Milwaukee Brewers 2018 Top 50 Prospects

Milwaukee Brewers Top 50 Prospects for 2018

The Brew Crew did surprisingly well last year finishing just a game out of a playoff spot at 86-76. There was much discussion about Milwaukee selling some prospects to try and sneak in, but they held tight.  This talk has continued here this offseason and most reports say the Brewers have been actively shopping, but so far the Brewers have not pulled the trigger, opting to keep the star power and depth they have in the minors.  I’m glad they stayed the course last season, and hope they do the same this year, as there’s a lot to be excited about in the Brewer’s minor league system.

I think the Brewers have a top 10 system, a shade behind the best in the league. Josh Hader is the only graduate from my prospect list last year who is no longer eligible. The 2018 list features a number of players that are expected to contribute to the major league club, and some flyers that could do the same.

Did I miss anyone?  Who’s ranked too high or too low?  Hit me up on Twitter at @steve0080 or comment below to let me know your thoughts on my list.

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. Lewis Brinson, CF

Age: 23 (DOB: 05/08/1994)
2017 Highest level: MLB
Milwaukee’s consensus #1 prospect was very productive in AAA Colorado Springs last year to the tune of a .331/.400/.562 line in 340 PAs. This earned him some major league ABs where Brinson did struggle and showed he has more progress to make. All signs point to him being able to make adjustments given his tools and makeup, and his strikeout and walk rates have continued to improve throughout his pro career. I like Fangraphs’ Curtis Granderson comp. Brinson will have to compete for at-bats and produce in an MLB outfield that is full up at the moment, especially if Milwaukee is in contention. 


Tier 2
2.
 Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 2/10/1993)
2017 Highest level: MLB
Woodruff had a good 2017, surviving 16 starts in Colorado Springs and getting his MLB promotion. He would’ve likely graduated off prospect lists if he hadn’t pulled a hamstring before gettng to throw 43 IP in his 8 MLB starts last season. These innings were in a playoff run, so the Brewers expect good things from him and his above average sinker and slider. I don’t think Woodruff is currently in the 2018 rotation but may be able to earn a spot with a good spring. If he can’t, it will mean starting the year in AAA but I don’t see that being the case for long. Woodruff looks major league ready and like a very solid 3 pitcher to me.

3.Keston Hiura, 2B/DH
Age: 22 (DOB 8/2/1996)
2017 Highest level: A
Hiura has looked like the real deal in the batter’s box slashing .371/.422/.611 in his pro debut in Arizona League and Midwest League.  Hiura is not big but many still see him hitting for power.  Hiura’s throwing arm issues were the biggest concern when he was drafted but he’s already played some 2B. The Brewers will give him every chance to stay there but the bat would play at a corner outfield spot if necessary. I believe Hiura will start the season at A+ Carolina but expect him to be challenged in AA Biloxi before the end of the year. Hiura has potential to be an All-Star. 

4. Monte Harrison, OF
Age: 22 (DOB 8/10/1995)
2017 Highest level: A+
Finally healthy, Harrison delivered a breakout season at the A and A+ levels and followed it up with a very nice .283/.333/.604 line in 57 Arizona Fall League PAs, getting Harrison a lot of national attention. I’m very excited to see how he fares at AA Biloxi. He’s had a history of making adjustments so I am optimistic he can continue to improve. Harrison may always have some strikeouts in him, but has more power potential than anyone in the Brewers system and would be a threat on the bases as well. Some think he can stay in CF and others see him moving to RF due to his size and a strong arm.

5. Corbin Burnes RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 10/22/1994)
2017 Highest level: AA
Burnes also had a breakout season in 2017, second in the minors with his 1.67 ERA in 145.2 IP in Carolina and Biloxi.  Burnes averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and a sub 1.00 WHIP. Scouts say a modified windup and delivery, and positioning on the rubber all helped improve his command of the four pitches throws consistently for strikes. While Burnes throws quality stuff, just his fastball grades truly above average so some see him as a high floor but with a 3 or 4 ceiling. Burnes should start in the thin air of AAA Colorado Springs where hopefully he can hold his own and get a look iat Miller Park Milwaukee later in the season.

