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Milwaukee Brewers Top 20 prospects for 2018: mid-season review

Checking in with the Brew Crew

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers
Freddy Peralta
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to Milwaukee Brewers farm system.

This list was originally published February 21st, 2018 and updated March 14th, 2018

*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

1) Keston Hiura, 2B, Grade B+/A-: Age 22, first round pick in 2017 from University of California-Irvine, ninth overall; hitting .294/.354/.471 between High-A and Double-A, 31 walks, 98 strikeouts in 463 at-bats; average range at second base but reasonably reliable, stock holding though maybe more B+ than B+/A-.

2) Corbin Burnes, RHP, Grade B+: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 from St. Mary’s; 5.15 ERA with 81/31 K/BB in 79 innings in Triple-A, then 3.27 ERA in 22 major league innings, 23/7 K/BB; good performance so far.

3) Brandon Woodruff, RHP, Grade B: Age 25, 11th round pick in 2014 from Mississippi State University; 4.02 ERA with 64/31 K/BB in 69 innings in Triple-A, 4.80 ERA in 30 innings in the majors with 31/11 K/BB, now past rookie limits with 73 major league innings; versatile workhorse in my view.

4) Luis Ortiz, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, first round pick in 2014 by the Texas Rangers from high school in Sanger, California, traded to Brewers in 2016 Jonathan Lucroy trade; traded to Baltimore Orioles in Jonathan Schoop deal; 3.52 ERA in 95 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 82/25 K/BB, stock holding.

5) Freddy Peralta, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 by the Seattle Mariners, traded to Brewers for Adam Lind; 2.72 ERA in 59 Triple-A innings, 84/27 K/BB; promoted to majors and continues to strike people out, 4.02 ERA in 69 innings, 86/38 /BB, just 40 hits; now past rookie limits; seems entirely legitimate to me, just needs to stay healthy.

6) Brett Phillips, OF, Grade B/B-: Age 24, originally drafted by Houston Astros in sixth round in 2012 from high school in Seminole, Florida, traded to Brewers in Carlos Gomez deal; traded to Kansas City Royals in Mike Moustakas deal; hit .240/.331/.411 in Triple-A, hitting .185/.257/.304 in 92 at-bats in the majors, eight walks, 44 strikeouts, now past rookie limits; physically talented but feel for the strike zone comes and goes; I think they just need to let him play and see what happens in 2019.

7) Lucas Erceg, 3B, Grade B-: Age 23, second round pick in 2016 from Menlo College; hitting .248/.306/.382 with 13 homers, 37 walks, 82 strikeouts in 463 at-bats in Double-A; has made some progress with the glove, bat remains promising but inconsistent.

8) Tristen Lutz, OF, Grade B-: Age 20, compensation round pick in 2017 from high school in Arlington, Texas; hitting .245/.319/.421 with 13 homers, 33 doubles, 46 walks, 139 strikeouts in 444 at-bats; Midwest League sources describe him as dangerous hitter but streaky and will need zone work at higher levels.

9) Mauricio Dubon, INF, Grade B-: Age 24, drafted in the 26th round by the Boston Red Sox in 2013 from high school in Sacramento, California; traded to Brewers in December 2016; got off to a fast start in Triple-A at .343/.348/.574 in 108 at-bats but tore his ACL and had to have surgery.

10) Corey Ray, OF, Grade B-: Age 23, first round pick in 2016, fifth-overall, from the University of Louisville; had a disappointing 2017 season but much better in ’18, hitting .240/.25/.490 with 27 homers, 33 steals, 57 walks, 168 whiffs in 508 at-bats in Double-A; contact/average still an issue but he’s getting to his power now.

11) Trent Grisham, OF, Grade C+/B-: Formerly known as Trent Clark, he changed his name to Grisham this past winter; age 21, first round pick in 2015 from high school in Richland, Texas; hitting .221/.351/.330 with seven homers, 61 walks, 83 strikeouts in 312 at-bats in Double-A; draws walks but doesn’t do much else yet.

12) Marcos Diplan, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 21, signed by the Texas Rangers out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, traded to Brewers in Yovani Gallardo deal; 4.13 ERA with 112/69 K/BB in 113 innings in High-A/Double-A, has been around awhile but still only 21, could thrive if moved to bullpen.

13) Cody Ponce, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 24, second round pick in 2015 from Cal Poly Pomona, 4.53 ERA in 91 innings in Double-A, 81/33 K/BB, 86 hits; throws four pitches but erratic, unclear if he starts or relieves in long run.

