2012 Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports





Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Brewers Chat
Tom Haudricourt
Pre-Order the 2012 Prospect Handbook
30 scouting reports on every team

BREWERS
LINKS
Brewers Team Page
Brewers Top 10 Prospects
Last Year's Brewers Top 10 Prospects
2011 Draft: Brewers (Basic Database)
2011 Draft: Brewers (Advanced Database)
2011 Draft Report Cards: Milwaukee Brewers
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Pre-Order the 2012 Prospect Handbook
Milwaukee Brewers

When the Brewers decided to retain Prince Fielder despite his pending free agency and gave up three of their best prospects (Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi, Jeremy Jeffress) as well as youngsters Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain in trades for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, it was obvious they were going all-in for the 2011 season.

And then their chip stack grew and grew.

An improved pitching staff propelled Milwaukee to a franchise-record 96 regular-season victories, including a 57-24 mark at Miller Park. The Brewers won their first division title and first playoff series since their World Series season of 1982, dispatching the Diamondbacks in the Division Series before losing to the eventual champion Cardinals in a six-game National League Championship Series.

Greinke and Marcum lived up to expectations, combining for 29 victories and helping lower the team ERA from 4.58 in 2010 (14th-best in the NL) to 3.63 in 2011 (seventh). Homegrown product Yovani Gallardo remained the staff ace, winning 17 games and becoming the first Milwaukee pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in three consecutive seasons. Reclamation project John Axford tied for the league lead with 46 saves and set a team record by converting his last 43 in a row.

As usual, the offense was productive and led by the formidable 1-2 punch of Ryan Braun and Fielder, who both put together MVP-caliber seasons. Rickie Weeks joined them to give the Brewers three starters in the All-Star Game, a first for the franchise, while Corey Hart had another solid season.

General manager Doug Melvin continued to make astute moves during the season while giving up second- and third-tier prospects. He picked up Nyjer Morgan from the Nationals at the end of spring training, and Morgan ignited the team with his enthusiasm and delivered the Division Series-winning hit. Melvin also acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets to serve as Axford's set-up man, and Jerry Hairston from Washington to fill in for an injured Weeks and a slumping Casey McGehee.

Milwaukee didn't need much help from the minor leagues, though third baseman Taylor Green parlayed a big season at Triple-A into a late-August callup and a spot on the postseason roster. After dropping to 30th in Baseball America's rankings following the Greinke and Marcum deals, the farm system rallied in 2011 and showed some promise for the future.

The Brewers won't necessarily have openings for them, but Green, outfielders Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl and righthander Michael Fiers have proven themselves in Triple-A and could help at the major league level in 2012. Righthander Wily Peralta, the orgnization's No. 1 prospect, allowed just seven runs in five Triple-A starts at the end of the season and isn't far behind.

In order to avoid having to trade for more pitching in the future, Milwaukee continued to focus on arms in the draft. They had two of the top 15 choices in 2011, including a compensation pick for failing to sign first-rounder Dylan Covey the previous year. The Brewers used both first-rounders on advanced college pitchers, Texas righthander Taylor Jungmann and Georgia Tech lefty Jed Bradley, and also picked up righthanders Jorge Lopez (second round), Drew Gagnon (third) and David Goforth (seventh).

1. Wily Peralta, RHP Born: May 08, 1989 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 240
Signed:Dominican Republic, '05. Signed by: Fausto Sosa Pena/Fernando Arango.
Background: When his handlers were shopping Peralta out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, they tried to sell him as an outfielder with raw power, speed and athleticism. But after the Brewers saw him display a quick arm capable of flashing a 96-mph fastball, they preferred him on the mound. He signed for $450,000 but suffered a significant setback early in his career, missing the entire 2007 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. He has progressed steadily since then, developing into the workhorse pitcher Milwaukee always envisioned. At the outset of 2011, an injury to Zack Greinke gave him the chance to open the season in the Brewers rotation, but Peralta put too much pressure on himself and gave up 15 hits and 10 runs in 10 innings in big league camp. Instead, he returned to Double-A Huntsville after finishing 2010 there and led the Southern League with a 3.46 ERA. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Nashville in August and excelled even more, posting a 2.03 ERA and 40 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 31 innings with the Sounds.

