Friday, June 10, 2016

The VFBC Brewers 2016 Minor League All-Star Team!

It's been a very exciting year in the Brewers minor league system this year. After last year's prospect refresh, the system is loaded with talent at all levels and has had some pretty amazing performances. Not only has it been a great year for Brewers prospects so far, but some of the best players haven't started playing or have only played very little because they are playing in rookie leagues, have only been on teams for a very short period of time or have been injured for a majority of the year. So here it is!

Catcher: Manny Pina, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
.349/.388/.566, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 22 R
Pina has had an amazing year at Colorado Springs. The 29-year-old catcher is pretty old for the level, his potential in the majors is most likely as a back up, but that doesn't make his contributions any less impressive or important at the AAA level.

First Base: Garrett Cooper, Biloxi Shuckers
.304/.365/.418, 0 HR, 17 XBH, 28 RBI, 13 R
Cooper has split his time among several positions but has spend a good chunk of his games at first for the Shuckers. Another prospect that's a little old for his level, his development was slowed in the past by injuries and 25 isn't THAT old for hitting prospects. The only disappointing thing about Cooper is his lack of power over the fence, but he's still had big contributions for the team overall ranking in the top 5 on the team in RBI and OPS.

Second Base: Blake Allemand, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
.321/.387/.440, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R
Allemand was drafted last year and has some decent potential as a major league utility player. After a disappointing start to the year at Brevard County (along with basically ever hitter at Brevard County), Allemand was moved to Wisconsin in need for depth and has had great success. I thought about going with Nate Orf here, but Allemand has been significantly more valuable to the T-Rats than Orf has been to the Shuckers or Sky Sox.

Third Base: Garin Cecchini, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
.280/.346/.404, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 24 R
Garin was an offseason acquisition by David Stearns and a former top prospect. The 25-year-old has had a very good year at AAA after a slightly slow start. While having a good year at a park that really helps its hitters, he's also the only organizational third baseman having a good season. I was tempted to put Wisconsin third baseman Jake Gatewood here, he's had a decent season in the power department but has more than his fair share of strikeouts and errors.

Shortstop: Orlando Arcia, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
.298/.335/.408, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 34 R, 9 SB
There is a lot to like in the organization at shortstop, but there's no doubt Arcia is the best one. Even with Angel Ortega having a great year at Brevard County, he doesn't have nearly the OPS Arcia has. The organization's top prospect has been having a very good season and if Jonathan Villar wasn't playing out of his mind right now, would be breaking down the door to get onto the Brewers' roster.

Brett Phillips, Biloxi Shuckers
.253/.338/.461, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 31 R
A lot of outfielders have been having decent seasons but even after a stint on the DL, Phillips leads most of the offensive categories on a very good Biloxi team. Phillips has even kept up with the power boost he saw last year that helped propel him into top 100 prospect status -- although he was helped by a three homer game. He continues to be very exciting and a huge grab in the Carlos Gomez/Mike Fiers trade.

Keon Broxton, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
.269/.365/.521, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 21 R, 16 SB
Broxton was acquired in the offseason from the Pirates and has bounced between AAA and the bigs. While his performance at the major league level has been very disappointing, Broxton has absolutely destroyed AAA pitching. Even though he has half the games of most the other players eligible, he's had insane levels of success that make it very hard to deny putting him here.

Elvis Rubio, Brevard County Manatees
.282/.327/.408, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R
Rubio has had a pretty solid year between two levels this year. In fact, he's one of the few players finding offensive success in Brevard County. It also helps that there is a really big drop off in performance in the OF after Rubio. He's one of a growing number of intriguing international prospects in the Brewers' farm system.

Starting Pitchers:
Josh Hader, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
2-1, 0.95 ERA, 57 IP, 73 K, 19 BB
If you've been paying attention this year, you know Hader has had huge success at Biloxi. The only complain is that he isn't going that long into some of his starts due to control issues. Either way, he's on the leader board for minor league baseball, not AA, minor league baseball in a lot of key pitching categories. Hader is probably the Brewers' minor league player of the first half.

Marcos Diplan, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
5-1, 1.89 ERA, 47.2 IP, 64 K, 24 BB
Marcos was acquired in the Yovani Gallardo trade, had an ok year in rookie ball last year, and is now having a fantastic season at A-ball. The most impressive is Diplan's strikeout rate, higher than it's ever been in his career. Another important detail, Diplan is only 19.

Jon Perrin, Brevard County Manatees
1-5, 2.66 ERA, 71 IP, 77 K, 7 BB
Perrin has had some struggles with the Manatees, but has still had a good year, especially once you combine his stats with the first part of his year at Wisconsin. Perrin has been a nice surprise and has some big league potential for the future. He was a 27th round draft pick last year and is moving very quickly through the minors.

Jordan Yamamoto, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
3-2, 2.25 ERA, 52 IP, 53 K, 10 BB
Yamamoto has been a very pleasant surprise for the year. He's struggled up until this point in his pro career but is starting to put it all together. Not only has he been able to limit runs, he's been striking players out and limiting walks.

Drake Owenby, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
2-1, 2.91 ERA, 43.1 IP, 38 K, 12 BB
Another Wisconsin pitcher and 2015 draft pick, Owenby has been having a good amount of success. Being a college pitcher and getting to pitch against high schoolers help but it's still been a good year for Owenby.

Stats come via Baseball Reference. If you have any players you think should be on the list, let us know on Twitter or in the comments!

The Brewers Top 10 Prospects: After the First Two Rounds of the Draft


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

View From Bernie’s Chalet Brewers’ Draft Twitter Poll Tourney

The finals are here! It's been chalk up to this point, but now we have the two best prep pitchers in the draft class going head-to-head.

Jason Groome: A hard throwing lefty with a group of plus pitches and control Groome is regularly ranked as the best prospect in the class and by all accounts, should be available when the Brewers pick on Thursday.

Riley Pint: The top prospect heading into the year, Pint has fallen off a bit due to concerns about his mechanics. He struggles to consistently throw strikes, but who cares when you're throwing 102 MPH and already have 3 average or better pitches before you've graduated high school?

Vote below and let's see if the prospect the Brewer make on Thursday is the pick the fans want!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

View From Bernie’s Chalet Brewers’ Draft Twitter Poll Tourney

The View From Bernie's Chalet Brewers' Draft Twitter Poll Tourney is moving into round two! All of the favorites won, with the closest race being between Kyle Lewis and Mickey Moniak, but none of the winners had less than 70% of the vote.

Round two sees Jason Groome against Kyle Lewis and Riley Pint against Delvin Perez. Groome is regularly ranked as this draft's best prospect. A high school left-handed pitcher with huge potential, he has ace written all over him if he can put his skills together. I've seen complaints that his control is lacking for the value some teams are placing on him. Kyle Lewis is a potential major league center fielder ranked as having five average or better tools. Many scouts rank his power ability fairly high and say he has a chance to hit for a pretty high average to go with it, along with decent speed on the bases.

On the other side of the bracket, we see two of the draft's most exciting prospects. Riley Pint is a high school right-handed pitcher who reportedly hit 102 mph with his fastball early in the year. Pint's pitches are already regarded as plus or better, and he shows an advanced changeup for his age, however scouts worry about his aggressive throwing motion. They believe it will make it very hard for the talented prep-star to ever consistently throw strikes. Then there's Delvin Perez, one of the prospects most frequently linked to the Brewers in mock drafts. Perez is one of the youngest players in the draft and has a gigantic ceiling to go with no negotiating leverage, which could pay huge dividends when the Brewers are trying to draft high-stock players in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. A slick fielding shortstop out of Puerto Rico, Perez has the chance to develop a well-above average hit tool and even a little bit of pop. It's pretty fun to imagine partnering him at maxed potential alongside current top prospect Orlando Arcia.

So here's the bracket. The voting will be open for two days, and the Twitter polls can be found below. Let's see if the Brewers fanbase can get this pick right!

Don't Trade Braun, Ever (One Homer's Thoughts)

 After Brad wrote that piece a few weeks ago on how the Brewers should trade Braun now and Lucroy later, I felt inclined to share my thoughts on why I don't want the Brewers to ever trade Ryan Braun. Now I'm not saying I don't think it won't happen. It's a possibility. But as a die hard Brewers fan and die hard fan of Ryan Braun, deep down inside I don't ever want to see him wearing another teams uniform.

