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Milwaukee Brewers 2020 Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update

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STATE OF THE SYSTEM

This remains a thin farm system. It is lacking in potential impact prospects and there are few prospects expected to help this year’s playoff contender. Milwaukee’s system is largely a mix of pitchers with futures as back-end rotation pieces or relievers and position prospects who are either far away or likely role players. That said, the recent drafts have helped with Garrett Mitchell and Freddy Zamora this year providing a needed boost of high-ceiling position prospects. Adding them to 2018 first-rounder Brice Turang and 2019 first-rounder Ethan Small give some hope for future regulars or at the least useful trade chips for a team looking to contend again in 2020.

1. Garrett Mitchell, OF

Mitchell slid to the back third of the first round on draft day, something that was advantageous for the Brewers. He immediately becomes the position player with the highest upside in the system. Mitchell can run and play an excellent center field, but the adjustment he’ll have to make in pro ball is figuring out how to tap into his power potential with a wood bat.

2. Brice Turang, SS

This was supposed to be the year Turang showed his first-half emergence was more representative than his second-half struggles after a promotion to high Class A Carolina in 2019. Instead he’s spending it working out at the Brewers’ alternate site. His skinny lower half is an indicator of the fact that his game is more centered around speed than power, but he does need to drive the ball more consistently as he matures.

3. Ethan Small, LHP

The Brewers’ 2019 first-round pick is one of the more polished arms from the class and could move quicker than most. The lefthander was a late addition to Milwaukee’s alternate training site.

4. Freddy Zamora, SS

Zamora was already sidelined for the 2020 season because of an ACL injury he suffered before the college season began. But much like the Brewers’ selection of David Hamilton in the eighth round in 2019, the injury means the Brewers got a true shortstop a little later in the draft than they likely could have if Zamora had been healthy. Zamora is a smooth-fielding shortstop who should stick at the position and he has a solid bat as well. Now he just has to get healthy again.

5. Aaron Ashby, LHP

Ashby’s combination of velocity and confidence in his breaking ball should make him at least a solid lefty reliever who eats up same-side hitters and has enough stuff to survive against righties. But his control may improve to the point where he can also be a back-of-the-rotation starter. Ashby has not been added to the 60-man player pool yet as the Brewers are close to the 60-player limit, but he is an option as a late addition.

6. Drew Rasmussen, RHP

Rasmussen had an outstanding 2019 season as he went from making his pro debut to pitching well at Double-A. His summer camp performance has reinforced that he’s close to ready to help the MLB bullpen thanks to a pair of plus pitches—a high-90s fastball and a biting slider.

7. Mario Feliciano, C

Feliciano’s ability to make solid contact when he connects gives him a solid path to the major leagues, even if he’s going to need to learn that leaving the bat on his shoulder for a pitch or two can provide benefits against pitchers who can take advantage of over-aggressive hitters. Feliciano has work to do as a receiver, but the tools are there to stay behind the plate.

8. Antoine Kelly, LHP

There are few if any players who aren’t hurt by the cancellation of the 2020 MiLB season, but Kelly is one more affected than most because he needs innings. Drafted in 2019 out of Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC, Kelly has one of the best arms in the system, but he could have really benefited from getting 100 innings this year to help refine his control. Kelly is part of the Brewers’ player pool training at the alternate site.

9. Tristen Lutz, OF

Lutz’s power gives him a shot to be a solid major leaguer, but there are going to have to be some significant adjustments made along the way. He’s strong and rips the bat through the zone, but his swing and approach are grooved. If he finds a pitch where he wants it, he can punish it, but a pitcher with a plan can stay away from his happy zones.

10. Eduardo Garcia, SS

A broken ankle ended Garcia’s pro debut early in 2019, but he is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Brewers’ system. Garcia has bat speed and offensive potential to go with the tools to stick at shortstop long term.

11. Corey Ray, OF
12. Zack Brown, RHP
13. Hedbert Perez, OF
14. Carlos Rodriguez, OF
15. Trey Supak, RHP
16. Luis Medina, OF
17. Devin Williams, RHP
18. Payton Henry, C
19. Nick Kahle, C
20. Jesus Parra, 3B/2B
21. Jeferson Quero, C
22. Zavier Warren, C
23. Alec Bettinger, RHP
24. Dylan File, RHP
25. Joe Gray, OF
26. Thomas Dillard, OF/1B
27. Hayden Cantrelle, SS
28. Jheremy Vargas, SS
29. Nick Bennett, LHP
30. Clayton Andrews, LHP

SYSTEM STRENGTHS

The Brewers’ system is thin, but it’s loaded up on athletic, up-the-middle position players. The addition of Mitchell gives the Brewers a rangy center fielder and the team has a number of catching prospects (led by Mario Feliciano but also including Payton Henry, Nick Kahle and recent draftee Xavier Warren, who played in the infield much of the time in college). But shortstop is the club’s deepest position with Brice Turang, Freddy Zamora, Eduardo Garcia and Hayden Cantrelle.

SYSTEM WEAKNESSES

Milwaukee’s best pitching prospects largely carry significant reliever risk or are soft-tossing command specialists with fringy stuff. LHP Ethan Small has feel, deception and stuff but most of the rest of the Brewers’ top arms either have fringy control or fringy stuff. When it comes to power bats, the Brewers’ best prospects are relatively far away (OF Thomas Dillard), or have stagnated developmentally (3B Lucas Erceg).

PLAYER POOL TIDBITS

The Brewers did not have many prospects in their original player pool. With the exception of a few pitchers (Zack Brown, Devin Williams and Bobby Wahl) everyone invited initially had already graduated from prospect status. Milwaukee later invited 12 players to participate in workouts at the team’s alternative site in Appleton, Wisc., which brought a number of the club’s best prospects into action. OF Corey Ray was part of that second group, which is notable because the 2016 first-round pick spent most of an injury-plagued 2019 at Triple-A. It’s a reasonably strong indicator that the Brewers do not expect Ray to contribute in Milwaukee in 2020. The Brewers have also been one of the more willing teams to let their minor leaguers play in the pop-up independent leagues that have sprung up around the country. SS David Hamilton, 3B Lucas Erceg, SS Hayden Cantrelle and OF Andre Nnebe are among the Brewers’ minor leaguers getting playing time.

HURTING

LHP Angel Perdomo has been placed on the injured list after a positive test for the coronavirus.

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