Yadiel Rivera gets the nod as prospect of the week this week for one very important reason: power. Over his past 10 games, Rivera is hitting .342/.350/.684 with 3 home runs, a couple doubles and a triple. That brought his season line up to .250/.285/.446 with the Timber Rattlers. That may not look so impressive, but it definitely represents important progress for the Brewers’ 9th round pick in 2010 out of Puerto Rico.
He began last year right where he is now, with the Timber Rattlers, but was so bad offensively that the team ended up pulling the plug after just 103 AB’s. Rivera was then sent to play in the Pioneer League, where his power stroke emerged a bit at altitude and he set himself up for this year’s return engagement in Appleton. He still has quite a bit of swing and miss in his swing, something he’ll have to work hard at cutting down. Fortunately, he just turned 20 earlier this month, so there is plenty of time for him to do so.
Yadiel Rivera will one day probably have the ability to play shortstop at the major league level, quite possibly at a very above average level. He’s athletic and he moves just like a shortstop should on the field, very fluid and natural. The issue is going to be just how much he’ll eventually hit. If everything comes together, he may end up a sort of good-at-defense version of Yuniesky Betancourt. He’s never going to hit for a very high average or take lots of walks, but he does have some legitimate home run pop and figures to get stronger as he grows into his 6’2″ frame. All things considered, that would be a pretty useful player, especially during the cheap years.
Gennett almost got the nod as prospect of the week by hitting .429/.565/.571 over his last 10 games. He’s riding a 10-game hit streak, but what’s more impressive than that (especially for him) is the fact he walked 10 times in those 10 games. As a guy who doesn’t project to hit for much more than gap power at the big league level, it’s going to be critical for him to start walking more to allow him to get on base more than he has to this point in his minor league career. The Brewers have no reason to rush him with Rickie Weeks locked in long-term in Milwaukee, so he’ll probably spend the rest of the year in AA unless the team decides to reward him with a September callup. At 22 years old, just holding one’s own in the first couple months at AA is pretty impressive.
It’s been a trying calendar year for Kintzler, who had to have a screw placed in his arm last year to help him recover from a stress fracture, but things are finally starting to look up. He’s thrown every other day since last Sunday with the Stars and has yet to allow a run on 2 hits, a walk and a strikeout over 3 2/3 innings. According to our own JP Breen, his fastball was sitting in the low 90′s about 10 days ago, which is down considerably from where he was before the injury. If that comes back, though, he could find himself in Milwaukee in a hurry if the plague of injuries decides to move on from the lineup to the bullpen.
When George Kottaras came out of the major league game on Sunday, it looked like yet another player may be headed to the DL. If that had happened (or happens down the road), the man to replace him would be Moldonado, who has put up a rather interesting line in recent days. He only has 7 hits in his last 10 games, but 5 of those were for extra bases (3 2B, 2 HR) and he’s taken his walks. Ultimately, that’s added up to a .200/.300/.457 line which isn’t really good, but it shows some promise.
It sounds very much like Fiers will get the first crack at filling in for the injured Marco Estrada when the Brewers play the Dodgers on Tuesday in LA, though it’s too bad he won’t be coming in fresh off a little more success. In his last 11 2/3 innings, the command specialist has allowed 10 earned runs on 9 hits, 4 of which were home runs. Of course, he made those two starts in Tuscon and Las Vegas, where the balls really fly out of the park and his K:BB was sill a solid 12:4, so perhaps doom isn’t quite as imminent as it might otherwise appear.
After opening 2012 with 22 scoreless innings, the Brewers’ #15 overall pick in 2011 has struggled. He just did a stint on the DL with a groin strain and when he came back he was rocked for 12 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) over 4 2/3 innings. ESPN.com’s Keith Law reported that his velocity is down and he’s struggling mechanically. This may just be a blip on the radar or a sign of deeper trouble, but it’s hard to say which at this point. It is, however, looking more and more like Bradley won’t be promoted at the minor league break along with probably Taylor Jungmann and Jimmy Nelson.
When the Brewers took Lintz with the 53rd overall pick in the 2008 draft, they probably hoped that he could be in the big league rotation or at least in the bullpen by now. Instead, the Brewers released the Lewisburg, TN product this week having never pitched above low A ball. While failures like this aren’t particularly uncommon, Lintz is representative of the Brewers’ failures to develop pitching under Jack Zduriencik, something that is at least turning around now.