I am fully aware that it might be best for the club to trade Braun. And if a trade is made and the Brewers get a really good prospect haul in return and don't have to pay any of Ryan's salary for the duration of his contract then I would be fine with it. But selfishly I want Ryan Braun to be a Brewer for his entire career. I think it would be awesome to see him follow suit with guys like Yount, Ripken, Gwynn, Brett and Jones and spend his whole career in one teams uniform. It certainly is a rare sight in today's game of baseball. And we probably won't see too many more going forward.

The biggest reasons I personally don't want to see him traded are simple. First, I'm obviously a huge fan of Braun and he has brought me so much joy over the past 10 years and so many memorable moments that I would like that to continue. The second reason I'd like the Brewers to keep Braun ties into the first. I think he can be a big contributor still on the next Brewers teams that compete and go to the postseason. I know, I know. Braun has had some injury issues/concerns over the past four seasons. The thumb, the back, the wrist, etc. While he misses games here and there, he has still only been on the DL once in his career (2013). If he stays healthy and they manage his games played as they have done so far in 2016, he has a chance to still be very productive.

He is 32 now and will be 37 when his contract expires (including the option year in 2021). Why can't he still be a very productive bat in the last three years of that deal (19'-21') when the Brewers figure to be a contender again? David Ortiz is still productive at 40 years old. Only way he isn't in my opinion is if it's a health issue. And that really can't be predicted one way or the other. I also bet they have him move to 1B sometime in 2018 or 2019 if not sooner to make room for another young talented OF and to put him in a better position to stay healthy. And "IF" he is healthy, why wouldn't he still play and more specifically hit at a high level?

In the meantime I am sure we will continue to read tweets and articles from reporters giving us the latest Braun trade rumors. And when reading those rumors, remember he only has a handful of clubs that he can be traded to without having to agree to said trade. And players usually put those clauses in contracts for a reason. They want to stay where they are at. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

View From Bernie’s Chalet Brewers’ Draft Twitter Poll Tourney

It’s the first ever View From Bernie’s Chalet Brewers’ Draft Twitter Poll Tourney! Ok, maybe the name needs a little work.

Below is a bracket and four Twitter polls. Vote in each contest to determine the prospect you want the Brewers to draft next Thursday. It’s for fun and to determine which prospect the fans want most. Hell, maybe we’ll get it right and the fans can brag about their success and then be disappointed in 5 years when the prospect is bussing tables at a bar!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trade Braun Now, Lucroy Later

We all know that Jonathan Lucroy likely won’t be a Brewer for much longer, and now the most successful -- and controversial -- Brewer in a long time is entering the rumor mill in Ryan Braun.

Braun is having his most successful season since the 2012 redemption season. Through 33 games he’s slashing an astounding .376/.439/.600, numbers that could justify any team taking on the remaining $90 million or so of his contract.

There has been some debate about whether or not Braun and Lucroy should be traded in the same year. This got me thinking, if they only traded only one of those players this year, would it be more beneficial to trade Braun or Lucroy? I think the answer needs to be Braun and here’s why:

  1. He’s Injury Prone
Ok, Braun hasn’t missed a huge percentage of the season since 2013 when he was suspended and injured, he will be on the field if he can be. There is one thing to note about his injuries over the last few years though, they cause a significant drop in his production. Through nagging muscle spasms and thumb injuries he went from a career OPS of .943 to .825. His number are already likely unsustainable throughout the year even if he’s returned to pre-2013 form and is only getting older and more susceptible each passing minute.

  1. He May Never Hold More Value Again
According to his performance from 2013-2015, Braun’s current performance is a stroke of luck. He’s carrying a fairly large price tag -- although small by most other modern MLB contracts -- and a negative perception due to his PED suspension and everything that came with it. The thing is, if he’s performing anywhere close to what he is now by the trading deadline, no one’s going to care. Any team that can get an MVP at his current cost will take all of those bad things, but if we see that production drop off he will go back to being nearly untradeable unless we see another astronomical spike.

