2013 Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects Chat With Tom Haudricourt

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.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks for the chat, Tom. About how far down your top 30 did Jed Bradley slide this year? Are you reasonably optimistic his stock won't go the way of Eric Arnett?

Tom Haudricourt: Bradley is in the 11-15 group of my Top 30. This will be a big year for Bradley, who was sidetracked in 2012 by groin strains, mechanical issues, problems adjusting to pro ball (such as appropriate amount of work between starts). He needs to bounce back strong and show that was a mulligan.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How close to your top 10 was Ariel Pena? Did you happen to catch his (unfortunate) stint at last year's Futures game? Has his stuff improved since then?

Tom Haudricourt: Pena was not close to my Top 10 because he has shown too many command issues thus far. I'd like to see him harness his pitches before I consider him Top 10 material. There are throwers and there are pitchers.

    Morrie (NJ): Does Tyrone Taylor evoke any comparisons to you? Was he in your second ten?

Tom Haudricourt: Tyrone Taylor indeed is in the second 10. He already is considered one of the best athletes in the system. If he stays healthy, he could have a very high ceiling. Lots of talent there.

    Frank (Chicago): Even though you don't contribute to BA's top 100 list, about how many of these guys do you believe are worthy?

Tom Haudricourt: Hard to say without knowing all of the other candidates from the other organizations. I wouldn't want to put together those top 100 lists. It's daunting enough to keep up with all of the prospects from the team you cover.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Last week, in Keith Law's ESPN chat, he predicted a 20% chance Clint Coulter would stick behind the plate. I assume you don't agree with this assessment, but should it be prove to be true, what other position would he be suited for?

Tom Haudricourt: Lots of folks think Coulter is too crude behind the plate to stick there long-term. Having said that, the Brewers thought he made good strides in his first pro year. Obviously, his bat is going to carry him but the Brewers have a very good catching instructor in Charlie Green and they're going to give Coulter every chance to stay behind the plate. Remember, he's only 19.

    Ben (Leland Grove): What's the skinny on Drew Gagnon? Do you see him continuing to start in the future? Besides control, what other facets stick out to scouts, if any?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers love Gagnon's aggressive and the way he pounds the strike zone. His stuff might not be eye-popping but he knows what he's doing on the mound and has enough to get by as a starter. He had a very strong 2012 season.

    Grant (NYC): Kentrail Davis - prospect or suspect at this point?

Tom Haudricourt: At this point, suspect. At some point, you have to take all of those great tools and put them together to reach your potential. The Brewers still believe in Davis but he has slipped down the prospect list.

    Jordan (Milwaukee, Wi): Your opinions of reliever Damien Magnifico? If he can harness his command, could we be seeing another Bruce Rondon, from Detroit's system?

Tom Haudricourt: When you can throw 100 miles per hour, you get people's attention. But Magnifico must do more than that to be an effective pitcher in the pros. He has to get other pitches over the plate. Otherwise, hitters will sit on your fastball, no matter how hard you throw it. I'll be interested to see how he progresses with more innings.

    Mark (Chicago IL): Does 1B Nick Ramirez have any standout tools besides power? Top 30 guy to you?

Tom Haudricourt: Ramirez was under consideration for the Top 30 but did not make the list this year. That tells you he has work to do.

    Kelly (St Cloud MN): If your opinion, who are the top pitching and hitting sleeper prospects in this system?

Tom Haudricourt: Top sleeper pitcher prospect is Hiram Burgos. You break down his stuff and it doesn't wow you but he knows how to pitch, hit his spots and get people out. Kind of like Mike Fiers did last year. As far as a sleeper hitter, the Brewers think Khris Davis can make an impact in the majors, especially with budding power.

    Kevin (Boston): Hey Tom,I read Wiley Peralta Scouting report.Both Wiley Peralta and Alex Meyer are fireballer,both have slider and changeup.Who has the higher ceiling?Which stuff is better?Is Wiley Peralta a top 50 prospect overall for you? Top 40?

Tom Haudricourt: I don't know that much about Alex Meyer. I focus on the players in the Brewers' system, so I really can't compare them to players in other systems. I do believe when he's throwing strikes he should be a highly ranked prospect, especially after what I saw last September with the Brewers.

