Milwaukee Brewers Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Since our last top-50 prospect list, the Milwaukee Brewers dealt quite a bit of their high-profile prospect capital to the Marlins in the Christian Yelich trade. That, coupled with a handful of graduations and a completely new writer, myself, has changed the list quite a bit at the midseason mark. Of course, the Brewers did replenish plenty of talent in the MLB draft, and have seen many players step up and improve their prospect status.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1:

1. Keston Hiura, 2B (Preseason rank: 3)

Age: 21                   Level: AA

One of the purest hitting prospects in all of baseball, Hiura has continued his rapid ascent in the farm system, crushing the ball at both High-A and Double-A this season.


Tier 2:

2. Freddy Peralta, RHP (Preseason rank: 14)

Age: 22                Level: Majors

Peralta is two good starts away from losing his rookie eligibility, but the electric right-hander has torched Triple-A hitters this season in the PCL and looks every bit the part of a big league 2 or 3 starter, something the Brewers desperately need.

3. Corey Ray, OF (Preseason rank: 10)

Age: 23                 Level: AA

Ray has completely put his ugly 2017 behind him, drastically increasing his walk rate and lowering his strikeout rate while blasting 19 home runs and stealing 30 bases in 91 games. He looks every bit the part of an everyday outfielder with power and speed.

4. Brice Turang, SS (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 18                 Level: Rookie ball

Turang was Milwaukee’s first round pick in the 2018 draft. He’s an exciting shortstop prospect who swings it from the left side. If his power develops, he’s a 20/15 threat who could stick at short defensively.

5. Lucas Erceg, 3B (Preseason rank: 9)

Age: 23                Level: AA

After hitting 15 home runs in 127 games last year, Erceg’s power is continuing to develop. He has 11 round-trippers in just 93 games this season. His 14.3% strikeout rate is especially impressive, and the 23-year-old could find himself in AAA very soon.

6. Corbin Burnes, RHP (Preseason rank: 5)

Age: 23               Level: Majors

Burnes’ 5.15 ERA at Triple-A is certainly alarming, and his recent transition to the bullpen is a let-down for Brewers fans. Coach Craig Counsell has indicated that Burnes will return to the rotation next year. While he has great stuff, as evidenced by his 9.27 K/9, Burnes may be best suited for a late-inning role in the big leagues.

7. Luis Ortiz, RHP (Preseason rank: 6)

Age: 22              Level: AA

Ortiz has made nine starts and six relief appearances at AA this season, a sign that the 2014 first round pick by the Rangers may be transitioning into a bullpen role. His 9.16 K/9 is a career-high, so perhaps that suits him better anyway.

8. Mauricio Dubon, 2B (Preseason rank: 13)

Age: 23                Level: AAA

Dubon’s 21 game hit streak was the talk of the minor leagues back at the beginning of the season, but a torn ACL will cost him the rest of 2018. His 1.8% walk rate is a major concern, but he’s starting to put together a case to be a starting infielder in Milwaukee someday.

9. Tristen Lutz, OF (Preseason rank: 12)

Age: 19              Level: A

The youngest player on the Single-A Wisconsin roster, Lutz has showed five-tool talent at just age 19. The 2017 supplemental first round pick will have to cut down on the strikeouts if he wants to reach his peak as a high-quality starting outfielder.

10. Troy Stokes, OF (Preseason rank: 33)

Age: 22             Level: AA

Stokes is on pace for a 20/20 season with a walk rate over 10%. That’s impressive at any level, and at just 22 years old he is beginning to look like a prospect with true star potential.


Tier 3:

11. Micah Bello, OF (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 18            Level: R

I was a big fan of this pick when Milwaukee selected the speedy outfielder Bello in the second round of the 2018 draft. In 21 games, Bello has already swiped eight bases and posted an 11.7% walk rate. He has the speed to have a big fantasy impact someday.

12. Trent Grisham, OF (Preseason rank: 8)

Age: 21            Level: AA

Grisham has continued his trademark plate discipline, but is not nearly on pace to steal the 37 bases he swiped last year. If he can’t continue to steal bases, his fantasy value will be limited.