On the other hand, Lucroy will only lose some value barring injury. Aside from last year and other freak incidents, Luc doesn’t come with those nagging injury concerns and has been a very consistent performer over the last few years. As long as he continues that straight line projection, he will still hold significant value in the offseason even if teams aren’t getting that extra half-year. You absolutely will lose value but Luc’s value isn’t nearly as volatile as Braun’s is and if I’m wagering a huge amount of prospects on who is most likely to maintain their stock, Luc is the safer bet.

  1. If He Goes I Want to Just Rip the Bandaid Off
I am far from a Braun apologist. He made it hard for me to put blind faith and true fandom into athletes. It was a valuable lesson most adults should learn, players can hurt you but the logo and team will always -- in most cases -- be there. However, something inside of me still cheers hard for Braun. He is a huge part of some of the most significant Brewer moments of my life time. I’ll never forget his huge home runs in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He is a part of my number one most cherished Brewers memory, CC Sabathia’s complete game victory over the Cubs. I don’t want to spend every season wondering if he’s gone or not, so rip off the bandaid and send him packing. I can watch Lucroy go, I’ve been campaigning for it longer than most fans and as much as I’ve liked him he is more Cecil Cooper than Robin Yount in terms of my personal feelings.

How do you feel about it? Do you want both Braun and Lucroy to be traded this season? Do you want one to be traded or the other? Or do you want them both to hang around? Weigh in on my Twitter poll.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Brad's Top 5 Carlos Gomez Brewers Moments

It's happened. Carlos Gomez has returned to Milwaukee (albeit in a different uniform), and it is bringing out all of my feels.

Gomez was a pile of trouble to start out his Milwaukee Brewers career, but when the coaches finally let the leash loose, he took off like we all had hoped when the Crew swapped JJ Hardy for the troubled centerfielder.

So to celebrate what he meant to us when he was a Brewer and his return to Milwaukee, here are MY top 5 Carlos Gomez moments.

5. The Walk-off Run

This moment is truly Nyjer Morgan's, but it's one of my favorite Brewers moments of all times and Carlos Gomez was a huge part of it. Gomez was the second batter of the inning, singled to get on base and stole second, as he does. Morgan did the rest and drove him in, and the stadium was literally shaking with joy. I'll never forget hugging my family members in the club section, then turning around to Bill Schroeder, who was in a suite, and screaming, "Pound it!"

It may be Nyjer Morgan's hit, but that 10th inning walk-off was a lot of Gomez.

4. The Tall's Hill Snag

2013 might be the best defensive season the Brewers will ever get out of a center fielder, and this list has two of Gomez's amazing plays. Jason Castro nailed this ball, and most center fielders don't get within a foot. Gomez, going up a hill, has to adjust to make the over the shoulder catch. Who does that!? Gomez.

3. The Gomez Fight

Fights in baseball are never great, but this one I was fully behind Gomez. Gomez said recently that he always has fun and doesn't mean to disrespect anyone. In this play, Gomez bat flips and watches the baseball soar out of the stadium. It's Gomez, it's what he does. Every Braves player got mad. ALL of them, the douchiest being the king of douches: Brian McCann.

Why I loved it? Gomez is defending his right to have fun. He really didn't do anything wrong. He wrecked a Paul Maholm pitch (in 2013 who didn't?) and watched that sucker fly. Gomez defended his right to do so and I loved that he didn't take any crap from a bunch of cocky old-schoolers who demand an invisible rule book to be followed to its invisible t.

2. "Kiwis have three times as much potassium as bananas."

This is clearly not something that happened on the baseball diamond, but when I think of Gomez this is the type of stuff I imagine. It came out of a Sports Illustrated interview. While doing a feature on Gomez, Ryan Braun revealed that after signing a big contract in Milwaukee the center fielder was Googling "Things rich people talk about."

It's hysterical, it's random and it's amazing. That is everything that is Carlos Gomez off the field.

1. THE Game Saving Catch

Carlos Gomez has enough game-saving catches that we probably have forgotten more than we remember, but this one was special. At Miller Park, the 9th inning and K-Rod was up for the save. Reds were down 3-4 with Joey Votto at the plate and a runner on first. As K-Rod does, he threw a pitch that was hammered deep and to center, and as GoGo does, he sprinted to the wall, timed the fly ball and caught that S.O.B. I remember jumping out of my seat with joy and amazement. I'll never forget Votto telling the umps to check the glove for the ball and Gomez batting the the glove to show what he just did. Gomez jumped with joy, he smiled as big as he possibly could and was cocky as hell. It was everything that makes Gomez a great baseball player and enjoyable to watch.

