Milwaukee Brewers Top 25 Prospect RankingsIt’s been about three months since we came out with our initial 2014 prospect rankings which saw Tyrone Taylor and Jimmy Nelson in a very tight race for the number one spot.
With the draft just two weeks away, we thought now would be a good time to update our list and so we had our staff members each cast a ballot ranking their top 25 Brewers prospects. We had eight voters in all with 25 points being awarded for a first place vote, progressing down to one point being awarded for a 25th place vote.
Both Nelson and Taylor have enjoyed successful starts to the season and remain among the Brewers top prospects but Nelson nudged out Taylor to regain the top spot in the rankings.
Some players such as Clint Coulter and David Denson made a jump up the list, while others like Johnny Hellweg took a tumble down.
Here are the results of our latest poll, with the total number of points out of a possible 200 notated behind each player.
1. Jimmy Nelson – RHP (197) – Nelson is forcing his way towards Milwaukee and could find his way back to Miller Park sooner than anyone on this list. He nudged Taylor for the top spot, grabbing five of eight first place votes. In nine starts for Nashville, the former second round pick has gone 5-1 with a 1. 71 ERA and has struck out a batter per inning with 58 punchouts in 58 innings of work. (Last Ranking: #2)
2. Tyrone Taylor – OF (194) – Taylor just turned 20 in January, but has handled the move to Brevard County, continuing to show progress with his all-around game. In the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, Taylor is batting .259 through his first 44 games. More impressively, 25 of his 45 hits have gone for extra bases as he’s racked up a league high 20 doubles to go along with a triple and four home runs. (Last Ranking: #1)
3. Orlando Arcia – SS (175) – Much like Taylor, Arcia is showing that being pushed at such a young age is something he can handle. Only 19 years old, and more than 3.5 years younger than the FSL average, Arcia has been splitting his time between second base and shortstop, batting .244 through his first 44 games. (Last Ranking: #3)
4. Clint Coulter – C (174) – The former first round pick has enjoyed much more success in his second trip through the Midwest League. He’s batting .291 with eight home runs and 35 runs batted in through 41 games. While Coulter’s offense has been eye-opening, his defense still remains a question. He has improved some behind the plate, but still has a very long way to go and the most likely scenario would be a position change for Coulter down the road. (Last Ranking: #10)
5. Devin Williams – RHP (163) – Williams stayed behind in extended spring training and will likely head to Helena when they open their season next month. The 19-year-old saw action in 13 games in the Arizona Rookie League last summer, striking out 39 batters in just 34.2 innings of work. (Last Ranking: #5)
6. Mitch Haniger – OF (160) – Expectations were high for Haniger following successful stints in the Arizona Fall League and big league camp this spring, but he’s gotten off to a slow start at Double-A Huntsville, hitting .239 through his first 43 games. He’s shown signs of picking things up lately however, batting .299 in the month of May and his ability to play all three outfield positions could get him to Milwaukee sometime in 2015. (Last Ranking: #6)
7. Taylor Jungmann – RHP (156) – Perhaps a victim of his first round draft status, Jungmann has been solid, if not spectacular throughout his three seasons in the Brewers organization. In 61 career starts he’s compiled a 25-20 record with a 3.74 ERA. This season he’s posted a 2.77 ERA in nine starts and his strikeouts per nine innings have increased from 5.3 last season to 8.0 in 2014. He should see Nashville at some point very soon. (Last Ranking: #7)
8. Victor Roache – OF (155) – Possessing one of the most powerful swings in the Brewers system, Roache has started slow for the second year in a row, hitting only .211 through his first 43 games. He does however lead the Manatees in home runs (7) and runs batted in (35). Like most power hitters, Roache needs to cut down on the strikeouts and raise his average a bit, but the ball explodes off his bat and he remains a threat every time he steps in the batter’s box. (Last Ranking: #4)
9. Hunter Morris – 1B (120) – With the first base situation in Milwaukee, you would have to assume that Morris will get his chance at some point this season. In his second stint at Triple-A Nashville, the slugger is hitting .289 with five home runs and 12 doubles. He has drawn just nine walks, while striking out 37 times which is a bit of a concern, but with Lyle Overbay’s continued struggles at the plate it may be approaching time for the Brewers to see what Morris can do at the big league level. (Last Ranking: #9)
10. Michael Reed – OF (111) – Reed was on fire at High-A Brevard County before landing on the disabled list. Batting .291 through 36 games, Reed has an on base percentage of an incredible .470. He has walked 35 times while striking out just 24 and his 17 stolen bases lead the team by a wide margin. Reed should be back on the field before long and of the three outfielders at Brevard would appear the most likely to get a bump to Double-A if a spot opens up at some point this season. (Last Ranking: #18)
11. Tucker Neuhaus – 3B (102) – Neuhaus struggled in his pro debut last season, batting .231 in 51 AZL games. Likely ticketed for Helena when they begin play in June, he has the tools and physical ability to succeed and should benefit from being able to focus on one position after rotating between short and third last year. (Last Ranking: #12)
12. Jed Bradley – LHP (93) – The lefty from Georgia Tech had all but been written off by Brewers fans after his struggles the past two seasons, but in his third season at Brevard County, Bradley has been fantastic. Already named as the Florida State League’s Pitcher of the Week two times, he has a 4-2 record with a 2.67 ERA. The true test for Bradley will come when he gets a promotion to Double-A Huntsville. If he can successfully make the jump and maintain similar numbers, the Brewers may still have something in the former first round pick. (Last Ranking: #23)