6. Luis Ortiz, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 9/22/1995)
2017 Highest level: AA
There was lots to like from Ortiz’s 2017.  Still just 21 in AA last season Ortiz pitched to a 4.01 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 94.1 IP. Those numbers don’t jump off the page but did allow just 79 hits. Sources say his focus on improving his delivery and changeup impacted the numbers. A hamstring issue and illness limited his IP as he’s consistently had problems staying healthy and on the mound. His upside may be greater than Burnes but Ortiz has enough to work on that he may not have as high of floor. Ortiz may start in a very strong AAA Colorado Springs rotation if the Brewers think he’s ready. I might prefer he get more IP’s and work on what he needs to improve on in Biloxi.

7. Isan Diaz, 2B/SS
Age: 21 (DOB 05/27/1996)
2017 Highest level: A+
Diaz was one of many that struggled to hit in Carolina last season. This was Milwaukee’s first year with Carolina as their A+ affiliate and the Mudcat’s Five County Stadium was the most difficult hitting environment in the Carolina League.  It still would’ve been encouraging to have seen better production from Diaz as he slashed .222/.334/.376 in 455 PA. Showed some less than ideal effort levels, but continues to show nice patience at the plate with a 13.6% walk rate. Most see Diaz manning 2B for the Shuckers to start the season. 

8. Trent Grisham, OF
Age: 21 (DOB: 11/01/1996)
2017 Highest level: A+
Yes, this is Trent Clark. He changed the last name to Grisham this offseason. Milwaukee’s 1st round pick in 2015 played all of 2017 at A+ Carolina as a 20-year-old. He was once again a walk machine with 98 walks (17% walk rate), stole 37 bases, and decreased his ground ball rate significantly. However, he didn’t really hit for average or power.   It also became clear in 2017 Grisham is more of a LF than a CF. I rank Grisham higher than most lists but he’s a really interesting prospect to me with a high ceiling, 1st round pedigree, a really unique swing and approach, and remarkable strike zone control. I’d prefer he work on improving in A+ a bit longer, but reports I’ve seen have him starting in AA Biloxi.

9. Lucas Erceg, 3B
Age: 22 (DOB: 5/1/1995)
2017 Highest level: AAA
Erceg logged a full season at 3B in A+ Carolina last season. The bat struggled to a .256/.307/.417 line in 538 PAs. There was some good with 49 XBH and a 17.6% K rate. He did have some hot streaks where everything was clicking late in the year and turned that into more ABs in AAA and the Arizona Fall League. Erceg should play this season in Biloxi where he’ll work on his patience at the plate, hitting to all fields, and his defensive footwork. He still looks to me like a major league third baseman.

10. Corey Ray, OF
2017 Highest level: A+
Age: 23 (DOB 9/22/1994)
Ray is one of the more polarizing prospects in the minors. He’s still got some hopeful fans, I’m one. After a poor start and injury in his pro debut in 2016 scouting reports from last spring said he looked great, so many expected him to put it together in A+ last season.  He did not. He did strike out 156 times in 503 PAs slashing .238/.311/.367. Ugh. He still shows speed, nice defense and raw power, so not everyone has given up, but he’s certainly sliding down this list. Most expect Ray will repeat A+, part of a third season there, where this time he’ll be above league average age.


Tier 3
11. Brett Phillips, OF
Age: 23 (DOB 5/30/1994)
2017 Highest level: MLB
Phillips made it to bigs last year and got 98 PAs with a nice slash line of .276/.351/.448. Fans were impressed with his hard play and a strong arm with a 104 MPH throw from CF. Phillips positioned himself to at least be the 4th OF with potential for more if Broxton is moved or Brinson is kept in AAA.  There is some cause to temper enthusiasm though with very high K-rates, and a .408 BABIP. I’m less optimistic than most that Phillips can be a league average CF, but his floor at this point is still a major league contributor starting now.

12. Tristen Lutz, OF
Age: 19 (DOB 8/22/98)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Lutz was the 34th overall pick last June and slashed .311/.398/.559 in 187 PAs in his pro debut across two levels of Rookie ball. Lutz played mostly CF last season but will eventually move to a corner and has the arm to play RF.  Lutz’s upside is an MLB average corner outfielder and so far has given every sign he can get there.

13. Mauricio Dubon, SS
Age: 23 (DOB 7/19/1994)
2017 Highest level: AAA
Dubon slashed a must more realistic .274/.330/.382 in 2017 splitting time between Biloxi and Colorado Springs, playing both middle infield spots. I’ve liked Dubon to the point I’ve had him ranked before Diaz, a view putting me in a vast minority. Fangraphs listed Alfonso Soriano as a comp for Dubon which is encouraging, but Dubon’s ceiling is probably not as high as Diaz. Dubon has great speed, can play middle infield, draw a walk and doesn’t strike out.  Dubon will start in Colorado Springs and I expect him to make it to the show.

14. Freddy Peralta, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 6/4/1996)
2017 Highest level: AA
Peralta might be the best of the 14th ranked prospects you will see in these Top 50 lists. Peralta pitched very well last season split between A+ and AA. He did not turn 21 years old until June.  His season ERA was 2.63 in 120 IP with 169 K’s and 77 hits allowed. That’s pretty dominant with more K’s than you’d expect from a 5’ 11” pitcher that sits at 91 with his fastball. However, his delivery is unique and allows him to confuse hitters. Control was an issue again with 62 walks (4.7 BB/9). The lack of size, lack of big-time velocity and control lapses all mean he’ll always have to prove himself as a starter.  Like Grisham, Peralta is a very unique, almost odd prospect, which makes him fun to watch and root for. He could be a 3 or 4 SP or an even better reliever depending on how he develops. Peralta is already on the 40 man which may be an accelerated route to the majors if he continues to produce, but he’ll start 2018 where he ended last season in AA Biloxi.

15. KJ Harrison, C 
Age: 21 (DOB 8/11/1996)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
As expected, Harrison looked like a guy who hadn’t played much at the catcher position since high school. The bat was very impressive in the Pioneer league debut slashing .308/.388/.546 with 24 XBH in 214 PA. If Harrison can play catcher (he caught 146 innings games in his pro debut season) it’s assumed his bat will be much better than average, so much so that some think it’d play in a corner outfield spot, making him an exciting player to watch.





Tier 4
16. Marcos Diplan
, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB 9/18/1996)
2017 Highest level: A+
Diplan returned to A+ Carolina for all of 2017 and his numbers again weren’t great. I‘m sure the Brewers were hoping for more from the pitcher that dominated as a 19-year-old in Low A Wisconsin. Diplan’s stuff is still very good and got nearly a strikeout per inning with three plus pitches including a fastball up to 95 MPH. But has not yet developed the command he needs. Diplan should start the year in A+ again but with having to add him to 40-man roster the Brewers will certainly look for him to develop and have success soon. Even if Diplan can’t develop as a starter, his stuff makes him a candidate for the late innings.

17. Mario Feliciano, C
Age: 19 (DOB: 11/20/1998)
2017 Highest level: A
Milwaukee has been very aggressive with Feliciano, their 2016 2nd round pick, and it has not backfired on them so far. He held his own as an 18-year-old in the Midwest league slashing .251/.320/.331 in 446 PAs. Feliciano will repeat the level in 2018 and may improve his numbers, but the Brewers’ interest will be how he develops as a catcher. He saw 78 games there last season and was promising enough for most to think he can stay there.

