Milwaukee Brewers Top 39 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen December 20, 2022 © Curt Hogg / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK Top Prospects Team Lists 2023 2022 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Milwaukee Brewers. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Editor’s Note: Joseph Hernandez (no. 22) was added to this list following his acquisition from the Seattle Mariners as part of the Justin Topa deal. Brewers Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Jackson Chourio 18.8 AA CF 2025 60 2 Brice Turang 23.1 AAA SS 2023 50 3 Sal Frelick 22.7 AAA CF 2024 50 4 Joey Wiemer 23.9 AAA RF 2024 50 5 Robert Gasser 23.6 AAA SP 2025 45 6 Garrett Mitchell 24.3 MLB CF 2023 45 7 Abner Uribe 22.6 AA SIRP 2023 45 8 Jacob Misiorowski 20.8 A SP 2026 45 9 Eric Brown Jr. 22.1 A 2B 2027 45 10 Jeferson Quero 20.3 A+ C 2024 45 11 Luis Lara 18.1 R RF 2027 40+ 12 Tyler Black 22.5 A+ CF 2025 40+ 13 Ethan Small 25.9 MLB SP 2023 40+ 14 Hendry Mendez 19.2 A RF 2025 40+ 15 Robert Moore 20.8 A 2B 2027 40+ 16 Jadher Areinamo 19.1 A+ SS 2026 40+ 17 Janson Junk 27.0 MLB SP 2023 40 18 Freddy Zamora 24.2 AA SS 2024 40 19 Eduardo Garcia 20.5 A+ SS 2024 40 20 Carlos Rodriguez 21.1 A+ SP 2025 40 21 Gus Varland 26.2 AA MIRP 2023 40 22 Joseph Hernandez 22.6 AA SIRP 2024 40 23 Blake Perkins 26.3 AAA CF 2023 40 24 Carlos Rodriguez 22.1 A+ CF 2024 40 25 Zavier Warren 24.0 AA 3B 2024 40 26 Cam Robinson 23.3 AAA SIRP 2023 40 27 Matthew Wood 21.9 R C 2027 35+ 28 Luis Castillo 19.2 A LF 2026 35+ 29 Tyson Miller 27.4 MLB MIRP 2023 35+ 30 Adam Seminaris 24.2 AAA MIRP 2024 35+ 31 Justin Yeager 25.0 AA SIRP 2023 35+ 32 Lucas Erceg 27.7 AAA SIRP 2024 35+ 33 Ben Metzinger 23.5 A+ 3B 2027 35+ 34 Eduarqui Fernandez 21.1 A RF 2025 35+ 35 Hedbert Perez 19.8 A LF 2025 35+ 36 Logan Henderson 20.9 A SP 2025 35+ 37 Luke Adams 18.7 R 3B 2028 35+ 38 Russell Smith 24.3 A+ SIRP 2025 35+ 39 Taylor Floyd 25.1 AA SIRP 2024 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 2B SS 3B LF CF RF SP SIRP MIRP 60 FV Prospects 1. Jackson Chourio, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 60/70 40/60 70/70 45/55 40 Chourio made The Leap in 2022, going from being a well-regarded prospect who had a chance to blow up to one who seemingly has. He hit a whopping .324/.373/.600 at Low-A Carolina during the first half of the year, then slashed a more pedestrian .252/.317/.488 (as an 18-year-old!) at High-A Wisconsin for the last month of the season. His power combined with his speed and defensive fit in center field give him rare upside as a 30-plus home run center fielder hitting at or near the top of whatever lineup he’s in. Initially considered a contact-first prospect, the effort level in Chourio’s swing ratcheted up in 2022 and he now takes a monster hack, whipping the bat through the zone with all his might, often needing the dirt of the batter’s box behind him to stop his rotation. The extreme shift in his strikeout and walk rates from 2021 to ’22 has as much to do with the change in Chourio’s style of swinging as it does the quality of opposing pitchers’ stuff. There were reasons to be skeptical or apprehensive about declaring Chourio one of the game’s top prospects, especially at the onset of his breakout. Forty-two of the 57 games he played in the Carolina League came at ballparks with park factors of 116 or more, per research conducted annually by Baseball America‘s Matt Eddy. That means Chourio’s surface level stats may have been significantly inflated. During that stretch, he was also swinging and missing within the strike zone a ton. At one point, his in-zone contact rate was in the ninth percentile among minor leaguers, even while his triple slash line was out of this world. The good news is that Chourio made adjustments throughout the year, ditching his leg kick with two strikes. His in-zone contact numbers improved throughout 2022, even after promotion. When the season was over and the statistical dust settled, Chourio wrapped with a 67% Contact% and 76% Z-Contact%, both of which would be in the bottom five of big league center fielders with at least 300 PA in 2022. Still, Chourio has big-ceiling company in that part of the leaderboard — names like Byron Buxton and Adolis García are down there, and Julio Rodríguez isn’t far away. It’s comforting that there are contemporary examples of hitters making a huge impact who share Chourio’s potential blemish, ones who make that impact despite all the ponchados by getting to big power. And Chourio has that kind of power. The ball explodes off his bat to all fields, and he can do extra-base damage even when he mis-hits a ball. According to a source, he was one of just three 18-year-old hitters to have an average exit velocity of 88 mph or higher in 2022, and Chourio played at least one level ahead of the other two (Red Sox outfielder Miguel Bleis and Astros prospect Luis Baez) for the entire season, and two and three levels ahead late in the year when he had a pot of High-A coffee and a shot of espresso at Double-A Biloxi. Even when he cuts his leg kick with two strikes, there is enough bat speed and power for Chourio to do huge damage. Only recently converted to center field full-time, Chourio easily has enough speed to stay there (he’s routinely 4.15 home to first), and his routes and ball skills are okay. That Chourio has shown the aptitude to make mechanical adjustments, and that he tends to compete hard at all times, indicates that he is hungry and coachable in addition to very talented. He’s graded with the optimism that these traits will help him manage the swing and miss enough to be a multi-time All-Star. 50 FV Prospects 2. Brice Turang, SS Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Santiago HS (CA) (MIL) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 173 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 45/45 30/35 55/55 60/60 55 Turang is so defensively gifted that he is almost certain to have a significant and lengthy big league career, especially now that shifting is banned. He has plus feet, range, and actions, and will make throws from all kinds of odd platforms, including when he’s backhanding balls to his right and throwing on the run. A famous prospect since his days as a high school underclassman, Turang has never been a sure bet to do enough offensively to be an impact everyday player. As he has laid a statistical track record in pro ball, Turang’s plate discipline became the tip of that spear, and even though his walk rate dipped to a mark merely above average (10%) in 2022, his rate of chase was a more superlative 23%, which would have been the best among qualified major league shortstops. Big league pitchers will be able to limit the damage Turang does by working him in the bottom half of the zone, where he struggles to lift the ball. While he can ambush high pitches, especially up-and-in, and show you close to average peak pop, Turang had not slugged over .400 in any pro season until he saw Triple-A in 2022. He projects to be similar to J.P. Crawford in skill and statistical output, a player good for 2 WAR annually. With Willy Adames ahead of him on the shortstop depth chart, the Brewers tried Turang at second, third and in center in 2022; he will likely be in a timeshare with Milwaukee’s righty-hitting infield crew come 2023. 