Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Milwaukee Brewers' Farm System

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterDecember 29, 2012

Ranking the Top 10 Prospects in the Milwaukee Brewers' Farm System

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    Although the Milwaukee Brewers have a relatively deep farm system, they lack a true impact prospect. On the other hand, most of their top talent is ready to contribute in the major leagues in either 2013 or 2014.

    The organization’s prospect pool is highlighted by a slew of right-handed pitchers in Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg, John Hellweg and Taylor Jungmann. After the graduation of Jean Segura to the major leagues late last season, the Brewers also lack a legitimate position prospect.

    They do have a couple big bats in Hunter Morris and outfielder Victor Roache, though the system is devoid of legitimate power prospects. However, two of their top-10 prospects, Scooter Gennett and Clint Coulter, have the potential for an above-average hit tool. 

    Here’s a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ top 10 prospects.

10. OF Victor Roache

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 9/17/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 225

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Georgia Southern)

    ETA: 2015

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes:  As was the case with Lucas Giolito, Victor Roache was a wild card headed into the 2012 draft after missing nearly the entire season due to a broken wrist;dropped 30 bombs as a college sophomore in 2011 with BBCOR bats;

    This 6'1”, 225-pound outfielder has easy plus raw power to all fields; gets weight off his back side and drives through the ball with authority; had significantly reduced his strikeout rate in 2011; I’ll be interested to see how the wrist injury and subsequent surgery impacts his bat speed.

    Beyond the bat, Roache’s tools are average across the board; has enough range and athleticism to play either corner outfield position; arm is solid-average; if he overcomes the injury and develops as expected, he could turn out to be a steal as a late first-rounder.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Rookie-level Arizona League or Low-A if he’s 100 percent healthy.

9. C Clint Coulter

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    Position: C

    DOB: 7/30/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Union HS, Wash.)

    ETA: 2016

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: Older high-school prospect who turned 19 in July; drafted as a bat-first catcher with tons of present physical strength; impressive professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League; batted .302/.439/.444 with 11 extra-base hits and 40/37 K/BB;

    His hit tool already flashes plus potential; plate discipline is highly advanced considering his age and lack of experience; line-drive swing yields loud contact to all fields; legitimate feel for the strike zone; power will come once he adds some loft to his swing and gains experience.

    Coulter will be a work-in-progress behind the plate for at least several years; was incredibly raw in pro debut, accumulating 21 passed balls in 26 games and throwing out runners at a 16 percent clip; has the size and mobility to remain behind the plate; blocking, game-calling and receiving skills require considerable refinement.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Rookie-level Arizona League

8. 2B Scooter Gennett

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    Position: 2B

    DOB: 5/1/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 165

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: 16th round, 2009 (Sarasota HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: Although he’s undersized at 5’10”, 165 pounds, Gennett is as scrappy and hard-nosed as they come; seems like the type of player who takes pride in quieting his skeptics; batted .293/.330/.385 with 37 extra-base hits in 133 games for Double-A Huntsville; has hit at every stop while exceeding expectations;

    This left-handed hitter has compact swing and a direct bat path; impressive hand-eye coordination; keeps hands inside the ball and uses the entire field; potential for an above-average hit tool;

    He will never showcase more than below-average power but should amass his share of doubles and triples; possesses average speed but has never been an aggressive basestealer.

    Gennett was converted to second base in his full-season debut in 2010 and is still learning the position; decent range and hands; arm strength is more than enough for the position; hard to see him as a big-league regular at the position but is a solid backup option up the middle.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Nashville

7. RHP Jimmy Nelson

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 6/5/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’6”, 245

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2010 (Alabama)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes:  At 6’6”, 245 pounds, Nelson is already physically mature, and therefore, doesn’t require projection; was a reliever in his professional debut but was moved to the rotation in 2011; turned in an impressive first half of the 2012 season with a 2.21 ERA, .216 BAA and 2.27 GO/AO in 81.1 innings for High-A Brevard County;

    He received midseason promotion to Double-A where he lost a feel for his mechanics and release point; registered a 3.91 ERA but saw his walk rate shoot up to 7.2 BB/9; spent time on the disabled list in July with shoulder fatigue.

    This right-hander utilizes his height by throwing a heavy sinker that’s difficult to barrel and results in excessive groundouts; uses the pitch to attack both right- and left-handed hitters; slider is a borderline plus offering that’s thrown with tilt and features late break;

    His changeup lags behind other pitches but should be at least average after further refinement; if he can improve his overall command without sacrificing either velocity or movement, Nelson has a realistic future as a mid-rotation innings-eater; fallback option as a reliever given fastball-slider combination.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Huntsville

6. 1B Hunter Morris

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    Position: 1B

    DOB: 10/7/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: Fourth round, 2010 (Auburn)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Status

    Scouting Notes: 6’2”, 200-pounder is physically strong with tons of raw power; was a second-round draft pick out of high school in 2007 but opted to attend Auburn; has moved at a level-per-year pace through the Brewers’ system and improved at each stop;

    He had a monster offensive season for Double-A Huntsville, batting .303/.357/.563 with 74 extra-base hits (28 home runs) and 113 RBI in 136 games.

