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Brewers Pre-Season Top 20 in Review

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Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

1) Prince Fielder, 1B
Hit .291/.388/.569 for Triple-A Nashville, then .288/.306/.458 in 39 games for the Brewers. Needs to tighten up the strike zone a bit, but very close to being ready. Has a good chance to be a better player than his dad.

2) Rickie Weeks, 2B
Hit .239/.333/.394 with 13 homers, 15 steals in 96 games for the Brewers. Given a normal development track, he will be a star and a Seven Skill player.

3) Jose Capellan, RHP
3.87 ERA with 76/42 K/BB in 91 innings for Nashville. Was actually more effective in the majors, 2.87 with 14/5 K/BB in 16 innings. Has a very good arm and should have a nice career in relief.

4) Hernan Iribarren, 2B
Hit .290/.360/.379 with 38 teals for Class A West Virginia. Not a lot of power, but runs well and has a career .336 average, albeit in low A-ball. 21 years old, could develop in any number of directions.

5) Corey Hart, OF
Hit .308/.377/.536 with 19 homers and 31 steals at Nashville. Has nothing left to prove in the minors, but is overshadowed by other prospects in the Brewers system.

6) Ben Hendrickson, RHP
Status is slipping. Went 5-11, 4.97 in 27 starts for Nashville, 122/58 K/BB but allowed 176 hits in 156 innings. He pitched very well at the same level in 2004, so frustration may be as much of a factor as anything. A change of scenery may help.

7) Manny Parra, LHP
5-6, 3.96 in 16 starts for Double-A Huntsville, 86/21 K/BB in 91 innings. A solid prospect, but health and durability are issues. Missed the second half of the season after shoulder surgery, but expected to make a full recovery.

8) Dana Eveland, LHP
10-4, 2.72 in 18 starts for Huntsville. Promoted to the majors and used in relief, posted 5.97 ERA in 32 innings and had control problems. Was rushed this year and could use some Triple-A in '06. High ceiling though.

9) Nelson Cruz, OF
Hit .306/.388/.577 in 68 games for Huntsville, then .269/.382/.490 in 60 games for Nashville, combining for 19 steals and 27 homers. Power/speed guy, plate discipline has improved.

10) J.J. Hardy, SS
Hit .247/.327/.384 in 124 games for the Brewers. Just 22 years old, with only 26 games of Triple-A under his belt. Given a normal growth curve, he should improve a great deal.

11) Mark Rogers, RHP
Mixed results from 2004 first-round pick. 2-9, 5.11 mark at West Virginia was pretty ugly, but he also struck out 109 in 99 innings. Great stuff, but his control still needs a lot of work. High ceiling pitcher but will need more time to develop.

12) Dennis Sarfate, RHP
9-9, 3.88 in 24 starts for Huntsville, 110/59 K/BB in 130 innings. He looks like a decent prospect to me, though he gets little attention.

13) Brad Nelson, OF
Hit .293/.370/.428 for Huntsville in 55 games then .253/.359/.399 in 81 games for Nashville. Needs to show better power in Triple-A if he wants a chance to play. Nelson has an erratic track record, but at age 22 he still has time to turn into a useful player.

14) Dave Krynzel, OF
Hit .256/.324/.416 with 24 steals and 11 homers for Nashville. Although still considered a top prospect by some scouts, I think Krynzel is best-suited to be a reserve outfielder. He has a good glove and runs well, but won't hit enough to start for a good team.

15) Yovani Gallardo, RHP
Went 8-3, 2.74 in 26 games, 18 starts for West Virginia, 110/51 K/BB in 121 innings. A solid prospect who should be considered a fantasy sleeper, his stock is on the rise.

16) Lou Palmisano, C
Hit .255/.314/.359 in 118 games for Brevard County. Stock is dropping: he seems to be stagnating offensively. His plate discipline is decent, but his power has vanished.

17) Josh Baker, RHP
Awful season for West Virginia, 6.12 ERA in 65 innings, allowed 14 homers and 76 hits. I thought he was a sleeper coming out of college, but he had his butt kicked this year and no longer looks like even a marginal prospect.

18) Carlos Villanueva, RHP
A definite sleeper prospect, went 8-1, 2.32 in 21 starts for Brevard County, 124/32 K/BB in 112 innings with just 78 hits allowed. Was hit hard after promotion to Double-A however, going 1-3, 7.40 in 21 innings. Will need some additional development time, but just 21 years old with a solid track record in the low minors.

19) Josh Habel, LHP
2.56 ERA in 10 starts for Brevard County, but was less effective in swingman role for Huntsville, going 3-7, 5.65 with 47/28 K/BB in 65 innings, 85 hits allowed. Finesse lefty, 24 years old. Stock has dropped.

20) Steve Sollmann, 2B
Hit .272/.370/.305 with 21 steals for Brevard County. Scrappy line drive hitter with good speed, but lack of power will be serious handicap at higher levels.

The Brewers have a bright future if their pitching holds up. It wouldn't surprise me if they won their division next year, at least if the Cardinals start to show their age.