Top 32 Prospects: Milwaukee Brewers

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Milwaukee Brewers. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Brewers Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Keston Hiura 22.3 AA 2B 2019 60
2 Tristen Lutz 20.3 A RF 2022 50
3 Corey Ray 24.2 AA CF 2019 50
4 Brice Turang 19.0 R SS 2022 45
5 Mauricio Dubon 24.4 AAA SS 2019 45
6 Zack Brown 24.0 AA RHP 2019 45
7 Mario Feliciano 20.0 A+ C 2022 40+
8 Eduardo Garcia 16.0 R SS 2024 40
9 Aaron Ashby 20.5 A LHP 2022 40
10 Joe Gray 18.7 R CF 2023 40
11 Payton Henry 21.4 A C 2022 40
12 Troy Stokes Jr. 22.8 AA LF 2019 40
13 Braden Webb 23.6 AA RHP 2020 40
14 Trent Grisham 22.1 AA OF 2020 40
15 Lucas Erceg 23.6 AAA 3B 2020 40
16 Pablo Abreu 19.1 R OF 2023 40
17 Trey Supak 22.5 AA RHP 2019 40
18 Marcos Diplan 22.2 AA RHP 2019 40
19 Carlos Rodriguez 18.0 R CF 2022 40
20 Micah Bello 18.4 R CF 2022 40
21 Larry Ernesto 18.2 R RF 2024 40
22 Korry Howell 20.2 R CF 2022 40
23 Clayton Andrews 21.9 A LHP 2021 40
24 Lun Zhao 17.2 R RHP 2024 40
25 Tyrone Taylor 24.9 AAA OF 2019 40
26 Adrian Houser 25.8 MLB RHP 2019 40
27 Eduarqui Fernandez 16.6 R CF 2023 35+
28 Antonio Pinero 19.7 R SS 2022 35+
29 Yeison Coca 19.5 R 2B 2022 35+
30 Daniel Castillo 17.8 R SS 2024 35+
31 Je’Von Ward 19.1 R RF 2023 35+
32 Caden Lemons 20.0 R RHP 2022 35+

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from UC Irvine (MIL)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 60/60 45/60 45/45 45/50 45/45

Hiura reached Double-A in his first full pro season, and then was clearly one of the top five or six talents in the Arizona Fall League, where he won League MVP. Most importantly, his arm strength is once again viable at second base.

An elbow injury relegated Hiura to DH-only duty as a junior at UC Irvine, and he may have gone even earlier in the 2017 draft if not for concerns about the injury and how it might limit his defense. That’s no longer a concern, as Hiura has an average arm and plays an unspectacular second base. This is an incredible hitter. He has lightning-quick hands that square up premium velocity and possesses a rare blend of power and bat control.

Hiura’s footowork in the box is a little noiser than it has to be, and if any of his swing’s elements are ill-timed, it can throw off the rest of his cut. This, combined with an aggressive style of hitting, could cause him to be streaky. But ultimately he’s an exceptional hitting talent and he’s going to play a premium defensive position. We think he’s an All-Star second baseman.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Martin HS (TX) (MIL)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 70/70 40/60 50/45 40/45 60/60

Lutz’s 2018 foray into full-season ball (.272/.348/.477 in May, June and July) was bookended by two awful months (he hit .180 in April, .215 in August) resulting in a .245/.321/.421 line. Already at physical maturity, Lutz’s huge power is the foundation of his profile. He’s capable of hitting long home runs to left and center, and he has the raw strength to drive out mis-hit balls the opposite way.

Everything else he does is average. Adept at identifying breaking balls in mid air, Lutz’s moderate swing-and-miss issues stem from his mediocre bat control. This might limit his game power output, but the issues aren’t so bad that we’re worried about Lutz not hitting entirely. He has below-average range and instincts in right field, but his arm is plus. Lutz will likely start next season, age-20, at Hi-A. He projects as a middle-of-the-order power bat who provides little value on defense.

