Milwaukee Brewers 2014 Top 15 Prospects

 

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; World pitcher Ariel Pena throws a pitch during the sixth inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers farm system is not exactly stacked.  In fact, Keith Law just ranked them dead last in baseball, and I can’t say I blame him.  There is a clear gap in the system, the players close to big league ready will likely be mostly role players, while the players that could be impact guys, are all in the low minors and still need seasoning.  One player I really struggled with is Wei-Chung Wang.  He was selected in the Rule 5 draft despite having pitched just over 47 professional innings, all in the Gulf Coast League.  Wang is really a low minor’s arm with some decent upside, but due to a technicality, he was available in the Rule 5.  I decided not to include him in my prospect list as I am not convinced the Brewers will be able to keep him through the season.

Triple A: Nashville Sounds (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Huntsville Stars (Southern League)
High-A: Brevard County Manatees (Florida State League)
Low-A: Wisconsin Timber Ratlers (Midwest League)
Advanced Rookie: Helena Brewers (Pioneer League)
Complex-Rookie: AZL Brewers (Arizona League), DSL Brewers (Dominican Summer League)

#15

Tucker Neuhaus – 3B
Date of Birth: June 18, 1995
Height/Weight: 6’3″/190 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, 2nd round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: The high school shortstop does not have the athleticism to stick up the middle and will likely end up at third.  He has a solid arm, and decent hands.  His swing is smooth and looks good, but that did not translate to success in complex ball in 2013.  He clearly very raw, and his bat could turn into 15 or so home runs and an average around .270, but that is still a long way away.

2014 Prognosis: Neuhaus will likely get to play full-season ball in the Pioneer league this season.

#14

Ariel Pena – RHP
Date of Birth: May 20, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’3″/240 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, trade with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2013 Stats:

Analysis: You can watch an entire game of Pena’s and never see the same delivery twice.  His lead arm often flails and never ends up in the same spot or position, so it is no surprise his control is less than desirable.  That said, he does have a strong fastball, big curve, and decent slider and splitter.  The vast majority of his appearances have been as a starter, and he has the body for it, but if he is to do anything at the big league level, it would probably be as a middle reliever.

2014 Prognosis: He should get his first taste of Triple-A this season with a small chance of getting a cup of coffee or two in the bigs.

#13

Clint Coulter – C
Date of Birth: July 30, 1993
Height/Weight: 6’3″/210 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (27th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Coulter has raw power and a cannon arm behind the dish.  He struggles to get low in his stance defensively due to his size, and his footwork is slow, but he makes up for it some with that arm.  He has yet to put up much of an average outside of complex ball, and he doesn’t project to ever be an average guy.  If he can reduce the stiffness defensively, and make enough contact for his power to take form, he could be a decent catcher someday, but he needs time and work.

2014 Prognosis: He should head out to the Midwest League and stick there most the year.  He needs to turn the raw power in to some long balls in game action to justify the first round pick the Brewers spent on him just two years ago.

#12

Yadiel Rivera – SS
Date of Birth: May 2, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’2″/180 lbs.
Acquired: 2010, 9th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Rivera can really pick it at short, but his bat remains an issue.  He has solid range, a good arm, and soft hands up the middle.  His long and thin body could add some weight, and his long swing could turn into some power in time, but he struggles to get his bat on the ball.  He strikes out too much and walks too rarely to project much more than a defensive option/utility guy at the big league level.

2014 Prognosis: He should make the jump to Double-A this season, and if he can add some power to his game, he might become an interesting option as a potential September call-up.

#11

Nick Delmonico – 3B
Date of Birth: July 12, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’2″/200 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, trade with Baltimore Orioles

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Delmonico became a household name for about 10 minutes last season when he was traded to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez.  After joining the Brewers organization, he simply lost the ability to hit, putting up just a .194 average in 21 games at High-A for the Manatees.  He has flashed some decent power at times, but that is his only real tool.  His defense and arm are both about average and he is slow on the bases.  He does have a good eye at the plate, so he should be able to put up a decent OBP at just about any level.

2014 Prognosis: He could make the jump to Double-A this year, but he has to hit.  He gets overrated because of the name of the player he was traded for, but he should be able to put up decent numbers in the high minors this year.

Mar 6, 2013; Peoria, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Hunter Morris (92) hits a solo home run during the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

#10

David Goforth – RHP
Date of Birth: October 30, 1988
Height/Weight: 6’/188 lbs.
Acquired: 2011, 7th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Goforth’s career has been back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation, but a trip to the Arizona Fall League may have cleared some things up.  He spent the fall working exclusively out of the bullpen, where his big fastball and good cutter play very well.  He also has a change and curve that can keep a hitter honest.  While he is not on the 40-man roster, he has received an invite to big league camp, where he will get the chance to prove he has what it takes to be a big league caliber reliever.

2014 Prognosis: Triple-A is a likely starting spot for Goforth this season, but a good spring and/or solid production in Nashville could earn him a call-up by mid-season.

#9

Taylor Jungmann – RHP
Date of Birth: December 18, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’6″/210 lbs.
Acquired: 2011, 1st round (12th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Jungmann has a long body, but he doesn’t take advantage of it all that well.  He shows little fluidity, and is very mechanical in his delivery.  He has a fastball that works around 92 MPH, to go with a decent change, and a potential plus slurvy breaking ball.  He certainly projects as a solid fourth or fifth starter, but he needs to smooth out the deliver and improve his control, as he has walked more batters than he has struck out in two professional seasons.

2014 Prognosis: Repeating Double-A may be in the cards for Jungmann, who dealt with injuries in the fall and has not, as of yet, been invited to big league camp.