13. Joe Gray, OF (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 18            Level: R

Gray was Milwaukee’s supplemental first-round pick this year. He has burgeoning power and a cannon arm in right field, having drawn comparisons to Torii Hunter while in high school.

14. Mario Feliciano, C (Preseason rank: 17)

Age: 19          Level: High-A

Feliciano has not played much this year thanks to arm issues, but the 19-year-old has demonstrated excellent control of the strike zone in his brief minor league career. If he can tap into his power, he could be a fantasy sleeper behind the dish.

15. Marcos Diplan, RHP (Preseason rank: 16)

Age: 21            Level: AA

Diplan has a 60-grade fastball and a plus changeup, but will need to show better command of the strike zone if he wants to make the big leagues as a starting pitcher.

16. Jake Gatewood (Preseason rank: 20)

Age: 22          Level: AA

Gatewood was forced to transition to first base, which hurts his fantasy value long-term. However, he is without a doubt the Brewers best power hitting prospect, and could easily develop into a 30 home run hitter if he can cut back on his strikeouts.

17. Larry Ernesto, Jr, OF (Preseason rank: 31)

Age: 17        Level: R

Ernesto was considered one of the best power-hitting international prospects when the Brewers nabbed him in the 16/17 signing period. He’s a switch-hitter with the potential to stick in center field, and could be a five-tool guy in his prime.

18. Kodi Medeiros, LHP (Preseason rank: 39)

Age: 22            Level: AA

Walks remain a concern for the 2014 first-round pick, who has one of the best sliders in the system but may have a future in the bullpen if he cannot command the zone.

19. Caden Lemons, RHP (Preseason rank: 21)

Age: 19          Level: R

Injuries have limited Lemons to just 10.2 professional innings since the Brewers made him their second pick in the 2017 draft. He has a long way to go, but if he can fill out his six-foot-six frame he could tap into some high-90’s velocity and become a strikeout machine.

20. Zack Brown, RHP (Preseason rank: 47)

Age: 23       Level: AA

Brown surprisingly started the season out at Double-A, after only making four starts at High-A last year. He’s responded with an excellent season, including being one strike away from a no-hitter.

21. Carlos Rodriguez, OF (Preseason rank: 30)

Age: 17         Level: R

Rodriguez has finally put on a little weight, giving him some muscle on his small five-foot-ten frame. He is hitting well in rookie ball, but his calling card will be his defense. With great burst speed and a knack for chasing down balls in the gap, Rodriguez could be a plus-defender in center field someday.

22. Jean Carmona, 2B (Preseason rank: 24)

Age: 18      Level: R

Carmona has struggled with the stick in rookie ball this year, but he’s just 18 and scouts still believe he had the skill set to play shortstop in the big leagues.

23. Eduarqi Fernandez, OF (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 16                 Level: N/A

The Brewers inked Fernandez, ranked as the No. 18 international prospect by MLB.com, for $1.1 million dollars in July. He has some filling out to do, but has average or better scouting grades across the board.

24. Brett Phillips, OF (Preseason rank: 11)

Age: 24           Level: Majors

Phillips is ten at-bats away from losing his prospect eligibility. He has had huge strikeout problems in the show, and if he cannot correct that his raw five-tool talent will be wasted.

Tier 4:

25. Jacob Nottingham, C (Preseason rank: 36)

Age: 23        Level: Majors

Nottingham has hit well at Triple-A this season, earning a handful of call-ups. His strikeout numbers are scary, but if he can develop into an average hitter he will stick in the big leagues thanks to his work behind the plate.

26. Trey Supak, RHP (Preseason rank: 35)

Age: 22        Level: AA

Supak sits 88-92, and has dominated the lower levels of the minors. His first taste of AA has come with some bad luck, as his FIP far outperforms his ERA at this point. Still, his ceiling is likely as rotation depth.

27. Payton Henry, C (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 21        Level: A

Henry has raw power that is rare for a catcher, but a 30% strikeout rate and concerns about his defense behind the plate certainly dim his outlook.

28. Branlyn Jaraba, SS/3B (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 16      Level: N/A

Jaraba was the most sought after Columbian prospect in this year’s international class. He plays shortstop now but is expected to develop as a third baseman, and a good defensive one at that.

