The Brewers picked up three solid prospects in trades this past summer – acquiring Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, and Zach Davies. Santana has already graduated and should be an interesting power upside play in 2016, while Davies should start the year in the rotation. Phillips migh have the most upside of any of them, but likely won’t reach the majors until 2017. After being one of the weaker systems entering the 2015 season, these trades and the 2015 draft have done a lot to bolster the farm. They’ll add another strong piece this summer with the fifth pick in the MLB draft.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Orlando Arcia, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 552 PA, .307/.347/453, 8 HR, 25 SB, 5% BB, 13% K
Arcia passed the Double-A test with flying colors, and while he may start the 2016 season in Triple-A, it shouldn’t be too long before the 21-year-old is manning short in Milwaukee. The Brewers would need to move Jean Segura off position or trade to make room for him, but Arcia is knocking on the door. At this time last year a lot of his value was coming from his glove, but he’s showing that he’s also capable with the bat…like Lindor in Cleveland.
Brett Phillips, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 565 PA, .309/.374/.527, 16 HR, 17 SB, 8% BB, 21% K
Phillips was part of the Carlos Gomez trade along with Domingo Santana. He’s still about a year or so away, but he has all of the tools to be a star. Phillips may never hit more than 15-18 bombs, but the combination of that power with his above-average speed would make him a solid OF3. Jason Heyward’s past two seasons seem like a decent comp. The move to Milwaukee’s hitter-friendly park only helps his value.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Clint Coulter, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 569 PA, .246/.329/.397, 13 HR, 6 SB, 8% BB, 16%
Coulter is now playing in the outfield after starting out as a catcher and and dabbling as a corner infielder. Obviously, the carrying tool here is the above-average power, which should get him to about 20 homers in the majors if things click. Scouts seem to think he can handle the bat well enough to be an everyday guy in the outfield. This is one of those names you can probably snag cheap and could surprise you with his fantasy production.
Tyrone Taylor, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 504 PA, .260/.312/.337, 3 HR, 10 SB, 6% BB, 11% K
One thing I noticed in this system is the large amount of young outfielders they have converging on just three starting jobs. Whether or not Taylor ends up as a regular in Milwaukee or elsewhere, he has a good approach and that should help him carve out a role. He’s not as toolsy as Phillips, but should run into 6-8 homers and double-digit stolen base numbers with some playing time.
Kyle Wren, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 572 PA, .272/.330/.322, 1 HR, 36 SB, 8% BB, 13% K
Wren’s basically SAGNOF and profiles more as a bench/4th outfielder type than an everyday center fielder, but he’s close to the majors and should be productive in runs and steals when he plays. He hit .300 in Double-A before his promotion, so it may be a matter of adjustments. Delino DeShields’ 2015 is probably what Wren’s ceiling would look like if he hit it.
Mike Reed, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 525 PA, .269/.371/.410, 5 HR, 26 SB, 14% BB, 21% K
Reed is another guy who borders between an everday player and a good bench piece. There’s not much power- just a tad more than Wren – but there’s speed here as well. One thing that stands out when you peruse his minor league career is his walk percentage. At every stop along the way, Reed has shown the ability to draw a free pass.
Zach Davies, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 128.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
Davies was a pitching prospect in the Orioles system before being traded to the Brewers, which means he’ll now be a perennial Cy Young contender. The 22-year-old is a classic low-ceiling/high-floor arm whose command and plus changeup allow his other pitches to play up. He probably tops out as a mid-rotation starter with ‘meh’ strikeout numbers.
Jorge Lopez, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/MLB
2015 Stats: 143.1 IP, 2.26 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 8.6 K/9
Lopez got a cup of coffee in 2015, so I’d expect him to start 2016 in Triple-A before getting an extended look in the bigs later this summer. Lopez pitched really well in Double-A as a 22-year-old, striking out almost a batter per inning and topping 140 innings pitched for the first time (153 innings total when you count his time in MLB). He’s what scouts call “projectable”, and if he keeps making strides he could be a #3 starter.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Gilbert Lara, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 263 PA, .240/.285/.321, 1 HR, 3 SB, 5% BB, 20% K
Lara was one of the big J2 international signings in 2014 and oozes fantasy potential. He just turned 18 though, so this could be a longer road…and one that probably doesn’t end at shortstop. Most see him settling at third base or even in the outfield, but with Lara’s plus power the bat is going to play at any position when it comes to fantasy.
Trent Clark, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 252 PA, .309/.424/.430, 2 HR, 25 SB, 15% BB, 17% K
Clark was the Brewers’ top pick in last year’s draft, and along with Lara they now have two potential monsters to look forward to. One of the best high school hitters in the draft, Clark has the rare combination of above-average hit, power, and speed tools. If you can wait on him, he’ll be a good pick in dynasty drafts this winter once some of the big names are off the board.
Monte Harrison, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk/A
2015 Stats: 303 PA, .205/.310/.332, 5 HR, 20 SB, 9% BB, 33% K
Harrison is a great athlete, and like the others mentioned in this tier, he offers a combination of tools that could lead to excellent fantasy numbers. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily in Single-A this year and a broken ankle ended his season. There’s still lots of upside and the chance he develops into a 20/20 outfielder, but there’s a long road ahead.
Demi Orimoloye, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 144 PA, .292/.319/.518, 6 HR, 19 SB, 2% BB, 27% K
Are you sitting down? This guy’s full name is Oluwademilade Oluwadamilola Orimoloye. I made the mistake of saying it out loud and my wife called 911 thinking I was having a schizophrenic episode. “Demi” is a big dude with plus tools across the board, so all joking aside this is definitely a spec to keep an eye on. While you wait, might I suggest one of Oluwademilade Oluwadamilola Moore’s classic films?
Jake Gatewood, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk/A
2015 Stats: 431 PA, .244/.305/.404, 10 HR, 8 SB, 7% BB, 31% K
Gatewood has big power and a raw approach, as you can see in the strikeout rate. That could get better with adjustments, or it could get worse as he faces tougher pitching. The raw power is tasty, but there’s a lot of risk here even if he stays at shortstop.
Kodi Medeiros, LHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 93.1 IP, 4.44 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 9.1 K/9
Medeiros has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider with good strikeout numbers to date. His ETA is still pretty far down the road, but his 2015 performance did a lot to set the ship right after a shaky debut. His ceiling is a mid-rotation starter with some strikeout upside.
Devin Williams, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 89 IP, 3.44 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
Williams is a projectable arm with three average or better pitches who probably tops out in the middle of a rotation. He got his first taste of A-ball in 2015 and responded by striking out a batter per inning. It’s one of the better arms in the system, but unfortunately also one of the longer ETAs.