I miss Carlos Gomez. He's everything I want in a baseball player and I am so excited that he's back in Milwaukee -- even if it's just for 3 games.

Did I miss one of your top GoGo moments? Tell us in the comments!


Friday, April 1, 2016


When the Brewers hired David Stearns, it was a sign of hitting the reset button. Milwaukee was ready to turn the page as the last chapter or its glory faded and the ashes stopped smoking. Yet, when they hit reset on the franchise, they gave him power to make about 2 dozen roster moves but demanded he hold onto a piece of old: Craig Counsell.

It’s completely unfair to ask any GM to take the franchise in a truly new direction when forcing them to hold onto a manager installed by the old regime. But Mark Attanasio made it perfectly clear when starting his search for a new GM, do not mess with Craig Counsell.

It’s another chapter in Mark A’s book of mistakes, forcing the signing of Lohse, bringing back K-Rod over and over again, hiring Ken Macha, the camo-shirt that was up for vote during free t-shirt Friday voting. You can’t start over and tell the GM that he needs to hold onto this old manager.

Not only is this being forced on Stearns, but Counsell is the face of that crumbling regime. He was on the roster for most of Doug Melvin’s glory period as GM, then when he retired decided to become Melvin’s pet project. Don’t you think it’s likely that there will be some loyalty to Melvin and a resistance to Stearns new age thinking?

On top of that connection to the ways of old, Counsell also has no success as manager. He’s 61-76 after managing the Brewers team for most of the year last year. This was mostly the same team that was in first place for a majority of the 2014 season!

The other fear is the affect he could have on players. Counsell was never that successful as a player and had one of the worst batting stances in baseball history. What happens when he tries to get players to experiment with extending batting stances that but their swing in danger?

Counsell needs to go and the team needs to start anew. I think the best move the Brewers could make is to fire Counsell and try to work Tony LaRussa from the Diamondbacks.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Opening Day 25 Man Roster Prediction

 I know that these 25 man roster prediction's during Spring Training can be as useful as a mock draft, but I enjoy doing them. So here goes the 2016 version.

Catchers (2): Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado

Infielders (6): Chris Carter, Scooter Gennett, Jonathan Villar, Aaron Hill, Colin Walsh, Yadiel Rivera

Outfielders (4): Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Rymer Liriano

Utility (1): Ramon Flores (OF/1B)

Starting Pitchers (5): Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta, Matt Garza, Taylor Jungmann, Chase Anderson

Relief Pitchers (7): Jeremy Jeffress, Will Smith, Corey Knebel, Michael Blazek, Tyler Thornburg, Sean Nolin, Zack Jones

I really want Keon Broxton to make the club, but the fact that he has options and Nieuwenhuis doesn't hurts his chances. In the bullpen I went with waiver pickup Nolin and Rule 5 pick Jones for the final two bullpen spots. Could see either or both of Franklin Morales and Ariel Pena get those spots as well. My final infield spot came down to Middlebrooks, Cecchini and Rivera. Cecchini has options so it was easy to send him down. Middlebrooks has no options so it's hard to let him go, but they need someone to backup Villar at SS. Rivera is really the only guy. Don't think Walsh or Hill could do it. So Rivera gets last spot mostly due to his being able to man SS, but he can also play 2B and 3B and has had a nice spring. Ramon Flores will serve as a backup at all three OF spots and can play 1B on days they want to sit Chris Carter. Hard choices all the way around for the club as they have a tremendous amount of depth, versatility and players performing well this spring. But in the end, this is how I see the Opening Day 25 man, but feel it will be very different as the year progresses due to injuries, trades and performances.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Feeling Nostalgic About Greg Vaughn

Growing up, I like most kids loved Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. I mean, they are/were the greatest Brewers in franchise history. And while he played with both of those guys for a few seasons, perhaps my favorite Brewer post Yount/Molitor was Greg Vaughn. When early this offseason the Brewers announced they would be doing a Greg Vaughn bobblehead day I was stoked. To me, that was almost as cool as when they did Rob Deer last season and will probably go into my pantheon of Brewers bobbleheads (joining 15' Deer, 02' Aaron, 06' Miller, 08' Braun, 12' T-Plush, 13' Scott, 14' Gomez and 14' Yount). Then in January Vaughn was announced to attend Brewers On Deck. Suddenly all this talk of Vaughn got me really feeling nostalgic about his time as a Brewer and his career in MLB. Hell, I even recently purchased a lot of 12 Vaughn cards off eBay that had a few of his rookies that I didn't already have.