29. KJ Harrison, C (Preseason rank: 15)

Age: 21        Level: A

Harrison’s transition from rookie ball to A-ball has not gone well, and the 2017 third-round pick is losing his place among Milwaukee’s numerous catching prospects.

30. Chad McClanahan, 1B (Preseason rank: 48)

Age: 20          Level: R

McClanahan has huge power upside, thanks to his six-foot-five frame. He’s tearing up rookie ball, but will need to show that he can tap into that power against more talented competition if he wants to make it to the big leagues as a first baseman.

31. Nate Orf, 2B (Preseason rank: 34)

Age: 28         Level: Majors

At age 28, Orf finally made his major league debut in 2018. He’s hitting spectacularly well at Triple-A, and looks like a high-OBP middle infielder who could steal some bases. His age makes him a risky prospect, but he could provide some value if he gets a chance to play second base on a full-time basis.

32. Adrian Houser, RHP (Preseason rank: 27)

Age: 25           Level: Majors

Houser has thrown 13 innings in the big leagues, all in relief. However, he’s been a starting at both Double-A and Triple-A this year. His 60-grade fastball and plus curveball are likely suited for a relief role in the big leagues.

33: Devin Williams, RHP (Preseason rank: 38)

Age: 23         Level: High-A

Williams missed all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery. Many expected him to come back in a relief role, but he has looked good in the rotation at High-A. If that sticks, the former second rounder could be a back-end starter in the near future.

34. Cody Ponce, RHP (Preseason rank: 18)

Age: 24        Level: AA

Ponce has turned in an uneven season at Double-A, and has been shuttled between the rotation and the bullpen. He has a nice four-pitch mix, but will need to miss more bats and show an ability to go deeper into games if he wants to reach his ceiling as a No. 4 starter.


Tier 5:

35. Eduardo Garcia, SS (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 16           Level: N/A

Garcia is one of the youngest international prospects from this year’s class. He is six-foot-two and 160 pounds, so a lot of his potential will depend on how much he fills out. Scouts love his defense up the middle, and believe his swing will lend himself to some gap to gap power.

36. Aaron Ashby, LHP (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 20          Level: R

Ashby was Milwaukee’s fourth round pick in 2018. He has a solid four-pitch mix with his curveball as his bread-and-butter. He has the tools to stick in the rotation long term, but could become a LOOGY if starting doesn’t work out.

37. Phil Bickford, LHP (Preseason rank: 19)

Age: 23        Level: High-A

Once one of the most exciting pitching prospects in baseball, injuries and suspensions have really limited Bickford from getting going. He’s now a 23-year-old in High-A ball, who is pitching exclusively in relief. That’s a bad development for the promising left-hander, who no longer looks like a big league starting pitcher.

38. Demi Orimoloye, OF (Preseason rank: 40)

Age: 21        Level: High-A

Orimoloye has impressive tools, but has yet to figure out how to consistently hit. He has made improvements in 2018, but will need to make more contact if he wants to reach his potential 20/20 ceiling.

39. Ernesto Martinez, Jr, 1B (Preseason rank: 32)

Age: 19         Level: R

Martinez might have the most raw power of anyone in the Brewers farm system. However, his hit tool is just not developed, and it may never be. He’s still just 19, so it’s worth seeing if he can learn how to hit and tap into his incredible power.

40. Je’Von Ward, OF (Preseason rank: 46)

Age: 18         Level: R

Ward’s biggest asset is his size. Standing at six-foot-five and 190 pounds, Ward will certainly add muscle to his 18-year-old frame. If he can use that added muscle to tap into some power, look out.

41: Jake Hager, SS (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 25            Level: AAA

Hager was a first round pick by the Rays way back in 2011. He’s already posted a career-high in home runs and is posting some of the best walk and strikeout rates of his career in his first year in Milwaukee’s system. The shortstop could find himself making his big league debut this September.

42: Quintin Torres-Costa, LHP (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 23          Level: AAA

Torres-Costa was a 35th round pick back in 2015, but he has dominated throughout the minor leagues. He’s a submarine style left-handed reliever who should have no problem getting left-handed hitters out in the big leagues.