13. Nicky Delmonico – 3B (77) – Delmonico missed spring training due to what the Brewers termed simply as personal issues but recently re-joined Brevard County after opening the season in extended spring training. He homered in his first game back and is batting .265 through his first nine games. Acquired last season from Baltimore, Delmonico is still just 21 years old and was ranked as high as number four on the Orioles list of top prospects by Baseball America last season. (Last Ranking: #11)
14. Tyler Wagner – RHP (76) – Milwaukee’s fourth round pick in 2012, Wagner has allowed only ten earned runs in nine starts for Brevard County this season. A reliever in college, Wagner has taken to the role of starter in the pros and his 1.76 ERA for Brevard this season is tops on the team amongst pitchers with more than ten innings. (Last Ranking: #21)
15. David Denson – 1B (71) – Denson is best known for his power bat, but has also shown good patience at the plate and the ability to draw a walk early on in his career. At just 19-years-old, the Brewers pushed Denson to Class-A Wisconsin where he’s handled himself well. He’s batting .240 with three home runs and has walked 23 times for a .378 on base percentage. (Last Ranking: NR)
16. Johnny Hellweg – RHP (63) – The hard-throwing righty, acquired from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade, underwent Tommy John surgery after leaving his start on April 20th and will miss the rest of the 2014 season. Many believed that Hellweg’s future was as a reliever and his elbow injury may help cement that move to the bullpen. (Last Ranking: #8)
17. David Goforth – RHP (59) – Serving as the closer for Double-A Huntsville, Goforth has gone 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA while saving 11 games for the first place Stars. Despite an overpowering fastball, Goforth hasn’t struck out a ton of batters, getting just 14 K’s in 23 innings for a 5.5 K/9 rate, his lowest of his career. (Last Ranking: #13)
18. Jorge Lopez – RHP (55) – Somewhat overshadowed at Brevard County, the 21-year-old Puerto Rican has gone 5-2 through his first nine starts for the Manatees while posting a 3.72 ERA. After a rough start to his pro career that saw him demoted to the Dominican Summer League just two seasons ago, Lopez appears to have turned things around and is showing why the Brewers selected him in the second round in 2011. (Last Ranking: #16)
19. Chris McFarland – 2B (54) – Somewhat of a streaky hitter, McFarland has enjoyed much more success in his second season in the Midwest League. Through 41 games he’s batting .269 with six home runs and 15 stolen bases. The 21-year-old from Lufkin, Texas has a speed/power combo that is rare for a second baseman and makes him an intriguing prospect for Milwaukee. (Last Ranking: NR)
20. Tyler Cravy – RHP (53) – No Brewers pitcher has had a better start to his season than the 24-year-old Cravy. After starting the season in the Huntsville bullpen, he was inserted in to the Stars rotation on April 13th, replacing an injured Andy Moye. In ten games, eight starts, he’s gone 7-1 with a 1.82 ERA and a WHIP of 0.81 while holding oppossing hitters to a .179 batting average. (Last Ranking: #24)
21. Damien Magnifico – RHP (44) – After being selected to the Midwest League All-Star team last season, Magnifico was promoted to Brevard County, but blister issues cut his season short. The flame-thrower from the University of Oklahoma has enjoyed much more success at Brevard this season. He tossed a complete game shutout his last time out and for the season has a record of 3-3 with a 2.37 ERA. (Last Ranking: #20)
22. D’Vontrey Richardson – OF (32) – After taking a year off in 2012, Richardson came back to hit .325 for High-A Brevard County last season. He moved to Huntsville to begin 2014 and got off to a hot start, collecting ten hits in his first eight games before a hand injury sent him to the disabled list. He’s struggled to get on base since coming off the DL, batting just .181 in the month of May but remains one of the most athletic players in the Brewers organization. (Last Ranking: #15)
23. Ariel Pena – RHP (31) – As has been the case throughout his career, Pena has struggled to maintain consistent success at Triple-A Nashville. He started off the year with back-to-back solid outings, allowing just one run while striking out eight in each of his first two starts. He also had a start towards the end of April where he gave up eight runs, six earned on four hits and six walks in just three innings. If he can find some consistency, Pena could be another valuable rotation option for the Brewers. If not, his long-term future may lie in the bullpen. (Last Ranking: #14)
24. Drew Gagnon – RHP (27) – Gagnon made 16 starts at Huntsville last year and went 4-9 with a 5.57 ERA. This year has been a totally different story as he’s posted a 4-1 record with a 2.36 ERA for the Stars. The former third round pick has been one of Huntsville’s most reliable starters and has held opposing hitters to a .201 batting average on the season. (Last Ranking: #25)
25. Cameron Garfield – C (25) – Garfield lit Arizona on fire this spring and appeared poised for a breakout season. Milwaukee chose to send him back to Brevard for a second season and like many of the Manatees hitters, Garfield has struggled to get going at the plate in the pitching dominated FSL. Through his first 37 games, the former second round pick is hitting .244 but has been much improved behind the plate, gunning down 40% of runners attempting to steal. (Last Ranking: NR)
Others receiving votes: Nick Ramirez – 1B (24), Jose Pena – OF (23), Hobbs Johnson – LHP (22), Jason Rogers – 3B (20), Brent Suter (LHP) 16, Taylor Williams – RHP (15), Yadiel Rivera – SS (7), Johnny Davis – OF (3), Kentrail Davis – OF (1), Omar Garcia – OF (1)
Our next rankings will likely take place in late July when we have a bunch of new draft picks and hopefully some July 2nd signings to add to the mix. Sometime over the holiday weekend we’ll put together a mailbag to answer some questions that our readers may have regarding our Top 25 list, so if you’d like to submit a question for the mailbag, please email us at email@example.com.