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Minor League Ball releases top-20 Milwaukee Brewers prospects

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SB Nation’s own John Sickels gives his thoughts on Milwaukee’s farm system.

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Minor League Ball has released its top-20 prospects for the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm system. The list features very few surprises but includes A-F grading that predicts a player’s future output. A is a superstar, B is an MLB regular, C is a guy with something positive but big question marks elsewhere, D and F are bad, but I’m sure you’ve grasped that concept by now.

Let’s get it started with the top five:

1. Keston Hiura, B+/A- ETA: Late 2019
2. Corbin Burnes, B+ ETA: Late 2018
3. Brandon Woodruff, B ETA: 2018
4. Luis Ortiz, B ETA: Late 2018
5. Freddy Peralta, B ETA: 2019

Hopefully, you’ve read one of my top prospect posts before so I plan on skimming the Hiura section. If you want to talk Hiura for hours, please tweet me @BrewCrewBall and @BrewCrewBlue and I will oblige. I’m very high on Hiura. The Brewers’ top prospect has a plus bat with potential for plus power. His defensive limitations project him to second base or left field, but his bat can play anywhere because it’s really really good.

The Burnes report seems a smidge dated. It gives details of Burnes’ stuff as plus but occasionally raw with effort to the delivery. Anyone who saw him in AA reports that his stuff wasn’t nearly as raw as it was in Carolina and his delivery became much easier and more repeatable. Burnes’ has stated in interviews that his focus is on improving the consistency of his delivery and his secondary pitches, so he’s aware those are problem areas.

Woodruff’s report is simple: he’s ready for the major leagues, just needs to work on consistency.

Oritz’s profile talks about his plus delivery but questions his results. Adding my own note here: Ortiz struggles with health. His stuff is fine and his performance takes a dip when his health is troubling him. He needs to prove he can pitch more than 100 innings and then he can become the most valuable pitcher in the system.

Peralta gets a bump in the rankings thanks to last year’s performance. He is pegged as a middle-of-the-rotation starter with an average fastball that plays as plus thanks to his great slider and changeup.

6. Brett Phillips, B- ETA: 2018
7. Lucas Erceg, B- ETA: 2020
8. Triten Lutz, B- ETA: 2022
9. Mauricio Dubon, B- ETA: 2018
10. Corey Ray, B- ETA: 2020

Phillips was evaluated as being a guy who can be an All-Star one season and a replacement level player the next. Sickels takes time to laud his power and the robotic arm Phillips had installed that lets him make the world’s most amazing throws from the outfield.

The article points out Erceg’s poor contact ability but goes on to compliment his power and defensive ability. He says Erceg could take some time to adjust as more advanced pitchers will try to exploit his aggressive tendencies.

Sickels profiles Lutz as a future right fielder who could hit fairly well, the power and arm are a real positive while his speed is average with the likelihood that it will decrease with age.

Dubon doesn’t get much of a profile, more of an overview of his statistical performance between AA and AAA. Sickels does mention that he sees Dubon as a second baseman longterm.

As for Ray, Sickels mentions like most that Ray’s poor hitting mechanics led to an awful performance. His lack of consistency was exposed in Carolina which has now created doubts that he can succeed to get to the majors. Sickels still believes in Ray and that he will overcome. In a different article, I did see mention that many believe Ray’s swing issues were related to pain in his lower half, likely linked to his surgery before the season.

For the bottom 10, I’m going to skim over the content with the players and highlights I think deserve to be noted. I recommend reading the article if you would like the full recap of each prospect on the top 20.

11. Trent Grisham, C+/B- ETA: 2021
12. Marcos Diplan, C+/B- ETA: 2020
13. Cody Ponce, C+/B- ETA: 2019
14. Troy Stokes Jr., C+/B- ETA: 2019
15. Taylor Williams, C+ ETA: 2018
16. Jon Perrin, C+ ETA: 2018
17. Jacob Nottingam, C+ ETA: 2019
18. KJ Harrison, C+ ETA: 2021
19. Jorge Lopez, C+ ETA: 2018
20. Josh Pennington, C+ ETA: 2020

Sickels mentions that it could be beneficial for Trent Grisham to let it fly more often. The vision and contact profile for Grisham could increase his offensive production if he starts swinging more.

There is mention of giving Taylor Williams more time to develop his changeup so that he can move into a starting role. Otherwise, it is stated that Williams should have plenty success in the pen.

Jon Perrin is compared to Mike Fiers. Perrin is given decent grades on all of his tools, but Sickels says together, they work better than they should.

Nottingham’s note mentions that he still has a shot to “be significantly valuable.”