18. Cody Ponce, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB 4/25/1994)
2017 Highest level: AA
Ponce pitched his way to a late-season promotion to AA Biloxi last year. He’ll start again there with a four-pitch mix that some scouts expect will get him to the end of a MLB rotation. He has a starter’s build but a funky delivery and injury history that had prevented him to getting more than 72 IP in a season before last year’s 137.2 IP – a successful year for Ponce.

 19. Phil Bickford, RHP
Age: 22: (DOB 7/10/1995)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Lots of folks are down on Bickford after some suspension issues and injuries that limited his 2017 to six ho-hum Rookie-level appearances for 17 IP. Bickford was a 13th overall pick and hopefully he just needs some time to rediscover the velocity and command which have left him. I think I’m more optimistic than most but 2018 will be huge for Bickford. He’s seen 160 innings in pro ball with just 60 in A+ but my understanding is that Milwaukee will send him to a new level at AA in 2018.

20. Jake Gatewood, 3B/1B
Age: 22 (DOB: 9/25/1995)
2017 Highest level: AA
Another 1st round pick (2014), Gatewood made some headway in 2017. His strike zone judgment improved and had his best statistical season as a pro. They gave Gatewood a shot in AA and then in the Arizona Fall League. He struggled mightily this Fall with just 4 hits and 18 K’s in 42 AB but Gatewood will go back to AA to see what he can do. He showed some power with 58 XBH last year, but his patience will have to improve without sacrificing power because his defensive spot is looking more and more like first base.

21. Caden Lemons, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB 12/2/1998)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Milwaukee’s 2nd rounder from the 2017 MLB Draft, Lemons is a 6’6” pitcher with a big arm they hope they can develop into a power pitcher. Lemons pitched just 2.2 IP after being drafted and will return to short-season ball and develop slowly, possibly to a high ceiling. Optimistic scouts are excited about Lemons as a pitcher that already flashes upper 90’s heat and may throw even harder with development, and very high spin rates for a high schooler.

22. Jordan Yamamoto, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 5/11/1996)
2017 Highest level: A+
Yamamoto just continues to pitch well as a pro. Yamamoto’s fastball sits at just 89-92 and some think it’ll get hit at the upper levels, but his SO/9 has been 9.5 as a pro. He has a nice curve (near elite spin rate if you’re into that sort of thing), but the jury is split on if he can make it in the higher levels as a SP or if he’ll need to relieve. We’ll start to see soon as I expect he’ll start the year in the AA Shuckers’ rotation.

23. Nathan Kirby, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB 11/23/1995)
2017 Highest level: did not pitch
Kirby is another Brewer 1st round pick but has not pitched since 2015 with a Tommy John surgery. It’s easy to forget about Kirby as he has just 12.2 IP as a professional.  I expect Kirby to get some starts at Low A Wisconsin with an opportunity to move up quick if he pitches well. Milwaukee will give him every opportunity in a system that lacks left-handed starting pitching prospects.

24. Jean Carmona, SS
Age: 18 (DOB 10/31/1999)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Carmona was the best prospect the Brewers signed in the 2015-16 international signing period and they may have found a good player. He hit well in his DOSL debut last season slashing .302/.406/.447 in 192 PAs. Carmona is a switch hitter, plays very good defense at SS and was rewarded with some stateside experience in the Arizona League last season. I’m not sure where he’ll start 2018 but I’d guess the find a spot again at the Rookie league level.

25. Taylor Williams, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB 7/21/1991)
2017 Highest level: MLB
It’s been a long road for this 4th round pick who made it to the Majors in 2017 after losing 2015-16 to injury. Williams pitched well in 4.2 IP for the Brewers but will most likely start him in AAA, a rotation full of pitchers battling for a call from the Brewers in 2018. Williams pitched as fast as 98 MPH last year and struck out 57 in 46.2 IP in Biloxi, so he certainly has some stuff and could play a nice role in an MLB bullpen right now.

