All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too concerned about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get past the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize.
Feel free to critique the list, but use logic and reason rather than polemics to do to. The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Full reports on all of players can be found in the2011 Baseball Prospect Book. We are now taking pre-orders. Order early and order often!
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS:
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Almost all Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.
A major point to remember is that grades for pitchers do NOT correspond directly to grades for hitters. Many Grade A pitching prospects fail to develop, often due to injuries. Some Grade C pitching prospects turn out much better than expected.
Also note that there is diversity within each category. I'm a tough grader; Grade C+ is actually good praise coming from me, and some C+ prospects turn out very well indeed.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. You have to read the full comment for my full opinion about a player, the letter grade only tells you so much. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 Prospects for 2011
1) Mark Rogers, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline B. Love the stuff, but command concerns keep me cautious with the grade.
2) Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline B. Personal favorite for a couple of years, like Rogers I worry about his command but like his stuff.
3) Kentrail Davis, OF, Grade B-: Good tools, hits for average, I think he'll get on base. But what about power?
4) Amaury Rivas, RHP, Grade B-: Solid across the board, looks like a fourth starter to me.
5) Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Grade B-: Huge ground ball specialist, another future fourth starter?
6) Wily Peralta, RHP, Grade B-: Another arm with solid stuff, though I don't like the dropping strikeout rate and deterioration in K/BB in Double-A.
7) Scooter Gennett, 2B, Grade B-: A very good hitter, needs to polish defense but could make a lot of noise in '11. Keep close track of him.
8) Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Grade C+: Starter or reliever? Fits into Brewers profile as a fourth starter type with decent but not exceptional stuff.
9) Caleb Gindl, OF, Grade C+: I think he's better than he looked in Double-A, but still more of a future role player than heavy duty regular.
10) Eric Komatsu, OF, Grade C+: Like Gindl, can be a good role player but unless he turns the power up he will be stretched to start.
11) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Grade C+: Very good stuff, could move quickly if used in bullpen.
12) Hunter Morris, 1B, Grade C: Plenty of power potential, but something makes me wonder if he'll fully live up to expectations. I might be underrating him.
13) D'Vontrey Richardson, OF, Grade C: Outstanding tools, extremely raw. Can he refine them?
14) Tyler Roberts, C, Grade C: Strong power potential, needs a lot of defensive polish.
15) Eric Farris, 2B, Grade C: Forgotten man after injury season, but he can steal bases and has a good glove.
16) Khris Davis, OF, Grade C: Good power production in the Midwest League, but a bit old for the level. Grade will rise if he hits in Double-A. . .might be able to pull a Jerry Sands.
17) Logan Schafer, OF, Grade C: Should be a good fourth outfielder if he gets healthy.
18) Dan Merklinger, LHP, Grade C: Doesn't have blazing stuff, but good stats, protected on 40-man roster. Maybe a fifth starter.
19) Mike Fiers, RHP, Grade C: Older prospect at 25, fastball is average, but really knows how to pitch.
20) Robert Hinton, RHP, Grade C: Good fastball/slider combo could help in pen this year.
OTHERS OF NOTE: Eric Arnett, RHP; Nick Bucci, RHP; Chris Dennis, 1B-OF; Cutter Dykstra, 3B; Pat Egan, RHP; Taylor Green, 3B; Cody Hawn, 1B; Brandon Kintzler, RHP; Maverick Lasker, RHP; Matt Miller, RHP; Joel Pierce, RHP; Austin Ross, RHP; Jesus Sanchez, RHP; Zelous Wheeler, SS.
Trades tore the guts out of this system and there isn't much left. Rogers, Scarpetta, and Kentrail Davis are all capable of making an impact, but all three have significant questions as well. After that, you have a huge mass of guys who can be contributors but not stars or even regulars, or tools hounds who are very raw. One exception is Scooter Garrett, who I expect will sneak up on people this year.
There isn't much else to say about the Brewers. They are making a play to win this year, and that's a legitimate use of farm talent, provided you are prepared to recharge quickly.