Scouting Report: With a big, physical frame and a repeatable delivery, Peralta regularly sits at 91-95 mph with his explosive fastball. When he reaches back for a little extra, he can get up to 98. He uses both two-seam and four-seam fastballs, with the two-seamer running down and in to righthanders, jamming them and often breaking their bats. He throws on a downward plane and keeps his fastball down in the zone, inducing grounders when he isn't missing bats. Peralta has developed better command of his secondary pitches, a low-80s slider and a changeup. Most scouts prefer his slider, which has some deception and sharp bite. He has improved his changeup in the last year and it features some good sink, though it still lacks consistency. Peralta has made strides with his control and command, but he still needs to throw more strikes and improve the location of his secondary pitches. He does a fine job of controlling the running game, permitting just four steals in 11 attempts in 2011. He fields his position well but has been an automatic out as a hitter, surprising considering his background. Peralta's confidence has continued to rise with his success and he displays more poise on the mound than he did early in his career. He's a hard worker who listens to instruction and absorbs it. He has a thick body and conditioning will always be key to his success, but to his credit he has been committed to staying in good shape.

The Future: Early in his career, when he wasn't getting his secondary pitches over the plate, many observers thought Peralta profiled best as a closer or set-up man. The Brewers stuck with him in the rotation and had him keep working on all of his pitches, and now they have a possible No. 2 or 3 starter. He'll get a good look in big league camp in spring training but, barring an injury to a veteran, he'll almost certainly begin 2012 back in Triple-A. Milwaukee believes he'll be big league-ready during the year if needed and definitely if Greinke or Shaun Marcum departs as a free agent after the season.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'06 Brewers (R) 2 5 6.63 14 6 0 38 51 37 28 5 20 28 .309
'08 Helena (R) 1 1 3.07 15 2 2 29 23 14 10 4 8 36 .207
'08 West Virginia (LoA) 0 1 10.80 2 2 0 5 6 6 6 0 3 3 .286
'09 Wisconsin (LoA) 4 4 3.47 27 15 1 104 91 45 40 5 46 118 .226
'10 Brevard County (HiA) 6 3 3.86 19 17 0 105 102 50 45 5 40 75 .245
'10 Huntsville (AA) 2 3 3.61 8 8 0 42 43 22 17 5 24 29 .253
'11 Huntsville (AA) 9 7 3.46 21 21 0 120 106 57 46 9 48 117 .228
'11 Nashville (AAA) 2 0 2.03 5 5 0 31 21 7 7 0 11 40 .184
Minor League Totals 26 24 3.78 111 76 3 474 443 443 199 33 200 446 .238

2. Taylor Jungmann, RHP Born: Dec 18, 1989 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 175
Drafted: Texas, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Jeremy Booth.
Background: Jungmann was a star almost from the day he arrived at Texas, winning 11 games and pitching a complete-game five-hitter against Louisiana State in the College World Series finals as a freshman. He ranked second in NCAA Division I in wins (13) and opponent average (.165) last spring before going 12th overall in the draft and signing for $2,525,000—the second-largest bonus in club history.

Scouting Report: Jungman uses his lanky frame to throw downhill easily, working primarily with a fastball that sits at 90-94 mph and tops out at 96. He can get lefthanders and righthanders out with the combination of velocity and life on his heater. He has improved the sharpness and command of his slider, and he continues to work on a changeup that's a tick below average. Some scouts worry that his delivery features a short stride and some effort, but he has smoothed it out some since high school and it doesn't hamper his ability to throw strikes.

The Future:
Jungmann waited until the final minutes before the Aug. 15 signing deadline to come to terms and has yet to make his debut. He got his indoctrination into pro ball during instructional league and likely will start 2012 at high Class A Brevard County. A potential No. 2 starter, he could move quickly through the minors.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
Did Not Play

3. Jed Bradley, LHP Born: Jun 12, 1990 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 224
Drafted: Georgia Tech, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: Ryan Robinson.
Background: When the Brewers didn't sign 2010 first-rounder Dylan Covey after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, they received the 15th overall pick in 2011 with compensation. They were pleasantly surprised that Bradley was available there, in part because he was inconsistent right before the draft. He signed for $2 million at the deadline and saw some action in the Arizona Fall League.

Scouting Report: Undrafted out of an Alabama high school, Bradley got stronger and saw his stuff improve during three years at Georgia Tech. He generally pitches at 88-94 mph, and Milwaukee saw more of the high end of that spectrum with some 96s sprinkled in during instructional league. His low-80s slider gives him a second plus pitch, and he throws his changeup with deceptive arm action and fade. He has a great pitcher's body and a clean, repeatable delivery that allows him to throw strikes.

