We're almost done with the pre-season prospect list reviews. We turn now to the Milwaukee Brewers. Remember please, this is the PRE-SEASON list. It is not a new list. These are pre-season rankings and grades.
1) Wily Peralta, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. 8-11, 4.42 ERA in 24 major league starts, 90/54 K/BB in 136 innings, 143 hits. He's had some rough outings but he's had some very good ones, too, and has been the second-best starter on the team. I think he'll steadily improve.
2) Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Grade B: 5.79 ERA for Triple-A Nashville, with 87/29 K/BB in 79 innings, 90 hits. In the majors, a 1.78 ERA with 21/10 K/BB in 30 innings. His ERA at Nashville is misleadingly bad, his ERA in the majors is misleadingly good. I think he could perform something like Peralta next year and steadily improve from there.
3) Victor Roache, OF, Grade B: Hitting .246/.324/.447 with 18 homers, 38 walks, 107 strikeouts in 358 at-bats for Low-A Wisconsin. Got off to a very slow start, shaking off injury effects, but has hit much better lately, batting .284/.347/.557 in his last 45 games.
4) Clint Coulter, C, Grade B: Hitting .232/.317/.370 in 52 games split between Midwest League, Pioneer League, and Arizona Rookie League. Not hitting as well as expected and his defense has been a real struggle, with 19 passed balls and nine errors in just 37 defensive games.
5) Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Grade B-: 10-4, 2.44 ERA for Nashville, 71/62 K/BB in 106 innings. Got killed in major league trial, 13 walks and 19 hits in 10.2 innings. Ground ball type who can't get away with bad control.
6) Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Grade B-: 3.72 ERA in 116 innings for Double-A Huntsville, 73/55 K/BB, 90 hits 1.98 GO/AO. I'd like to see more strikeouts; projects as an inning-eater type rather than a dominator.
7) Mitch Haniger, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .264/.348/.441 with 28 doubles, 11 homers, 46 walks, 76 strikeouts in 390 at-bats between Low-A and High-A. Could end up as a tweener without enough power to start at a corner
8) Scooter Gennett, 2B, Grade B-: Line drive hitter batting .280/.327/.371 with 21 walks, 59 strikeouts in 321 at-bats for Nashville. Hit .231/.286/.404 in 52 at-bats in the majors. Scrappy type without big tools, has lost 10 points of batting average every time he gets promoted.
9) Hunter Morris, 1B, Grade B-: Hitting .242/.310/.472 with 22 homers, 37 walks, 92 strikeouts in 396 at-bats for Nashville. Respectable power, but batting average and OBP look insufficient to be a regular.
10) Ariel Pena, RHP, Grade B-: 4.33 ERA with 104/67 K/BB in 114 innings, 97 hits for Huntsville. No change in status really; has a live arm but command problems, probably more of a reliever than a starter at the highest levels.
11) Tyrone Taylor, OF, Grade B-: Hit .278/.349/.420 with 15 steals in 381 at-bats in Low-A before going on DL with hip injury. Supposed to be reactivated soon. Good tools, impressive first half until sagging before hitting the DL.
12) Mark Rogers, RHP, Grade C+: Hurt all year again, just activated for rehab work.
13) Hiram Burgos, RHP, Grade C+: Couldn't sustain his '12 breakthrough, hampered with shoulder problems. 6.44 ERA in six major league starts, 18/11 K/BB in 29 innings, currently on Nashville disabled list.
14) Khris Davis, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .255/.349/.473 in 69 games for Nashville, batting .286/.359/.600 in 35 major league at-bats. Has shown power at every level; scouts don't like him but he usually hits.
15) Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Grade C+: 3.17 ERA with 125/49 K/BB in 125 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 111 hits. Control will wobble at times but overall a solid year, stock up.
16) Drew Gagnon, RHP, Grade C+: 5.74 ERA with 89/40 K/BB in 100 innings between High-A and Double-A, 114 hits. Not a great year; component ratios are not impressive, disappointing overall.
17) Caleb Gindl, OF, Grade C+: Hit .294/.360/.489 in 76 games for Nashville, so far he's at .290/.364/.449 in 29 major league games covering 69 at-bats. Good start to his career, nothing left to prove in the minors with three solid Triple-A seasons under his belt.
18) David Goforth, RHP, Grade C+: 11-7, 3.38 ERA with 84/41 K/BB in 112 innings between High-A and Double-A, 93 hits. Fits Brewers pitching prospect mold perfectly: a solid arm from college ranks with unspectacular metrics but a chance to be a useful pitcher as a fourth starter type or a reliever.
19) Jorge Lopez, RHP, Grade C+: 5.22 ERA with 72/39 K/BB in 91 innings in Low-A, 91 hits. Projectable sort hasn't lived up to his full potential yet, but still has time at age 20.
20) Cameron Garfield, C, Grade C+ Hitting .242/.272/.370 with 13 walks, 85 strikeouts in 359 at-bats for High-A Brevard County, hasn't built on much stronger '12 season.
OTHER GRADE C+: Nick Bucci, RHP; Logan Schafer, OF.
OTHERS: Orlando Arcia, SS; Jed Bradley, LHP; Kentrail Davis, OF; Adam Giacalone, 1B: Kyle Heckathorn, RHP; Damien Magnifico, RHP; Chris McFarland, 2B; Casey Medlen, RHP; Matt Miller, RHP; Michael Olmsted, RHP; Jose Pena, OF; Chad Pierce, RHP; Josh Prince, OF; Nick Ramirez, 1B; Yadiel Rivera, SS; Jesus Sanchez, RHP; Cody Scarpetta, RHP; Josh Stinson, RHP; Michael Strong, LHP
A very depressing season in Milwaukee, with the big league team in last place, 49-65, and their best hitter turning into a giant distraction.
Not everything is bad, of course. Jean Segura isn't a technical rookie, but he was a key part of the Zack Greinke trade and has blossomed into one of the best shortstops in baseball. Peralta has been decent enough and should improve, and they've gotten some useful work out of spare parts like Donovan Hand and Brandon Kintzler. Caleb Gindl and Khris Davis have made the most out of limited playing time, enough to get noticed anyway.
The team really needs more impact talent but not much is close to the majors. Nashville and Huntsville have some interesting complementary players available but nobody stands out as a future star. Nelson, Hellweg, Pena, Thornburg, Jungmann, Goforth. . .these guys all have inning-eating potential and should be serviceable in some role, but they aren't future aces.
There are more interesting bats in A-ball: Victor Roache, newly-acquired Nick Delmonico, Tyrone Taylor, Orlando Arcia, and outfielder Michael Reed are all players of interest, with Roache in particular capable of a big surge in 2014 as the wrist injury recedes further in the background. Not having a first round pick for 2013 was a handicap, but second-rounder Devin Williams is a quality high school arm, granted one who will need lots of development work.
I had the Brewers system ranked 23rd pre-season and I don't see much here to change that approximate ranking.
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