3. Sal Frelick, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Boston College (MIL) Age 22.7 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 45/45 30/35 60/60 35/45 40 A Massachusetts multi-sport prep standout (he was the Gatorade POY in football as a quarterback, as well as a lauded hockey player), Frelick emerged as a baseball prospect during his freshman season at Boston College when he hit .361/.438/.594 and went 22-for-24 on stolen base attempts in just 35 games. Though he lacked present power and typical frame-based power projection, there was enthusiasm surrounding Frelick’s catalytic offensive qualities. Hope that his many late-bloomer characteristics (multi-sport, Northeast background, reps lost due to a 2019 knee surgery and then the pandemic) would lead to an eventual breakout in the power department buoyed his draft stock into the middle of the first round. While the power breakout hasn’t happened yet (and feels unlikely at this point — Frelick isn’t a big hip/shoulder separation athlete), Frelick ripped through three minor league levels in 2022, his first full pro season, and ended with a very strong 46-game jaunt at Triple-A Nashville, where he slashed .365/.435/.508 and walked more than he struck out; his peripherals actually improved with each promotion. Because fate was cruel to his playing time in college, his pro data sample is already much bigger than his college one, which has helped reveal that he has premium feel for the strike zone. Short levers enable Frelick to turn on inner-third fastballs and let him spray or spoil pitches that travel deep into the hitting zone, making him very tough to strike out. Frelick’s style of hitting should enable doubles (and some triples) pop, but there isn’t likely to be any kind of over-the-fence power here, so little that one could argue Frelick belongs south of the 50 FV tier even if he were a lock to stay in center field. He has the speed to play out there, but Frelick is not a crisp center fielder, and later in the 2022 season he saw lots of time in left (though some of it was due to the sudden presence of Esteury Ruiz), where he also looked tentative. The area in which it’s most important for him to show late growth is on defense. This guy hasn’t had a clear defensive home for much of his life as a prospect. There was a stretch as an amateur when Frelick was viewed as a potential second baseman, an experiment that didn’t really go anywhere. Those aforementioned late-bloomer traits are a reason to think Frelick might develop in center field and turn into a Brandon Nimmo-type player, and that possibility is why he moved onto the Top 100 this offseason. If he ends up in left field, he bears a closer resemblance to Tony Kemp. 4. Joey Wiemer, RF Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Cincinnati (MIL) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 70/70 50/60 70/70 50/60 70 Wiemer has a rare size/athleticism combination and wields an elaborate swing that produces huge pull-side power. He crushes mistakes, and has 48 career bombs in about a season-and-a-half’s worth of pro games. While his peak exit velocities have long been tops among his peers, college and pro, he didn’t really start launching homers until after he was drafted, when it appears his swing and approach changed. Constant max-effort hacking often leads to lots of strikeouts, but Wiemer had mostly kept his Ks in check until 2022, when he punched out 30% of the time at Double-A Biloxi. His strikeout rate improved upon promotion to Triple-A, albeit in a smaller sample. Look under the hood and there is cause for concern. Wiemer often swings inside pitches on the outer third of the strike zone, and his in-zone swing and miss rates are on par with the bottom handful of big league outfielders who saw at least 300 PA in 2022, among names like Joey Gallo and Christopher Morel. While not quite as mountainous as skill set-cousins Gallo or Jorge Soler, Wiemer’s size and physicality set him apart from other players, even big leaguers, and he seems likely to get to power in big league games by virtue of how much raw thump he has. He projects as a slugging five- or six-hole hitter in a typical contending lineup, with contact issues that will create some whiff-prone stretches and significant year-to-year variance. 45 FV Prospects 5. Robert Gasser, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Houston (SDP) Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/60 50/55 40/50 50/60 90-93 / 96 The best prospect Milwaukee received as part of the Josh Hader trade, Gasser is an athletic, low-slot lefty with an ultra-short arm action and command of four pitches who is quickly marching to the big leagues. He carved the High-A Midwest League prior to the trade and continued to miss bats at Double- and Triple-A after the deal, though his walk rates increased with each promotion. While Gasser doesn’t throw especially hard, his low arm slot gives him some ability to climb the ladder with his fastball and miss bats even at 91-94 mph. His core skill, however, is his east/west touch-and-feel command, especially of his slider, which has big length and great back-foot angle against righty batters. Pitchers with a lower arm slot and loose, athletic deliveries tend to develop good changeups, and Gasser already has some feel for locating his, though it has below-average movement. It’s fair to worry about Gasser having platoon issues because he’s a lower-slotted pitcher who doesn’t throw all that hard, but the seeds of the means to deal with righties have already sprouted here. In addition to his slider’s angle and his changeup’s typical location, Gasser has developed a slower breaking ball that he can back door for strikes early in the count. He is going to terrorize lefties with those two breaking balls, while his command will be key to getting righties out. He’s tracking as a contender’s no. 4/5 starter, and a mid-rotation fit across the game more broadly. 6. Garrett Mitchell, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from UCLA (MIL) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/45 55/55 30/40 70/70 55/60 55 A high-profile prospect since high school, Mitchell is now 24 years old and there are still key aspects of his skill set that are tough to evaluate and project. Even as his surface-level performance has been strong at virtually every level, there have been issues implied by his TrackMan data and visual flaws in his swing, both of which have made it hard for him to hit for power in games and may make it tough for him to hit big league pitching at all. Mitchell has above-average raw power and will flash it on occasion, but his swing makes it tough for him to elevate consistently, especially to his pull-side. He has a swing-and-miss hole in the top third of the zone and tends to only be able to put the ball in play on the ground in the bottom third, giving Mitchell a mistake-hitter look when you dig into his spray chart. The industry has been waiting for a swing change that might bring out the power more