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Milwaukee Brewers 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2010)
2010 (14) | 2009 (10) | 2008 (21) | 2007 (5) | 2006 (5) | 2005 (3) | 2004 (1)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [77 - 85] NL Central
AAA: [77 - 67] Pacific Coast League – Nashville
AA: [67 - 73] Southern League – Huntsville
A+: [64 - 75] Florida League – Brevard County
A: [58 - 80] Midwest League – Wisconsin
R: [41 - 32] Pioneer League – Helena
R: [34 - 22] Arizona League

The Run Down
The Brewers made several trades this offseason that depleted their farm system of top talent and the major league team of young talent. Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum along with the Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress for Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt trades look great at the major league level, especially for pitching, but could have negative long term effects. The Brewers top minor league talent is now at the lowest levels of the minors and they just graduated their prospects that had the ability to impact the major leagues (Axford, Braddock, Lucory, and Gamel). GM Doug Melvin played the “Future is Now” card; if they struggle and are forced to trade Prince Fielder, they could recoup the losses made this winter. Prior to these trades, the Brewers had a solid, but not spectacular minor league system – a mid tier ranking (low teens). Now, they have a depleted farm system with essentially role players and bullpen arms. This will be a rough year if injuries occur.

Graduating Prospects
#1 (SS) Alcides Escobar; #3 (3B/OF) Mat Gamel; #5 (C) Jonathan Lucory; #8 (OF) Lorenzo Cain; #7 (LHP) Zack Braddock; #23 (RHP) John Axford

Arizona Fall League Players Peoria Javelinas
Pitchers: (RHP) Michael Fiers; #21 (RHP) Jeremy Jeffress; (RHP) Brandon Kintzler; (LHP) Lucas Luetge; (RHP) Mike McClendon; (LHP) Dan Merklinger
Hitters: #19 (2B) Eric Farris; (1B) Hunter Morris; #17 (LF/RF) Caleb Gindl

Players of Interest
Hitters
#17 Caleb Gindl | LF | D.o.B: 8-31-88 | Stats (AA): .272/.352/.406 | 463 AB | 43 XBH | 9 Hr | .134 ISO | 10/5 SB/CS | 78:55 K:BB | .307 BABIP
Gindl’s body often becomes the topic of conversation when speaking about his major league status. Scouts call him a “squattier Brian Giles.” Scouts believe his hitting prowess will get him to the majors. What position directly relates to the body issue. His stroke is compact, has good gap power, average homer power, strong strike zone discipline but his speed is below average even if he is a smart baserunner. More of a left fielder than right fielder. Could be Delmon Young with plate discipline or a Shin-Soo Choo with 10 less steals.

#20 Taylor Green | 3B | D.o.B:11-2-86 | Stats (AA): .260/.336/.438 | 393 AB |43 XBH | 13 Hr | .178 ISO | 0/2 SB/CS | 67:45 K:BB | .277 BABIP
Career (AA): .259/.333/.402 | 699 AB | 63 XBH | 18 Hr | .143 ISO | 0/4 SB/CS | 104:78 K:BB
Had a compression fracture on his left wrist at the end of the 2008 season that affected his 2009 season. His 2010 season seemed to show lasting effects from the wrist injury. Before the wrist injury, he had 20 home run potential.  Since that injury, he has only 18 home runs in 699 at-bats. Baseball America states he does a good job controlling the strike zone, hits line drives and is a contact hitter. His career petered out at Double-A. Granted, his BABIP (.277 in 2010) has hindered his slash-line. Green still has the peripherals to be a quiet sleeper, like in the Casey McGehee mold. That would be his upside.

Zelous Wheeler | 3B/SS | D.o.B: 1-16-87 | Stats (AA): .275/.382/.396 | 480 AB | 34 XBH | 11 Hr | .121 ISO | 8/4 SB/CS | 77:70 K:BB | .304 BABIP
This is just a call-out to another option to replace Yuniesky Betancourt if he struggles. Not extremely fantasy relevant. The only skill that stands out would be the solid plate discipline.

