Our 2016 Preseason prospect rankings were released on Monday and I had a chance to sit down with three of our mainstays here at MPP to break down the rankings and answer a few questions. I talked with Marcus Young, Brad Krause and Sam Peterson to get their opinions and find out what they thought about the final results. Here is what they had to say:
Chris: To kick things off, what are your overall thoughts about this year’s rankings?
Marcus: First of all, thank you to everyone who contributed. We had eight guys involved with this who all have a pretty good grasp of the Brewers system and you all made this pretty easy for us. I don’t think there’s much doubt that the Brewers system is deeper than in the past. Some guys who were ranked highly dropped way down and it’s through no fault of their own.
Brad: I think it’s far more fluid than in years past and I noticed a lot more disagreement from ballot-to-ballot and that’s got a lot to do with all of the new faces. It’s tough to rank prospects without having actually watched them play so you’re relying more on people you know who have seen them and their reports more so than on what your own eyes are telling you. The three guys we got for (Adam) Lind for example, I saw Peralta throw for about five minutes in the bullpen in Arizona and have never seen Missaki or Herrera so guys like that were tough for me to rank.
Sam: The Brewers are so much deeper this year. To have Tyrone Taylor slot in at number ten says a lot about the improvements the Brewers have made. Taylor was a top two guy entering last season and now he’s hanging on by a thread to a top ten spot. That’s crazy to me, but none of the guys ranked ahead of him are ridiculously high or anything so you can’t really argue it too much. I think it should be noted that we actually submit top 50 lists for the Prospect Preview book and last year it was a struggle when you got down past 40. This year I probably could have gone 70 deep.
Chris: So Sam kind of touched on one guy with Taylor, but give me a name or two that you were surprised to see show up as low as they did on our list?
Brad: Marcos Diplan at 18 seemed low to me. There are a handful of guys that I would have put him in front of. Also Victor Roache at 24. I know there’s a lot of swing-and-miss there but I still like that power.
Sam: Taylor was the one that really stood out for me. I had him at #5. He was a top 100 guy going into last season and I don’t think he had a bad year. I’ve still got high hopes for him.
Marcus: I really liked what I saw from Cody Ponce and I had him and number six on my list. I was also higher on Jake Gatewood than the rest of you. I get the questions with him but my money is on him stepping up in 2016.
Chris: What about on the other side of things. Who showed up higher than where you had them ranked?
Sam: Monte Harrison. I see too many question marks with him even before the injuries. The strikeouts at Wisconsin were a real concern. I know both of you guys (Brad & Marcus) had him a lot higher than I did.
Marcus: I would say Clint Coulter because I still have questions about his swing and I don’t know where he fits defensively. He lost a lot of value when he moved out from behind the plate. The move was necessary, but I just don’t think he carries as much value in the outfield.
Brad: I guess I can’t say Tyler Wagner anymore, so I’ll go with Devin Williams. He’s got some potential for sure, but I think seven is a little high for him.
Chris: Give us a sleeper. One guy who’s ranked low or maybe not even ranked who could break out and shoot up this list in 2016.
Marcus: Miguel Diaz has some nasty stuff. If he stays healthy and gets a full season of work I think he could move quickly up the rankings.
Brad: Joantgel Segovia is growing on me more and more. It’s too bad he got hurt in Helena but I expect he’ll be back to 100% and that type of contact hitter is tough to find.
Sam: I’ll say David Burkhalter. When that dude fills out and grows into his body he’s going to be an imposing figure on the mound. He looked like one of the best arms on that Wisconsin staff at times last year. Of course he looked like one of the worst at times too, but I look forward to seeing what he can do in Brevard.
Chris: We’ve all got our favorites. Give me one player you’re irrationally high on.
Brad: Nicolas Pierre. I’m a sucker for the toolsy athletic types and I liked what I saw of him last spring in Maryvale. Unfortunately that didn’t translate to numbers in the AZL, but he’s still really young and I hope he’s got a breakout season ahead of him.
Sam: Nathan Orf is not a prospect. He’s just not. But man I love that dude. Small, scrappy, overlooked time-after-time but he just keeps doing it. He gets on base and can play all over the diamond. I think he sees “The Show” as a utility guy.
Marcus: I haven’t even seen him pitch yet but I’m high on Carlos Luna. The numbers he put up in the Dominican last year were impressive and Panama isn’t a place we’ve seen the Brewers do a lot of scouting so he’s a player that’s really caught my eye.
Chris: Of the new players acquired this offseason, which one are you most excited about?
Sam: I’m really interested to see what Rymer Liriano can do. I feel like he got a pretty raw deal in San Diego and I’d love to see him get the chance at the center field job in Milwaukee. I worry that they have so many bodies in that race that it will be difficult to judge just based off the spring stats, but I really feel like he’s the most talented option they’ve brought in to compete for that job.
Marcus: Garin Cecchini. This guy was a big-time prospect not too long ago and the door is wide open for him at third base. Regular playing time could be really good for him. He would solve a big problem at the major league level if he could step up and contribute.
Brad: He’s brand new, but Isan Diaz. He was a monster in the Pioneer League and if he repeats that performance at Wisconsin he’ll be a top 100 guy next year.
Chris: So flash forward to a year from now and look into your crystal balls. Obviously a lot can change, but Arcia graduates in all likelihood, so who do you see as the new #1 prospect in 2017?
Marcus: I’m going to go with Brett Phillips because I think he spends most, if not all of the season in the minors. If he gets extended time at Colorado Springs I think he’ll mash and take over that number one spot once Arcia is in Milwaukee.
Brad: I’ll say Trent Clark. He just seems like such a safe pick and I’m usually all about upside, but I see Clark going to Wisconsin and doing what he did in Maryvale and Helena last year so he’ll just continue to climb.
Sam: Gilbert Lara. I think he steps up and really puts his name on the map if it isn’t already there. There’s a handful of good candidates, but I think Lara has one of the highest ceilings and I think after getting his feet wet last season, he’ll really turn it on in 2016.