Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Milwaukee Brewers. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed, you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
The Last Two Cuts
Bowden Francis, RHP
Reese Olsen, RHP
Both of these guys have a shot to be 40-man arms relatively soon. Francis is up to 95 from a funky, lower slot that also helps him create effective two-plane movement on a breaking ball. He missed a lot of upper-level bats last year but in my opinion has relief-only control, and doesn’t have no-doubt big league bullpen stuff. Olsen’s stride is longer now than it was when he was in high school and it’s helped him throws strikes. He’s up to 96 and his breaking ball has power and finish beneath the zone. He’s another Brewers pitcher with a value-adding delivery.
A $1.1 million signee, Fernandez is a R/R corner outfield projection bat with present feel to hit. He’s already quite a bit more physical now than he was as an amateur, so I’m not sure how much more power is coming. Medina has an interesting swing: he takes a big leg kick but lands very upright, whereas most kickers have very flexible front sides. While he has fairly advanced feel for contact, most international scouts thought he was a tweener. Those who think he’s more projectable than the average evaluator see a chance for him to be a regular. Parra is a stocky infielder with an advanced bat. Quero is a glove and contact-oriented teenage catcher with modest body projection and athleticism.
Zhao is a few months shy of 19 but probably won’t pitch again until he’s 20 as he’s rehabbing from a late 2019 TJ. He was up to 93 and flashed a plus curveball (he averages 3,000 rpm) in 2018. Salaya has a good frame and was up to 95 as a 19-year-old last year. Garabitos, 19, played both ways last season but his best shot at making it is as a lefty reliever. Chirino missed all of 2018 with injury, then came back last year throwing really hard, 92-95, up to 97. He’s 22. Bender is an athletic, small high school lefty who shows good touch and feel in the bullpen but struggles to throw strikes in games. He’ an interesting athletic projection follow with a good changeup.
Of this group, Coca is the most well-rounded, Pinero is the best defender, Valerio has the best bat-to-ball skills, and Castillo has the most physical projection.
McClanahan has a high offensive bar to clear and he has the power to do it, but he hasn’t really performed. Lemons’ velo has been all over the place in pro ball, and he didn’t pitch last year. Both of these guys are the big-framed types who sometimes develop late.
You’ve probably seen a lot of these names before. Topa is pushing 30 and was working in mop-up duty with a nameless jersey this spring, but he’s an Indy ball signee who I saw touch 99, so he’s a great story waiting to happen. Wahl is also an older relief contributor. Erceg might be a candidate for conversion at this point. Hummel is a corner bat with some pop and experience as a catcher. Hinojosa have a shot to be bench role players. Contreras, 24, signed with the Cubs in 2015 but never threw a pitch for them, and didn’t pitch in pro ball until last year. He pitched pretty well in the Low-A bullpen, touching 95 with plus spin and an effectual axis.
The Brewers have contended for the last two years, which means they’ve traded prospects and other assets for big leaguers, weakening the system pretty significantly. They’ve also pretty meaningfully reconfigured the structure of their scouting during that time (they have just two people listed as pro scouts on this year’s org roster) and this, combined with it having been a while since they last traded for a bunch of prospects, makes it tough to nail down the org’s tendencies on the pro side.
On the amateur side, pitch data clearly seems important. Last year I mentioned that this org appears to desire mechanical uniqueness moreso than other clubs, which I still think is true. The Brewers also have more junior college and Venezuelan prospects than the average org.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.