Pitchers
Mike McClendon | RHP | D.o.B: 4-3-85 | Stats (AAA): 7.2 K/9 | 2.3 BB/9 | 55 1/3 IP | 2.44 ERA | 2.77 FIP | 1.21 WHIP | .2 Hr/9 | 8.6 H/9 | .241 BABIP
McClendon threw threw 14 2/3 innings at Double-A and received a September call up in 2010, throwing 21 innings with 21 strikeouts. Will he have the same success in 2011? Probably not based on his BABIP, albeit his FIP indicated that he pitched well. He limited the long ball and did not walk many.   Won’t be more than a reliever this year.

#11 Mark Rogers | RHP | D.o.B: 1-20-86 | Stats (AA): 8.9 K/9 | 5.6 BB/9 | 111 2/3 IP | 3.71 ERA | 3.58 FIP | 1.39 WHIP | .2 Hr/9 | 6.9 H/9 | .276 BABIP
Throws a 93 to 96 MPH fastball with a sharp curveball and a deceptive chang-up. His throwing motion — arm moving across body — hinders and compromises command as seen by his career 5.6 BB/9. Rogers has the pitches to be serviceable middle-of-the-rotation starter if he can stay healthy. For the most part, he projects better as another power bullpen arm. He did throw 10 innings in the majors this year and 4 1/3 innings at Triple-A. Could be an intriguing play if he has early success.

#16Amaury Rivas | RHP | D.o.B: 12-20-85 | Stats (AA): 7.2 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9 | 141 2/3 IP | 3.37 ERA | 3.55 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | .4 Hr/9 | 8.3 H/9 | .304 BABIP
Attacks hitters with a low 90s fastball that can top 95 MPH, an average slider and a refined changeup that projects as a plus-pitch. Has decent command, didn’t need luck to have a good year (.304 BABIP) and his FIP is indicative of a projectable pitcher based upon his numbers. At worst, he’s a bullpen arm, at best, he’s a number four starter in the mold of Scott Baker.

#13 Cody Scarpetta | RHP | D.o.B: 8-25-88 | Stats (A+): 10.0 K/9 | 4.7 BB/9 | 128 IP | 3.87 ERA | 3.24 FIP | 1.46 WHIP | .3 Hr/9 | 8.4 H/9 | .330 BABIP
Beware: strikeouts can be sexy causing one to ignore the lack of control. He throws a 90 to 94 MPH fastball with “downward tilt,” an “out-pitch,” curveball (per John Sickels) which rated as the best at Class A Midwest League in 2009, and a improving changeup. Scarpetta is a large prospect (6’3″ 242 lbs) and looks like a young David Wells – the weight does worry some scouts.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
Khristopher Davis | LF | D.o.B: 12-21-87 | Stats (A): .280/.398/.499 | 457 AB | 52 XBH | 22 Hr | .219 ISO | 17/10 SB/CS | 120:70 K:BB | .329 BABIP
The Brewers 7th round pick in 2009 is ignored by both Sickels and BA. Davis showed a penchant to strikeout (120 K) but the ability to take a walk (70 BB) along with some good power (.219 ISO). Is slightly older than competition and 2011 will test his abilities.

Chris Dennis | LF/1B | D.o.B: 9-15-88 | Stats (A): .270/.362/.497 | 60 XBH | 18 Hr | .227 ISO | 11/3 SB/CS | 143:61 K:BB | .356 BABIP
See Davis, Khristopher for analysis; add an increased luck factor for Dennis.

Pitchers
Robert Hinton | RHP | D.o.B: 8-13-84 | Stats (AA): 11.2 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9 | 65 IP | 4.15 ERA | 3.58 FIP | 1.29 WHIP | 1.0 Hr/9 | 8.2 H/9 | .319 BABIP
Hinton is a reliever that I do not have any scouting reports for . He threw two terrible innings at Triple-A and is susceptible to home runs. I like his strikeouts and decent control.