3. Corey Ray, CF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Louisville (MIL)
Age 24.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 45/50 70/70 40/45 40/40

Despite his notable 2018 statistical output — 66 extra base hits, including 27 home runs, and 37 steals on 44 attempts at Double-A Biloxi — we’re still somewhat apprehensive about Ray and have him graded out exactly as we did last offseason, when he was coming off a terrible statistical campaign. Ray, long lauded for his makeup, made some adjustments to remedy the timing issues that plagued him in 2017. His front hip is clearing earlier, enabling him to catch some of the inside pitches that were tying him up last year. This has seemed to improve the quality of Ray’s contact, but it hasn’t remedied his strikeout issues. Ray struck out in 29.3% of his 2018 plate appearances and had a 17.5% swinging strike rate, the latter of which would rank as the 15th most frequent SwStr% in the majors last year. Ray swings through pitches in the zone fairly frequently and despite his prodigious physical abilities, his offensive profile feels unstable.

His up-the-middle defensive profile gives him some wiggle room on offense, but he’s not a very instinctive defender and is closer to average in center field than one might expect given his speed. Players can succeed despite heavy strikeouts; Chris Taylor’s skillset looks an awful lot like Ray’s (power, strikeouts, and a pedestrian defense at a premium position) and Taylor was a 3 WAR player last year. Ray’s peak could look like that. He’s also similar to players like Franchy Cordero, Brad Zimmer, late-career Colby Rasmus, and an even longer list of hitters who also have lean years when they don’t hit and produce closer to replacement level. We expect peaks and valleys over the course of a long career from Ray.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Santiago HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/50 20/45 60/60 50/60 55/55

Even as an underclassman playing alongside rising seniors like Nick Allen, Hunter Greene, Nick Pratto and Royce Lewis, Turang did not look out of place. In addition to his a balletic defensive abilities, he was also a polished hitter who had advanced strike-zone feel. Turang struck out just once as a high scool junior and entered his final showcase summer at the top of his high school draft class. Then, he stopped hitting. After looking sluggish during the summer and fall, Turang’s placement among the first round candidates changed. He fell to the back half of the first round and signed for $3.4 million, roughly $400,000 over slot.

After signing, Turang looked so much more advanced than the rest of the AZL that he was pushed, after just two weeks, to the Pioneer League. Throughout the summer and fall, he ran deep counts and walked a lot, but made little impact contact. He’s shown average raw power in BP, so perhaps he’ll eventually have the developmental option of sacrificing contact to get to it. As long as some aspect of his offense develops, especially as it seems likely to be paired with a great idea of the strike zone and plus shortstop defense, Turang should be an above-average regular.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2013 from Capital Christian HS (CA) (BOS)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 40/40 30/35 55/55 45/50 55/55

If not for suffering a left ACL tear during a rundown in early May, Dubon, who had a 23-game hit streak at the time, probably would have debuted in 2018 due to Milwaukee’s middle infield woes. Instead, Dubson missed much of the season and is on track for a likely 2019 debut. He’ll be the first native Honduran to play in the majors. Dubon was acquired (along with Travis Shaw) as part of a lopsided package for Tyler Thornburg.

His elite hand-eye coordination and bat control drive a contact-oriented offensive profile. Since coming over from Boston, Dubon has thickened his once frail-looking frame and improved upon some of the things that limited his in-game power. He was rotating better early in 2018, with the timing of his hip/hand spearation being better, too, and he was no longer ditching his leg kick with two strikes. His 2016 Portland and 2017-2018 Colorado Springs slugging outputs are probably cariacatures of his true talent level, but Dubon should at least have doubles power.

Defensively, Dubon is passable at shortstop and second base. He saw time in center field during the 2016 Fall League but hasn’t played there since. Lots of scouts like him as a super utility type, but Dubon will be 25 in July and he hasn’t played anywhere other than the middle infield at any point in his career, save for that Fall League. It’s more likely he gets a chance to be Milwaukee’s everyday shortstop in 2019 and, provided he hasn’t lost a step due to the ACL tear, we like him as a low-end regular there.

