Putting together a list of the Brewers top 40 prospects may have proved to be a difficult task in years past, but that’s different in 2016, as an influx of new blood has re-stocked Milwaukee’s farm system, bringing loads of new talent into the organization.
With so many new bodies, especially at the lower levels of the Brewers system, there was more fluctuation in our rankings than in the past, but one thing that remained the same was shortstop Orlando Arcia retaining the number one spot in unanimous fashion.
As usual, our rankings are a combined effort where we had each of our voters submit their pre-season rankings and then totaled up the votes. From there we tallied up the points and compiled our rankings with the most total points earning the top spot. Here is the result of our latest poll.
1. Orlando Arcia (SS) – Ranked number one on all eight ballots, Arcia has climbed to the top of most rankings, becoming a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. Last season at Double-A Biloxi, he hit .307 with 37 doubles, seven triples and eight home runs en route to being named the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year.
2. Brett Phillips (OF) – Acquired from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline last season, Phillips barely nudged out Jorge Lopez for the number two spot in our rankings. The 21-year-old center fielder hit .346 in seven Arizona Fall League contests before leaving to play for Team USA in the Premier 12 tournament in November.
3. Jorge Lopez (RHP) – Milwaukee’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2015, Lopez enjoyed a breakout season at Double-A Biloxi, going 12-5 with a 2.26 earned run average in 24 starts, earning a September call-up to Milwaukee and a pair of late-season starts for the Brewers.
4. Trent Clark (OF) – The Brewers first round pick in last June’s draft, Clark had an impressive debut in rookie ball in 2015. The 19-year-old outfielder hit .309 in 43 AZL games, before moving up to Helena, where he hit .310 over 12 games. He finished with one second place vote, with his lowest ranking coming in at #5.
5. Gilbert Lara (SS) – Milwaukee’s highest priced international signing when he inked a deal for $3 million plus in 2014, Lara skipped over the DSL and made his debut stateside last season. He was impressive in getting off to a hot start in Maryvale before hitting a wall late in the season. Lara wound up ranked either fifth or sixth on every ballot.
6. Josh Hader (LHP) – Acquired from Houston last July, Hader was solid in seven starts for Biloxi down the stretch, but really burst onto the prospect scene with his performance in the Arizona Fall League. In seven fall appearances, he went 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA, striking out 19 batters in 16 innings of work. His highest ranking came at #4.
7. Devin Williams (RHP) – A second round pick of the Brewers in 2013, Williams got his first taste of full season ball in 2015 and held his own, posting a 3.94 ERA and striking out a batter per inning in 22 outings with Class-A Wisconsin. He was ranked at #6 on a pair of ballots with his low coming at #13.
8. Cody Ponce (RHP) – Drafted by Milwaukee in the second round last July, Ponce made quick work of Helena, earning his way to Wisconsin after just two starts. In 12 appearances for the Timber Rattlers, Ponce went 2-1 with a 2.15 earned run average. His highest ranking came at #6.
9. Monte Harrison (OF) – The athletic Harrison struggled after an aggressive promotion to Wisconsin to start 2015, but showed signs of turning things around after joining Helena mid-season. He hit .299 in 28 Pioneer League games before suffering an injury that ended his season.
10. Tyrone Taylor (OF) – One of the Brewers top prospects entering 2015, Taylor put together a decent, though unspectacular season at Double-A Biloxi last year, batting .260 in 128 games. He finished as high as #5 and as low as #14.
11. Isan Diaz (SS) – Acquired from Arizona in the recent trade of Jean Segura, Diaz put together a phenomenal 2015 campaign, hitting .360 with 25 doubles, 6 triples and 13 home runs, earning Pioneer Leauge Most Valuable Player honors.
12. Kodi Medeiros (LHP) – The Brewers first round pick in 2014, Medeiros received an aggressive assignment to Class-A Wisconsin in 2015, but proved to be up to the task. In 25 games with the Timber Rattlers he went 4-5, recording 94 strikeouts in 93.1 innings. He ranked as high as #6 and as low as #16.
