The Graduate: Manny Parra | Born: October 1982 | Left-Handed Pitcher
Manny Parra finally overcame a plethora of injuries to have an impact at the Major League level… about three years after he was originally expected to surface in Milwaukee. He showed some rough edges, including 181 hits allowed in 166 innings pitched, as well as a walk rate of 4.07 BB/9. But he also showed tons of potential with a K/9 rate of 7.97 and a fastball that averaged 92.4 mph. His secondary stuff – a change-up and curveball – still needs work but there are not many lefties that can hit the mid-90s.
The Riser: Jonathan Lucroy | Born: June 1986 | Catcher
Nabbed in the third round of the 2007 draft, Jonathan Lucroy has hit, hit and then hit some more. His two-year pro line is .315/.379/.492 with 24 homers and 116 RBI in 709 at-bats. In 2008, split between two A-ball levels, he posted rates of 10.9 BB% and 17.7 K%. Lucroy also showed improved power this season and slugged 20 homers with an ISO of .193. He is a solid leader behind the plate but his defence is lacking at times. That said, he threw out 56 of 125 runners attempting to steal (45%).
The Tumbler: Brent Brewer | Born: December 1987 | Shortstop
The aptly-named Brent Brewer, who was drafted out of high school in the second round of 2006, has been slow to develop for Milwaukee. His biggest flaw has been a lack of contact. Brewer has struck out at an alarming rate in his career, with a three-year average near 30%. His batting average has also been… well, average, at the career mark of .247. Brewer has not developed power as expected, either, with his ISO dipping to .098 in 2008. On the plus side, he has stolen 71 bases over the past two seasons.
The ’08 Draft Pick: Jake Odorizzi | Born: January 1987 | Right-Handed Pitcher
The athletic Jake Odorizzi was nabbed in the supplemental first round and swayed to forgo a scholarship to the University of Louisville, thanks in part to a seven-figure contract. In a small sample size, Odorizzi had a nice pro debut in Rookie Ball with 18 hits allowed in 20.2 innings. He also posted rates of 3.92 BB/9 and 8.27 K/9. He is fairly polished for a prep player, so he could begin 2009 in A-ball.
The ’09 Sleeper: Efrain Nieves | Born: November 1989 | Left-Handed Pitcher
Yes, his ERA was a little high and he allowed 78 hits in 76 innings, but Efrain Nieves offers a lot of promise. A 2007 seventh round pick out of Puerto Rico, Nieves has improved in each of his first two pro seasons and showed exceptional control for a young player in 2008 with a walk rate of 1.18 in Rookie Ball. His strikeout rate was solid at 7.78K/9 and the slim Nieves (6’0”, 170 pounds) is working to add upper body strength, which should help add a tick or two to his 90 mph fastball.
Up Next: The Detroit Tigers
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