The Future: The Brewers believe they picked up a perfect lefthanded complement to Taylor Jungmann in Bradley and see them rising through the system together. They both project as No. 2 starters, figure to make their pro debuts in high Class A and may not need even two full seasons in the minors. The system is short on southpaws, so Bradley was a welcome addition.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
Did Not Play

4. Tyler Thornburg, RHP Born: Sep 29, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 185
Drafted: Charleston Southern, 2010 (3rd round).  Signed by: Ryan Robinson
Background: Compared to Tim Lincecum for his slight frame and pinwheeling delivery, Thornburg has had little difficulty in the lower minors, compiling a 2.48 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 160 innings since signing as a 2010 third-round pick. In his first full pro season, he allowed 12 runs in 12 starts at low Class A Wisconsin, appeared in the Futures Game and held high Class A hitters to a .186 average.

Scouting Report: Thornburg has been clocked as high as 98 mph when used in relief, but as a starter he usually pitches at 89-92 mph and peaks at 94. His changeup can be his best pitch at times, confounding hitters because it has good fade and he throws it with deceptive arm speed. His 11-to-5 curve has the potential to be a solid third offering, though his unorthodox mechanics make it difficult to finish the pitch. His delivery is funky but it also leads scouts to wonder if he'll have enough command and durability to remain a starter.

The Future: The Brewers have no plans to take Thornburg out of the rotation, though his stuff and aggressive nature would play well in a late-inning relief role if needed. A likely No. 3 starter, he'll step up to Double-A to begin and could surface in Milwaukee at some point in 2013.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'10 Helena (R) 1 0 1.93 9 6 1 23 15 6 5 2 11 38 .176
'11 Wisconsin (LoA) 7 0 1.57 12 12 0 69 49 14 12 3 25 76 .192
'11 Brevard County (HiA) 3 6 3.57 12 12 0 68 45 30 27 5 33 84 .181
Minor League Totals 11 6 2.48 33 30 1 160 109 109 44 10 69 198 .185

5. Scooter Gennett, 2B Born: May 01, 1990 B-T: L-R Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 164
Drafted: Sarasota (Fla.) HS, 2009 (16th round).  Signed by: Tim McIlvaine.
Background: After abandoning a Florida State scholarship to sign for $260,000 as a 16th-round pick in 2009, Gennett has done nothing but hit. He has batted .300 or better in each of his two pro seasons, earning all-star honors in both the low Class A Midwest and high Class A Florida State leagues.

Scouting Report: Gennett uses an open stance and level swing to consistently stroke line drives to all fields. He makes a lot of contact, though his aggressive nature cuts into his walks and on-base percentage. He has some surprising pop for his size, most of it coming in the form of doubles rather than homers. Gennett has average speed and good baserunning instincts, though he's not much of a threat to steal. A high school shortstop, he still needs considerable work at second base. He has led his leagues' second basemen in errors in each of the last two years, but he has average defensive tools for the position and the work ethic to improve.

The Future: Gennett has a ceiling as an everyday second baseman with a solid bat, and a fallback option of becoming an offensive-minded utilityman. He'll spend 2012 in Double-A at age 22. With Rickie Weeks signed through 2014 with an option for 2015, the Brewers won't have to rush Gennett.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'10 Wisconsin (LoA) 482 87 149 39 4 9 55 31 91 14 4 .309 .354 .463
'11 Brevard County (HiA) 556 74 167 20 6 9 51 27 69 11 10 .300 .334 .406
Minor League Totals 1038 161 316 59 10 18 106 58 160 25 14 .304 .343 .433

6. Logan Schafer, OF Born: Sep 08, 1986 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 180
Drafted: Cal Poly, 2008 (3rd round).  Signed by: Corey Rodriguez.
Background: Schafer followed a breakout 2009 season—he won the Florida State League batting title (.313) and the Brewers' minor league player of the year award—with a lost year in 2010. Between a groin tear that morphed into a sports hernia and a broken right foot, he played in just seven games. He broke his right thumb in big league camp last spring, but returned in mid-May and picked up where he left off two years earlier.

Scouting Report: Schafer has a simple lefthanded swing, controls the strike zone and makes line-drive contact. He doesn't have much power, but he can drive some balls into the gaps and slugged a career-high .521 after arriving in Triple-A. He has solid speed and good instincts on the bases and in center field. He covers a lot of ground and has an accurate arm. He plays with poise and intelligence.