6. Zack Brown, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Kentucky (MIL)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 45/50 45/50 91-94 / 95

The Brewers 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Brown has now performed at every level up through Double-A. Trepidation regarding his ability to start stems from Brown’s wonky, violent delivery. But he’s never had issues filling up the strike zone, has a pitch mix sufficient for navigating lineups several times, and hasn’t had an arm injury, with his lone pro DL stint was due to an ankle injury caused by a comebacker.

He’s likely on a path similar to Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, where he’ll initially debut as a multi-inning reliever, but a fine three-pitch mix means Brown could eventually transition into a starting role, profiling as a #4/5.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Beltran Academy HS (PR) (MIL)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 50/55 30/45 40/30 30/45 55/55

Feliciano had a totally lost 2018 due to various nagging injuries. He was limited to just 42 games at Hi-A, and two in the Fall League. While at Hi-A Carolina, he struck out in 36% of his plate appearances. Feliciano also has one of the higher ceilings in this system. He turned 20 shortly before this list went to press, so his inabiltiy to perform as an 18-year-old in full-season ball in 2017 and a 19-year-old at Hi-A in 2018 is less troublesome due to his age.

When healthy, Feliciano has shown bat control and above-average power on contact. If he can develop defensively (a process which has, thus far, been slow due to the reps lost to injury), Feliciano will be a catcher with a complete offensive profile, and a potential star. Teenage catching prospects are notoriously volatile and often, a decline in physical tools and/or stagnant defensive development starts with chronic injury. Feliciano’s 2018 is what the start of past catching bust narravites look like. This is a very talented, volatile prospect who could be at or near the top of this list next year or be off it in two.

40 FV Prospects

8. Eduardo Garcia, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 16.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/50 20/50 45/50 40/60 50/60

Signed for $1.1 million in mid-July, Garcia had an eye-opening instructional league. His range, hands, actions and arm are all easy fits at shortstop, and he could be a plus glove there at peak. His entire offensive profile depends on his frame filling out. Garcia’s lack of strength is evident with the bat in his hands, but you can go kind of nuts projecting on much of his skillset, including the speed and arm strength, because Garcia so clearly has lots of physical growth on the horizon and is an above-average athlete.

So young is Garcia that he wasn’t even eligible to sign on July 2nd because he was still 15. Were he a domestic high schooler, he wouldn’t be draft eligible until 2020, when he’d be just shy of 18. His development may initially be slow, but he has significant literal and figurative growth potential and a non-zero shot to be a well-rounded shortstop at peak.

9. Aaron Ashby, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Crowder JC (MO) (MIL)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 55/60 45/50 40/50 90-94 / 95

It became clear during instructional league in Arizona that we were low on Ashby before the draft. Despite his clear issues — he has below average command caused by an arm slot that makes it hard for him to work in all parts of the zone — Ashby has nasty, left-handed stuff. He was up to 94 this fall, and the pitch has flat plane and lives in the top part of the zone, where it sneaks past barrels.

Ashby’s two breaking balls need better demarcation, but they each flash plus and his changeup flashes average. He turns 21 in May, and should carve up the lower levels of the minor leagues with his stuff alone. His ability to locate and effectively mix his pitches will dictate his ultimate role and how fast he moves. For now, Ashby fairly conservatively projects in a multi-inning relief role.

10. Joe Gray, CF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Hattiesburg HS (MS) (MIL)
Age 18.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 30/50 55/50 45/50 60/60

On the surface, Gray looks like a pretty standard right field prospect. He’s a projetable 6-foot-3, has present power and might grow into more, and he has some swing and miss issues due to poor breaking ball recognition. But upon extended viewing, Gray’s feel for center field is advanced and he has a better chance to stay there than is typical for a prospect his size.

