Got Zack Greinke? Sure Do. Post Trade, the Milwaukee Brewers' Top 15 Prospects

J. BatovskyCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2010

Got Zack Greinke? Sure Do. Post Trade, the Milwaukee Brewers' Top 15 Prospects

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 17:  Starting pitcher Zack Greinke #23 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 17, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Yes, I know the Brewers just traded ostensibly their top four prospects. Getting Greinke and Shaun Marcum in return was the shocker. I've been beating my head against the wall for a while, trying to get people to understand what the meaning of the word prospect is. At least the Brewers finally got it.

    Even though the very top tier of the Brewers' system is now virtually bare, the big club is stocked. With the Brewers' 2010 first round pick, Dylan Covey, opting to stay close to home as a result of a medical condition, they will receive an additional first round pick in 2011.

    GM Doug Melvin has also put the Brewers in a good position for the next few drafts. Losing Prince Fielder and/or Rickie Weeks to free agency will also net the Brewers even more additional draft picks. The same goes for Greinke in 2013.

    Until then, this is what the Brewers have to work with down on the farm.

Living on the Edge

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    Here is a group of five who just missed making the big list.

    • Nick Bucci, 20, RHP
    • Jimmy Nelson, 21, RHP
    • Matt Miller, 21, RHP
    • Chris Dennis, 22, 1B
    • Tyler Roberts, 20, C

15. Maverick Lasker, 20, RHP

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    Maverick? There are obvious Top Gun references to be made, but I'll stay away from them for now. Lasker is one of the youngest players on the list at age 20 for good reason. His numbers from his first full professional season weren't all that impressive, but the tools are there.

    It is expected that he move up to Brevard County for 2011. I am very interested to see just how much he has progressed in the spring. Let's just hope for no fly-bys over any Admiral's daughters between now and then. If you have no idea what that means, just click for the next slide and pretend you never read it.

14. Eric Farris, 24, 2B

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    I'm not a huge fan. I guess I just wanted to get that out there from the start. It's not that he's a bad player, but there's just something that I can't get totally on board with. Nothing on the page jumps out at me except his 70 SB at Brevard County in 2009. He doesn't strike out, but he doesn't walk either. He hits for a good average (.296 career), but isn't a great on-base guy (.336 career). The number that pretty much stinks is his slugging at .385 for his career. Basically he's a singles hitter with some speed.

    He's going to be 25 in March and still has yet to sniff Miller Park. Once you hit age 25, the term prospect starts to be thrown around less and less. Farris needs to stay healthy and have some things go his way to make any impact in the next couple years.

13. Logan Schafer, 24, OF

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    Schafer was the Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2009, but struggled the entire season in 2010 with injuries, the first of which he suffered in the big league camp in spring training. He played in only seven regular season games, but was able to get some limited work in the Arizona Fall League. In essence he missed an entire year of his development. That's never a good thing as you're approaching age 25.

    He's another outfielder that has played a lot of CF. Is it just me or do the Brewers have no SS prospects? How is that even possible? Sorry I got off track.

    Schafer will have to prove his hamstring is healthy. There may be a log jam in the outfield in Huntsville, so it will be interesting to see where the Brewers put Schafer. I was never completely sold on him before his injury. Hopefully he can come back even stronger than before.

12. Erik Komatsu, 23, OF

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    Komatsu was the Minor League Player of the Year in the Brewers' system in 2010. He plays CF and does a lot of things well. The one thing he truly excels at is plate discipline. In his minor league career, consisting of three seasons, he has walked 108 times and struck out 119. This past season he went for .323/.413/.442 with 90 runs, 31 doubles and 28/37 SB.

    Even with the organizational award, he still doesn't get much pub. That's just fine. He can hit and the important people know it. Pretty soon others will be finding it out too.

11. Tyler Thornburg, 22, RHP

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    Rarely do you see a guy from Helena in the Pioneer League plastered here just outside the top 10. Thornburg is certainly an interesting case. He was taken in the third round of the 2010 draft and dominated the competition at Helena. In nine games he finished with a 1.93 ERA and a whopping 14.7 K/9.

    From what I've heard, his pitching motion is a bit "herky-jerky." I wonder if it looks anything like Elaine trying to dance on Seinfeld. That would be a sight to behold. Based on what he did last year, I can see Thornburg moving up quickly in 2011. Call me crazy, but I think he'll be finishing the season at Double-A Huntsville.

10. Caleb Gindl, 22, OF

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    Gindl is another little guy and a member of the Brewers' Lollipop Guild. Even so, he is a good hitter, pure and simple. He has pretty good plate discipline, but you'd like to see more power out of someone that projects as a corner outfielder. He's basically a gap guy, but maybe things will click with his power stroke in 2011.

    He spent all year last year at Huntsville, so it will be interesting to see if they keep him there or start him off in Nashville right away. I suppose there are arguments both ways, but he's already had a full year at Double-A. I think he's earned the promotion.

9. Amaury Rivas, 25, RHP

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    Solid. Steady. Reliable. Those are words that Rivas must have tattooed on his body somewhere because they fit him to a tee. He was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the organization in 2009. The 2010 season was solid if unspectacular. Rivas was 11-6 with 3.37 ERA while striking out 114 in 141.2 innings. For someone who's not a strike out pitcher, he needs to limit his base runners a bit better. His WHIP of 1.306 isn't quite as low as you would like.

