Now that we’re fully-immersed into the second half, Ryan and I thought it would be timely to update our preseason top 30 prospect list. As always, this is a consensus list between the two of us, so both of us had to make concessions to end up with this composite ranking.
Check back tomorrow for #1-15.
16. RHP Tyler Wagner (stats)
The Brewers’ system hasn’t had too many pop-up prospects who seemingly come out of nowhere, but Wagner has solidified himself as a legitimate pitching prospect in the system. He’s reportedly touched 95-96 mph on the fastball this season and is developing his secondary offerings. While the command needs to improve, he has some scouts thinking he could become a back-end starter if everything comes together.
17. RHP Ariel Pena (stats)
Pena was the third piece of the Zack Greinke trade last year, and he has recovered quite a bit from the 2012 Futures Game disaster that seemed to affect him greatly in the second half last year. He still walks too many hitters, but he can miss bats and induce poor contact. Scouts see him as a likely reliever, and his stuff will could play up in that role at some point in the not-too-distant future.
18. RHP David Goforth (stats)
When the Brewers drafted Goforth out of Ole Miss, he was strictly viewed as a reliever. The organization has worked him as a starter to build arm strength and develop his secondary pitches, and in the process, he’s found success as a starter. He owns a 3.17 ERA between High-A and Double-A this year. However, it will be interesting to see how the organization handles him the remainder of the season because his last three outings have been out of the bullpen — where he profiles best.
19. LHP Jed Bradley (stats)
When the Brewers drafted Bradley 15th overall in 2011, they surely didn’t believe he would still be trying to master High-A ball, but here we are. It’s perhaps too easy to be disappointed by his career thus far, as his numbers could certainly be worse than they are and he did just turn 23 last month. Scouts aren’t in love with the current incarnation of Bradley, but there is always a chance the talent that got him drafted so high shines back through eventually.
20. RHP Drew Gagnon (stats)
Fans became excited about Gagnon after last year’s impressive performance in Appleton and Brevard County, but it’s been a season to forget for the right-hander. He’s compiled a 5.27 ERA in 97.1 innings between High-A and Double-A. While he generated some whiffs in Brevard County, his strikeout rate has really tumbled in Huntsville. The organization hopes he can rebound in the final month of the minor-league season.
21. OF Caleb Gindl (stats)
Sometimes, it seems like Gindl has been in the Brewers system forever because he was drafted six years ago. The reality is, though, that he won’t turn 25 until the end of August, and while his overall numbers don’t scream “everyday player” in a corner outfield spot, he did hit .309/.375/.528 against right-handed pitchers this year in Triple-A Nashville. With Braun suspended, he’ll get an extended look the next two months and might be a nice platoon/pinch-hit option while cheap.
22. RHP Damien Magnifico (stats)
Much like David Goforth, the Brewers drafted Magnifico as a guy with a complete relief-profile and have worked him as a starter this year. He can run his fastball into the high-90s in shorter stints, but his development will revolve around his offspeed stuff. He needs to have something to complement the fastball. His recent promotion to High-A hasn’t gone well, as he’s struggled to a 5.74 ERA in five starts, though he’s been battling blisters all summer.
23. OF Michael Reed (stats)
After a very lackluster 2012, the 2011 5th-round pick has put together a very solid 2013. One key asset has been his plate discipline, and he’s continued that by walking in 11.8% of his trips to the plate this year, while upping his batting average over .300. The issue with Reed is his profile. He lacks the power normally associated with corner outfielders — and scouts are concerned it may not develop — and he may not have the athleticism and raw speed to play center.
24. RHP Hiram Burgos (stats)
Burgos burst onto the scene with a tremendous ‘12 campaign and stellar work in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. In his first taste of the big leagues, though, he experienced significant trouble. The right-hander can be effective and has the repertoire to start, but his margin for error is razor-thin. When his command is perfect, as it was for the majority of last year, he can find success. If it’s not perfect, though, he’s going to get exposed at the major-league level.
25. OF Jose Pena (stats)
The Brewers have taken the ultra-patient approach with the 20 year-old Pena, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and is spending his second summer in the Pioneer League. He is struggling a bit in the batting average department this year, but the power continues to emerge and he’s starting to walk more. Next year’s presumed jump to full-season ball should be telling in where his career is headed.
26. RHP Barrett Astin (stats)
The Brewers’ third-round draft pick bounced between the bullpen and the rotation during his three years at Arkansas, but the organization says they believe he can start. He has a heavy fastball that should generate plenty of ground balls. Scouts prior to the draft said he profiles best as a reliever, where he can dial up his fastball into the mid-90s. His first seven appearances in Helena have been rough, but it’s far too soon to make any judgments on that front.
27. OF Elvis Rubio (stats)
The Brewers signed Rubio out of the Dominican Prospect League in early 2011. The DPL is where guys who don’t get signed right away after their July 2 signing date, but enough of a market emerged for him that he still commanded a $95,000 bonus. After a pretty modest 2012 in the DSL, Rubio is currently breaking out in a big way this year in rookie ball, hitting .319/.430/.556, and he just turned 19. He’s one of the few guys who has the potential to rocket up this list as more scouting data comes in.
28. RHP Nick Bucci (stats)
It’s essentially been a lost season for the right-hander. He’s been fighting a shoulder injury all season, and updates on him have been very difficult to come by. He appeared in one rehab outing with the AZL Brewers on June 20. Nothing since. The organization believes he can develop into a back-end starter, but first and foremost, he needs to get healthy. If he’s still experiencing issues with his shoulder, that’s concerning.
29. OF Khris Davis (stats)
Davis is currently in the midst of his second shot at major-league pitching this year, and he’s hit a respectable .250/.348/.500 in 22 trips to the plate. After starting slow at Triple-A, he ended up hitting .255/.349/.473 in his second go-round there. He’s obviously extremely limited defensively and has had trouble making contact, so fifth outfielder/pinch-hitter seems like his likely ceiling.
30. SS Yadiel Rivera (stats)
Shortstops who can legitimately have the glove to stick at the position are uncommon, so Rivera is special in that regard. He has the range, the feel and the arm to eventually handle shortstop at the big-league level. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the bat. He’s hitting .239/.298/.316 in High-A Brevard County. At this point, the Brewers are hoping he can hit enough to develop into a utility infielder.
Just Missed (no order): RHP Jesus Sanchez, RHP Kyle Heckathorn, 1B Nick Ramirez, RHP Gian Rizzo, RHP Rob Wooten, C Cameron Garfield, OF Kentrail Davis, RHP Taylor Williams, LHP Brent Suter
Guy We Didn’t Know What To Do With: RHP Mark Rogers