    Ken (Lakewood CA): Hi Tom. Not sure they both qualify as prospects, but where do you see Gamel and Fiers in 2013 and what roles do you see them playing? Gamel seemed to have some success in 2012 before getting hurt. Fiers came up and pitched well, but I see you don't have him in the future projected rotation. Thanks.

Tom Haudricourt: It's hard to say with either player but for different reasons. Gamel just hasn't stayed healthy enough to show what he can do in the majors. Until he makes it through a full season, we won't know. He doesn't have anything left to prove in the minors. And Fiers definitely ran out of gas down the stretch last year. Did opponents catch up with him or was he just tired? He relies so much on deception, he doesn't have room for error. But you have to like the way he goes after hitters. He's certainly not afraid.

    stevev (chicago): Would SS Arcia land in the top 15? What is his upside? Do you see him being a potential top 10 guy down the road?

Tom Haudricourt: Arcia was close to Top 15. By all accounts, he has a high ceiling. It was very unfortunate he missed the entire 2012 season. Definite Top 10 potential because he's still a teenager and plays a premium position.

    Grant (NYC): Between this year's top 10 and last year's, which one do you prefer in terms of ceiling and why?

Tom Haudricourt: A lot of the players are the same but Cody Scarpetta dropped far out of the Top 10 after Tommy John surgery, Jorge Lopez didn't do much (still has good potential) and Taylor Green's offense dropped off considerably. Three of the top 2012 draft picks are in the new Top 10 so you'd probably say they have a higher ceiling.

    Patrick (Sandpoint, Idaho): Is Jimmy Nelson a tad old for the success he had at HighA ball.....is he a slow developer but steady to win this race? He's not in the projected 5 SPs, your take?

Tom Haudricourt: Don't focus entirely on the projected 2016 lineups because we're not always allowed to drop people out who are back from last year. Nelson could easily end up in the Brewers' rotation in years to come. He's only 23. I don't consider that old. If he does well in AAA this year, he'll be knocking on the door.

    Pat Murphy (Spokane, Wash): Is Hellweg a legit closing probability down line in your eyes? Was he the throw in with Segura or a choice from MIL to hopefully close at one point?

Tom Haudricourt: Hellweg has a big arm. Pitchers with big arms always have a chance to close. The key for him will be how much and how quickly he can harness his command. It wouldn't be a total shock if he made the Brewers' bullpen in the spring, depending on what happens with other pitchers. They're going to take a good look at him.

    A.J. (Mobile, AL): Does David Goforth profile more as a starter or a back-end of the bullpen kind of guy? I heard he hit 99 in the last inning of his last start of the year in the playoffs. If he profiles as a short inning reliever, shouldn't the Brewers move him there now and get him up to the ML quickly?

Tom Haudricourt: Goforth probably profiles as a power reliever in the majors but you want to keep a pitching prospect in the starting rotation as long as you can because it lets him work on all of his pitches. You don't move him to relief until you have to. You want these guys to get work and continue to develop.

    Tim (Chicago): Do you think Jungmann will increase his K/9IP mark as he further develops his secondary pitches or will he be more of a pitch to contact groundball pitcher?

Tom Haudricourt: I see him more as a pitch to contact pitcher but that doesn't mean his strikeouts won't increase with experience and maturity on the mound. You don't worry about strikeouts. You worry about getting hitters out. The earlier in the count that happens, the deeper into games you will go.

    Bob (WI): I was surprised to still see Jungmann getting tagged as a possible #2/3. His performance last year makes it seem like an innings eater #4 is a more realistic scenerio. What did scouts say to convince you that he still has #2 starter upside?

Tom Haudricourt: My report on Jungmann said "the club envisions him as a future No. 2 or 3 starter." That doesn't mean other scouts view it the same way. But if you make it as a No. 3 starter in the majors, what's wrong with that? Let's see how Jungmann looks this year. He has one year of pro ball under his belt. I hope to see more of him in spring camp. Then I'll be able to tell you what I think.

    John (Georgia): How is Victor Roache's rehab coming along and what can be expected of him when he becomes a big leaguer?