Vaughn was drafted by the Brewers in the 1st round (4th overall) in the 1986 Draft out of the U (where he was an All-American). He made his MLB debut in 1989 and was a rookie in 1990 when he hit 17 HR. He would go on to play eight seasons with the Brewers making the All-Star team twice, hitting 169 of his 355 career HR in a Brewers uniform. His two All-Star seasons (93' and 96') were his best in Milwaukee. In his age 27 season in 93' he hit 30 HR had an .850 OPS and drove in 97 (6.7 WAR). In 96' he slugged 31 HR had had an .948 OPS and drove in 95 (2.7 WAR) for the Crew before being traded at the July 31st deadline to the Padres for Bryce Florie, Marc Newfield and Ron Villone (YUCK! What a typical shit Selig/Bando move of the mid to late 90's).

(Couldn't find him hitting a HR as a Brewer, so here he is taking Randy Johnson deep in the 98' NLDS)

That trade hit me hard. I was 14 at the time and still didn't understand the economics of baseball and how my team could keep trading away our good players. Vaughn had a down year in 1997 due to injury but had outstanding season in 98' (Padres) and 99' (Reds) as an All-Star and MVP candidate even slugging 50 HR in 98' (friend of mine got Vaughn to sign a ball at On Deck and inscribe "50 HR" on the ball, thought that was awesome), one of only twenty seven players in MLB history to hit 50 or more in a season. He played four more season between Tampa Bay and Colorado before retiring after the 2003 season.

"Vaughn's Valley" out in LF is something that will live in Brewers lore for ever. It was a staple of County Stadium for six years, he played LF and hit the vast majority of his dingers to that part of the bleachers so it was very fitting. Vaughn was a bad ass, cool cat. He was strong, hit a lot of dingers, had a swag to him, usually had the top few buttons undone on his jersey and was usually seen with a big old dip in his lower lip. He was a ballplayer. I remember always trying to imitate that famous pigeon toed stance he had while playing home run derby with friends in the backyard. He wasn't the greatest player, but to me he always seemed a bit underrated and on some shitty Brewers teams he was something to really enjoy and look forward to. I look forward to getting his bobblehead this season and hope he will make it out to Miller Park that day so he can get an ovation he deserves from all the other fans who think Greg Vaughn was the man.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The View From Bernie’s Chalet’s Top 10 Prospects

1.       Orlando Arcia
This one is obvious. If you didn’t know Arcia was going to be number one on every single list, you probably just woke up today and decided to be a Brewers fan. If that’s the case, welcome. This is the only Brewers baseball blog, and there are no other blogs covering Brewers baseball. Please permanently lock your browser to this page and never leave.