consistently, but that hasn’t happened yet. A pro’s physique, big strength, and straight line speed give Mitchell the appearance of high-end athleticism, but looseness, fluidity, and grace aren’t part of the package. Some of what he’s able to do on a baseball field leaps out at you, especially when Mitchell is hauling ass into the gaps, but athletic malleability does not appear to be one of them. Center field defense is easily Mitchell’s most impactful tool. It’s hard to find players who can actually play a big league center field and Mitchell is quite good out there, and he has an above-average arm. He shares many similarities with Bradley Zimmer, though Mitchell’s plate discipline should enable him to perform like a 45 FV outfielder more consistently than Zimmer has. 7. Abner Uribe, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (MIL) Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 70/70 70/70 35/40 98-101 / 103 Uribe has one of the most electric arms in the minors. For the last few years, his no-doubt late-inning stuff had been undercut by 20-grade control and frequent injury, but things appeared to click for him throughout 2022 instructs and the Arizona Fall League. So wild was Uribe in 2021 that the Brewers left him off their roster and exposed him to a Rule 5 Draft that never happened. A torn left meniscus limited him to all but a few innings during the 2022 regular season, but Uribe’s stuff was intact when he returned in the fall, and for two months, he had the most consistent strike-throwing stretch of his pro career. At instructs and in the AFL he sat 98-101 mph with an upper-80s power slider, which has ridiculous, curveball-like depth at 87-89 mph. He will peak in the 103-104 range on occasion. His delivery isn’t especially violent for someone who routinely sits in the mid-90s and above, which creates optimism that the strike-throwing progression is for real. Uribe is cut from late-inning cloth, brings a Papelbonesque edge to the mound and has big, bombastic energy in the dugout. There’s definitely risk of regression here, and perhaps Uribe will have stretches (he had a few terrible late-November appearances in LIDOM) where he’s fighting himself like a right-handed José Alvarado. But if things have actually clicked (which is how he is evaluated here), then Uribe is going to be a part of the Brewers’ late-inning bullpen mix very soon. 8. Jacob Misiorowski, SP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Crowder College (MIL) Age 20.8 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/70 50/55 30/45 94-97 / 101 The loose and lanky Misiorowski was up to 95 mph and sitting 91-93 early in 2022 while Midwest JUCOs were still dealing with cold conditions. Throughout the season, his velocity not only climbed back into the 94-97 range that he had shown during the fall of 2021, but blew right past it, and Misiorowski was often up to 100 leading up to the draft. He sat in the upper 90s and touched 100 several times during the MLB Draft Combine, while flashing a plus slider with huge length. Potentially more exciting than Misiorowski’s arm strength is his combination of physical projection and athleticism. He gets way down the mound and creates tough angle on his fastball at the top of the zone even though he delivers from a lower slot, and the power and balance of his lower half is remarkable. Perhaps because he still hasn’t grown into his long-limbed body, Misiorowski has below-average release consistency and command. Lots of scouts and clubs were very fearful he was a relief-only prospect before the draft, but as a JUCO prospect who was barely 20 years old on draft day, there is huge developmental projection here, as well as the frame to withstand a starter’s workload as Misiorowski adds strength. By 2022 instructs, Misiorowski had already added a second breaking ball, while his strikes came and went depending on the outing. He is a very exciting high-ceiling/high-variance pitching prospect who has the stuff to fall back into a high-leverage relief role even if his command barely develops. 9. Eric Brown Jr., 2B Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Coastal Carolina (MIL) Age 22.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 40/45 30/40 55/55 45/60 45 Brown is one of the best athletes from the 2022 draft class, he has exceptional range at shortstop, and his swing is so explosive that it makes him dangerous even though he has middling raw power. That swing is weird, though, and has one of the more extreme bat wraps you’ll ever see, made viable by Brown’s extremely short levers, which help prevent his cut from actually being too long. Those short levers put him at risk of having poor plate coverage, something he adjusts for by altering his stride direction to match pitch location, which is harder than it sounds. That may change as the quality of the sliders he faces improves, but so far Brown has been extremely difficult to make swing and miss, and while he doesn’t have the arm for shortstop, he’s a premium infield athlete who could be plus at second base. Second base-only profiles can be tough to value because if the player doesn’t hit enough to be an everyday guy, there usually isn’t a multi-positional role-playing fallback option. In Brown’s case, his bat should be the machete that carves the path to such a role. 10. Jeferson Quero, C Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 20.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 50/55 30/50 30/20 45/60 60 Quero is a very physical, well-rounded catcher with an exciting hit/power combination and a plus arm. He can get on top of letter-high fastballs even though his levers are pretty long, he is capable of impacting balls the other way when he’s late on stuff away from him, and he tracks pitches well for an 18-year-old. An over-anxious approach threatens the other components of his offense. Quero’s swing rates (57%) are way up there with the Mario Felicianos, Francisco Mejías and Jorge Alfaros of the world, predecessors whose monster tools have been severely undercut by their voracious approaches. If Quero can overcome or improve this aspect of his game, he’ll be an everyday player. An advanced defender with a plus arm and above-average athleticism for a catcher, Quero has the skills to stick at the position, and his size portends resilience against the physical grind of catching 100 games, give or take. There’s a lot of risk inherent in young catching, especially international signees like Quero, who will be a Rule 5/40-man call for Milwaukee next December, weeks after he turns 21. 40+ FV Prospects 11. Luis Lara, RF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 18.1 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 40/45 20/45 55/50 30/55 60 A revelation at instructs in the fall, Lara was among the most exciting young players in all of Arizona. He’s a compact left-handed hitter with big rotational athleticism and a super loose swing that produces shocking power for a hitter his size. Against competition that was much older than him, Lara showed all-fields feel to hit, spraying oppo contact one at-bat and dropping the bat head to scoop with power the next. He’s not your typical teenage outfield prospect because he’s so short, but Lara’s whippy swing and the quality of the contact he makes gives him power potential in spite of this. Fast enough to see if center field is a fit, Lara’s arm would shift him to right if he can’t run well enough for center. Such a move would obviously put more pressure on Lara’s bat, but early returns in that regard are very exciting. 