As with many other prospect ranking outlets, Fangraphs has been slowly publishing their organizational lists throughout the winter. Milwaukee’s was released about two months ago in the beginning of December, though with the more recent moves completed by David Stearns and company, that list is already obsolete. Yesterday, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel released their updated top 100 prospects list at Fangraphs, and they feel that even after Milwaukee’s big trade last month, the club still has three top-100 talents within their minor league system. They are:
24. 2B Keston Hiura
Most premium college hitters are viewed as “safer” draft prospects, but Hiura had an arm issue that prevented him from playing defense while he was scouted. A PRP injection had him back at second base late last year. Hiura is an advanced hitter with lightning-quick hands and surprising power for his size. He projects as a plus hitter with above-average power, which could make him an All-Star at second base, assuming all is well with the arm and he’s able to stay there.
35. RHP Corbin Burnes
A new position on the rubber and a more evenly paced delivery helped Burnes pound away at the glove-side corner of the strike zone with precision in 2017. His slider’s movement and his high-spin fastball’s natural cut play well together there, both away from righties and down-and-in against lefties. It helped him reach and have success at Double-A, and an aggressively competitive Brewers club might need him at some point this year. Burnes’ curveball flashes plus, too, and he’s a terrific athlete and fiery competitor. He’s a near-ready above-average big-league starter.
68. OF Tristen Lutz
Lutz was about as under-the-radar as a first-round pick who’d attended a number of high-profile showcases could be. His 70-grade raw power puts up exit velocities that would fit near the top of MLB leaderboards, along with good enough pitch selection to get to his power in games and enough athleticism to play an average defensive right field. He’s only had 187 plate appearances in pro ball but could move quickly — similar to how Braves’ 3B Austin Riley reached Double-A at age 20 — if Lutz’s tools play as quickly as some scouts expect.
There were also a number of prospects included in the write up that were considered for the top 100, but ultimately fell short of earning that distinction in the eyes of Longenhagen and McDaniel. That group includes an additional four Brewers - RHP Brandon Woodruff, 3B Lucas Erceg, and OFs Trent Grisham and Corey Ray. So while Milwaukee may only have three of the top-100 players, they do have seven of the top 137 players listed in the post altogether.
As was the case with recently released list at Baseball Prospectus, three of the four prospects that Milwaukee sent off in the Christian Yelich trade were ranked in Fangraphs’ edition of the top 100. Lewis Brinson tops that group at #13, followed by Monte Harrison at #52 and Isan Diaz at #87.
At this time last year, Milwaukee had seven prospects ranked in the top-100 according to the Fangraphs list. That included Brinson (#16) and Diaz (#58) who are no longer with the organzation, as well as lefty Josh Hader (#59) who graduated to the MLB. Corey Ray (#20), Luis Ortiz (#57), Brandon Woodruff (#80), and Lucas Erceg (#84) all fell out of the top 100, though three of those players were at least considered for this year’s top 100 rankings.