Ryan and I unveiled our composite Top 30 Brewers Prospects (#16-30) list yesterday. Instead of causing controversy over the content of the rankings, most of the conversation about the article in the comments and on Twitter centered around the order of the rankings. It seems many people want the rankings to be presented in descending order. Although it’s not my cup ‘o tea, the people seem to have spoken, and I will oblige.
Before reading about the top 15 prospects in the Brewers’ system, though, be sure to catch up on prospects #16-30 from yesterday.
15. SS/3B Tucker Neuhaus (stats)
The Brewers’ second pick in the 2013 draft out of a Florida high school, Neuhaus missed a lot of time due to injuries his senior year. He also dealt with a family tragedy. Without all of that, he may have gone higher. After a bit of a slow start with the AZL club, he’s now hitting much better and just recently turned 18. Scouts are skeptical he can stick at short defensively, but like his power potential well enough to profile at third.
14. OF Victor Roache (stats)
The 21-year-old slugger is one of the most divisive prospects in the organization. He possesses raw power from line to line and has shown the ability to draw a walk, but some scouts just don’t see “it” with his swing. They believe he’ll always have trouble hitting for average. Keep in mind, though, he’s coming off a major wrist injury and essentially didn’t play last year. It’s easy to dream on what he could be.
13. 2B Scooter Gennett (stats)
Scooter Gennett is a walking, talking Rorschach test on what you value in a ballplayer. If you like guys who slap the ball, don’t strike out and who visibly hustle, Scooter is your guy. If you want a guy with discipline, power and defensive range, you will be left wanting. Gennett should get a shot at the big-league second base job eventually, though whether or not he’ll be able to stick as an everyday player remains to be seen.
12. OF Mitch Haniger (stats)
Haniger did exactly what he should have done in the Midwest League as a 22-year-old supplemental-round draft pick. He demolished it. He’s since been promoted to High-A Brevard County — a very difficult offensive environment — where his overall numbers have dipped. The Cal Poly alum still carries a solid-average right field profile.
11. 1B Hunter Morris (stats)
The 2013 season opened with Morris getting a brief look in camp to potentially replace an injured Corey Hart at first base, but he struggled enough that it became a non-issue. His batting average has fallen off in his first go-round in Triple-A from where it was when he won Player of the Year in the Brewers’ system in 2012, but he has continued to develop his patience and hit for power. He figures to see a September call-up and perhaps get another shot at the first base job in 2014.
10. RHP Tyler Thornburg (stats)
The 24-year-old started 15 games in Triple-A this year and struggled with his command within the strike zone. Opposing teams were hitting .294 against him with power in Nashville. He reportedly left many of his pitches up in the zone, where they significantly flatten out. Since then, he’s compiled a 2.95 ERA with the big-league squad, focusing primarily on his fastball-curveball combination. He certainly looks to be a reliever in the majors going forward.
9. RHP Jorge Lopez (stats)
The Brewers knew they were undertaking a development project in 2011 when they drafted Lopez in the second round. After a disappointing 2012, their willingness to wait is starting to show signs of paying off. The right-hander started this year slowly, but has quickly righted himself and shown brief flashes of the number-two starter stuff that got him taken so high in the first place.
8. C Clint Coulter (stats)
Coulter hasn’t impressed at the plate this year, but scouts still believe in the bat. He reportedly collected a plethora of hard-hit outs in Wisconsin before succumbing to an oblique injury, causing him to miss the majority of the last two months. The organization still believes in him at catcher, and scouts love his mental make-up, though he’ll almost surely move out from behind the dish.
7. RHP Devin Williams (stats)
Despite being without a first-round pick this June because of the Kyle Lohse signing, the Brewers were still able to land something akin to a first-round talent in Williams. Thus far as a pro, he’s at least shown the ability to miss bats, though the command is obviously raw. The right-hander is one of the highest-upside arms the system has seen in years.
6. RHP Taylor Jungmann (stats)
A former first-round pick in 2011, Jungmann hasn’t lived up to expectations. He’s underwhelmed this year with a 3.77 ERA and a mere 1.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The right-hander still has a solid fastball and generates plenty of ground balls, but some in the business now wonder if his best days were left back in college at the University of Texas.
5. 3B Nicky Delmonico (stats)
Delmonico represents a pretty solid return for K-Rod, who was nothing but a low-risk upside play on the Brewers’ part. Demonico’s calling card is his power potential, which is above-average for a guy who just turned 21. The problem comes if he can’t stay at third and has to move to first, which some scouts feel is inevitable, where the bar for offense is considerably higher. Definitely worth the shot, though.
4. RHP Jimmy Nelson (stats)
After dominating Double-A with a 2.74 ERA, the organization challenged Nelson with a promotion to Triple-A. He’s experienced some success — despite significant command troubles — and is the pitcher in the organization who possesses the best odds to make it as a starter. If his command can tighten up, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter.
3. RHP Johnny Hellweg (stats)
Hellweg’s first shot at the major-league level was forgettable, but he’s managed to keep Triple-A hitters from making hard contact most of the year. That’s something to build on. Going forward, he will need to straighten out some mechanical issues created by a late growth spurt and figure out a way to translate his plus stuff into more missed bats. If he fails to do that, he could transition to the bullpen and become a legitimate late-inning option.
2. SS Orlando Arcia (stats)
Some have questioned why everyone’s getting excited about a young man hitting .240/.318/.313 through 84 games in Class-A. It’s about context. Arcia is holding his own as an 18-year-old in the states for the first time, and in full-season ball, no less. He projects to stick at shortstop, and scouts say he’s one of the only potential first-division starters in the system.
1. OF Tyrone Taylor (stats)
It’s been awhile since the Brewers had a true breakout performance from a prospect like this, and it’s been a truly welcome change. Taylor’s .288/.357/.436 performance as a supposedly raw 19-year-old in full-season ball is eye-opening, especially when you consider that he profiles to potentially remain in center field long term. He’s a ways off, but he looks like a keeper.