The top prospect lists continue to trickle out as we approach the start of Spring Training, and earlier today Baseball Prospectus released their take on the minor league system of our Milwaukee Brewers. Here is how their top-10 list stacks up:
- 2B Keston Hiura
- OF Tristen Lutz
- RHP Zack Brown
- OF Corey Ray
- SS Brice Turang
- IF Mauricio Dubon
- OF Troy Stokes
- OF Joe Gray
- C Mario Feliciano
- 3B Lucas Erceg
Hiura, once again, is considered the crown jewel of the system. “Hiura has a nearly perfect swing,” the BP scouts say, and “he could be a perennial .300 hitter with a few 20-home-run seasons mixed in to boot.” BP gives him an OFP grade of 70 - meaning he has the ceiling of a perennial All-Star second baseman - with a “likely” role of 60, or a plus second baseman who is occasionally an All-Star. High praise indeed for the player BP predicts will debut sometime in late 2019.
After Hiura, however, the quality of the system starts to drop off quickly. Only one other player, #2 prospect Tristen Lutz, earned an OFP of at least 60, but his distance away from the big leagues makes him a high-risk prospect. Zack Brown is now considered the top pitching prospect on the farm, drawing 55/45 grades (possible #3/4 starter/likely #4-5 starter) and garnering praise for his three advanced offerings and durability on the mound despite some effort in his delivery. Other players earning 55/45 grades were Corey Ray (possible three true outcome masher) and Brice Turang (possible above-average shortstop), though both players were given high grades for risk.
Mauricio Dubon earned a 50/45 grade (possible second-division starting infielder/likely a good utility option) and then after him, the top-10 is rounded out by a handful of 50/40 players in Troy Stokes, Joe Gray, Mario Feliciano, and Lucas Erceg. All of these players could be average regulars in the big leagues if everything breaks right, but more likely the holes present in each of their games will be enough to ticket them for some kind of bench role in the future.
Only one player was considered interesting enough to make the “others of note” category for the Brewers, and that was 2018 sixth-rounder Drew Rasmussen. As I detailed in a post for BP Milwaukee last summer, Rasmussen was a first-round pick by the Rays in 2017 who failed to sign after his post-draft physical revealed elbow damage that would eventually require Tommy John surgery, the second-such procedure of his collegiate career. He sat out all of his redshirt senior season at Oregon State before falling to Milwaukee in last summer’s draft and didn’t pitch at all after signing with Milwaukee. He figures to be back on the mound sometime in 2019, however:
The Brewers took a flyer on him in the sixth round of this year’s draft, and he showed a potential plus fastball along with two average secondaries at Oregon State when healthy. He hasn’t been healthy in a very long while though, but in a system this shallow, he’s a mere season away from a place on the Top 10’s. That’s a, uh, significant ask though, so check back this time next year.
Though Milwaukee’s top-10 prospect list may be a little short on pitching, their “Top Talents 25 and Under” list is stacked with five exciting arms - Josh Hader (#2), Corbin Burnes (#3), Brandon Woodruff (#5), Freddy Peralta (#7), and Brown (#8). The first four hurlers in that group made significant impacts during the 2018 season and are expected to play major roles for the big league team this coming season, with Brown possibly joining them later in the summer. The only other non-prospect to make the 25-and-under list was Orlando Arcia, ranking #4. BP remains split on what his future might hold, saying “Orlando Arcia remains in a bit of a holding pattern...The bat really needs to return to 2017 form, though, and it’s anyone’s guess on whether that’ll be in the cards. If his feeble 2018 numbers prove to be the norm, he’ll probably get lapped on this list by 2020.”