12. Tyler Black, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Wright State (MIL) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 45/45 30/35 60/60 30/45 40 A big performer from a smaller school, Black showed enough against good competition early and late during his draft year at Wright State to make teams comfortable selecting him high, which the Brewers did when they took him 33rd overall. Sent to High-A for his first full pro season, Black slashed .281/.406/.424 and walked more than he struck out. His feel for the strike zone is incredible, and his teammates were vocally smitten from the dugout with his ability to successfully challenge ball/strike calls in the Fall League. Black’s un-sexy swing produces a lot of contact despite its many moving parts, though because he tends to cut down at the baseball, he probably won’t hit for much power in the big leagues, and his bat path may even have a hole in the down-and-in portion of the zone. None of that has been an issue so far, at least while Black’s been healthy. A fractured scapula ended his regular season after just 64 games and a fractured left thumb ended his Fall League run. For a while now there has been doubt about Black’s ability to play the infield, and he started seeing time in the outfield in 2022, especially during the Arizona autumn. The look out there was brief, in part because of the injured thumb, but early returns are positive and Black might be able to play out there. Scouts love the fire and competitiveness Black plays with and think he’ll will himself into being some kind of big leaguer, and if he ends up with a true plus bat and 70-grade plate discipline, he’ll be an everyday center fielder even with mediocre power. Because we can’t yet assume he’ll be viable in center, and because it looks like Black won’t have any sort of infield defensive versatility, he slides down an FV tier despite his stats. 13. Ethan Small, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Mississippi State (MIL) Age 25.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 214 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 40/40 70/70 35/40 89-93 / 96 Small has now had two consecutive seasons with lots of walks, and as he’s aged into his mid-20s, it’s become clear that he’s not a great on-mound athlete, which makes it less likely those issues will improve. There are still two real big league weapons here, especially Small’s devastating changeup, which has so much action that hitters often miss it even when it’s in the zone. The utility of Small’s low-90s fastball is bolstered by his deceptive, Kershaw-like arm stroke, the huge extension he gets down the mound, and his crafty array of different deliveries, which disrupt hitters’ timing. Because he has two option years left, it’s likely Small will continue to be developed as a starter in the short-term, and he and Janson Junk feel like the best taxi squad options on Milwaukee’s 40-man. But Small’s intermediate and long-term forecast includes fairly significant relief risk because of his track record of walks and his/Milwaukee’s inability to find a third pitch (his breaking ball spin rate regressed by about 300 rpm since the last data load we sourced). Even if that’s the case, Small still has impact potential if he sees a velocity boost in short outings. That would give him a truly plus fastball to go with the superlative cambio. 14. Hendry Mendez, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (MIL) Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 45/55 20/40 50/50 30/50 55 Mendez has preternatural feel for contact and is in the midst (or perhaps at the tail end) of a remarkable growth spurt that has him standing in at about 6-foot-4. He walked nearly as much as he struck out as a teenager in full-season ball in 2022, continuing an impressive early-career statistical résumé from both a bat-to-ball and plate discipline standpoint. While he appears to have special hand-eye coordination and bat control, Mendez’s quirky, downward-cutting swing generates minimal lift and impact, his groundball rates have been at least 57% at every level, and his average launch angle was -4 (!) degrees in 2022. It feels like Mendez is standing on the precipice of a breakout because he has such an exciting combination of hitting skills and physicality. He is one of the weirder hitting prospects in baseball because of his precocious feel for contact and extreme groundball tendencies. It’s difficult to project power here as Mendez’s future pop exists almost entirely in the abstract, dependent on a swing change that hasn’t been made yet. High-contact prospects are typically more stable, but there is extreme variance in this case. 15. Robert Moore, 2B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Arkansas (MIL) Age 20.8 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/55 40/45 30/40 60/60 45/60 45 A well-known prospect in high school, Moore forewent the draft at that time and matriculated to Arkansas early. At just 20.3 years old, he was the youngest three-year college player in the 2022 draft. He’s a twitchy, compact-framed middle infield prospect with sneaky power, adept at ambushing hittable fastballs on the inner half of the plate. As a 19-year-old in the SEC, he yanked out 16 homers in 2021, then had a strangely bad ’22 season and only hit .232, though it’s tough to discern why and it may just be that he’s due for a BABIP regression. Moore played second base in deference to Razorbacks shortstop Jalen Battles in college, but he probably deserves a shot to play some short upon his initial entry to pro ball just to see how it goes. He’s probably a cleaner fit at second because of arm strength limitations, but he’s rangy and athletic enough to be plus there. It’s possible the 2022 college season was a statistical anomaly and that Moore will quickly return to looking like a potential everyday up-the-middle player, but if he doesn’t, it will become imperative for him to play short as part of a utility infield package. 16. Jadher Areinamo, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 19.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 30/45 20/40 50/50 40/50 50 Areinamo has a lovely right-handed swing evocative of Yuli Gurriel‘s masterful stroke, and he hit well on the complex and at Low-A as an 18-year-old, with his statline highlighted by 12% strikeout rates at each level and a 90% in-zone contact rate on the season as a whole. While lacking huge bat speed, Areinamo is an impressive athlete, loose in the hips and flexible in the lower half. It’s possible that athleticism is an indication he’ll eventually have meaningful power, even though his frame isn’t all that projectable. If Areinamo can keep hitting like this and stay on the middle infield, then he has everyday upside. 