ST. LOUIS, MO -SEPTEMBER 7: Taylor Green #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers attempts to field a line drive against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 7, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 2-0. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 Prospects for 2012
THIS LIST WAS REVISED JANUARY 10, 2012
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine of course. Full reports on all of players can be found in the 2012 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 in the book 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.
1) Wily Peralta, RHP, Grade B: Looks like he could be a solid number three starter if his command remains steady. We should see him sometime in 2012.
2) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Grade B: A year behind Peralta on the development track, should begin 2012 in Double-A, another guy who can be a mid-rotation starter.
3) Taylor Jungmann, HP, Grade B: Grade could go a notch higher once we get some pro data and see how his velocity looks. He should also be a mid-rotation guy at worst.
4) Jed Bradley, LHP, Grade B: As with Jungmann, he could be a B+ once we see how he looks in pro ball. I like both of them.
5) Taylor Green, 3B, Grade B-: I don't expect him to be a star, but he should be a solid contributor, hitting for average with moderate power and acceptable glovework.
6) Jorge Lopez, RHP, Grade B-: Puerto Rican righthander is a big favorite of mine from the 2011 draft. Super-projectable, already throws strikes. Grade could shoot up fast.
7) Scooter Gennett, 2B, Grade B-: Seems to hit .300 in his sleep, but needs to steady down on defense, improve baserunning.
8) Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Higher ceiling than Fiers, but still struggling with his command.
9) Mike Fiers, RHP, Grade C+: Took a lot of people by surprise, but if you read my book last year, you knew about him. Average fastball, but excellent changeup, good breaking ball, good command, knows what he's doing. Older prospect at age 26 but ready to help now, could be like Josh Collmenter.
10) Logan Schafer, OF, Grade C+: I really love his glove, should hit for a decent average with some steals, excellent fourth outfielder.
11) Santo Manzanillo, RHP, Grade C+: Throws very hard, successful when his command is working, but his track record before 2011 is troublesome and regression always possible.
12) Caleb Gindl, OF, Grade C+: Doesn't look great in uniform, but controls zone well, has some pop, held his own in Double-A at age 22.
13) David Goforth, RHP, Grade C+: Would rank higher on pure velocity, but secondary pitches are still in question. If he refines them, grade could be much higher next year.
14) Nick Bucci, RHP, Grade C+: Continues slow, steady development pace. Possible mid-rotation starter, Double-A transition will tell us a lot.
15) Kentrail Davis, OF, Grade C: Made better use of his speed this year, but otherwise disappointing.
16) Orlando Arcia, SS, Grade C: Not a high profile guy, but played very well in the Dominican Summer League on both offense and defense. Stock will rise quickly if he replicates this.
17) Hunter Morris, 1B, Grade C: Nice power numbers, but poor strike zone judgment stands out as a negative factor for future success.
18) D'Vontrey Richardson, OF, Grade C: Tools guy, Florida State football product, still very raw. Has 70 speed but a sub-.500 stealing success percentage, which is really hard to pull off.
19) Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Grade C: Ate innings and got grounders in Low-A, but command issues are apparent and he was a college guy against younger hitters.
20) Nick Ramirez, 1B, Grade C: Similar to Morris, a first baseman with power but a very low walk rate from a big-time baseball school.
OTHERS: Sean Albury, RHP; Eric Arnett, RHP; Jacob Barnes, RHP; Khris Davis, OF; Frankie De La Cruz, RHP; Eric Farris, 2B; Drew Gagnon, RHP; Kyle Heckathorn, RHP; Lucas Luetge, LHP; Martin Maldonado, C; Dan Meadows, LHP; Dan Merklinger, LHP; Mike McClendon, RHP; Chris McFarland, SS; Matt Miller, RHP; Nick Ramirez, 1B; Michael Reed, OF; Yadiel Rivera, SS; Mark Rogers, RHP; Zelous Wheeler, INF.
This system isn't as bad as you might expect at first glance, but there is very little depth beyond the top guys. Peralta, Thornburg, Jungmann, and Bradley are a good foundation for a future pitching staff, and Jorge Lopez could end up being the best of the lot if he develops properly. Mike Fiers doesn't have the upside of the others, but is ready now.
Lack of hitting depth is an issue, I don't see anyone here with impact offensive potential, although there are guys who should be useful, productive role players.
There is lots of Grade C in this system, making exact rankings problematic. Your mileage may vary.