Throwback Thursday: Prospect Rankings

With our annual preseason prospect rankings coming out in a little over a week from now, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at our previous lists at some of the names who were among the Brewers top prospects going all the way back to our old Blogger site in 2009, up until last years rankings here at

I’m always amused by how seriously people take these lists (I once saw two grown men a few rows ahead of me nearly come to blows at a Timber Rattlers game as they argued over the prospect status of Cutter Dykstra) and I think this helps to illustrate that just because someone is ranked highly on a prospect list, it isn’t a guarantee of future success. So without further ado, here are our hits and misses from the past seven seasons.

1. Mat Gamel
2. Alcides Escobar
3. Jeremy Jeffress
4. Brett Lawrie
5. Angel Salome
6. Lorenzo Cain
7. Jonathan Lucroy
8. Jake Odorizzi
9.Taylor Green
10. Cole Gillespie

It’s really a shame that injuries cost Mat Gamel so much. What could have been. He was an exciting prospect to follow and I really thought he would have hit at the big league level if given consistent at bats. Angel Salome. Yikes. Escobar, Cain, Lucroy and Odorizzi make this a pretty good looking group overall.

1. Alcides Escobar
2. Brett Lawrie
3. Jonathan Lucroy
4. Mat Gamel
5. Eric Arnett
6. Lorenzo Cain
7. Kentrail Davis
8. Jake Odorizzi
9. Zach Braddock
10. Mark Rogers

Escobar took the number one spot in 2010 and has already put together a solid career, establishing himself as more than just a defensive shortstop. I’ve always expected a little more out of Brett Lawrie, but now with his fourth organization already perhaps the White Sox will be the right fit for him. You can’t really fault the addition of first round picks Eric Arnett and Kentrail Davis at the time, but neither player wound up reaching the big leagues.

1. Wily Peralta
2. Mark Rogers
3. Kentrail Davis
4. Tyler Thornburg
5. Scooter Gennett
6. Cody Scarpetta
7. Amaury Rivas
8. Jimmy Nelson
9. Caleb Gindl
10. Kyle Heckathorn

With Escobar, Cain, Odorizzi and Jeffress all traded to Kansas City in the Zach Grienke deal, Wily Peralta jumped all the way up from unranked the previous year to claim the #1 spot in the 2011 rankings. Mark Rogers and Cody Scarpetta are two more guys who never really recovered from serious injuries and Kyle Heckathorn is another former first round pick that never sniffed Milwaukee.

1. Wily Peralta
2. Taylor Jungmann
3. Tyler Thornburg
4. Scooter Gennett
5. Jed Bradley
6. Logan Schafer
7. Taylor Green
8. Jimmy Nelson
9. Mike Fiers
10. Jorge Lopez

Peralta held on to his number one ranking for a second straight season with Taylor Jungmann nipping at his heals. Jungmann and Bradley were both first rounders the year before and Jorge Lopez was Milwaukee’s second round pick in 2011.

1. Tyler Thornburg
2. Jimmy Nelson
3. Taylor Jungmann
4. Johnny Hellweg
5. Victor Roache
6. Hunter Morris
7. Scooter Gennett
8. Clint Coulter
9. Mitch Haniger
10. Tyrone Taylor

Coming off a strong 2012 season, Tyler Thornburg jumped from #3 to #1, moving past Jungmann. First baseman Hunter Morris also made a big jump after winning the Southern League MVP the previous year. Milwaukee’s top four picks from the 2012 draft (Roache, Coulter, Haniger and Taylor) all make their first appearance here.

1. Tyrone Taylor
2. Jimmy Nelson
3. Orlando Arcia
4. Victor Roache
5. Devin Williams
6. Mitch Haniger
7. Taylor Jungmann
8. Johnny Hellweg
9. Hunter Morris
10. Clint Coulter

Tyrone Taylor jumped all the way from #10 to #1 from 2013 to 2014, beating out Jimmy Nelson for the top spot with Orlando Arcia coming in at number three. Jungmann took a bit of a tumble, falling to #7 and 2013 top pick Devin Williams made his debut at #5.

1. Orlando Arcia
2. Tyrone Taylor
3. Monte Harrison
4. Clint Coulter
5. Devin Williams
6. Kodi Medeiros
7. Gilbert Lara
8. Taylor Jungmann
9. Taylor Williams
10. Jorge Lopez

In a very close battle, Arcia vaulted into the top spot in 2015, beating out Taylor. Several new additions to the organization showed up on the list as well with 2014 draft choices Monte Harrison and Kodi Medeiros making appearances in addition to international signing Gilbert Lara.

So as you can see, prospect ranking is an inexact science. Nobody is right all the time. Players get injured. Players underperform. Some guys come from seemingly out of nowhere to burst on the scene. Still, it’s a fun exercise that we look forward to every year and even more so in seasons like this where the Brewers farm system is especially exciting heading into the 2016 season.

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