Milwaukee Brewers Prospects Update: 1-10
I’m providing some updates on the guys I ranked 1-10 in my Brewers Top 50 Prospects back in January. Brief updates on their performance so far and where they’ve started 2017. Lot’s to like here for Brewer’s fans with Brinson, Hader, Diaz, Ortiz, Dubon and Woodruff doing very well. Nothing too much to be concerned about except for maybe Erceg so far.
Lewis Brinson, CF
Brinson looked great in 34 spring training ABs, before a finger injury delayed his debut in AAA Colorado Springs. He’s hit the ground running with a .324/.406/.514 line in 133 PAs. He’s been playing CF and will be a call up at some point this year to Milwaukee. His road line is not as good but he’s starting to take some walks (11.3 BB%). Brinson has done nothing to decrease his high stock and Brewers may need him sooner than later with some struggles in the big league outfield.
Josh Hader, LHP
Hader is back in AAA Colorado Springs and Brewers fans’ collective fingers are crossed that he’ll be OK and not lose gains from past seasons. He’s made 8 starts and been a bit better than his 14 starts last year. The K9 rate has fallen to 8.0 K/9 and he’s struggled with a 5.3 BB9 adding fuel to critics that see him as a reliever. Four starts have been at home and he’s pitched fine there so the altitude may not be an issue so far. I think he’s stayed neutral so far in terms of his 2017 start.
Corey Ray, OF
Ray joins other top 10 prospects Diaz, Clark, and Erceg in high A Carolina. He’s been alright slashing .252/.339/.387 in his 127 PAs. Contact rates are at 11.8 BB% and 29.1 K%. So he’s showed some plate discipline but striking out a lot. Some hope he is swinging more with a contact-first approach and would prefer he take more pitches to reduce that strikeout rate. Ray is heating up hitting .273/.403/.400 in May after a slow April and some early season health issues. Nothing to worry about here with Ray.
Isan Diaz, 2B/SS
Diaz was sent to high A Carolina and has been doing great. The 21 year old is slashing .281/.357/.493 in 168 PAs. Diaz is hitting for more power than he has in the past with 10 doubles and 7 HR so far. He is tied for 6th in the Carolina league with 72 TB trailing the likes of Ryan Mountcastle, Kyle Tucker and Jake Gatewood. Tons to love so far with Diaz who has been splitting his time in the field at both middle infield spots.
Luis Ortiz, RHP
Ortiz is pitching quite well as a 21 year old in AA Biloxi. Ortiz has 7 starts, 35.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, just 21 HA, and 33 K to 13 BB. He’s been tough to hit too with 5.4 H9. Ortiz just needs some time, to stay healthy. Interestingly, Ortiz has only logged 201 IP since being drafted in 2014. Compare this to Brandon Woodruff’s 359 IP over the same time period. Ortiz needs to just keep doing what he’s doing and he’ll make a very young major league debut.
Trent Clark, OF
Clark is in high A Carolina for the 1st time as a 20 year old and certainly holding his own. Most importantly, Clark has stayed healthy. As expected, his plate discipline has been good drawing the 2nd most walks in Carolina league with 26 so far. Overall he is slashing .248/.370/.376 in 155 PAs. The Brewers would be happy for him to keep doing what he’s doing if he can and believe the power and other batting stats will come with his solid approach.
Phil Bickford, SP
Bickford was slated to fall into high A Carolina rotation when his 50 game suspension was completed. This would’ve been May 27th except he just broke a hand in extended spring training. This will set him back 8-12 weeks from now so he may be back in early. With the minor league season ending on September 4th he will hope to get some pro action this season.
Mauricio Dubon, SS
Dubon had a nice showing in 24 spring training at bats before starting the year in AA Biloxi. He’s gotten 32 starts at SS vs. 7 at 2B so they’ll keep him there as long as they can. His defense is good enough but there’s more of need at 2B so it’s anticipated he’ll get there eventually. Slashing .308/.368/.396 so far with 22 K’s, 14 BB’s and 22 SB’s (5 CS) in 177 PA’s. The K rate is 12.4% just about what it was last season in AA. Dubon has not matched his line from Biloxi last season but leads the Southern league in SBs and hits and is 13th with 63 TBs. Lots to be excited about so far.
Lucas Erceg, 3B
Erceg killed it in spring including a homer I saw against Cleveland before being sent to high A Carolina where he has slowed down to tune of a .208/.255/.340 slash line in 153 PA. He’s not shown the patience or power he did in his pro debut last season. He’s spent all his time at 3B this season where scouts say he has one of or the best arm in the minors. He’s also pulled off a hidden ball trick to get an out at 3B. Let’s hope some of the success of other prospects bats at Carolina starts to rub off on Erceg and he gets going here soon.
Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Woodruff has pitched very well to start the year in his first eight starts, even in his five Colorado Springs starts. Overall, Woodruff is 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA, 8.5 K9, 7.7 H9, 1.8 BB9 and 4 HR allowed in 44.2 innings. So far he’s avoided struggles in the high altitude. I’m very excited about Woodruff and he’s making a case for a call up to the Brewers this year, hopefully before the high altitude catches up to him.
Article featured image of Isan Diaz – courtesy of MiLB.com