Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects

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.

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Tom Haudricourt
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1. Mark Rogers, rhp
2. Cody Scarpetta, rhp
3. Wily Peralta, rhp
4. Scooter Gennett, 2b/ss
5. Kentrail Davis, of
6. Tyler Thornburg, rhp
7. Eric Farris, 2b
8. Jimmy Nelson, rhp
9. Kyle Heckathorn, rhp
10. Amaury Rivas, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Erik Komatsu
Best Power Hitter Hunter Morris
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Erik Komatsu
Fastest Baserunner Lee Haydel
Best Athlete D'Vontrey Richardson
Best Fastball Mark Rogers
Best Curveball Cody Scarpetta
Best Slider Robert Hinton
Best Changeup Amaury Rivas
Best Control Hiram Burgos
Best Defensive Catcher Martin Maldonado
Best Defensive Infielder Yadiel Rivera
Best Infield Arm Zelous Wheeler
Best Defensive Outfielder Logan Schafer
Best Outfield Arm D'Vontrey Richardson
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy
First Base Prince Fielder
Second Base Scooter Gennett
Third Base Casey McGehee
Shortstop Yadiel Rivera
Left Field Ryan Braun
Center Field Rickie Weeks
Right Field Corey Hart
No. 1 Starter Zack Greinke
No. 2 Starter Yovani Gallardo
No. 3 Starter Mark Rogers
No. 4 Starter Shaun Marcum
No. 5 Starter Cody Scarpetta
Closer John Axford
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Ben Sheets, rhp Athletics
2002 Nick Neugebauer, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Brad Nelson, 1b Mariners
2004 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2005 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2006 Prince Fielder, 1b Brewers
2007 Yovani Gallardo, rhp Brewers
2008 Matt LaPorta, of Indians
2009 Alcides Escobar, ss Brewers
2010 Alcides Escobar, ss Brewers
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Mike Jones, rhp Brewers
2002 Prince Fielder, 1b Brewers
2003 Rickie Weeks, 2b Brewers
2004 Mark Rogers, rhp Brewers
2005 Ryan Braun, of Brewers
2006 Jeremy Jeffress, rhp Brewers
2007 Matt LaPorta, of Indians
2008 Brett Lawrie, c/3b Brewers
2009 Eric Arnett, rhp Brewers
2010 *Dylan Covey, rhp U. of San Diego
*Did not sign
Rickie Weeks, 2003 $3,600,000
Ben Sheets, 1999 $2,450,000
Ryan Braun, 2005 $2,450,000
Prince Fielder, 2005 $2,400,000
Mark Rogers, 2004 $2,200,000
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Milwaukee Brewers

When the Brewers reached the playoffs in 2008—their lone postseason appearance in the last 28 years—they had their farm system to thank. It produced a largely homegrown lineup led by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, a pair of double-digit winners in Ben Sheets and Manny Parra and enough trade fodder to land C.C. Sabathia at midseason. Sabathia went 11-2, 1.65 after the deal and won the game that put Milwaukee in the playoffs.

However, Sabathia left for a $161 million free-agent contract from the Yankees, Sheets got hurt again and also departed, and the Brewers' pitching subsequently fell apart. They have ranked 15th and 14th in the National League in runs allowed the last two seasons, finishing in third place in the NL Central and far short of the playoffs on both occasions.

Milwaukee has been much more successful developing hitters than pitchers over the last decade. In addition to Braun and Fielder, the system also produced lineup mainstays Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks as well as Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jonathan Lucroy, who all took over starting jobs as rookies last year. But outside of Yovani Gallardo and two more 2010 rookies, relievers John Axford and Zach Braddock, the Brewers have come up short on the mound.

That led general manager Doug Melvin to revamp his rotation with a pair of bold moves in December. The night before the Winter Meetings started, Melvin sent sweet-swinging Brett Lawrie, a 2008 first-round choice who had become the system's top prospect, to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum. That was a mere prelude to blockbuster deal two weeks later, in which Milwaukee grabbed Zack Greinke (and Yuniesky Betancourt) from the Royals in exchange for Cain, Escobar and two of its best remaining prospects, righthanders Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress.

The deals put the Brewers right back in contention in the NL Central, though they also left them with a farm system that Baseball America ranked as the thinnest in the game in the upcoming 2011 Prospect Handbook. With the exception of righthander Mark Rogers, who has made a stunning comeback after missing all of 2007 and 2008 recovering from a pair of shoulder surgeries, Milwaukee has no potential impact talent in the upper levels of the minors.

What the Brewers do have are some interesting arms at the lower levels, and they helped win a pair of Rookie-level championships in the Arizona and Pioneer leagues last summer. Kyle Heckathorn, a 2009 supplemental first-rounder, reached high Class A in his first full pro season. Fellow righthanders Tyler Thornburg, Jimmy Nelson and Matt Miller, all 2010 choices, were overpowering at times in their pro debuts.

Milwaukee might have found more pitching help if their last two first-round picks hadn't backfired. Righthander Eric Arnett, the 26th overall pick in 2009 out of Indiana, saw his stuff and control take an alarming step backward last summer.

And high school righthander Dylan Covey, the 14th overall choice last June, declined to turn pro after learning he Type 1 diabetes just days before the Aug. 16 signing deadline. The Brewers will recoup the No. 15 selection in the 2011 draft for not signing Covey.

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