26. Aaron Wilkerson, RHP
Age: 28 (DOB: 5/24/1989)
2017 Highest level: MLB
Wilkerson is an older prospect at 28, but he arguably outpitched everyone at AA Biloxi last year finishing with a 3.16 ERA, 143 Ks to 36 BBs, a 1.075 WHIP, and just 117 HA in 142.1 IP, among the league leaders in many pitching categories. This was a 3rd nice season in a row for Wilkerson and it got him a couple of MLB starts late in the year where he did fine and earned himself a look at a rotation spot at some point 2018. I think he’d be a very nice 4th or 5th started right now and hope Milwaukee gives him a chance.

27. Adrian Houser, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 2/2/1993)
2017 Highest level:
Houser’s a 2nd round pick of the Astros from 2011. He was left off my list last year after a mediocre 2016 after missing time with Tommy John. Houser looks like he’ll get a shot in the Biloxi rotation after a nice 2017 in limited work. Scouts see a 6’4” righty a plus fastball/curve combination. The Brewers could have a near ready bullpen piece or continue to let him develop as a starter if they wish.

Tier 5

28. Jorge Lopez, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB 2/10/1993)
2017 Highest level: MLB
Lopez split time as a starter and reliever but just 13 of his 39 games in Biloxi were as a starter. He finished a number of games too notching seven saves. Its clearer that Milwaukee sees him as a reliever going forward, but his command is still an issue, so it would have to improve to get high leverage situations. (I don’t see that happening) Lopez could very likely play a role in the MLB bullpen this season.

29. Josh Pennington, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 7/6/1995)
2017 Highest level: A
Pennington has made it through a Tommy John surgery and bone chips in his pitching career, so Milwaukee kept his workload last year low with 30.1 IP in nine Midwest League starts last year.  His numbers have always been good. He gets his fastball up to 97, throws a high spin curve, and has been able to have success throwing strikes so far. Pennington will likely compete for starts in the Carolina Mudcats rotation and continue as a starter while he can.

30. Carlos Rodriguez, OF
Age: 17 (DOB 12/2000)
2017 Highest level: did not play
Milwaukee made a nice investment in the international market this year including Rodriquez who signed for $1.35M out of Venezuela.  Rodriguez did not appear in the DOSL but was anywhere from 5th to 28th in the 2016-17 international rankings I reviewed. He’s has been compared to a young Ender Inciarte or Gerardo Parra. Rodriguez is small, listed as just 150 lbs, but projectable. His defense is already good and scouts note he’s one of the more advanced bats in his class.

31. Larry Ernesto, CF
Age: 17 (DOB: 9/2000)
2017 Highest level: did not play
Ernesto was signed from the Dominican Republic last season but didn’t make a professional league debut. Ernesto has tools, is projectable, switch hits, and has potential to be a very good center fielder. He signed for $1.7M last spring and was ranked anywhere from 14th to 26th in the international rankings I reviewed. Many felt his power potential stood out in the class.

32. Ernesto Martinez Jr., 1B
Age: 18 (DOB 6/20/1999)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
A 6’6”, 225 lb left-handed bat out of Cuba, Martinez played 38 games in the DOSL slashing .257/.419/.434 earning a taste in the ARIZ league where he struggled in 48 PA. Martinez is a plus-plus a power prospect who’s showed a good batters eye with almost as many walks as K’s in his debut. He has a long long way to go to be a professional hitter but is an exciting player who should get a more extended look in the Rookie league this year.

33. Troy Stokes, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 02/02/1996)
2017 Highest level: AA
Stokes made it to AA Biloxi last season where had some success slashing .252/.333/.452 in 153 PAs. Stokes is small (5’8”, 182 lbs) but still shows nice power and plate discipline that could get him to the majors, even as a corner outfielder. He’ll return to AA, with Harrison and Grisham, in what will be a fun outfield to watch.