The Future: Schafer is old for a prospect at 25 but also on the verge of being a reliable contributor in the majors. Nyjer Morgan played a prominent role in Milwaukee's 2011 success, but should he get injured or revert to his 2009 form, the team wouldn't hesitate to promote Schafer. He could end up as a regular with the Brewers sooner than many people might expect.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'08 Helena (R) 25 4 6 0 1 2 8 5 4 1 0 .240 .355 .560
'08 West Virginia (LoA) 181 25 50 13 2 0 20 8 42 3 8 .276 .306 .370
'09 Huntsville (AA) 23 4 5 0 1 0 0 4 3 1 0 .217 .379 .304
'09 Brevard County (HiA) 457 76 143 31 6 6 58 38 53 16 8 .313 .369 .446
'10 Brevard County (HiA) 23 7 4 2 0 0 1 4 6 0 0 .174 .286 .261
'11 Brevard County (HiA) 36 4 11 0 0 0 1 5 4 1 1 .306 .390 .306
'11 Huntsville (AA) 189 31 57 9 4 0 19 17 25 10 5 .302 .368 .392
'11 Nashville (AAA) 169 31 56 13 2 5 23 17 18 5 3 .331 .401 .521
'11 Milwaukee (MAJ) 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .333 .500 .333
Major League Totals 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .333 .500 .333
Minor League Totals 1103 182 332 68 16 13 130 98 155 37 25 .301 .363 .427

7. Cody Scarpetta, RHP Born: Aug 25, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 244
Drafted: Guilford HS, Rockford, Ill., 2007 (11th round).  Signed by: Harvey Kuenn Jr.
Background: Scarpetta slipped to the 11th round of the 2007 draft because a torn flexor tendon in his right index finger required surgery. He originally signed for $325,000 out of high school, but that deal was voided when he needed a second operation. Milwaukee re-signed him for $125,000 but had to place him on its 40-man roster to retain his rights. The Brewers used his fourth and what normally would be his final option to send him to the minors in 2011, though they expect he'll be granted an extra option.  After ranking second to Wily Peralta among Double-A Huntsville starters with a 3.85 ERA, Scarpetta got knocked around after the season in his Arizona Fall League debut

Scouting Report: Scarpetta has a pair of plus pitches in a 90-94 mph fastball and a sharp-breaking curveball. He has worked on improving his changeup but it's still a work in progress. At times he gets out of whack with his short-arm delivery and his control and command become erratic, resulting in too many walks. He has worked on smoothing out his lower half to be able to locate his pitches down in the zone with more consistency.

The Future: He has the raw stuff to be a No. 3 or 4 starter, but Scarpetta could wind up in the bullpen if he can't refine his changeup and control. If he gets the extra option, he'll spend 2012 in Triple-A. If not, he'll have to make the big league club or be exposed to waivers.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'08 Brewers (R) 1 0 0.57 6 5 0 16 8 1 1 0 8 27 .145
'08 Helena (R) 1 0 3.48 6 3 0 21 18 10 8 2 8 31 .225
'09 Wisconsin (LoA) 4 11 3.43 26 18 0 105 83 53 40 5 55 116 .209
'09 Huntsville (AA) 0 0 5.40 1 1 0 5 5 3 3 1 1 1 .250
'10 Brevard County (HiA) 7 12 3.87 27 27 0 128 120 61 55 4 67 142 .238
'11 Huntsville (AA) 8 5 3.85 23 23 0 117 100 61 50 8 61 98 .222
Minor League Totals 21 28 3.60 89 77 0 392 334 334 157 20 200 415 .221

8. Taylor Green, 3B/2B Born: Nov 02, 1986 B-T: L-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 200
Drafted: Cypress (Calif.) JC, 2005 (25th round).  Signed by: Bruce Seid.
Background: Green was the Brewers' minor league player of the year in 2007 and was on the list of potential players to be named later in the C.C. Sabathia trade the following year. His career took a downturn after he had surgery on his left wrist in January 2009, costing him half of that season and continued to affect his swing in 2010. He got back on track in 2011, earning Triple-A Pacific Coast League all-star honors, his second organization player of the year award and his first big league callup.

Scouting Report: Green has a compact swing, an all-fields approach and solid power. He makes consistent contact and draws his share of walks. Much of his value lies in his bat, because he's a below-average runner with only adequate defensive skills. He doesn't have great range or a fantastic arm at third base, and lacks the quickness desired at second base, but his reliable hands and good instincts allow him to make routine plays.

