has fallen a down few rungs since spring. Much of that can be attributed to the graduation of Josh Hader, though, removing a premium pitching prospect from the fold. The struggles of Corey Ray in Carolina have played a role as well, as he’s fallen some 30 spots in the overall rankings. Still, Milwaukee currently boasts 6 top-100 prospects:
#15 || OF Lewis Brinson
Few players in the Minors can match Brinson's power and speed ceiling, the combination of which could make him a 30-homer/30-steal threat at maturity.
#68 || OF Corey Ray
Though he's struggled this season back in the Florida State League, Ray's combination of power and speed could help him to jump on the fast track to the big leagues once everything clicks.
#81 || RHP Luis Ortiz
He lacks projection in his physical 6-foot-3 frame and needs to stay healthy, but Ortiz has both the stuff and command profile to develop into a No. 2 starter.
#94 || RHP Brandon Woodruff
[H]e has the requisite command of three average-or-better pitches, not to mention strong ground-ball tendencies, to develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter.
#95 || 2B Keston Hiura
With a clean bill of health, Hiura could be among the first hitters from the '17 Draft to reach the big leagues.
#99 || 2B/SS Isan Diaz
Diaz's ceiling as a power-hitting middle-infielder is tantalizing, but he's likely few years away from making an impact at the highest level.
The greatest strength of Milwaukee’s system is its depth, as only White Sox, Padres, and A’s have more prospects graded with a 50 or better OFP thank Milwaukee’s 16 (the Yankees and Philles also have 16). Beyond those ranked in the top-100, these prospects project to be average-or-better major league players:
RHP Corbin Burnes
There's some concern after the Draft that Burnes' arm was too quick and that effort in his delivery could mean a move to a bullpen, but he's shown the ability to maintain velocity deep into starts with above-average control, all while missing plenty of bats and generating more than enough ground-ball outs.
OF Tristen Lutz
Lutz's calling card is his big right-handed power, the product of bat speed and strength. More than just a slugger, he also has natural hitting ability, recognizes pitches well and uses the whole field. He'll almost certainly move to right field in pro ball, where his strong, accurate arm will play nicely.
SS/2B Mauricio Dubon
Though he's trapped behind slick-fielding shortstop Orlando Arcia on the Brewers' depth chart, Dubon's ability to play multiple up-the-middle positions, all while contributing at the plate, gives him a high floor as a big leaguer.
3B Lucas Erceg
The Brewers have long been trying to develop a homegrown third baseman, and while it's early in his career, Erceg, with his high offensive ceiling, could be the team's long-term answer.
RHP Freddy Peralta
Aside from the concerns about his size, Peralta has the stuff and pitchability to project as a future starting pitcher. He'll need time to hone his craft in the Minors, but the final product could be that of a No. 3 or 4 starter.
OF Brett Phillips
Overall, Phillips' intriguing blend of power, speed and hitting ability could make him a dynamic top-of-the-order hitter, with the floor of a productive fourth outfielder.
OF Trent Clark
Clark's offensive ceiling is amplified by his potential to remain in center field, where he's spent much of his pro career. Should he be forced off the position, there's little doubt he would hit enough to hold down an outfield corner, though his fringy arm strength might limit him to left field.
OF Monte Harrison
If he can stay on the field and everything goes as hoped with his development, Harrison could develop into a perennial 20/20 player who also offers considerable value with his defense.
RHP Marcos Diplan
Diplan is adept at missing bats and generating weak contact with his two plus pitches, giving him the ceiling of a No. 3 starter or a high-leverage reliever if he can regain his control and command.
RHP Trey Supak
Supak still requires quite a bit of physical projection, but he has the chance to be a durable mid-rotation starter with three Major League average-or-better pitches when all is said and done.
David Stearns and co. signaled with their strong pursuits of both Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray (the club was reportedly willing to give up Corey Ray and Luis Ortiz in packages for either player) this summer that they are ready to begin adding players to supplement the major league roster. Stearns indicated in a recent radio interview that the days of his club as sellers as likely over, saying that "We never got too far in any discussion (regarding selling) because we believe most of the players here are guys we want to build around."
With the rebuild in the rear view mirror and Stearns armed with both ample payroll space and a rich cache of prospects, it wouldn’t be surprising to find the hot stove burning all winter long in Milwaukee.