34. Nathan Orf, 2B/3B/OF
Age: 27 (DOB 02/01/1990)
2017 Highest level – AAA
Orf is likely overrated here but is one of my favorite and most interesting Brewer prospects. He played all season at AAA Colorado Springs and actually had a good case for a call-up last Fall. He can play 2B, 3B and OF and would fit nicely towards the top of a Brewer lineup that often struggles with on-base and contact issues. Orf was all over the PCL leaderboard, showed a nice home split, but still excelled on the road.  Orf is almost 28 and was left off the Brewers’ 40-man and thankfully no one picked him up. He’s high on my list because I think he could contribute in the MLB, so I’d really like to see him get a shot this year.

35. Trey SupakRHP
Age: 21 (DOB 5/31/96)
2017 Highest level: A+
A 2nd round draft pick in 2014 that came from Pittsburgh, Supak dominated Low-A Wisconsin with 41 IP with a 1.76 ERA and 0.756 WHIP, striking out 53, walking 10 and allowing just 21 hits in 8 games. Supak was much more average in A+. Supak throws a fastball in the low 90s, with a nice change and decent curve, but the consensus is he is not likely to reach the majors without better stuff.

36. Jacob Nottingham, C/1B
Age: 22 (DOB 04/03/1995)
2017 Highest level: AA
Nottingham did not hit in his repeat of AA Biloxi last year. In 385 PAs he slashed just .209/.326/.369. 83 of his 101 games played were behind the plate where he needed to work on being a catcher. It doesn’t look like the bat will play anywhere else. Word is he did improve defensively but is still currently below average so there was limited enthusiasm. No sign of the bat we saw him have in the Oakland and Houston systems.

37. Jon Perrin, RHP 
Age: 24 (DOB 5/23/1993)
2017 Highest level: AA
Perrin continues to perform well, even as he moved up to AA Biloxi last season. Perrin slung 105.1 IP over 12 starts and 11 relief appearances. He struck out 91 and walked just 21 highlighting his trademark control and surprised some being able to throw strikes for outs at the higher level. Perrin pitched in the AZFL also where his fastball was clocked as high as 95. Perrin throws a four-pitch mix that is still developing and certainly has a shot at a major league rotation.

38. Devin Williams, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 9/21/1994)
2017 Highest level – did not pitch
Williams did not pitch in 2017 due to Tommy John surgery in the spring. Williams was my #19 prospect before last season but has fallen on my list due to the injury and lack of development. Williams may be fast-tracked as a reliever. He was likely on this track before the injury, and has a fastball-slider combination that can get advanced bats out.

39. Kodi Medeiros, LHP
Age: 21 (DOB 5/25/1996)
2017 Highest level: A+
The 12th overall pick in 2014, Mederios has not yet had the pro results you’d want to see from such a high pick. He repeated A+ in 2017, this time as a Carolina Mudcat. He improved his control but still struggled against righties, still needs an offspeed offering, and is looking for and more like a left-handed bullpen option. Medeiros saw most of his success in 2017 out of the pen and Milwaukee will likely have him start 2018 in AA Biloxi.

40. Demi Orimoloye, OF
Age: 21 (DOB 1/6/1997)
2017 Highest level: A
Orimoloye spent all of last year in the Midwest league and struggled his 2nd straight season as a pro slashing .214/.281/.351 in 518 PAs. He was waived in my Dynasty League where each team can keep up to 250 players.  The Brewers have too much time and money to cut bait like this and will give him another shot in A where he won’t be young for the league anymore, but he’ll have to improve to keep even those who are still hopeful he can develop.

41. Kyle Wren, OF
Age: 26 (DOB 4/23/1991)
2017 Highest level: AAA
Wren had another nice pro season in 2017, this time in AAA getting 540 PAs slashing .286/.364/.401. Wren draws a lot of walks, makes contact, skills Milwaukee’s major league lineup could use, but lacks power and only plays corner outfield spots.  I’d like to see Wren get a shot to contribute in MLB but if he’s doing it in Miller Park this year, something’s gone wrong with the plan.