13. Zach Davies (RHP) – Traded from Baltimore to Milwaukee last season in exchange for Gerardo Parra, Davies made his major league debut as a September call-up and made six starts for the Brewers. He ranked as high as #8 on a pair of ballots.
14. Clint Coulter (OF) – After being named the Brewers Minor League Player of the Year in 2014, Coulter struggled to repeat those numbers last season at High-A Brevard County, hitting just .246 with 13 home runs in the Florida State League. His highest ranking came in at #7.
15. Demi Orimoloye (OF) – The Brewers my have found a steal when they selected Orimoloye in the fourth round of last year’s draft. He went on to hit .292 with six home runs and 19 stolen bases in 33 AZL games, displaying some of the plus tools that make him an exciting prospect. He finished as high as #12 on two ballots and as low as #19 on another.
16. Jake Gatewood (SS) – Like fellow 2014 early round picks Harrison and Medeiros, Gatewood was pushed to Wisconsin to start 2015. He struggled there before going down to Helena in June where he enjoyed more success, earning his way back to Wisconsin by the end of the season. Gatewood’s highest ranking came at #11.
17. Adrian Houser (RHP) – One of four players obtained by Milwaukee in a trade deadline deal for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, Houser received a call-up to Milwaukee in late September making a pair of relief appearances for the Brewers. His highest ranking was #15 where he was ranked on three ballots.
18. Marcos Diplan (RHP) – Picked up from Texas in the Yovani Gallardo trade, Diplan pitched his way onto the Pioneer League All-Star squad last season, going 2-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 outings for Helena. His highest ranking came at #14 with his lowest being #22.
19. Michael Reed (OF) – After splitting last season between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Colorado Springs, Reed earned a late September call-up to Milwaukee where he collected a pair of hits in six at bats. Reed ranked as high as #10 and as low as #20.
20. Nathan Kirby (LHP) – Kirby saw limited action with Wisconsin after impressing in the College World Series, but the supplemental first round pick was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for most, if not all of the 2016 season.
21. Rymer Liriano (OF) – Picked up by Milwaukee in a recent trade with San Diego, Liriano was a top 50 prospect in all of baseball just a few short years ago. He spent last year with the Padres Triple-A team in El Paso and will be given a chance to make the Brewers big league club this spring.
22. Garin Cecchini (3B) – Acquired from the Boston Red Sox during the offseason, Cecchini was once thought of as the Red Sox third baseman of the future and he should get the first shot at Milwaukee’s vacant third base job this spring.
23. Taylor Williams (RHP) – Williams drew praise from Brewers coaches and players as a non-roster invitee during spring training last year, but he developed a forearm strain that would eventually shut him down for the year following Tommy John surgery. He checked in as high as #19 and as low as #30.
24. Victor Roache (OF) – The power-hitting Roache started 2015 back at Brevard County for the second straight season, but earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi after hitting .259 with ten home runs in his first 63 games, then put up similar numbers in 67 games with the Shuckers. Roache was ranked as high as #17 on one ballot, but finished all the way down at #34 on another.
25. Javier Betancourt (SS) – Traded from Detroit earlier this offseason in exchange for Francisco Rodriguez, Betancourt hit .263 in 122 games for High-A Lakeland last season, knocking in 48 runs. His highest ranking came at #20 with his lowest being at #28.
26. Trey Supak (RHP) – A second round draft choice of Pittsburgh in 2014, Supak was acquired along with Keon Broxton in a trade that sent Jason Rogers to the Pirates. The 19-year-old righty made eight starts last season in rookie ball, striking out 23 while walking just five.
27. Yadiel Rivera (SS) – The 23-year-old Rivera split last season between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Colorado Springs, earning a brief call-up to Milwaukee in late September. He got off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League and wound up hitting .315 in 21 games there. Rivera ranked between #18 and #31 on all ballots cast.
28. Yhonathan Barrios (RHP) – Traded to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh last season in exchange for third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Barrios was impressive in limited action after receiving a September call-up. The reliever went unscored upon in five outings, striking out seven while allowing just three hits.