The Future: After getting left off the Brewers' 40-man roster after the 2010 season, Green went from Double-A on Opening Day to the National League Championship Series in October. A strong performance in spring training could push him into Milwaukee's lineup.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'06 Helena (R) 221 36 51 12 1 1 23 29 35 0 1 .231 .328 .308
'07 West Virginia (LoA) 397 68 130 29 2 14 86 51 65 0 5 .327 .406 .516
'08 Brevard County (HiA) 418 46 121 19 0 15 73 61 59 4 2 .289 .382 .443
'09 Wisconsin (LoA) 20 6 8 1 0 1 5 4 4 0 0 .400 .538 .600
'09 Huntsville (AA) 306 34 79 15 0 5 43 33 37 0 2 .258 .330 .356
'10 Huntsville (AA) 393 51 102 29 1 13 81 45 67 0 2 .260 .336 .438
'11 Huntsville (AA) 11 2 4 1 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 .364 .385 .455
'11 Nashville (AAA) 420 74 141 36 1 22 88 55 72 1 0 .336 .413 .583
'11 Milwaukee (MAJ) 37 2 10 3 0 0 1 0 6 0 0 .270 .270 .351
Major League Totals 37 2 10 3 0 0 1 0 6 0 0 .270 .270 .351
Minor League Totals 2186 317 636 142 5 71 402 278 342 5 12 .291 .373 .458

9. Jorge Lopez, RHP Born: Feb 10, 1993 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 170.
Drafted: Academia de Milagrosa, Cayey, P.R., 2011 (2nd round).  Signed by: Charlie Sullivan/Manolo Hernandez.
Background: The Brewers figured Lopez would go in the supplemental first round of the 2011 draft, and they were thrilled to grab him in the second round with the 70th overall selection and sign him for $690,000. He became Puerto Rico's second-highest drafted pitcher ever, trailing only Braves 2003 sandwich pick Luis Atilano. Also a volleyball and track star in high school, Lopez has a lot of physical projection remaining in his lanky frame and should improve now that he's focusing on baseball.

Scouting Report: With long arms and a loose delivery, Lopez regularly throws his fastball at 89-91 mph and touches 93. Milwaukee believes he'll throw in the mid-90s once he fills out. He also has an over-the-top curveball that can buckle hitters' knees. He has unusual feel for his curve for a teenager and will throw it in any count. He has been pitching for just three years, so his changeup and command are still works in progress. Lopez has good body control for a lanky youngster, though his arm action can get a little sweepy in the back.

The Future: Lopez has a ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starter but a long way to go to get there. He'll probably spend 2012 at Rookie-level Helena and make his full-season debut the following season.

   
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'11 Brewers (R) 0 0 2.25 4 4 0 12 13 3 3 0 3 10 .265
Minor League Totals 0 0 2.25 4 4 0 12 13 13 3 0 3 10 .265

10. Jimmy Nelson, RHP Born: Jun 05, 1989 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 245
Drafted: Alabama, 2010 (2nd round).  Signed by: Joe Mason.
Background: When first-rounder Dylan Covey was diagnosed with diabetes and opted to attend college, Nelson became Milwaukee's top signee in the 2010 draft as a second-rounder. Used exclusively as a reliever in his pro debut after a heavy workload as an Alabama junior, he had an up-and-down season as a starter in 2011. He did show improvement in the second half, going 6-2, 3.71 in his final 13 starts, and made significant strides in instructional league.

Scouting Report: Nelson can be an intimidating presence on the mound, with his size and a fastball that he can run up to 97 mph. He has better command when he relies on his two-seamer, a low-90s offering with heavy sink. His 84-86 mph slider is a plus pitch when he throws it for strikes but he often struggles to keep it in the zone. Nelson's changeup remains a work in progress and a key to his continued development. He has trouble repeating his delivery at times, which negatively affects his control. He has the body and mentality to be a workhorse.

The Future: The Brewers were excited with Nelson's performance in instructional league and believe he can become a middle-of-the-rotation starter. If not, he profiles well as a late-inning reliever provided he throws more strikes. He could force his way to Double-A at some point in 2012.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'10 Helena (R) 2 0 3.71 12 0 3 27 30 21 11 2 13 33 .273
'11 Wisconsin (LoA) 8 9 4.38 26 25 0 146 146 81 71 9 65 120 .250
Minor League Totals 10 9 4.27 38 25 3 173 176 176 82 11 78 153 .253