40 FV Prospects 17. Janson Junk, SP Drafted: 22th Round, 2017 from Seattle (NYY) Age 27.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/55 50/50 35/40 55/60 91-93 / 96 The main component of Milwaukee’s pitching piñata trade return from the Angels for Hunter Renfroe, Junk is poised to be an optionable spot starter for the Brewers in 2023 and projects as a backend starter long-term. He works north and south with his heater — a 90-93 mph fastball (up to 96) that lives off spin and angle, and plays best at the letters — and two distinct breaking balls in the low-to-mid-80s. His ultra-simple delivery is easy to repeat, especially for an above-average on-mound athlete like Junk, though he did have release variation on his slider during his couple of major league starts in 2022. Overall his stuff played closer to average in 2022 than it did the year before, and Junk has fallen one FV tier for this list cycle. His best secondary weapon is that slider, which has huge lateral movement, though its one-planed shape limits its utility, and it runs into barrels if it’s left in the zone. Junk’s curveball has more in-zone margin for error, especially when he sets it up with high fastballs. Both breakers flash plus but are dependent on Junk’s ability to locate. His command, and his fastball’s surprising utility even at fringe-average velocity, makes him a high-probability big league starting pitcher with a lower ceiling. Will there be a better changeup here eventually? It’d be nice, as Junk doesn’t have a pitch with arm-side action right now. He’ll take a leap if he can learn to create better action on that pitch, especially if he commands it as well as his other stuff, and the change of scenery perhaps heightens the chances that this will occur. 18. Freddy Zamora, SS Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Miami (MIL) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 40/40 30/35 60/60 55/60 55 Zamora missed all of his junior year at Miami with a torn ACL, though he really only ended up missing a fraction of it relative to other players because of the pandemic. He hit the ground running in his first full season, though highly-drafted college players are expected to coast through Low-A, so the biggest thing Zamora’s 2021 season proved was that he was healthy. Then in 2022, he wasn’t again — Zamora subluxed his non-throwing shoulder and missed all but 24 games, the only games the 24-year-old has played above A-ball. The injury history and skill set here evoke Stephen Alemais, which probably impacts Zamora’s theoretical trade value. Like Alemais, Zamora can play the heck out of shortstop. He’s a plus athlete with plus hands and actions, and enough arm for the left side of the infield. He’s been a good contact hitter for the duration of his life as a prospect, and even though Zamora’s small 2022 statline looks awful on the surface, underlying indicators show he was still making a good rate of contact. He is not going to hit for power. There have been times when his frame — well-composed, straddling the line between medium and small — led to optimistic power projection, but at age 24, Zamora’s swing is still prettier than it is actually explosive and powerful. Despite his injury, his defensive ability and fair contact skills make him an almost certain utility infielder. Shortstop gloves like this don’t grow on trees and they tend to find their way into a big league role. 19. Eduardo Garcia, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 45/55 30/45 40/40 45/60 60 Garcia’s prospect foundation rests on his defense. His range, hands, actions and arm are all easy fits at shortstop, and he projects to have a plus glove there at peak. He’s filled out substantially over the last few years and now has close to average raw power, but the hit tool makes it hard for him to get to it in games. There’s arguably more upside with Garcia than with the other up-the-middle players in the system because more power potential exists, but there’s also risk Garcia’s profile bottoms out entirely because he’s striking out 30% of the time in A-ball. Over time, his defense will find a way onto a big league bench. 20. Carlos Rodriguez, SP Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Florida Southwestern (MIL) Age 21.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 55/60 45/50 55/60 30/45 90-94 / 95 One of many Brewers junior college draftees, Rodriguez had a dominant 2022 season at Low- and High-A, running a 30% K% and 9% BB% at both stops. His slider and changeup are potential plus pitches, with bat-missing depth and tail, respectively. Combine that with a sneaky uphill fastball that Rodriguez was able to add a tick of velo to in 2022 and he has a starter’s repertoire; he had success working about 100 innings in 2022. The command portion of Rodriguez’s skill set is still in starter/reliever limbo, and he may end up as a multi-inning weapon in the end, but some of his components (especially that he has multiple good secondaries and a sneaky heater) are akin to Yusmeiro Petit’s. 21. Gus Varland, MIRP Video Drafted: 14th Round, 2018 from Concordia (OAK) Age 26.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 45/45 40/50 92-94 / 96 Milwaukee’s Rule 5 pick, Varland sits 92-96 mph with running life as a starter, flashes a plus slider, and shows starter-worthy changeup feel, and his stuff started playing better when the Dodgers moved him to the bullpen part of the way through 2022. Most of Varland’s swing-and-miss damage is done with his fastball, as despite his slider’s bite and length and his changeup’s consistent location, those pitches weren’t as dastardly and effective as a starter. A long arm action was already pointing Varland’s forecast toward the bullpen, where the repertoire depth he developed as a starter will underscore an otherwise pretty standard 7th inning fastball/slider combination. 22. Joseph Hernandez, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (SEA) Age 22.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 60/70 35/40 30/40 90-94 / 96 Hernandez’s stuff, especially his slider, is the darling of some proprietary metrics. He has a tight, upper-70s slider that he throws most often, using it at a 60% clip in 2022. His tailing fastball will creep into the mid-90s and has the uphill angle that teams like Milwaukee covet, with both the tailing movement and angle stemming from his low arm slot. He struggles badly to throw strikes with his fastball, which is probably why he leans on his big-breaking slider more than half the time. There’s a tertiary changeup here, but Hernandez’s approach to pitching (which is to get ahead of a hitter with his slider, then try to run the fastball up the ladder) is more typical of a single-inning reliever than someone who has worked as a starter to this point. If he finally has an arm strength uptick in the bullpen, he’ll be a solid middle reliever; if he can ever learn to command his fastball, his ceiling is higher than that. 23. Blake Perkins, CF Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Verrado HS (AZ) (WSN) Age 26.