Tom Haudricourt: Last I heard, Roache's rehab was coming along nicely. The Brewers think he could be the steal of the 2012 draft because of his power potential. After he missed his first pro season, we'll know a lot more when he starts playing this year.

    Ryan (Baltimore): The Brewers have some interesting positional logjams to navigate. Carlos Gomez is a free agent after this season. Do you see the Brewers trying to resign him, or letting him walk? If he walks, do they give Schafer a shot, or do they slide Aoki over to CF? And how do you think 1B shakes out with Hart, Gamel & Morris?

Tom Haudricourt: The way Gomez plays this season will dictate any future plans the Brewers have for him. They do like Schafer and Aoki played center in Japan. The first base situation will be fascinating to watch because Hart has only one year left on his contract and Morris is coming off a big year in Double-A. If Morris follows that up with a big year in Triple-A, he'll be hard to hold back.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): It is 2016 and you are at the Home Run Derby. Who is more likely to be be a participant: Roache or Haniger?

Tom Haudricourt: Roache certainly has Home Run Derby power potential. Probably more so than Haniger.

    Michael Stern (Rochester NY): What can you tell me about Tyrone Taylor, Brewers 2nd round pick from this year? How far was he from the top 10? He seems like a very exciting player, with big time speed, and he hit extremely well his first year - batting .389 and .385 in his 2 stops in rookie ball. How much of a prospect is he? Thanks for the chat as always!

Tom Haudricourt: As mentioned earlier, Taylor is an exciting athlete with a high ceiling. He easily could jump into next year's Top 10 with a strong 2013.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delware): In you opinion who is more likely to be the Brewers second baseman in a year or two? Gennett or Weeks?

Tom Haudricourt: Our projected 2016 lineup has Gennett at second base and Weeks at third.

    Dan (NYC): Tom — when Fangraphs wrote its evaluation of Taylor Jungmann, it quoted a source who stated that Jungmann focused on developing pitches in 2012, and didn't worry about stats, hence his low strikeout numbers. Can you verify that? Do you expect a bump in counting stats for Jungmann this year?

Tom Haudricourt: I couldn't tell you who that source was. Wasn't my story. Having said that, the Brewers always encourage their pitching prospects to focus on development and using all of their pitches. It's the smart way to go about. But, as noted earlier, Jungmann is a pitch-to-contact type. I don't think the Brewers are too worried about his strikeout numbers. I'm guessing he's not, either.

    Not Jaypers (Wisconsin): Tom, will Yadiel Rivera ever have enough bat to be a Major league regular?

Tom Haudricourt: That's a very good question. He certainly has the defensive skills to make it. Probably a better question is: Will he ever have enough plate discipline (26 walks in 508 PAs last year)? That must improve.

    Joe (Clintonville): Big Brewer fan here—-With the problems near the end of bullpen last year, who do you see taking over the closer role in the next 3-5 years?? I really liked what I saw from Thornberg with the TimberRattlers, but I assume they might want him starting because there seems to be a lack of depth there, also. Thanks for the chat

Tom Haudricourt: Well, we've talked about Hellweg. Santo Manzanillo was on a good track until last year, when he missed most of the season with shoulder issues. Let's see how he bounces back. Late-inning relief is volatile. You never know who will pop up. Did anybody see Jim Henderson coming last year?

    Al (Wi): Tom, did Cameron Garfields season put him back on the prospect map for the Brewers?

Tom Haudricourt: It certainly was an improvement. Let's see how he follows it up in 2013. That will be more telling.

    Al (Wisconsin): Tom, how will the rotation fill out with all the inexperienced options and the potential for those kids to be shut down to protect them in September.

Tom Haudricourt: That will be the answer to the Brewers' 2013 season. Going to be fascinating to see how that works out. Filling innings could be a real challenge in the second half.

    Greg (Ohio): What made you rank Roache ahead of Coulter? scouting reports read like Coulter has better approach, better projection, and at least a chance to stay at catcher.

Tom Haudricourt: More power and more advanced as a player (though Roache missed 2012). Coulter is more of a raw player with all kinds of potential. But, hey, they're two spots apart. All of these lists are subjective. If you're in the top 10, you're all pretty close together.

