All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don’t get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get out of the top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you are looking for.
1) Mat Gamel, 3B, Grade B+: Bat is very impressive, not sure about where he fits on the roster due to defensive limitations.
2) Alcides Escobar, SS, Grade B: Should I go with B+ here? Defense is excellent and made huge progress with hitting, though I want to see another good year with the bat.
3) Brett Lawrie, C, Grade B: One of my favorite players from the 2008 draft. I totally buy into the bat. Only questions about position keep him from B+.
4) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Grade B: Huge upside with 100 MPH fastball, putting things together gradually, still learning to pitch.
5) Jon Lucroy, C, Grade B: Strong bat, underrated defense pushes him ahead of Salome in my opinion.
6) Angel Salome, C, Grade B: He can mash, but defense continues to draw mixed reviews, and if he can’t catch where does he play?
7) Lorenzo Cain, OF, Grade B-: Tools guy continues to improve his skills.
8) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Grade B-: Another personal favorite from ’08 draft. Given that Lawrie and Odorizzi were my two top picks in my Twins Shadow Draft, I suppose I think like the Brewers do.
9) Cutter Dykstra, OF, Grade C+: Almost a clone of his father, though perhaps not quite as good in the end.
10) Caleb Gindl, OF, Grade C+: Needs to cut back on the strikeouts, but a big bat from a small body.
11) Cole Gillespie, OF, Grade C+:
12) Wily Peralta, RHP, Grade C+: A high upside arm, but a long way from the majors.
13) Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Grade C+: Who? Watch this guy….live arm, great numbers in rookie ball, could be a breakthrough candidate in ’09.
14) Taylor Green, 3B, Grade C+: Solid hitter, but perhaps not enough pop to play third in the long run.
15) Omar Aguilar, RHP, Grade C+: Another live arm making progress
16) Alexandre Periard, RHP, Grade C+: Numbers aren’t superb, but he is young, throws strikes, and gets grounders.
17) Josh Romanski, LHP, Grade C+: Polished college lefty could move fast. He can hit some too.
18) Evan Frederickson, LHP, Grade C: Huge upside arm from the left side, but very raw for a college guy.
19) Erik Komatsu, OF, Grade C: A solid all-around player, a Gillespie type who has average tools but knows how to play.
20) Efrain Nieves, LHP, Grade C: Projectable lefty got good reports from scouts in the Pioneer League. Control best attribute right now.
Others: Cody Adams, RHP: Blake Billings, RHP; Zach Braddock, LHP; Bobby Bramhall, LHP; Brent Brewer, SS; Chris Cody, LHP; Tim Dillard, RHP; Eric Farris, 2B: Eric Fryer, OF-C; Maverick Lasker, RHP; Seth Lintz, RHP; Roque Mercedes, RHP; Rob Wooten, RHP; Brae Wright, LHP; Shawn Zarraga, C.
If there is someone else that you really think should be included, make your case. I always miss someone. Space is limited and some of the players above will probably get cut if I have to add someone else.
SYSTEM IN BRIEF: The Brewers don’t have anyone at the top that looks like a surefire star. Both Gamel and Escobar have questions still, though both should be good players certainly. I love Lawrie, and between him, Salome, and Lucroy the Brewers have depth in young catching. Lawrie could advance super fast if he takes to defense as well as the Brewers hope. Both Escobar and Lawrie are under consideration for B+. Tools guys like Cain and Escobar made progress this year, and they also have good depth in “solid” types like Gillespie, Gindl, and Green.
Pitching depth looks like it needs improvement. Jeffress has a Grade A arm but Grade C polish, leading to the Grade B rating at this time. There are relief arms with potential, and some guys at the lower levels who could be good in time but aren’t there quite yet.
Overall I think it’s a solid system that could look even stronger a year from now depending on how the younger guys pan out.