43: Justin Jarvis, RHP (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 18           Level: R

Jarvis was Milwaukee’s fifth-round pick in 2018. He has a plus fastball and changeup, but fell in the draft thanks to concerns about his curveball. If he can turn that into an average pitch, he could be a No. 5 starter. If not, he’s destined for middle relief duties.

44. Pablo Abreu, OF (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 18        Level: R

Abreu was signed as an international free agent in the 2016 class. He has absolutely torn up rookie ball this season as an 18-year-old, showing elite plate discipline numbers – always a good sign for a teenage hitting prospect. He’s a name to keep an eye on.

45: Braden Webb, RHP (Preseason rank: 42)

Age: 23           Level: High-A

Webb was a third rounder in 2016. He has a slightly above average fastball, which average secondaries. He could reach his ceiling as a back-end starter, although long relief seems more his speed.

46: Brendan Murphy, LHP (Preseason rank: 44)

Age: 19            Level: N/A

Murphy has not thrown this season due to injury. The young lefthander still possesses the skill set to be a back end starter, but losing a year of development definitely hurts.

47: Michele Vassalotti, RHP (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 17             Level: R

Vassalotti is just 17 years old, but has already shown a promising three-pitch mix. He has a low arm slot from the right side, which could make him susceptible to opposing lefthanders. A middle relief role could be in his future.

48: Cooper Hummel, C (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 23             Level: High-A

Hummel has posted elite walk numbers in High-A, but concerns about his ability to stay at catcher long-term have clouded his future. If he can, he has the potential to be a big league backup.

49. Joantgel Segovia, OF (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 21         Level: High-A

Segovia absolutely crushed the ball in Single-A this year, earning himself a promotion. He has a solid hit tool, but doesn’t look like he will develop much power, which will stunt his growth as he doesn’t have the tools to play center field.

50: David Fry, C (Preseason rank: NR)

Age: 22            Level: R

Milwaukee’s seventh-rounder in 2018, Fry has played extremely well in his brief professional career. He will need to prove he can stick behind the plate and beat out a plethora of catching prospects above him to crack the big leagues, but he has enough skill to do so.

Others given consideration: Nathan Kirby, Bubba Derby, Aaron Wilkerson, Erys Bautista, Jon Perrin, Jorge Lopez


Featured image of Keston Hiura – via Carolina Mudcats Photography on Flickr (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

About Andy Patton 11 Articles
Andy Patton covers the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system for Prospects1500. He is on his third fantasy baseball writing gig, also writing for Pitcher List and RotoBaller. He also covers the Detroit Tigers at FanSided's Motor City Bengals and dabbles with the gridiron, writing about the Seahawks for USA TODAY.

3 Comments

  1. What about Weston Wilson,Yeison Coca,Alec Bettinger & Jon Oczak? I believe these 4 deserve consideration. Thank You

    • For what it’s worth, you can substitute a lot of guys toward the end of the list. I’ll answer why these guys didn’t make my consideration, but I’ll say that I can see an argument for any of them in the 45-50 range.

      Wilson I did look at, but as a 1B only prospect I don’t think his hitting numbers are strong enough to be any more than a bench bat, at best.
      Coca I looked at as well. He’s too small and doesn’t draw nearly enough walks to be more than a very light hitting utility infielder, IMO. His age does make him appealing though.
      Bettinger I’ll admit I didn’t look close enough at. His strikeout and walk numbers look good at this point, and a promotion to High-A is a good sign. I’d need to see him pitch more to project if he will stick in the rotation long-term, but he’ll get strong consideration for next year’s preseason list.
      Finally, Olczak is a 24-year-old reliever who is lighting up AA, which is what you’d expect from a 24 year old at that level. I think middle relief is probably his best bet, and that’s not enough to merit a spot on here.

      • As to being to small Y. Coca is about the same size as # 21 C. Rodriguez 5’10” 150 lbs. Back in 2013 O. Arcia At 19 yrs old 6′ 160 All i’m saying is measure the Heart, the work ethic, the desire and the attitude as well as the size!

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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