2012 Fish Watch: Milwaukee Brewers Final Update


The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.

Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.

Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.

Milwaukee Brewers (S2S 2012 Brewers Team Prospect List)

SS – Orlando Arcia (17) – Singed out of the Dominican Republic as a NDFA on October 22nd, 2010

2011 – DSL Brewers: 0.294/.386/.459, 16 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 13 SB, 30 BB and 20 SO in 218 AB
2012 – Did Not Play

Arcia’s season was over before it ever got started. He fractured his ankle sliding into 2B during extended spring training and was lost for the season as a result. The injury was so severe that he required surgery and had plate inserted to help with the repair and healing. The hope was that he would be able to return to action, even if in a limited capacity, for the instructional league this fall. At the least he should be fit to participate in activities at the Brewers Dominican Academy over the winter. Fortunately given his youth and the fact he looked to be ahead of schedule with possible assignment to Helena this summer, Arcia’s lost season shouldn’t hamper his development or his timeline. Provided the ankle fully heals of course.

RHP – Jorge Lopez (19) – Brewers 2011 2nd Round Pick

2011 – AZL Brewers (Rk): 2.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 13 H, 3 BB and 10 SO in 12.0 IP
2012 – AZL Brewers: 5.33 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 27 H, 12 BB and 20 SO in 25.1 IP
2012 – DSL Brewers: 4.76 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 22 H, 10 BB and 26 SO in 22.2 IP

As we transition from Arcia to Lopez, we move from a lost season due to injury to a lost season of a different sort. After a strong 12.0 inning professional debut that helped push him into Baseball America’s Brewers Top-10 (#9), the Puerto Rican righty seemed poised for big things in 2012. Instead he struggled in his return to the Arizona League. He could not duplicate, let alone improve upon, his strikeout and walk rates from his 2011 stint and was terribly inconsistent. As a result was moved to the Dominican Summer League at the end of July.

Once there, things picked up and he showed more signs of life, striking out 10.3 per nine. He appeared in 5 DSL games with mixed results, but in his 3rd and 4th games he threw a combined 10.2 shutout innings with 6 hits, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts. Evidence that his stuff and upside remain solidly intact. Of course his time in the AZL and the other three DSL appearances – 16 H, 12 ER, 8 BB and 15 SO in 12.0 IP – provide evidence of his inconsistency and spotty control/command. His 2012 season will certainly move him off the radar a bit, but don’t be surprised if he busts out with a fantastic season in 2013. All the tools are there for Lopez to potentially develop into a #2 starter and sometimes a little adversity early can do wonders for a young prospect.

OF – Ben McMahan (22) – Brewers 2011 23rd Round Pick

2011 – Helena (Rk): 0.315/.329/.519, 10 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 3 SB, 3 BB and 36 SO in 167 PA
2012 – Wisconsin (A): 0.287/.335/.500, 21 2B, 11 3B, 15 HR, 9 SB, 29 BB and 129 SO in 449 PA

The former backup to Mike Zunino at the University of Florida, McMahan got off to a slow start and hit 0.200/.255/.260 with 3 doubles during the month of April. He recovered to have his best month of the year with a 0.363/.381/.625 line including 6 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR during May. Of course as you can see from the above stat line McMahan struck out in 28.7% of his plate appearances. He accumulated a healthy chunk of those strikeouts – 75 to be exact – during the months of July and August. But even if we remove that late season burst of Ks from the equation his 24.8 K% from April through June was still up from the 21.6% rate he put together in 2011. While he did increase his BB% this season (6.4%), that was essentially a foregone conclusion since it was just 1.8% in his time with Helena. I suppose shouldn’t so flippantly dismiss a 4.7% jump in the walk rate of a player who was also making the jump to full season ball but he’s got such a long way to go in his rates to be viewed as a viable prospect in my book.

That said, if he can get his strikeouts under control, the Brewers might have something in McMahan. He shows a knack for contributing in a variety of ways, is a good athlete, and has always received high marks for his leadership and intelligence. In the amateur ranks he was an excellent defensive catcher and that coupled with the rest of his skill set I can’t help but think the Brewers would be better served moving him back behind the plate.


For more on the Milwaukee Brewers, check out Reviewing the Brew!