    A majority of his power is derived from his sheer strength rather than elite bat speed or efficient swing mechanics; bat path can be long due to slight hitch during load but compensates with his strength and strong top hand;

    He understands how to use his lower half to maximize power; doesn’t project to hit for average in the major leagues but should still showcase power; holes in swing may be exploited at more advanced levels.

    First-base-only prospect who’s only average defensively; worked hard to improve his defense last season after committing 19 errors in 2011; upward mobility will always be tied to his production; should open the 2013 season at Triple-A Nashville with a chance to reach the majors if he continues to mash.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Nashville

5. LHP Jed Bradley

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 6/12/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 225

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Georgia Tech)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: Selected three picks after Jungmann in 2011 draft; 6’4”, 225-pound frame calls for little projection; was regarded as the most polished left-hander in the draft class behind Danny Hultzen; mechanics were inconsistent throughout the entire 2012 season; registered a 5.53 ERA in 107.1 innings in professional debut at High-A;

    He rarely missed bats, as evidenced by his pedestrian 5.03 K/9 and 11.4 H/9 rates in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League; missed time in May with a groin injury; shut down in August due to fatigue; something was clearly wrong with Bradley last season but not exactly sure what and if it’ll carry over into 2013.

    When he’s at his best, the southpaw’s fastball will sit in the low-to-mid-90s; jumps on hitters, thanks to repeatable mechanics and smooth release; slider will flash plus potential, though it wasn’t nearly as sharp last season as it was at Georgia Tech;

    He completes his deep arsenal with both a curveball and changeup, though neither are particularly advanced; four-pitch mix and ability to eat innings gives him a high floor as a No. 3 starter.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Huntsville

4. RHP Taylor Jungmann

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 12/18/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’6”, 210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Texas)

    ETA: 2014

    2012 Stats 

    Scouting Notes:  A 6’6” right-hander, Jungmann was regarded as one of the more advanced arms available in the 2011 draft class; turned in disappointing professional debut and spent the entire season at High-A Brevard County in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League;

    He registered a 3.53 ERA and 1.94 GO/AO in 153 innings; inability to miss bats is concerning, as he fanned only 99 batters (5.82 K/9) compared to 46 walks; understands how to get outs but lacks front-of-the-rotation stuff; defined mechanics inhibit overall explosiveness of his arsenal.

    This University of Texas alumnus boasts a plus fastball that routinely touches 92-95 mph, but it’s currently his only above-average offering; throws the pitch on solid downward plane and relies on inducing groundouts;

    His curveball has potential with a solid shape and two-plane break, but he lacks a feel for it; struggled to throw it for a strike early in counts; release point varies; changeup is fringy; lacks fade and is thrown with too much velocity; more of a high-floor arm with the upside of a No. 3 or 4 starter in the major leagues.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A Huntsville

3. RHP John Hellweg

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/29/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’9”, 210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 16th round, 2008 [Angels] (Florida Community College)

    ETA: 2013 (reliever) / 2014 (starter)

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: 6’9” right-hander made the transition to full-time starter this past season while making the jump to Double-A; was traded late in the season to the Brewers as part of prospect package for Zack Greinke;

    He started setting up on the first base side of the rubber; control continues to be an issue, though he did post a career-best 4.8 BB/9 rate in 139.2 innings; strikeout rate was down; uses height to advantage and induces tons of ground-ball outs (1.55 GO/AO).

    Power arm produces four-seam fastballs that sit at 95-98 mph and scrape triple digits in shorter stints; two-seam fastball comes in a few ticks slower but has late arm-side life that induces weak ground-ball outs;

    His breaking ball is a second plus pitch with sharp break; legitimate swing-and-miss offering; if his changeup continues to develop and his control/command improves, Hellweg could be a frontline starter; if not, the lanky right-hander still has a bright future as a late-inning guy.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Nashville

2. RHP Tyler Thornburg

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 9/29/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2010 (Charleston Southern)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes:  Undersized (6’0", 190 pounds) right-hander ascended the organizational ladder last season, opening the year at Double-A (3.00 ERA, .212 BAA), making a stop at Triple-A (3.58 ERA) and registering a 4.50 ERA over three stints in the major leagues;

    He employs considerable torque in his delivery, making him deceptive and gives his pitches tilt; above-average fastball is supplemented by a sharp breaking ball and fading changeup; induces a healthy mix of both strikeout and weak hit outs; arsenal, stature and delivery could make him a highly effective late-inning guy.

    He can lose the pace of his delivery and arm speed which causes his pitches to flatten and linger up in the zone; can get hit hard when fastball remains elevated; being rushed from Double-A hasn’t allowed him to refine his command; catches too much plate with secondary pitches;

    He had deception-aided success in minors but won’t be nearly as effective in the major leagues.

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A Nashville

1. RHP Wily Peralta

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/8/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 240

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: November 2005 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2013

    2012 Stats

    Scouting Notes: 6’2”, 240-pound right-hander has a thick, durable frame built for a heavy workload; struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League (4.66 ERA, 143/78 K/BB in 146.2 innings); pitched well as a starter in the major leagues as a September call-up.

    He throws a weighted fastball in the low-to-mid-90s that generates lots of ground-ball outs; slider and changeup are both solid-average secondary offerings that play up when he’s locating his heater down in the zone; both can still be inconsistent and need further refinement;

    He will need to sharpen three-pitch mix and eliminate some of the free passes; once he showcases more consistency, Peralta should serve as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB