Ranking Top Prospects | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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Ranking Top Prospects

By on August 11, 2015

Once the Brewers experienced that wretched April, fans rather enthusiastically resigned to the fact that the Milwaukee organization would (perhaps, finally) rebuild their MLB roster and farm system. Of course, to prospect newcomers, there could be no better Brewers farm system to follow: prior to the deadline, a host of intriguing stories unfolded.

  • Orlando Arcia took steps forward with his bat while jumping to AA Biloxi during his age 20 season, solidifying his already solid glove with a “true” two-way impact game.
  • Those road warrior Biloxi Shuckers were generally quite an intriguing squad, with organizational arms Jorge Lopez and Tyler Wagner coming on strong (among others).
  • Michael Reed and Yadiel Rivera took steps forward, both earning promotions from AA Biloxi at different points in the season.
  • Kodi Medeiros held his own at A Wisconsin, while Monte Harrison, Jake Gatewood, and Troy Stokes added further intrigue to the 2014 draft class at Advanced R Helena.
  • Cy Sneed, Javi Salas, Carlos Leal, and David Burkhalter hinted at some intriguing depth from the 2014 draft.
  • The Brewers handed Gilbert Lara an aggressive assignment, and he continued to build on his instructional ball successes without an assignment to the Dominican Summer League.
  • The June amateur draft featured a great combination of luck and value to assemble more palatable reaches on tools and ceiling under new scouting director Ray Montgomery.
  • Several members of that June draft immediately succeeded, including the aggressively assigned Cody Ponce, as well as Arizona Rookies Trent Clark, Demi Orimoloye, and Tyrone Perry (among others).
  • The Dominican Academy saw strides stateside and in the Dominican Republic, with Franly Mallen and Carlos Luna among the prospects shining at the Academy, and Joantgel Segovia and Nicolas Pierre headlined a class of Academy graduates at R Arizona.
  • There are other stories and developments, still, that I have missed in this brief summary.

In order to properly assess the impact of the Brewers’ deadline deals on the farm system, it is crucial to consider the advances made internally by Milwaukee. Given the strength of the draft, as well as the key steps forward by some of the club’s most advanced prospects, there is a good argument to be made that the Brewers’ minor league system would have received improved assessments even without any trades. Adding the front office’s aggressive midseason moves to this prospect progression requires a complete reassessment of the Milwaukee system.

That the trades largely returned players in the advanced minors helps the Brewers instantly gives the Brewers some potential starpower and tools that are also relatively close to making the MLB: this arguably impacts any additional rankings of the Brewers’ system, since these newcomers benefit the farm on several different levels (ceiling, floor, proximity to MLB). Adding prospects that have already made the leap from A-levels to AA and/or AAA in the minors helps to minimize some of the potential damage of high-ceiling, low minor prospects not reaching their potential, and if that potential is delivered, it gives the Brewers a system to dream on.

A real test case here would be comparing the reported gains made by Gilbert Lara since his signing last July, including his work ethic and approach, as well as his ceiling and development with an aggressive assignment, and the sudden arrival of Brett Phillips. I think one could make a really strong argument that Lara advanced from his 2014 and early 2015 rankings in the Brewers system, but one must consider how an advanced, star potential prospect like Phillips could unseat Lara. So, Phillips arrived at #2 in most Brewers prospect lists, but that does not take away from the gains made by Lara: it is rather a reflection of system strength and depth.

Yesterday, BaseballAmerica and JSOnline both released reassessments of the Brewers system. The lists are different because BA did not include 2015 draftees, which does impact the Brewers’ Top 10. With these lists, I am adding others that I have found:

Tom Haudricourt, JSOnline:
SS Orlando Arcia
OF Brett Phillips
CF Tyrone Taylor
RF Clint Coulter
LHP Josh Hader
OF Domingo Santana
SS Gilbet Lara
OF Trent Clark
RHP Zach Davies
LHP Kodi Medeiros

BaseballAmerica
SS Orlando Arcia
OF Brett Phillips
OF Tyrone Taylor
OF Clint Coulter
LHP Josh Hader
OF Domingo Santana
SS Gilbert Lara
RHP Zach Davies
LHP Kodi Medeiros
RHP Tyler Wagner

MLB.com Pipeline:
SS Orlando Arcia
OF Brett Phillips
OF Trent Clark
OF Domingo Santana
OF Tyrone Taylor
SS Gilbert Lara
OF Clint Coulter
RHP Devin Williams
RHP Jorge Lopez
LHP Kodi Medeiros

J.P. Breen, BP Milwaukee:
SS Orlando Arcia
OF Brett Phillips
OF Trent Clark
SS Gilbert Lara
RHP Cody Ponce
OF Monte Harrison
OF Tyrone Taylor
RHP Devin Williams
RHP Jorge Lopez
OF Domingo Santana

Miller Park Prospects
SS Orlando Arcia
OF Brett Phillips
OF Trent Clark
SS Gilbert Lara
LHP Kodi Medeiros
OF Tyrone Taylor
OF Domingo Santana
OF Monte Harrison
RHP Jorge Lopez
OF Clint Coulter

Brewerfan.net Community Top 25

[If I have missed lists, please feel free to comment, I will be happy to add them.]

It’s interesting to see that in some cases, analysts are inclined to load the Brewers Top 10 with trade return talent (four prospects added to JSOnline and BA lists), while others settle almost unanimously on only Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana. Frankly, I am inclined to agree with the smaller group, as the Brewers’ intrasystem gains are too strong to ignore: the development of players like Reed, Lopez, Wagner, Medeiros, Ponce, or even Wei-Chung Wang is solid enough to raise questions about whether someone like Zach Davies or Josh Hader could crack the Top 10.

I am posting these lists as a preview to retooling Disciples of Uecker’s Top 30 section with our own lists. Stay tuned for that. Right now, however, I am enjoying analysis of the ranking process itself, in order to form an ideology for my first list. While I am inclined to value a prospect’s ceiling, tools, and actual performance, the deadline trade returns provide an excellent challenge in comparing near-MLB ready, advanced prospects to some high-ceiling dreamers down in the low minors. Brewers fans and analysts have a real chance to enjoy the collision between “what is” and “what could be” in their current minor league system.

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