Gray has had strikeout issues in the AZL (he missed AZL time with a respiratory issue, not an injury), during fall instructional league and against good high school pitching. We’re skeptical of his ability to make sufficient contact but if he does, he’ll be a power-hitting, everyday center fielder.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Pleasant Grove HS (UT) (MIL)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 20/45 30/30 40/50 55/55

A bat-first high school catcher who was considered a long shot to stay behind the plate, Henry has made sufficient developmental progress as a defender and now projects to stay back there. Always in possession of a strong throwing arm, his once thick frame is now learner and more agile, enabling him to better handle the athletic burdens of catching. He also has huge raw power that he doesn’t often get to in games because Henry’s bat path causes him to drive the ball into the ground at a 50% clip and he’s also prone to swing and miss.

Now that Henry’s defensive future is more in focus, he may just be a swing tweak away from a statistical breakout.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from Calvert Hall HS (MD) (MIL)
Age 22.8 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 55/55 45/50 55/55 50/55 30/30

Stokes is Diet Khris Davis. He’s limited to LF/DH duties because of nearly unplayable arm strength, and he’s able to hit for in-game power despite blatant swing-and-miss issues due to his ability to consistently hit the ball in the air. Stokes’ extreme, pull-only approach to contact makes him vulnerable to breaking stuff down and away from him, and he is going to swing and miss at an above-average clip. But he’s also adept at identifying balls and strikes.

There is some precedent for this type of offensive profile (low batting average, above-average OBP, and power) working in left field. It looks like Kyle Schwarber — though Stokes doesn’t have that kind of raw pop — or late-career Curtis Granderson. Stokes runs well enough that he could be an above-average defender in left field but he might also give back significant value there becauase of his throwing issues. He’s an odd one who we think fits as the smaller half of a corner outfield platoon and pinch runner.

13. Braden Webb, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from South Carolina (MIL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 98

Webb was a rare, draft-eligible freshman because he had Tommy John as a senior in high school, then missed all of what would have been his freshman year at South Carolina while he recovered. He was a 21-year-old redshirt freshman when he was drafted in 2016. Webb’s measurables don’t properly capture his size; his broad shoulders mimic the shape and proportions of a generic minor league batter’s eye. He has a mid-90s fastball and upper-70s curveball that pair well together, as the latter has sharp, vertical action and bat-missing depth.

Webb continued to log innings as a starter up through Double-A, but he likely projects in relief. His changeup has improved and he was healthy throughout 2018, though his fastball control remains below-average. But the stuff is nasty enough that Webb could be a high-leverage or multi-inning reliever, especially if his fastball ticks up in a single, max-effort inning.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Richland HS (TX) (MIL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/40 50/50 45/50 45/45

The amateur side of scouting considered Grisham to be perhaps the most advanced high school hitter in the 2015 draft. Cut to 2018 and Grisham is a career .238 hitter. The low batting averages he has posted have been due less to his inability to put the bat on the ball and more to an approach that is passive in excess. Grisham watches a lot of driveable pitches go by. That patience is also part of why he’s never run a season walk rate beneath 14%, and Grisham’s ability to reach base is part of why he’s still such an interesting prospect.

There has also been an approach change here, one that may have impacted his plate coverage. In two years, he has transitioned from an all-fields doubles doubles approach to a pull-oriented hitter. In the 2018 Fall League he was fouling off pitches that he used to slice for doubles the opposite way. Still only 22, Grisham has physical talent (he once projected, for us, as an average regular) that may resurface with some approach changes, but this current iteration probably isn’t a big leaguer.

15. Lucas Erceg, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Menlo College (MIL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/55 40/45 50/45 45/50 70/70

After initially looking like he was an egregious underdraft immediatley following his 2016 matriculation from Menlo, Erceg has been frustrating and enigmatic. The only constant has been his 70-grade arm. He’s nearly 24 now and some of our sources, no longer enamored with his bat, are ready to see him on the mound. (Erceg pitched in college at Cal and then, after he transferred, closed at Menlo.)

When Erceg is going at the plate, he’s dropping the bat head and golfing out pitches down and in, or flaying pitches away from him down the third base line for a double. But as his career has drawn on, his swing is often ill-timed and its components don’t seem to be cohesive. He’s also not extending through contact as dramatically as he was in college. Whatever the reasons for Erceg’s struggles, he hasn’t hit. He has made progress as an infield defender, but he has to hit some to profile. He’ll be 24 in May.