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/40 35/35 30/30 60/60 55/55 50 Originally a second round pick by Washington, Perkins is now on his fourth org after signing a big league deal with Milwaukee upon becoming a minor league free agent. A career .234/.339/.346 hitter in the minors, Perkins hit as many homers in 2022 (15) as he had in the previous two years combined and may have made a relevant swing change at some point during the last few seasons while off the prospect radar. His groundball rates have fallen throughout his pro career, and Perkins began switch-hitting fairly late, close to when he turned pro. Perkins’ outfield defense is mostly why he got a big league deal with Milwaukee. He runs well enough to play center and has experience at every outfield position. Power upticks at Trenton and Scranton (Hoy-Jun Park, etc.) have proven to be faulty indicators of actual thump in the past, and there probably isn’t much of one here despite some of the supporting metrics. But Perkins’ glove, speed, and the quality of his at-bats from both sides of the plate give him a fifth outfielder’s skill set. 24. Carlos Rodriguez, CF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 22.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 30/40 20/30 70/70 45/60 50 Rodriguez was producing a statline that mirrored his tools — .268/.355/.415 — when he tore his ACL in May 2022 and missed the rest of the season. Obviously with the injury there is risk he’ll slow down, but healthy Rodriguez is a plus-plus-running center field prospect with a slash-and-dash approach at the plate and outstanding feel for contact. He is currently unable to turn on pitches and do any real offensive damage, but his defensive profile, speed, and hand-eye coordination give him a reasonable outcome as an old school style fourth outfielder, which is a fifth outfielder in today’s game. 25. Zavier Warren, 3B Video Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Central Michigan (MIL) Age 24.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 40/50 50/50 30/40 40/40 55/60 60 Warren had an uncharacteristically rough start to the season at Wisconsin before heating up when the weather did. His season line looks awful, but he hit .284/.352/.600 during his final month with the Timber Rattlers before heading to Double-A and then the Fall League. While some of the excitement around Warren evaporated when the Brewers ended his return to catcher, he is still a well-rounded switch-hitter with plus on-base skills, and the longer track record of hitting that surrounds his rough 2022 still carries water when it comes to lining him up here on the prospect list. Warren has become a plus third base defender now that he’s solely focused on that position. His range and body control are both plus, and so is Warren’s arm from most throwing platforms. He’s played some first base in the past, but looked rough there in the AFL when unexpectedly thrust into action due to injuries and departures on Glendale’s roster. There’s nothing close to prototypical 1B/3B power here, but the switch-hitting component and defense give him obvious on-roster utility. Ideally Warren will branch out to at least one more corner position and be a useful bench contributor. 26. Cam Robinson, SIRP Drafted: 23th Round, 2018 from University HS (FL) (MIL) Age 23.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 187 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 50/55 35/40 92-95 / 96 2022 Robinson held the velo bump he first showed in ’21 and polished his cutter enough that all three of his pitches now flash above average or better. This makes it more likely that he will be a foundational on-roster middle-inning reliever rather than an up/down option. Always walk-prone, glove-side feel for his cutter might help him carve that path, since poor control has also been part of Robinson’s up/down projection of the last few years. He not only threw a better rate of strikes in 2022, but his cutter helped him generate a 63% groundball rate in 65 innings. Now on the 40-man roster, Robinson and his vertical-action fastball/curveball combination are set to debut in 2023. 35+ FV Prospects 27. Matthew Wood, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2022 from Penn State (MIL) Age 21.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/55 40/40 30/40 30/30 30/45 50 Wood is a sweet-swinging, lefty-hitting catcher who had a whopping four-to-one ball-in-play to swinging strike ratio during the 2022 college season. He’s an okay receiver who sometimes struggled to control the running game at Penn State, but his pop times were routinely 1.95 to 2.02 during instructs, and as quick as 1.88. It may take Wood some time to adjust to pro quality stuff as a framer and ball-blocker, as you’d expect from a recent draftee. Wood’s contact skills give him a shot to clear the low offensive bar of catcher if he can develop into a big league defender. 28. Luis Castillo, LF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (MIL) Age 19.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 45/55 20/50 40/40 30/50 40 A stocky, bowling ball-like build might cause one to overlook Castillo, who lacks the typical frame projection of a teenage hitter. He rakes, though, and is a very loose athlete despite his build. After cruising through complex-level ball, he went to Low-A and hit well there during the last month of the season, and continued his strong showing at instructs. As a left field-only runner, Castillo will need to keep mashing. 29. Tyson Miller, MIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Cal Baptist (CHC) Age 27.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops 45/45 55/55 40/40 40/45 50/50 50/50 90-93 / 96 Passed around waivers during the last few years (from Chicago to Texas and later to Milwaukee), Miller lowered his release point in 2022 and added lateral movement to his stuff, which helped his fastball play better high in the zone by altering its angle, and gave him deceptive mechanical funk. He has a bevy of different sinking, sweeping, and cutting pitches that might enable him to assume the Brent Suter role as a groundball-oriented long reliever. Of all the pitchers on the fringe of Milwaukee’s big league roster, Miller has the fewest option years left, heightening the chance of a permanent bullpen move. There might be some late projection on the changeup here as Miller gets feel for creating action on it from this new slot. 30. Adam Seminaris, MIRP Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Long Beach State (LAA) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 35/40 55/55 45/45 50/50 45/60 86-90 / 92 The soft-tossing Seminaris, acquired from the Angels as part of the Hunter Renfroe trade, had a 2022 spike in walks after he was promoted to Double-A, which is totally uncharacteristic of what has historically been a command-first profile. The underlying pitch data suggests he’s still throwing plenty of strikes, so expect him to rebound in this area going forward. None of his repertoire is plus, but he mixes a ton of different pitches: 58% fastballs (a mix of four- and two-seamers), then 14% each slider, changeup, and curveball. The changeup has been evaluated as plus here in the past but it played more like an average pitch in 2022. He’s trending more like a sixth-to-eighth starter or bulk reliever, and will act as viable upper-level depth without occupying a 40-man spot in 2023. 