14) Troy Stokes, Jr, OF, Grade C+/B-: Age 22, fourth round pick in 2014 from high school in Baltimore, Maryland; hitting .233/.340/.430 with 18 homers, 18 steals, 59 walks, 144 whiffs in 446 at-bats in Double-A; another power/speed type with polish questions.

15) Taylor Williams, RHP, Grade C+: Age 27, fourth round pick in 2013 from Kent State University; 4.34 ERA in 48 innings in the majors, 52/24 K/BB; bullpen component going forward.

16) Jon Perrin, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 27th round pick in 2015 from Oklahoma State University; traded to Kansas City Royals, 4.00 ERA in 63 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 57/30 K/BB, 55 hits; seems rather generic but can surprise on strong command days.

17) Jake Nottingham, C, Grade C+: Age 23, sixth round pick by the Astros in 2013 from high school in Redlands, California, traded to Oakland Athletics in 2015 then to the Brewers in 2016; hitting .286/.352/.537 in 175 Triple-A at-bats with 10 homers, went 4-for-20 in the majors; currently on DL with wrist injury; bat showing signs of life after rough 2016 and 2017.

18) KJ Harrison, C, Grade C+: Age 22, third round pick in 2017 from Oregon State University; hitting .229/.299/.388 with 12 homers, 38 walks, 146 strikeouts in 410 at-bats in Low-A; for a college hitter to struggle this much in the Midwest League is not a good sign.

19) Jorge Lopez, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, second round pick in 2011 from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, traded to Kansas City Royals, 4.86 ERA in 33 major league innings, 25/21 K/BB, 34 hits; finally got the change of scenery he needed, whether it helps or not remains to be seen.

20) Josh Pennington, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, 29th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2014 from high school in Lower Cape May, New Jersey; acquired in 2016 Tyler Thornburg trade; voluntarily retired in May after pitching two innings.

OTHER GRADE C+

Phil Bickford, RHP; 5.12 ERA in 32 innings in High-A, 36/18 K/BB; still whiffing people, still erratic otherwise.

Zack Brown, RHP; Breakthrough season, 2.48 ERA in 120 innings in Double-A, 113/35 K/BB, 91 hits; plus curve with decent fastball and change, stock up.

Jean Carmona, INF; Traded to Baltimore Orioles, hitting .225/.282/.357 in Pioneer and New York-Penn Leagues.

Larry Ernesto, OF; Hit .236/.294/.394 in 203 at-bats in Dominican Summer League, promoted to Arizona Rookie League and is 7-for-20 so far.

Mario Feliciano, C; Hitting just .205/.282/.329 in High-A but only 19 years old.

Gabriel Garcia, 1B; Hitting just .185/.293/.295 in 302 at-bats in Low-A.

Jake Gatewood, 1B; Hitting .244/.302/.466 with 19 homers, 28 walks, 114 strikeouts in 352 at-bats in Double-A, will miss rest of season with knee injury.

Carlos Herrera, RHP; 5.44 ERA in 84 innings in Low-A, 60/45 K/BB, not very good.

Adrian Houser, RHP; 5.13 ERA in 74 innings in Double-A/Triple-A with 66/24 K/BB; 3.29 ERA in 13.2 major league innings, looks like long relief/spot starter type.

Thomas Jankins, RHP; 4.42 ERA in 130 innings in Double-A, 95/36 K/BB; another 5/LR guy.

Caden Lemons, RHP; Limited innings in rookie ball, 5.40 ERA in 22 frames with 18/11 K/BB.

Kodi Medeiros, LHP; Traded to Chicago White Sox for Joakim Soria; 3.55 ERA in 129 innings in Double-A with 131/61 K/BB.

Nate Orf, 2B; Hitting .300/.401/.434 in 363 at-bats in Triple-A, 22 steals; older prospect at age 28 but could be useful role player.

Carlos Rodriguez, OF; Ripping the ball, .325/.363/.414 with 14 steals between Domincan Summer League and rookie ball; plus running speed, stock trending up.

Trey Supak, RHP; Fine season, 2.60 ERA in 132 innings between High-A and Double-A, 119/42 K/BB, 107 hits; stock improving.

Je’Von Ward, OF; Hitting .288/.381/.375 with 12 steals in Pioneer League, some speed with nice OBP skills, just 18 years old.

Braden Webb, RHP: 4.00 ERA in 115 innings between High-A and Double-A with 118/63 K/BB; needs to lower walks.

************

I love me some Freddy Peralta.

Graduations and trades will make the 2019 list look much different. Hiura and Ray will battle at the top of the ‘19 list with 2018 draftee Brice Turang probably third. After that will likely be a large group of C+/B- types. Expect rising stock for Trey Supak and Zack Brown, Carlos Rodriguez, and 2018 draftee LHP Aaron Ashby.