42. Braden Webb, RHP 
Age: 22 (DOB 4/25/1995)
2017 Highest level: A
A 3rd round pick in 2016, Webb recovered from a UCL injury and made his professional debut in 2017 this April at A ball Wisconsin where he pitched 86.2 IP. It did not go well. He did miss some bats with his three-pitch mix, but projects as a reliever to most unless he can improve.

 43. Gabriel Garcia, 1B/3B
Age: 20 (DOB: 12/16/1997)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Garcia is a 14th rounder from the 2016 draft that has performed very well as a pro. 2017 saw him get 285 ABs where he slashed .300/.420/.498 with 27 XBHs, 39 BBs, 69 Ks. Garcia profiles at a corner infield spot, making it more difficult for him to get to the majors, but he’s earned a chance to prove himself at Wisconsin in 2018.

44. Brendan Murphy, LHP
Age: 18 (DOB 01/2/1999)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Milwaukee really hopes some left-handed starters can make progress to fill what may be the only gap in their rich farm system. Murphy is the Brewer’s 4th rounder from the 2017 MLB Draft, a projectable high school lefty from a cold weather state who will have a lot of development to do to reach his back of the rotation projection. Scouts note he’s got a smooth delivery, three pitches, and advanced control and command that surpasses his stuff right now. He’ll likely get his innings this year at the Rookie level.

45. Thomas Jankins, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 7/2/1995)
2017 Highest level: A
Jankins is new to my top 50 and was a 13th rounder in 2016. Jankins spent the whole season in A Wisconsin logging 141.2 IP. He showed superb control walking 2.0 BB/9. He can throw his fastball, changeup, and curve for strikes, and should continue to develop as many cold weather pitchers do. I expect Jankins will move to A+ to see if he can continue to impress.

46. Je’Von Ward, OF
Age: 18 (DOB 10/25/1999)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
Another addition to my top 50, Ward is all projection and dreaming at this point. Milwaukee drafted him in the 12th round in 2017 and paid an over-slot bonus for the privilege. Ward got 132 PAs in the ARIZ League and was as raw as expected. It’s likely he’ll start 2018 at the same level and will obviously take awhile to develop. Milwaukee will have patience given his high ceiling.

47. Zack Brown, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 12/15/1994)
2017 Highest level: A+
Brown pitched well in A ball last year earning a promotion to A+ Carolina where he pitched really well in four starts to finish the year. Overall he struck out about a batter an inning with good control. His four pitch mix and deceptive delivery have brought him success in the pros. Brown will return to A+ to see if he can continue impressing as a starting pitcher.

48. Chad McClanahan, 3B
Age: 20 (DOB 12/22/1997)
2017 Highest level: Rookie
McClanahan was a bonus baby for $1.2M in the 2016 draft with a reputation as a hit first guy but the bat hasn’t developed so far. In 436 pro PAs he’s slashed .224/.317/.322 with 23 XBH. Not sure where the Brewers plan to send him in 2018 but I’m sure they’ll expect some positive signs in his 3rd pro season.

49. Carlos Herrera, RHP
Age: 20 (DOB 10/26/1997)
2017 Highest Level: A
Herrera was slaying Rookie league competition to start 2017 with 11.1 SO/9 compared to 2.1 BB/9 but couldn’t maintain his rates when promoted to A ball. He’s still interesting with a chance for three good pitches and worth seeing if he can adjust and stuff can improve.

50. Ronnie Gideon, 1B
Age: 23 (DOB 9/20/1994)
2017 Highest level: A
A 23rd round pick in 2016 he was drafted, and is on this list, for his power potential. Gideon has 31 HR and 80 XBH in his 683 pro PAs, but he’s been old for the competition and has struggled with contact so far. He’ll hit A+ in 2018 and I’ll be curious to see if he can address contact issues and maintain the power.

 

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