31. Justin Yeager, SIRP Drafted: 33th Round, 2019 from Southern Illinois (ATL) Age 25.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 30/35 95-97 / 98 Acquired as part of Milwaukee’s cat burglar role in the Sean Murphy trade, Yeager is a two-pitch reliever who sits 95-98 mph (up two ticks from 2021) with his fastball and 87-90 (up three ticks) with his slider. He has been an honorable mention relief prospect the last couple of years, with a lack of command holding him back from making the main section of the Braves list. Looking at his slider locations via Synergy, his feel for that pitch is better than you might expect given that his walk totals are still high. His stuff is nasty enough that he’s in line for up/down relief duty even with 30 command, and Yeager has the stuff to stick in a bullpen permanently if he can actually throw strikes. 32. Lucas Erceg, SIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Menlo College (CA) (MIL) Age 27.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 30/40 30/40 96-98 / 99 A talented and fun-to-watch two-way college player (Erceg began at Cal and transferred to Menlo) who became a very promising third base prospect, Erceg flamed out in the minors as a hitter and made a full-time conversion to the mound in the middle of the 2021. While initially very exciting because of his arm strength (he sits 96-97 mph and will bump 99), Erceg has struggled to throw strikes and posted a 13% walk rate in 2022. His mechanical inconsistency impacts his fastball location (both whether he throws it for strikes or in a hittable spot), as well as his breaking ball quality. Most huge conversion success stories (Kenley Jansen, Carlos Marmol, Jason Motte, etc.) come together fairly quickly; Erceg has only been at it full-time for a year and a half, and is still in a pretty early window of development. A six-year minor league free agent after the 2022 season, Milwaukee brought him back on a minor league pact with an invite to spring training. He’s a volatile depth option at the moment with a chance to make a consistent big league impact if things click for him command-wise. 33. Ben Metzinger, 3B Drafted: 7th Round, 2022 from Louisville (MIL) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 50/50 30/50 40/40 30/50 55 Metzinger was one of the catchers who barely saw underclass playing time at Louisville because of the presence of Henry Davis, and during his senior year, he was beaten out by 2022’s 40th overall pick Dalton Rushing and moved to third base. He had a huge year with the bat, showing all-fields power and making contact all over the zone, while also progressing as a defender at third. He’s a sleeper with late-bloomer characteristics. 34. Eduarqui Fernandez, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (MIL) Age 21.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 55/60 30/50 70/70 35/55 60 Fernandez is a traditional high-variance corner outfield prospect with big present power, significant future power projection, and strikeout issues that put his overall profile on thin ice. He has become much faster over the course of the last year or so, and was a 70-grade runner during 2022 instructs. The frame/power/speed combination here is rare enough that even though his hit tool makes him a low-probability prospect, Eduarqui should be followed as he traverses the minors. Now the age of a college draftee, his skill set compares to a toolsy Day Two prospect. 35. Hedbert Perez, LF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIL) Age 19.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 55/60 25/50 50/45 30/50 30 Cooler heads acknowledged the hit tool risk here, even after Hedbert’s fantastic complex-level season, but not even pragmatic prospect prognosticators predicted he’d have such a rude awakening in full-season ball, where Perez hit .216 in 2022. He still has exciting pull-side power for a left-handed hitter, but the track record of prospects who strike out this much at such a low level isn’t great, and as a left field-only runner and thrower, Perez doesn’t have secondary skills to fall back on. 36. Logan Henderson, SP Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from McLennan JC (TX) (MIL) Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 40/45 55/60 30/50 89-92 / 94 Henderson was a dominant junior college pitcher who punched 169 tickets in just 97 innings during his draft year. He has barely pitched in pro ball because the Brewers shut him down after he was drafted (pretty typical, especially in this org), he had a relatively minor elbow surgery early in 2022 that cost him most (but not all) of the year, and further soreness nixed a planned Fall League stint. Henderson’s changeup is potentially special, and has the same grip and release style as Devin Williams‘ airbender. He doesn’t throw all that hard yet, but aspects of Henderson’s frame could mature in a way that coaxes more velo out of him. He’s a nice developmental prospect with a potentially special pitch. 37. Luke Adams, 3B Drafted: 12th Round, 2022 from Hinsdale Central HS (IL) (MIL) Age 18.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 45/60 30/50 30/30 20/40 50 Adams had a strong first instructs with the bat and even though he entered pro ball without much profile, there’s already a good amount of confidence that he’s going to hit. It isn’t always pretty, and Adams is a fairly stiff lower-body athlete, but his barrel finds the baseball, and his size and strength give him extra-base potential. He’ll be tried at third base but is likely to trend down the defensive spectrum. Ugly bat control and power on contact make him a good sleeper bat. 38. Russell Smith, SIRP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from TCU (MIL) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/50 40/45 55/60 30/45 88-90 / 94 The condor-like Smith creates really tough angle on his pitches (a Brewers pattern of acquisition) by virtue of his extreme height, and he executes his plus changeup with remarkable consistency for a 40-grade athlete. He was a high-priority senior sign in the 2021 draft and ended up getting $1 million, projecting here as a quick-moving reliever. The Brewers shut him down after the 2021 draft and started Smith in the rotation in this season. While he’d show you 95 mph at peak, Smith was sitting 88-91 before he was put on the IL in August with elbow inflammation (he had a TJ in college). He picked up innings in the 2022 Fall League and was wild throughout but was back to sitting about 92. The changeup quality and the possibility of a velo bump out of the bullpen if/when he moves there still has Smith firmly on the big league prospect radar as a reliever. 39. Taylor Floyd, SIRP Video Drafted: 10th Round, 2019 from Texas Tech (MIL) Age 25.