#4 Eric Arnett | RHP | D.o.B: 1-25-88 | Stats (A): 6.4 K/9 | 4.1 BB/9 | 84 2/3 IP | 6.70 ERA | 5.67 FIP | 1.62 WHIP | 1.5 Hr/9 | 10.4 H/9 | .296 BABIP
Arnett struggled at Class Low-A. His 91 to 94 MPH fastball that reaches 97 combined with a mid-80s slider and a below-average changeup did not fool hitters (6.4 K/9) nor did he have solid command (4.1 BB/9). Arnett also had a crazy high home run rate (1.5 HR/9) and a low Left-On-Base percentage (56.2 LOB%). Baseball America stated that Arnett was throwing in the high 80s at the end of the 2009 season. Could it be that this transferred to the 2010 season? I do not know.  What I do know is that Arnett will not be ranked as their number four prospect. The tools are there and Arnett is a prized pitcher in a thin system, so there is that.

Dan Merklinger | LHP | D.o.B: 11-19-85 | Stats (A+): 9.6 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 133 2/3 IP | 3.64 ERA | 2.95 FIP | 1.23 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 8.3 H/9 | .323 BABIP
I don’t get why the Brewers didn’t give Merklinger a chance at Double-A. They kept him at High-A all year and he dominated. He did throw four innings at Double-A and five innings at Triple-A — one start each. However, he needs to reach Double-A and pitch well to be considered in the majors. According to John Sickels, Merklinger throws a 88 to 92 MPH fastball, a decent curve and an inconsistent change-=up. Sickels also stated in the 2010 Handbook, “after Double-A we’ll know more.” Well, Double-A never happened. I full expect Double-A and Triple-A during the 2011 season.

Caleb Thielbar | LHP | D.o.B: 1-31-87 | Stats (A):7.3 K/9 | 2.4 BB/9 | 53 IP | 5.60 ERA | 3.84 FIP | 1.49 WHIP | 1.0 Hr/9 | 11.0 H/9 | .331 BABIP
I stated last year that I would always review my high school classmate. Well, sadly, I report that Thielbar was released by the Brewers in December 2010. (NOTE FROM GREY:  I went to high school with a guy that is in jail for murder, so Thielbar’s doing better than him.)  Statistically, it looked like Thielbar was far too hittable (11.0 H/9) with a poor home run rate (1.0 HR/9). His strikeouts were not jaw-dropping, his control was great, had a low LOB% (53.8%) and his FIP indicates he pitched better than traditional numbers state. Hopefully, another squad can sign him.

  1. Steve says:
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    Zelous Wheeler sounds like someone who should have blinding speed.

  2. Stephen says:
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    @Steve: Sounds like he should have a brother names Jedidiah and driving a buggy with a lovely beard to compliment a full ‘stache.

  3. PooPHeaDFreD says:
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    2010 Minor League Review?

  4. Stephen says:
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    @PooPHeaDFreD: I (and my pictured self when signed in – AKA not at work) review the prior minor league season specifically targeting prospects that could be fantasy relevant in the near future (Players of Interest) and a few years away/blocked from Fantasy Relevancy (Honorable Mentions).

  5. Giant JJ says:
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    What do you think of Zack Britton as a late flier n a 20 team redraft league?

  6. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Giant JJ: I’d take him late (like 20 or 21) if he is there. I don’t know if he’ll get called up right away or not.

  7. Alex says:
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    What’s the ETA on Drew Pomeranz and Danny Duffy? I own both in a 30 team keeper and need help in the next two seasons any chance either make it up by then?

    Also whats your opinion on Anthony Ranaudo from the Red Sox?

  8. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Alex: I don’t think Duffy gets more than a September call up; Dayton Moore seems to be playing his cards for a 2012 run.

    re:Pomeranz: needs to develop change-up but I could see him having a Mike Leake type year. However, the Indians are in no rush making him a 2011 call-up highly unlikely – at least not until September.

    re:Ranaudo: I don’t know anything about him. My ESPN Insider account just lapsed. I may know more in a week or so. Sorry about that.

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