2.       Brett Phillips
Again, this comes as little-to-no surprise for Brewers fans. Since getting Phillips in the Gomez/Fiers trade, he has been consistently ranked as the Brewers’ second-best prospect. While it was a little disappointing to see his power drop when brought into Biloxi, Phillips still has plenty of great attributes. He’s a great defender, has a good hit tool and some speed.
3.       Jorge Lopez
A pretty common third in the Brewers farm system rankings, Lopez finally burst onto the scene after an awesome season with Biloxi. I think the most impressive part of Lopez is his constant progress on the mound while still moving up the ranks in terms of level of competition.
The biggest complaint about Lopez is his control. He has the tendency to walk a few. Last year that didn’t affect his performance much because he had an awesome 81.8% strand rate. It won’t be a big surprise to see Lopez take a step back in the minors this year. He’ll likely be starting at AAA Colorado Springs where the ball has the tendency to fly out of the park, which normally doesn’t work well with letting players on for free.
If the Brewers get into trouble with the rotation, he’s one of two or three candidates to come up, so expect to watch him pitch in Miller Park in 2016. Most scouts peg him as a good number three with two potential.
4.       Trent Clark
Clark is a consensus top 5 prospect for the Brewers and a consensus top 100 prospect in baseball. The kid stormed into the league after being the Crew’s first round pick. In 55 games with two rookie ball clubs, Clark hit .309/.424/.430 with 25 SB in 33 attempts.
Lots of scouts peg him as a left fielder. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, and he’s projected to lose some of his plus speed as he matures. That doesn’t matter since he’s a very smart base runner, has good defensive instincts and is a whiz with the bat at just 18. Don’t forget about his 80 neck. Clark is going to be a very exciting prospect to watch over the next few years and could move quickly through the Brewers farm. Just how exciting depends on if he can learn to add some loft to his swing to add power to his hit tool.
5.       Josh Hader
This big lefty was part of the huge return in the Gomez/Fiers trade. Hader has similar concerns as Lopez but also comes with worries about his arm angle. I choose not to put too much thought into that since we have seen odd arm angles work out pretty well in the majors as of late, even if they do have a much larger chance of failure. Hader is one of the few Brewers’ starting pitching prospects that really shows a knack for striking out opposing batters. At AA Biloxi, Hader had an 11 K/9.

There is little worry that Hader will make an impact at the MLB level, the question is the role. If he can’t get his walk issues under control and continue developing a third pitch, he will likely have to settle for a role in the pen.
6.       Gilbert Lara
Lara is the most interesting prospect Milwaukee has, in my humble opinion. He reportedly has humongous power and shows an advanced feel for hitting at his age (18 with one year of pro-ball under his belt), but after a fast start last year, came crashing down in a bad way. Many scouts reported that Lara looked tired towards the end of the season, which makes sense considering he’s probably getting in more work than he’s used to with fewer breaks. If he can put everything together, Lara can be a huge difference maker one day for the Brewers (which you can say that for almost any prospect ever). I’m anxious to see what happens this year, especially if the Brewers will challenge him with a full year of baseball and if he drops off in the second half.
7.       Cody Ponce
If you’re on Brewers Twitter, you likely have heard a lot about Cody Ponce. The man was somewhat of an unknown coming out of a Division II college but really impressed in his pro debut. In just 46 IP for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Ponce had a 2.15 ERA, only allowed 1.8 BB/9 and allowed .02 HR/9. All of those are great signs for future success. It will be interesting to see how quickly Ponce can move through the organization. He’s a collegiate arm that shows a pretty good feel for pitching. He’ll likely start at Brevard County, a pitcher friendly environment, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s up at Biloxi in 2-3 months.
8.       Devin Williams
Williams is another big potential prospect. He continues to develop command and shows good feel for all three of his pitches, with room to grow and add velocity. The biggest thing he needs to work on his command, but considering what he’s already shown, it won’t be hard to imagine him in the Brewers’ rotation. Because of age, the Brewers continue to move Williams slow, and he’ll likely get his first shot at starting for most of the year this year. Brevard County should help the numbers continue to develop, and I could see him being brought up to help in Biloxi at the end of the year.

9.       Monte Harrison
Harrison didn’t handle the aggressive promotion to Single-A very well to start the year. He had trouble making contact against more advanced pitchers than he’s used to seeing and his baserunning didn’t stand out like it did in his pro debut. Then the second half came, and he improved his stats at Wisconsin but was brought back down to rookie ball where he really shined before getting injured. Harrison is one of those prospects who projects to do everything well. He has shown decent pop, great ability on the bases and has all the tools to be a plus defender. His second showing at Wisconsin should go better, and he has big potential to make an impact at the highest level. I expect the Brewers will hold him at one level this year, but if he takes off after this, Harrison could really speed through the system.
This pick might be more about fascination with the new guy than anything else. Nottingham was just added in the Khris Davis deal. No one’s really sure he’ll stick at catcher but most experts believe he’ll hit. The kid has slightly above average hit and power tools. If he sticks at catcher, and can piece together some semblance of a defense behind the plate, he’ll big a huge get for the Brewers’ future.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016