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 60/60 50/55 30/40 89-92 / 96 Floyd spent two years at Grayson Community College and then his junior year at Texas Tech, where he was a dominant multi-inning submarining reliever for one year. He quickly reached Double-A, striking out more than a batter per inning while inducing an above-average rate of groundballs, and seemed poised for a 2022 big league debut. But during the preceding offseason, the facility where Floyd worked out had a narrow bullpen that didn’t allow him to get to his usual submarine release point, and he showed up for 2022 spring training with an accidentally new delivery, which had to be reworked throughout a season in which Floyd struggled badly with control. Pitchers with novelty deliveries like this tend to reside in the 35+ FV tier, but Floyd’s combination of velocity (which is greater than that of the typical submariner) and the length of the break on his slider might enable him to be more than just a middle-inning, up/down sideshow if he can find his stroke again. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Toolsy Youngsters Daniel Guilarte, SS Gregory Barrios, SS Jace Avina, OF Kaylan Nicasia, OF Dylan O’Rae, 2B Jhonny Severino, RF Teenage Venezuelan shortstops Guilarte and Barrios are both slick defenders whose offensive careers are off to solid starts. Both were on the complex in 2022. Guilarte has more room to grow, while Barrios is the slightly better defender and has better present feel to hit. Avina, a 2021 14th rounder out of Sparks, Nevada, hit for huge power on the complex and in Low-A, with 15 homers in 64 games. The track record for hitters who strike out as much as he has early on isn’t great, but he already has above-average pull power at age 19 and still has room to grow. Nicasia is another Day Three high schooler from 2021 (Hialeah, FL) whose bat took off when he was moved to the outfield full-time. He is a very well-built switch hitter with a swing that’s geared for lift. The lilliputian O’Rae got just shy of $600,000 in the 2022 third round as a speedy, high-contact catalyst. He’s a developmental 2B/CF on defense. Currently an infielder, the 18-year-old Severino looks like a future right fielder. He’s a deep projection hitter with a plus arm. Indy Ball Parade Justin Topa, SIRP Ryan Middendorf, SIRP Brandon Knarr, SP Kent Hasler, SIRP Topa is 31 but still prospect eligible because of all his injuries. He was back to sitting 94-97 mph when he returned from his latest setback in 2022, then suffered a non-arm injury that ended his season. When healthy, he’s looked like a big league reliever. Middendorf is where the Brewers’ Independent ball bent and their low/weird delivery obsession intersect. He’s a drop-and-drive side-armer like recent Tampa Bay Ray Ryan Thompson. Knarr and Hasler are both more typical. Knarr is your standard four-pitch depth starter with below-average arm strength and pretty good secondary stuff (splitter, curveball), while Hasler is a slider-heavy reliever. Knarr was an undrafted free agent while the others signed out of Indy ball. Present Arm Strength Tyler Woessner, SP Aidan Maldonado, SIRP Jeison Pena, MIRP Shane Smith, SIRP Patricio Aquino, SP Woessner is a multi-year JUCO prospect from Central Arizona with shoulders as wide as a barn door. His frame and delivery look built to last, and he started throwing harder after the draft (up to 98 mph), albeit in short outings. Maldonado was a late pick from Minnesota who also bumped 98 while airing it out in relief during instructs. Pena, 20, has a cut/rise low-90s fastball that creeps up to 96 (more 92-94) and a future plus slider. He pitched as a multi-inning reliever at Low-A. Smith had TJ during his draft year and signed as a 2021 undrafted free agent. Back from rehab in the fall, he was 93-95 with a good curveball and cutter, and spotty control. Aquino, 19, has a reliever’s delivery and frame, but he’s already sitting 93 and snaps off some nasty vertical sliders. Future Arm Strength Will Rudy, SP Edwin Jimenez, SP Manuel Rodriguez, SP Rudy, 21, was an early Day Two pick out of Cal Poly Pomona in 2022 and has great natural breaking ball shape. Jimenez, 21, is well-built, has a good-looking delivery, and wields a decent four-pitch mix, but he sits 87-91 mph right now. Still 17, Rodriguez pitched on Mexico’s U-18 National team in September after spending 2022 in the DSL. He only sits 86-88, but his frame has at least average projection and his fastball spins in at a whopping 2,600 rpm, which is ridiculous at those velocities. This whole group has the foundation to make a leap if they start throwing harder. High-Floor Depth Arms Nick Bennett, SIRP Clayton Andrews, SIRP Luis Contreras, SIRP Victor Castaneda, MIRP Except for Andrews, every fastball in this group punches below its weight. Bennett has been developed as a starter, but he’s probably a lefty reliever. His slider is great, but he sits 88 mph. Andrews was a little wild when he first came back from TJ, but he’s still an athletic three-pitch reliever with a sneaky upper-80s fastball. Contreras pitched in the Fall League and continued into the Venezuelan Winter League, working 90-92 with a cutter (more for chase than pitching to contact) and changeup. Castaneda has a splitter and straight change and has performed at an even pace through the mid-minors even though his fastball velocity has backed up from its post-pandemic peak. System Overview The Brewers ended the 2022 season as the 16th-ranked farm system in baseball, with 15 players in the 40+ FV tier or above and three Top 100 guys. After moving Sal Frelick up from the 45+ FV tier (part of me thinks he still belongs there, as the possibility that he isn’t a center field is very real), they now have four in the Top 100. With that bump, the system would have ranked 12th at the end of the year, so that’s roughly where it fits across the game, plus or minus a few spots. The Brewers have clear patterns of acquisition on the amateur side. Measurable hitting skill is pervasive through all of their drafts. They take low-strikeout, short-levered, up-the-middle hitters, and often ignore size and physical projection in pursuit of it. Milwaukee’s attraction to junior college and Indy ball pitchers indicates the org is looking for developmental meat on the bone rather than targeting pitchers who are more likely to be maxed out, or closer to it, from a pitch design standpoint. They’re more active in Venezuela than most other clubs and (these things are somewhat related) tend to have several leather wizard shortstops in the org, a group that is especially deep right now. The Brewers showcased three of them across their two ACL teams in 2022. Virtually all of their pitchers in the DSL have shallow-angle fastballs, another common theme in the system as a whole. This club hasn’t signed a big leaguer to a free agent contract yet this offseason, though it has arguably gotten better through trades. So much of their ability to contend feels like it depends on Christian Yelich returning to something approaching the form he’s now three years removed from showing. The glut of outfielders who should soon be ready to make some kind of an impact will help fill in behind Jesse Winker (whose contract ends after next season) if he has a bounce-back year of his own in 2023. Like Arizona, it’s possible the Brewers consider their young outfield group deep enough to trade from, but they’re all more divisive than the D-backs group, especially Wiemer and Mitchell.