16. Pablo Abreu, OF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (MIL)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/55 30/50 55/50 45/50 55/55

Abreu’s combination of instincts and speed give him a fair chance to stay in center field, but he’s not a lock to remain there. He has above-average bat speed but his ultra-conservative lower half usage hampers his in-game power production. He might suddenly start hitting for more game power with a small change in that regard.

Though just 19, Abreu has already added a lot of good weight since signing. His frame already looks maxed out, so there’s not a whole lot of raw power projection left here, and if there is, it’ll come at the cost of Abreu moving to an outfield corner.

17. Trey Supak, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from La Grange HS (TX) (PIT)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 50/55 45/50 50/55 89-93 / 94

Supak owns a career 3.43 ERA and has now reached Double-A. He has an average four-pitch mix that works because he has above-average command, and because his fastball, which lives in the top part of the zone, has flat, tough-to-catch plane. When Supak misses his spot it’s often in a place where he can’t get hurt, essential because neither of his breaking balls — a relatively new curveball and a slider/cutter that we have labeled as a cutter, since we think it’s best suited for use like a cutter — is nasty enough to live in the strike zone and instead are best when buried beneath it, or garnering awkward swings at floaters above the zone. He’s a near-ready back-end starter.

18. Marcos Diplan, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 55/60 40/45 89-93 / 97

Diplan’s body and control have each backpeddaled since his electric 2016 season. His fastball velocity is also less consistent now than it was at that time; he’ll bump 97 at times but sit 89-93 at others. He walked a whopping 74 hitters in 118 innings last year, but still has tantalizing stuff. His changeup is plus, his slider flashes plus when he finishes it properly and sometimes, the velo is there. When Diplan is right he looks like a nasty, multi-inning reliever, but the arrow is pointing down.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 18.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/40 20/20 70/70 45/60 50/50

Rodriguez is a plus-plus-running center field prospect with a slash-and-dash approach at the plate. He is currently unable to turn on pitches and do any real offensive damage, but his defensive profile, speed, and hand-eye coordination make him an interesting follow. Barring a swing change that enables him to turn on more pitches, he projects as a fourth outfielder, but at age 18, there’s lots of time for that adjustment. There’s a pretty rare skillset at the core of Rodriguez’s profile.

20. Micah Bello, CF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Hilo HS (HI) (MIL)
Age 18.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/30 50/50 45/55 55/55

Bello signed for an under slot $550,000 as a second rounder. He’s a polished, contact-oriented center field prospect without typical big league physicality. He has several tweener traits, and might end up as a bench or platoon outfielder. A path toward everyday reps involves Bello developing a plus bat or glove, which are both in the realm of possibility as he has great breaking ball recognition and bat control, and good instincts in center field. He is one of several Hawaiian players drafted by Milwaukee since 2014 (Kodi Medeiros, Jordan Yamamoto, KJ Harrison, Kekai Rios).

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (MIL)
Age 18.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 50/55 20/50 50/50 45/50 50/50

Ernesto got $1.8 million in 2017. His profile hasn’t changed at all since he was written up last year. He’s a switch-hitter with surprising pop for his age and build, but neither swing is dialed in quite yet. He runs well-enough to give center field a try for a while, but will probably move to a corner at physical maturity. He’s a well-rounded physical talent with little present feel to hit.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2018 from Kirkwood JC (IA) (MIL)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/45 20/30 70/70 40/45 40/45

Howell was a pleasant, toolsy, post-draft surprise whose combination of speed and crude bat control was too much for AZL defenses to deal with. A JUCO draftee would only turned 20 in September, Howell has some catalytic offensive qualities and a chance to play somewhere favorable on defense. He saw time at shortstop and third base during the summer and fall, but Eric and several scouts think he ends up in center field. Physical development will play a sizeable role in Howell’s future, especially as far as his bat is concerned. He will be the age of a college sophomore in 2019.

