Milwaukee Brewers: Top 10 Prospects

Milwaukee Brewers




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, 2008.

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Tom Haudricourt
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Matt LaPorta, of
2. Manny Parra, lhp
3. Alcides Escobar, ss
4. Jeremy Jeffress, rhp
5. Cole Gillespie, of
6. Mat Gamel, 3b
7. Brent Brewer, ss
8. Angel Salome, c
9. Lorenzo Cain, of
10. Caleb Gindl, of
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Mat Gamel
Best Power Hitter Matt LaPorta
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Michael Brantley
Fastest Baserunner Darren Ford
Best Athlete Brent Brewer
Best Fastball Jeremy Jeffress
Best Curveball Nick Tyson
Best Slider Robert Hinton
Best Changeup R.J. Seidel
Best Control Manny Parra
Best Defensive Catcher Lou Palmisano
Best Defensive Infielder Alcides Escobar
Best Infield Arm Alcides Escobar
Best Defensive Outfielder Darren Ford
Best Outfield Arm Brendan Katin
PROJECTED 2011
LINEUP
Catcher Angel Salome
First Base Prince Fielder
Second Base Rickie Weeks
Third Base J.J. Hardy
Shortstop Alcides Escobar
Left Field Matt LaPorta
Center Field Ryan Braun
Right Field Corey Hart
No. 1 Starter Yovani Gallardo
No. 2 Starter Ben Sheets
No. 3 Starter Manny Parra
No. 4 Starter Jeremy Jeffress
No. 5 Starter Carlos Villanueva
Closer Rob Bryson
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Valeriio de los Santos, lhp Mexico
1999 Ron Belliard, 2b Nationals
2000 Nick Neugebauer, rhp Out of baseball
2001 Ben Sheets, rhp Brewers
2002 Nick Neugebauer, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Brad Nelson, 1b Brewers
2004 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2005 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2006 Prince Fielder, 1b Brewers
2007 Yovani Gallardo, rhp Brewers
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 J.M. Gold, rhp Out of baseball
1999 Ben Sheets, rhp Brewers
2000 Dave Krynzel, of Diamondbacks
2001 Mike Jones, rhp Brewers
2002 Prince Fielder, 1b Brewers
2003 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2004 Mark Rogers, rhp Brewers
2005 Ryan Braun, 3b Brewers
2006 Jeremy Jeffresss, rhp Brewers
2007 Matt LaPorta, of Brewers
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Rickie Weeks, 2003 $3,600,000
Ben Sheets, 1999 $2,450,000
Ryan Braun, 2005 $2,450,000
Prince Fielder, 2002 $2,400,000
Mark Rogers, 2004 $2,200,000
BREWERS
LINKS
Brewers' Team Page
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Last Year's Brewers Top 10 Prospects
2007 Draft: Brewers (Basic Database)
2007 Draft: Brewers  Premium (Advanced Database)
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Milwaukee Brewers

No team has advanced more impact players to the major leagues over the last few years than the Brewers.

On any given night in the final weeks of the 2007 season, you could find 21-year-old Yovani Gallardo on the mound, backed by an infield of Prince Fielder (23), Rickie Weeks (25), Ryan Braun (23) and J.J. Hardy (25), with Corey Hart (25) in right field. All except Hart were first- or second-round draft picks, which is how Milwaukee quickly rebuilt a sagging franchise from within.

With that young nucleus of players, the Brewers led the National League Central for most of the season before pitching problems finally caused them to slip to second place. Still, at 83-79 they posted their first winning season since 1992. If not for yet another injury to staff ace Ben Sheets, they might have made their first playoff appearance in 25 years.

A year ago, Gallardo and Braun ranked 1-2 atop our Milwaukee Top 10 Prospects list. When they were summoned to the big leagues, Braun in late May and Gallardo in mid-June, it was easy to see why they held such lofty status.

All Braun did was post the highest slugging percentage (.634) of any rookie in big league history, batting .324 with 34 home runs and 97 RBIs in just 113 games to win BA's Rookie of the Year award. Gallardo settled went 9-5 and posted the lowest ERA in the rotation at 3.67, including a 3-1, 1.36 mark in the heat of the division race in September.

Fielder became the youngest player ever to sock 50 home runs in the majors, knocking legendary Willie Mays from that perch. Hardy was named by his peers to the NL all-star team and totaled 26 homers and 80 RBI. After his surgically repaired right wrist finally healed, Weeks finished with a flourish, socking nine homers in September.

Hart, who has played in the shadow of his more-heralded young teammates, had a breakthrough season. He hit .295 with 24 homers, 81 RBIs and 23 steals.

The Brewers got yet another peek into the future when lefthander Manny Parra bounced back from a couple of injury-plagued years to throw a perfect game at Triple-A Nashville and finally made his big league debut in July. Only a broken left thumb prevented him from making a bigger impact down the stretch.

Graduating so many highly ranked prospects to the majors in such a short time would wipe out most farm systems. But Milwaukee's six U.S.-based affiliates combined for a 387-298 (.565) record, the best among NL organizations, and five of them reached the playoffs. While most of the Brewers' most notable picks were high first-rounders such as Fielder, Weeks and Braun, they've done well in the later rounds and had more than their share of success with the now-defunct draft-and-follow system.

Those trends continued in 2007. The new No. 1 prospect on this list is outfielder Matt LaPorta, taken seventh overall, and the Brewers followed up with three more position players who hit .300 or better in their debuts: catcher Jonathan LuCroy, second baseman Eric Farris and outfielder Caleb Gindl. They also had an impressive final class of draft-and-follows, led by righthander Rob Bryson.

Other teams have taken note of Milwaukee's success. Jack Zduriencik remains as scouting director, but the Brewers have lost a crosschecker after each of the last two seasons. The Diamondbacks hired Tom Allison to be their scouting director in 2006, and the Astros did the same with Bobby Heck in October.

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