Prospect of the Week: Taylor Jungmann | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Taylor Jungmann, RHP Advanced A Brevard County

The number 12 overall pick in the 2011 draft was off to a very solid, if somewhat unspectacular, numerical start before posting his best outing of the season on Thursday. The 6’6″ right-hander shut down the Tampa Yankees for 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 5 against only 1 walk. For the season thus far, Jungmann has a 2.45 ERA over 29 1/3 innings, while posting a 19:10 K:BB ratio.

Jungmann’s greatest asset on the mound is a hard, sinking fastball that sits in the low 90’s that he can command down in the zone and use to induce soft contact on the ground. Thus far in 2012, it’s helped him record almost twice as many outs on the ground as in the air, a great trend if he can sustain it long term. It’s also been a big part of the reason why he’s allowing a mere .220 batting average and has yet to give up a home run. He is also striking out left-handers at a higher rate than right-handers at this point in the season, another trend that bodes well if it can be maintained.

Going forward, if the big Texan can continue to keep hitters off-balance and sharpen his command to bring the walk rate down a bit more, there is a very strong chance he could be promoted to AA Huntsville sometime around the minor league all-star break in June. Success there could possibly lead to a September call up to pitch out of the big league pen and perhaps even a shot at making the opening day rotation in camp in 2013. That would be pushing things pretty quickly and require few major bumps in the road, but the Brewers drafted Jungmann in large part because of how advanced he is as a pitcher and success should push him forward quickly.

Three Up:

Drew Gagnon, RHP, Class A Wisconsin

Gagnon was perhaps the biggest drawing card the Timber Rattlers had going for them when they played at Miller Park on Friday night, and he didn’t disappoint. The tall Long Beach State product allowed only 4 hits over 8 shutout innings, striking out 4 and walking only 1. It was his third straight scoreless outing, and that run has his season ERA sitting at a sparkling 0.64. Gagnon uses an improved curve ball and a decent change to keep hitters off his low 90’s fastball, and thus far it’s working. The biggest red flag is his inability to generate ground balls, something that will likely lead to more home runs as he starts to face more advanced and powerful hitters. He wasn’t considered a particularly high upside pick out of Long Beach State, and projects to the back of the rotation or possibly long relief down the road. Continued success on the scoreboard would put him in line for a promotion mid-year when the college guys at Brevard likely move up to AA.

Max Walla, OF, Class A Wisconsin

After getting off to something of a slow start to the season, the lefty from Albuquerque has put up a .324/.381/.486 line over his last 10 games.  He hit his first home run of the year on Friday night at Miller Park, a shot that cleared the picnic area in right completely. Walla has big time raw power that has shown up mostly in batting practice and he’ll need to tap into that on a more consistent basis to realize the potential that made him a second round pick in 2009.  He also showed functional speed and solid defensive instincts on a few plays in the field. The Brewers have moved slowly with Walla, giving him 2+ seasons in rookie and short season competition before giving him his first shot at full season ball this year. Walla just turned 21 earlier this month, so it’s not like he’s way behind schedule at this point, though at some point relatively soon he’ll need to break out and establish himself. The tools to play in the big leagues are there, now it’s just a question of turning them into production.

Hiram Burgos, RHP, Advanced A Brevard County

Burgos had the start of the week among Brewers’ pitchers, taking a no hitter into the 9th inning before giving up a single and ultimately taking one of the hardest luck losses you’ll ever see. He’s off to a spectacular start in 2012, posting a 1.27 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. As JP noted in his daily box score roundup, Burgos has always posted solid peripheral numbers that exceed what one might expect from a pitcher with his stuff. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s largely facing hitters a couple years younger than he is most of the time. Still, there is always the chance that he’s a late bloomer and could one day find his way to the major leagues in some capacity.

3 Down

Jed Bradley, LHP, Advanced A Brevard County

After a brilliant start to the season, the Brewers’ other first rounder from the 2011 draft experienced his first rough stretch as a pro over his last couple of starts. Over 10 innings, he allowed 13 runs on 14 hits. On the bright side, he maintained a solid 10:3 K:BB ratio. His seasonal ERA (2.79) and BAA (.226) are still perfectly respectable for any pitcher, especially one essentially making his pro debut. Struggling and having to make adjustments isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a prospect, and if he can do that in short order there is no reason he can’t move up to AA sometime in the middle of this year if and when Jungmann and fellow rotation mate Jimmy Nelson make their way up as well.

Wily Peralta, RHP, AAA Nashville

Last weekend was a big moment in the career of Peralta, when he received his first call to the majors and ultimately ended up pitching his first big league inning on Sunday on a loss to the Astros. By Thursday, though, he was back with Nashville and he had his first forgettable outing of the year, allowing 5 runs in 5 innings. Really, it was two bad innings for Peralta, who fought his command in both the first and second, allowing multiple free passes and runs each inning before settling down and working 3 scoreless to end his start. Whether this was a hangover from his callup is hard to say, but it’s become increasingly clear that Peralta still has some refining to do in the command department before he’s ready to have success at the major league level. He still appears to be the Brewers 6th option to start games at this point, though, which means he’s only a groin strain or shoulder stiffness from being right back in the big leagues and we’ll almost certainly see him there again before the year is up.

Scooter Gennett, 2B, AA Huntsville

After a hot start to his AA debut, Gennett has slowed considerably in recent days, and the result has been a .136/.136/.205 line over the past 10 games. When he’s going well, Gennett makes a ton of line drive contact and sprays the ball to all fields. Unfortunately, he doesn’t walk often or hit for much power, so when he struggles at the plate he can completely disappear from the offense for stretches.  He’ll turn 22 on Tuesday, so he’s still somewhat young for AA and has plenty of time to develop his secondary skills to the point where they’ll play at the big league level down the road. For Gennett to maximize his potential of the line drive hitting ability he clearly possesses, he will need to add strength and improve his plate discipline. On the positive side, those are the sorts of things that players tend to develop as they head into their prime baseball playing years, so there is plenty to work with here. Barring something unforeseen, he’ll probably spend the balance of the year in AA.

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