Drafted: 17th Round, 2018 from Long Beach State (MIL)
Age 21.9 Height 5′ 6″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 55/60 55/60 45/50 86-88 / 90

Andrews is weird. He’s just 5-foot-6 and throws in the upper-80s but he has two really excellent secondary pitches in his curveball and changeup. He played two ways at Long Beach State and performed well (54 K’s, 7 BB’s in 33 pro innings) after signing. We don’t know what he is but we think it’s something.

24. Lun Zhao, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from China (MIL)
Age 17.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 55/70 30/45 30/45 90-92 / 93

Zhao is one of very few Chinese players in pro ball — we know of two others: Itchy Xu (BAL) and Hai-Cheng Gong (PIT) — and is the most talented. The 17-year-old broke off some ferocious curveballs during instructional league that elicited verbal expletives from onlooking scouts. His fastball control is very raw. Right now, Zhao is just a very young developmental project who can really spin it.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012 from Torrance HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 45/45 40/45 55/55 55/55 50/50

Taylor’s performance tapered off in 2014 and he spent several years slugging about .330, then spent much of 2017 injured. He had a statistical breakout at Triple-A in 2018 that could be attributed to the hitting environment at Colorado Springs, but Taylor has made significant changes to his swing and the uptick in power could be a PCL cariacature of real, meaningful change. Once a wide-based, no-stride swinger, Taylor now has a big leg kick and his batted ball profile has changed dramatically between 2016 (the last, reliably large sample we had) and now. He was added to the 40-man this offseason and is a sleeper breakout candidate.

26. Adrian Houser, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2011 from Locust Grove HS (OK) (HOU)
Age 25.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/45 55/55 45/45 93-96 / 97

Houser finally made it back to the majors in 2018 after missing significant time due to Tommy John. During that time, he remade his body into a lean, more flexible vessel and his velo was up a bit; instead of 92-95, he was sitting at 94-95 last year. His curveball didn’t have good finish during his brief big league time but it has been average and flashing above in the past. His changeup is now clearly his best secondary offering. Houser’s fastball plays down a bit due to lack of movement and it’d be nice to see the breaking ball bounce back, but for now he projects as a middle reliever.

35+ FV Prospects

27. Eduarqui Fernandez, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican (MIL)
Age 16.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

A $1.1 million signe from July, Fernandez is a R/R corner outfield projection bat with present feel to hit. He’s already quite a bit more physical now than he was as an amateur, so the rest of the power might come pretty quickly.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Pinero was originally with Boston but was granted free agency as part of their 2016 international bonus bundling scandal. He’s a plus defensive shortstop — he has elite hands, but his range and athleticism are suspect — with very little bat. Pinero has a lanky frame, but he’s a slow-twitch hitter with below average bat speed and he won’t necessarily grow into offensive impact. His likely range of positive outcoms spans from glove-first bench infielder to low-end regular.

29. Yeison Coca, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 19.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Coca is an average middle infield defender with below-average offensive tools. If those grow to average, he could sneak up on us and be an everyday player. If they continue to hang in the 40/45 area, Coca will be a utility option.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 17.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Castillo signed for $140,000 in 2017. His swing has a good foundation, he’s an athletic middle infield defender, and his frame has some room for mass as he matures. He had a good fall instructional league showing.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Gahr HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+

Long a notable amateur prospect due to his projectable, wide receiverish frame, Ward has made significant mechanical progress and is already much more of a refined baseball player than he was a senior in high school. He’s still mostly a lottery ticket frame who you’re hoping grows into big power, but now his underlying skills have started to develop.