#8

Devin Williams – RHP
Date of Birth: September 21, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’3″/165 lbs.
Acquired: 2013, 2nd round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: The top pick for the Brewers in 2013 (first round pick was given up in the Kyle Lohse signing) is a pitcher taken out of high school who has put together just under 35 professional innings thus far.  He has a body that easily projects as a long term starter, but his delivery needs some work.  He leans back a bit much, which can cause him to get under his fastball and elevate it at times. His fastball currently sits in the low-90s, but he could definitely add some velocity to that as he fills out.  He has good feel for his change, and has a slider that needs work, but could turn into a plus pitch.  His upside is that of a number two starter, but he is incredibly raw and needs quite a bit of seasoning.

2014 Prognosis: Williams should get his first taste of full season pro ball this year, and will probably spend it all in the Pioneer League.

#7

Victor Roache – OF
Date of Birth: September 17, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’1″/225 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (28th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Roache was drafted in 2012, but didn’t debut until 2013, where he jumped straight to Low-A . His average was not so great, but he did flash the reason he was a first round pick, power.  He can absolutely crush the ball, but he is too aggressive and is easily fooled by off-speed stuff.  He is also limited in the field as he does not have a strong arm nor much range.  He projects as a power hitting left fielder, but must improve his pitch recognition.

2014 Prognosis: A bump up to High-A is likely for Roache, but a mid-season promotion to Double-A is certainly a possibility.

#6

Hunter Morris – 1B
Date of Birth: October 7, 1988
Height/Weight: 6’2″/226 lbs.
Acquired: 2010, 4th round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: I may be too high on Morris, given that he is a poor defender and lacks a plus hit tool, but he makes up for it in the power category.  There are plenty of differing opinions on Morris, some feel he is no longer a prospect, while others feel his 2013 struggles were a fluke.  I think he can improve his average to a .260 level hitter at the big league level and can produce 20+ home runs.  The Brewers may feel differently, as they have brought in several options at first base, but none locks to make the club.

2014 Prognosis: Morris has a shot at being the opening day first baseman, he also has the potential of not making it to the big leagues at all this year.  I personally lean towards the former, and he could be a solid lefty power bat in the later half of the order this season.

Sep 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson (52) throws a pitch against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit- Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

#5

Johnny Hellweg – RHP
Date of Birth: October 19, 1988
Height/Weight: 6’9″/205 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, trade with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2013 Stats:


Analysis: Hellweg is one of two players to make the list that has already made his big league debut.  He has a mid-to-high 90s fastball with plenty of arm-side run.  He has an incredibly long body which he uses well.  He has a big, two-plane curve and an average change.  His control can be an issue at times, which may limit his time as a starter. He has the chance to stick in the back of the rotation, but could also be an excellent late inning reliever.

2014 Prognosis: Hellweg will battle for the last spot in the rotation, but should make the opening day roster even if it is not in the rotation.

#4

Orlando Arcia – SS
Date of Birth: August 4, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’/165 lbs.
Acquired: International Free Agent

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Arcia missed all of 2012 due to injury, and struggled in 2013, but he spent much of the season at just age 18.  He has a real plan at the plate, and a natural bat-to-ball ability.  He is incredibly thin, and should add some strength, but power will likely never be part of his game.  Where Arcia shines is in the field.  He has good range, a plus arm, with great footwork and hands.  There is little doubt he will be able to play short at the big league level, but he still needs time to fill out and improve at the plate.

2014 Prognosis: Given he will spend the majority of the season at age 19, Arcia will likely spend the year with High-A Brevard County.

#3

Mitch Haniger – OF
Date of Birth: December 23, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’2″/180 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 1st round (28th overall)

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Haniger spent his first full season of pro ball across two levels, and looked decent at both stops, before getting the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League.  He has a good approach at the plate, and a natural power swing.  He will be able to hit for a respectable average, and should be able to impress in the power department.  He will be a solid big league corner outfielder, with a good enough arm to play in right if needed.

2014 Prognosis: Despite having yet to play an inning above High-A, Haniger earned himself an invite to big league camp this spring. He will likely still head down to Double-A to start the season, but could have an outside shot at a September call-up.

#2

Tyrone Taylor – OF
Date of Birth: January 22, 1994
Height/Weight: 6’2″/185 lbs.
Acquired: 2012, 2nd round

2013 Stats:

Analysis: Taylor is raw, but athletic, with a good feel for the game.  He can struggle against right-handed pitchers, especially when they throw him breaking stuff.  His reads and routes in center need work, but he is still young, and is athletic enough to stay in center.  He has a good arm and is a solid base runner.  He has a good swing, it won’t turn into a whole lot of home run power, but there is clear doubles potential in the bat. Taylor probably has the highest upside of anyone in the Brewers system, but he is just too raw for me to rank him at the top prospect in the organization.

2014 Prognosis: High-A is a likely assignment for Taylor, but a late season bump to Double-A is not out of the question.

#1

Jimmy Nelson – RHP
Date of Birth: June 5, 1989
Height/Weight: 6’5″/245 lbs.
Acquired: 2010, 2nd round

2013 Stats:


Analysis: His fastball is heavy and tops out at 95 MPH.  The slider is a plus pitch and can create a lot of swings and misses.  He does throw a change, but it is more of a show-me pitch at this point.  His control is inconsistent, and his stiff body can result in balls being left up in the zone.  He is the most polished prospect in the organization, and while he doesn’t have a real high ceiling, his floor is pretty high.  With his pitch mix and big, strong body, he can be a true workhorse at the back of the big league rotation for many years.

2014 Prognosis: Nelson will probably be the number four starter this year with the Brewers, where he will help form a decent starting staff.