    Allan (Wi): Tom does Mark Rogers start the year in the starting rotation or in Nashville?

Tom Haudricourt: He won't be starting the year in Nashville, I wouldn't think. He's out of minor-league options and I don't see that kind of arm clearing waivers.

    Not Jaypers (Wi): Are Chris Narveson and Marco Estrada really the Brewers #2 and 3 starters behind Gallardo? How is that going to compete with the Reds and Cardinals in the division.

Tom Haudricourt: We won't know how the rotation shakes out until we see everybody in action in spring camp, including Wily Peralta, Mark Rogers and Mike Fiers (and possibly Hiram Burgos and Tyler Thornburg.

    Not Jaypers (Wi): What have you heard was the biggest problem ith Jed Bradleys season. Injuries or lost velocity? Thanks

Tom Haudricourt: As noted earlier, groin issues, messed-up mechanics, fatigue from not knowing how to pace himself. All added up to a miserable year, and the Brewers hope a learning experience.

    Mick (Chicago): If Jean Segura ends up needing to move to 2B, is Yadiel Rivera the next choice within the org. or could Josh Prince move back there considering he may have figured it out offensively?

Tom Haudricourt: Though he has a long ways to go, Orlando Arcia probably has more offensive/defensive upside than Rivera. But Arcia missed 2012 with a broken ankle and has made it to rookie ball yet, so we're talking down the road. Not sure what would happen at short in the interim. Which is why Brewers plan to give Segura every shot at shortstop.

    Allan D (Wi): Tom, any chance Brewers can trade extra offensive depth like Gamel or Taylor Green and get some pitching depth with guys like Gennett, Khris Davis, Hunter Morris being close to being ML ready.

Tom Haudricourt: Not sure what you're expecting back for unproven players at the big-league level. Always depends on the needs of other teams. The Brewers think they have pretty good pitching depth in their system and are determined to give those arms a chance.

    Amy (Boston): Time Travel: What current MLB pitcher can you see Wily Peralta resembling in 2018?

Tom Haudricourt: Just throwing a name out there — Johnny Cueto. Big, bullish hard throwers with similar stuff.

    G4 (Milwaukee): Thanks for the chat Tom, you do excellent work. I recall reading the Brewers restructured their international scouting system a while back? What is your opinion of its current state? When should fans expect to see any dividends? Will Melvin ever offer a multimillion dollar bonus for a high-ceiling/high-risk 16-year-old the way some other midmarkets have?

Tom Haudricourt: There's no way to answer those questions until we see what starts coming out of those countries. The fact that the Brewers are trying to improve their status there is a good sign.

    Steve (San Francisco): With five of the top six prospects pitchers plus guys like Fiers, Estrada and Rogers, how do the Brewers feel about the young pitching depth they appear to have at the moment?

Tom Haudricourt: The best they've ever felt about it. Now, they need some of those guys to come through. You know some guys will be busts — that's the way baseball is — so the more you have, the more chances to break through.

    Jack Ellis (Newton, WV): Is Hiram Burgos doing it with mirrors? Nobody seems to like his stuff, but his accomplishments are significant.

Tom Haudricourt: Mike Fiers heard the same talk and it didn't stop him from advancing to the majors.

    Eric (Norfolk, VA): Wily Peralta struggled at Nashville but was solid when called up to Milwaukee. Will he be able to solidify a spot in the rotation?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers certainly are counting on it. If you saw him last September, you know he has the ability to do it. Now, it comes down to consistency.

    ttnrom (Connecticut): Tom, Thanks for the chat. Who is a good comp inside or outside the Brewers organization for Thornburg?

Tom Haudricourt: You know what? I don't like doing comparisons. They are so arbitrary. There has been comparison in size and style to Lincecum but you never do a prospect any favors by comparing him to a Cy Young Award winner. But Thornburg certainly is atypical in certain ways. It's all how you make it work. Well, folks, I think we'll call this a chat. Thanks so much for participating and keep an eye out for the Baseball America 2013 Prospect Handbook to see how we filled out the rest of the Brewers' Top 30.