29. Damien Magnifico (RHP) – The 24-year-old Magnifico moved to the bullpen last season at Double-A Biloxi and enjoyed a successful season as the Shuckers closer, racking up 20 saves with a 1.17 earned run average. Magnifico finished as high as #23 on one ballot with his lowest ranking coming at #35.
30. Miguel Diaz (RHP) – The 21-year-old Diaz suffered a fracture in his right elbow in March, keeping him out of action until late July but wound up making seven AZL appearances, posting a 2.21 ERA. He showed up at #22 on one ballot and at #34 on another.
31. Keon Broxton (OF) – Acquired from Pittsburgh along with Trey Supak in exchange for Jason Rogers, the 25-year-old Broxton split last season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis before making his big league debut with the Pirates. He ranked as high as #27 and as low as #36.
32. Angel Ventura (RHP) – The 22-year-old Ventura jumped up to Class-A Wisconsin in 2015 where he went 7-6 with a 3.09 earned run average, striking out more than a batter per inning. He showed up as high as #28 on one list while appearing at #40 on two others.
33. Jorge Ortega (RHP) – Ortega skipped over Low-A Wisconsin and spent the majority of 2015 at High-A Brevard County, going 9-9 with a 2.41 ERA and earning a spot on the Florida State League All-Star team. He received one late season start for Colorado Springs, tossing six innings and allowing just one earned run. His highest ranking came at #26.
34. Chris McFarland (2B) – Flying under the radar at High-A Brevard County, McFarland quietly put together a solid season for the Manatees, hitting .274 and being named to both the midseason and postseason All-Star teams in the Florida State League. His highest appearance on a ballot came at #28.
35. Troy Stokes (OF) – A fourth round pick of Milwaukee in 2014, Stokes appeared in 62 games for Helena last season, hitting .270 with five home runs and 26 stolen bases and scored 51 runs. His highest ranking came at #33.
36. Ramon Flores (OF) – Traded by Seattle to Milwaukee in exchange for infielder Luis Sardinas, Flores made his big league debut last season with the Yankees, hitting .219 in 12 games. His highest ranking came at #29 where he appeared on two ballots.
37. David Burkhalter (RHP) – A 6th round pick out of high school in 2014, Burkhalter made the jump to full season ball in 2015, making 28 appearances for Wisconsin where he posted a 4.99 earned run average. Burkhalter’s highest showing came at #31.
38. Joantgel Segovia (OF) – The 19-year-old Venezuelan who won the Dominican Summer League batting crown in 2014, made his way stateside in 2015 and continued to rake, hitting .368 in 25 games before moving up to Helena where a broken ankle ended his season after just six games.
39. Daniel Missaki (RHP) – One of three pitchers acquired from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind, Missaki began 2015 at Low-A Clinton but saw action in only six games before undergoing Tommy John surgery which shut him down for the remainder of the season. His highest ranking came at #37 on a pair of ballots.
40. Ariel Pena (RHP) – The lone player remaining in the Brewers organiztion from the trade of Zach Grineke, Pena has taken the longest to develop, but made his big league debut with Milwaukee last season, going 2-1 with a 4.28 ERA in six outings for the Brewers.
Others receiving votes (In alphabetical order): Jacob Barnes (RHP), Malik Collymore (OF), Garrett Cooper (1B), Jose Cuas (3B), David Denson (1B), Brandon Diaz (OF), Kaleb Earls (RHP), Brooks Hall (RHP), Nelson Hernandez (RHP), Carlos Herrera (RHP), George Iskenderian (2B), Hobbs Johnson (LHP), Zach Jones (RHP), Carlos Leal (C), Carlos Luna (RHP), Franly Mallen (2B), Yeraldy Martinez (OF), Tucker Neuhaus (2B/3B), Nathan Orf (INF), Juan Ortiz (OF/1B), Ignacio Otano (SS), Freddy Peralta (RHP), Tyrone Perry (1B), Nicolas Pierre (OF), Elvis Rubio (OF), Jose Sibrian (C), Brent Suter (LHP), Nicol Valderrey (1B), Colin Walsh (INF), Nash Walters (RHP), Adam Weisenburger (C), Brandon Woodruff (RHP), Kyle Wren (OF), Jordan Yamamoto (RHP)