Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 Prospects for 2010

Top 20 Milwaukee Brewers Prospects for 2010

All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd

1) Brett Lawrie, 2B, Grade B+: I believe in the bat enough to give him a B+ despite the uncertainty regarding his position. He's got a terrific swing, excellent bat speed, and controls the zone fairly well.

2) Alcides Escobar, SS, Grade B+: He's ready now. Terrific glove, will steal bases, but has no power and might not hit much higher than .260 with a .320 OBP currently. Will have a very long career as a defensive specialist and could win Gold Gloves.

3) Eric Arnett, RHP, Grade B: Needs to sharpen his control, but power sinker is impressive, combines grounders and strikeouts, which I like. I think he'll take a big step forward in 2010.

4) Jonathan Lucroy, C, Grade B: Power dropped off in Double-A, but 78/66 BB/K ratio is a huge positive and I think the homers will come back. Glove is coming along.

5) Mat Gamel, 3B, Grade B-: His stock has slipped some, but it is fashionable to bash him right now and I think people are getting too negative. Still just 24, power upside remains highly impressive. Don't know where he fits on defense.

6) Kentrail Davis, OF, Grade B-. Need to see some pro numbers before ranking higher, but upside is very high. I hope they send him to the Midwest League; I'd like to take an early look in April.

7) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Grade B-: Personal favorite from the '08 draft, I hope he goes to Wisconsin to start the year for the same reason as with Davis. Upside is very high and they've handled him cautiously thus far.

8) Wily Peralta, RHP, Grade B-: I did get to see this guy in the Midwest League; he's got a great arm and pitched well. Uncertainty about role lingers, but the upside is high.

9) Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Grade B-: Has some command issues, but another guy with a good stuff and a good ceiling.

10) Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Grade B-: Excellent fastball/slider combination, throws strikes but they aren't always quality strikes, needs to improve changeup if he remains a starter.

11) Zach Braddock, LHP, Grade C+: Made a huge step forward with his control this year, kills lefties, but durability issues remain and preclude a higher grade right now.

12) Josh Butler, RHP, Grade C+: Pitched at five levels which makes his numbers easy to miss, but he's got impressive stuff and could help as both a starter and reliever. Combined numbers: 9-3, 2.97, 96/43 K/BB in 118 innings, 111 hits, 1.91 GO/AO.

13) Lorenzo Cain, OF, Grade C+ Very toolsy outfielder, gets an injury mulligan but even with that his bat is still a boom-or-bust investment. Needs 400 at-bats in Triple-A.

14) Angel Salome, C, Grade C+: Like Gamel, it is stylish to downgrade Salome right now, but given his past track record I wouldn't bet against a huge rebound season.

15) Amaury Rivas, RHP, Grade C+: Looks like a prospect as an inning-eater type.

16) Eric Farris, 2B, Grade C+: I wish he drew more walks, but excellent speed, contact hitting ability, and good glove at second base make him interesting.

17) Caleb Gindl, OF, Grade C+: Scouts don't like the tools, but they can't ignore his bat after a fine season in the Florida State League at age 20.

18) Evan Anundsen, RHP, Grade C+: Another strike-throwing inning eater, overlooked due to other arms in the system.

19) Mark Rogers, RHP, Grade C+: Rose from the dead with 1.67 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 65 innings in the Florida State League. Was on a strict pitch count after missing two entire seasons with injuries. Still has very good stuff, needs to sharpen control, still worry about durability. Better stuff than Anundsen.

20) Logan Schafer, OF, Grade C+: Has the skills and tools to be an excellent fourth outfielder.

21) Scooter Gennett, SS, Grade C+: Speculative grade based on impressive scouting reports and video on a high school bat. Might drop to C.

OTHERS (Grade C): John Axford, RHP; Nick Bucci, RHP, Cutter Dykstra, 2B-OF; Mike Fiers, RHP; Taylor Green, 3B; Brooks Hall, RHP; Del Howell, LHP; Jeremy "Cheech" Jeffress, RHP; Maverick Lasker, Private Investigator, RHP; Seth Lintz, RHP; Chuck Lofgren, LHP; Dan Merklinger, LHP; Jose Alberto Pena, OF; Josh Prince, SS; D'Vontrey Richardson, OF; Max Walla, OF; Rob Wooten, RHP.

I like this system; there is a lot of depth here.

I really believe in Brett Lawrie's bat. I'd just make him an outfielder and let him concentrate on hitting, but if he can improve his second base defense the Jeff Kent comparisons are dead-on. The guy seems to thrive on big stages.

I originally rated Escobar as a strong Grade B. After sleeping on it, I decided that the pro-Escobar case was a good one and boosted him to Grade B+. He should have a 15-year career, but I have enough concerns about what his hitting to keep him rated below Lawrie overall. 

Gamel's reputation goes up and down and is down right now with a lot of people, but he's still too young for me to diss him completely. I think Lucroy's power will come back. Kentrail Davis could rival Lawrie at number one among the hitters once we get some pro data.

I'm impressed with the pitching depth. I buy into Arnett enough to rank him tops right now, but the lower and middle levels of the farm system are filled with interesting arms: Odorizzi, Peralta, and Scarpetta are all personal favorites, and there are others with significant potential as well. There are inning-eater types, there are very live arms, there are relief prospects, there are just a lot of options here. Josh Butler is overlooked and could be a nice surprise investment for people in '10.

Overall, I think Brewers fans should be pleased with the way things are developing on the farm.

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