32. Caden Lemons, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Vestavia Hills HS (AL) (MIL)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Lemons was up to 96 in high school, often sitting in the low-90s. He was 90-92 this fall with an average slider that has horizontal wipe during instructs. He’s a big-framed projection arm whose stuff hasn’t ascended yet.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Power-only Bats Low on the Defensive Spectrum
Jacob Nottingham, C
Weston Wilson, 1B/3B/OF
Jake Gatewood, 1B
Chad McClanahan, 1B
Branlyn Jaraba, 3B
David Fry, C/1B
Ernesto Martinez, 1B

Nottingham will turn 24 this offseason. He has plus power but needs to improve behind the plate in order to profile as a power-over-hit backup. Weston Wilson has above-average raw power and can play the corner outfield spots, first base, and some third. He could be a right-handed corner bench bat. Gatewood has plus-plus raw power and has moved from shortstop to third base to first base as a pro. He’s a R/R first baseman with huge power and strikeout issues. Fringe 40-man candidates like that sometimes bloom late, or at least get a shot at some point. McClanahan signed for $1 million as an 11th rounder in 2016. He’s a big-framed projection bat who is already seeing more reps at first than at third. He has premium makeup. Jaraba was a $1 million signee this year. He’s a R/R power bat who looked like a future first baseman this fall. David Fry was the club’s 7th rounder out of Northwestern State. He has above-average power and hasn’t caught all that much, in part because he had TJ in college. Ernesto Martinez is built like a Greek god and has 70 raw power but his swing has not progressed and it’s currently unusable.

The Tommy John Crew
Drew Rasmussen. RHP
Nathan Kirby, LHP
Quintin Torres-Costa, LHP
Nash Walters, RHP
Devin Williams
Josh Pennington, RHP

Rasmussen has had two TJs. He sits 93-96 with average secondary stuff and below average command when healthy. Kirby has had several injury issues and now has a 40 fastball, but his repertoire is deep and he has a 55 curveball. Torres-Costa is a situational lefty who likely would have been in the big leagues in 2018 if not for his injury. Walters was 92-94, touching 95 in the fall and struggled to throw strikes. Devin Williams is 92-93 with a plus curveball. Pennington retired when he needed his second TJ.

One Plus Pitch
Reese Olson, RHP
Justin Jarvis, RHP
Rodrigo Benoit, RHP

Olson signed for $400,000 and was 92-93, touching 94 with a plus curveball in the fall. Benoit has scattershot command of an average fastball and a plus breaking ball. Jarvis has an above-average changeup.

Weird Arm Slots
J.T. Hintzen, RHP
Scott Sunitsch, LHP

Sunitsch no-hit the University of Oregon in April. He’s a low-slot lefty with a good changeup. Hitzen strides way, way open, toward the first base side, and the ball appears to hitters out of where his stomach was when he came set. Both are release-point oddities who have performed so far.

System Overview

This system looks very weak now that several 45 FV or better prospects have either graduated or been traded, and the farm alone doesn’t project a clear picture of the youthful health of this franchise. The focus now shifts to the collective development of the large number of teenagers in the 40 and 35+ FV tiers. Another sizable wave of talent — position players this time — could arrive in Milwaukee in three to five years. The organization’s recent history of hitter development isn’t all that inspiring; most of Milwaukee’s big league position players came from outside the org, and Orlando Arcia hasn’t made the kind of offensive impact that was expected of him as a prospect. Grisham and Erceg have been frustrating and have gone backwards. Things may not bode well for several of the hitters in this system who clearly need improvement in some way to progress like Milwaukee’s pitching has. The Brewers love idiosyncratic pitchers whose stuff plays up because of one weird thing or another, and they’ve had success developing them.

We hoped you liked reading Top 32 Prospects: Milwaukee Brewers by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel!

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nicolasrichards
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nicolasrichards

With Turang, you rate him as a FV 45 and end with: “As long as some aspect of his offense develops, especially as it seems likely to be paired with a great idea of the strike zone and plus shortstop defense, Turang should be an above-average regular.”

By your Scouting Primer (https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-new-fangraphs-scouting-primer/) you list 45 as a “Low End Reg/Platoon” batter. An “above-average regular” is a 55 on that scale.

So to make sure I’m understanding this correctly, what you are saying is that if his offense does not develop, he’ll be a 45, but if it does develop he should become a 55. Is that right?