    Rivas is solid but nothing special. His role at the major league level may be in middle relief. I hope he is able to step it up and prove me wrong.

8. Kentrail Davis, 22, OF

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    Tools. This guy has them, lots of them. Now he needs to maximize them to be seen as more than just a player with oodles of potential. He was injured much of the 2010 season, but when he was healthy he flashed quite a few skills .

    He initially struggled at Brevard County, but got into his groove with Wisconsin. Davis has shown a propensity for hitting doubles (28) and triples (10), but his home run stroke hasn't surfaced as of yet. His numbers including .304/.407/.459 were impressive. On top of all that, he gets drilled regularly (19 HBP in 97 games). We seem to have another future leadoff candidate here.

7. Mat Gamel, 25, 3B/OF

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    Gamel's path to the bigs has been blocked no matter what position he has played. First he was blocked by both Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee at third base. This past season he was asked to work at both first and in the OF as well. In both those cases, he still can't break through with Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun blocking his way. He seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    In 2010 he was injured early on, and it took him some time to get back to full strength. When he finally did, he just tore it up. Unfortunately his best chance to play might be to get traded. He's done all he can do in the minors for the Brewers. It's time for the Brewers to make a decision one way or another if he's in their plans or not.

6. Cody Scarpetta, 22, RHP

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    I like Scarpetta, but not as much as some do. He seems like he will be a workhorse and innings eater, but I don't see any of his pitches as being special. That could change as he matures, but right now I believe that to be the case. That's why I dropped him here behind Gennett and Dykstra. He did show a lot of progress during the latter part of the season.

    Command, control or whatever you want to call it escapes Scarpetta too often for my liking. He started 27 games at Brevard County in 2010. He struck out 142 in 128 IP, but had a WHIP of 1.461. Oddly enough he only gave up four home runs. Based on all those numbers, I am left with a big question mark. Hopefully we'll have a better understanding of just who Cody Scarpetta is as a pitcher this time next year.

5. Cutter Dykstra, 21, 2B/3B/OF

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    He sure has a interesting story. We all know who his father is and that there were a lot of family issues going on during the 2009 season. Those difficulties at home obviously had an impact on his game. Add injuries to the mix and 2009 was a lost season.

    For Cutter, 2010 was a whole new ballgame. While he is still searching for a position, he showed that he can be a true leadoff hitter. His numbers across the board were better than anyone could have anticipated: .312/.416/.411 with 27/35 SB, 55 BB/72 K.

    Now just imagine what he could do if he was able to relax a little and play one position all season. Since 2008, Dykstra has played all three OF positions as well as 1B, 2B and 3B. I think moving him back to the OF is the way to go.

4. Ryan "Scooter" Gennett, 20, 2B

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    "Scooter" as he's called had a surprising season in 2010. Surprising in a good way. His performance shot him right to the top of this list. With Brett Lawrie no longer in the picture, he takes over as the top second base prospect in the organization. He also played SS in 13 games.

    While Scooter faded a bit down the stretch, he put up a really fine first season in pro ball. He finished with .309/.354/.463 including 87 R, 39 2B, nine HR and 14/18 SB.

    Despite all of that, he doesn't always get the respect due him. I'm pretty sure that's because of these numbers: 5'9", 164 lbs. He's a small guy, but doesn't play like it. To me he's a left-handed hitting David Eckstein without that lollipop arm.

3. Kyle Heckathorn, 22, RHP

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    Drafted in 2009 out of Kennesaw State, Heckathorn was expected to move up quickly after a bit of tinkering with his "interesting" mechanics. He didn't disappoint. In his first full season, he pitched at both Low-A Wisconsin and High-A Brevard County. He finished with a 10-6 record and a 2.98 ERA. His numbers at each level were virtually identical.

    Heckathorn can bring it, but he's not a strikeout pitcher. He induces a lot of ground balls and almost never gives up the long ball. In 124 innings in 2010, he gave up just three HR. That stat bodes well for pitching in Miller Park. I'm interested to see how aggressive the Brewers are in 2011. Do they start him in Brevard County or bump him to Huntsville right off the bat? I say bump him.

2. Wily Peralta, 21, RHP

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    Peralta is young and should get an opportunity to start the season in Double-A Huntsville. Like most of the Brewers' young pitchers, he has issues with his command at times. In 27 games last year he walked 64 in 147.1 innings. As a result, his WHIP was way too high at 1.419.

    So far, he has shown to be durable. He has all the tools to become a top of the rotation guy. So 2011 should be his year to put it all together and take that next step. I'm looking forward to it.

1. Mark Rogers, 24, RHP

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    GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 11:   Mark Rogers #64 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches during a Spring Training game against the Cincinnati Reds on March 11, 2010 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Rogers was virtually left for dead only to resurface in 2010 to pitch for the Brewers in September.

    Besides the surgeries which caused him to miss the entire 2007-2008 seasons, control has been a major  issue. He showed much improved command in his brief stint with Milwaukee. If he can harness his natural talent, look out N.L. Central.

    Let it be noted that Rogers pretty much got this spot by default. Four players that were traded all were ahead of him on the list, bumping him up to No. 1. I think we're all hoping the end of last season wasn't a fluke.