The Brewers are off today.
That is, the Brewers players are off today. Tonight, Doug Melvin and his front office company will attempt to infuse a struggling farm system with some much needed talent in tonight’s MLB First Year Player Draft. The relative success of the Brewers over the last few years can almost completely be owed to successes in the draft. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Corey Hart, J.J Hardy, and Alcides Escobar were all products of the draft. Top prospect Matt LaPorta as well as Michael Brantley and Rob Bryson brought C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee for that glorious playoff run.
Unfortunately, with all these players graduated and in the majors, the farm system has been left pretty bare. Jeff Zimmerman over at Beyond the Boxscore did prospect rankings earlier this season using an aggregate of rankings from around baseball, and from those he also compiled farm system rankings as well. The Brewers only have 3 high-tier prospects, and as such they ranked 23rd in these rankings. This also probably still considered Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel as prospects – the low minors is in desperate need of new talent.
The only real prospect at AAA right now is Mark Rogers, and even then his status as a prospect is low due to his ridiculous injury history. There are some interesting players at AA Huntsville in SP Amaury Rivas, RP Brandon Kintzler, CF Lorenzo Cain, 3B Taylor Green, OF Caleb Gindl, and 2B Brett Lawrie. The A+ team in Brevard County might have the worst hitting in the minors, as their team park adjusted wOBA is a paltry .314. Supplemental pick Kentrail Davis has showed solid discipline (10.7% BB%) but no power. On the pitching side, Wily Peralta is having a decent season. In Appleton, the Timber Rattlers have seen solid years out of Kyle Heckathorn and Jake Odorizzi, but first rounder Eric Arnett is having major struggles. Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett are both raking, and Cutter Dykstra is having a solid rebound year, despite defensive struggles.
Odorizzi is probably the only player on this list that projects as an impact starter on the big league level, and he’s still far away from the show. The Brewers desperately need impact players on both the mound and at the plate, which makes today’s draft possibly the most important in recent memory.
Keith Law now has the Brewers taking UNC SP Matt Harvey. Word is, according to Law, that the Brewers are looking for college arms in the first round. It’s hard to argue against that strategy given the utter lack of arms in the system right now, but the Brewers will also need to hit in the later rounds this year in order to get the farm system back to where it was in the middle of the decade and in order to bring in the next big core of players for the Milwaukee Brewers.