Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Today I’m talking about the NL Central, which loses the Astros this year, so you can basically knock off five wins from each team’s 2012 win total. It feels like this could be a close race for the first couple months until the Reds replace Dusty’s toothpick with bubblegum at the trade deadline. There’s also a good amount of both young and rebound pitchers spread out across the division, so this could be a boon for late round draft picks in mixed leagues. Am I telling you to draft a pitching staff solely from the NL Central? Those are your words, not mine. Although I kind of wish they had been my words (you quick thinker, you). You can also read about the position battles for the NL East and the AL Central. Anyway, here are some of the position battles to watch in the NL Central:Please, blog, may I have some more?
A quick primer to begin: This is not a list of my top overall prospects — Shelby Miller would not lead that list. No, this list exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland. The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive contributions for fantasy owners in 2013. My method here was quite simple: each player was assigned a grade for both potential fantasy impact, and for current opportunity. Those variables were weighed equally, totals were then tallied, and finally, I sorted out the ties and adjusted here and there as I saw fit. Opportunity grades are always tough. At this point in the year, circumstances can shift overnight and a prospect’s ETA can change dramatically (see Miller). My plan is to revisit this list before opening day, and also to keep a running Top Ten Fantasy Prospects throughout the year in order to keep us posted at any given moment as to which fantasy-relevant prospects are next to arrive in the bigs. In any case, this list should suffice for those of us drafting early.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (25) | 2011 (30) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (10) | 2008 (21)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [83-79] NL Central
AAA: [67-77] Pacific Coast League — Nashville
AA: [65-74] Southern League — Huntsville
A+: [63-72] Florida State League — Brevard County
A: [78-61] Midwest League — Wisconsin
Arizona Fall League Players — Phoenix Desert Dogs
Nick Bucci (RHP); Kyle Heckathorn (RHP); Johnny Hellweg (RHP); Jimmy Nelson (RHP); Hunter Morris (1B); Josh Prince (SS); Khris Davis (OF)
Graduated Prospects of Note
Jean Segura (SS); Michael Fiers (RHP); Taylor Green (1B)
The Run Down
Though he’s already graduated his prospect status, it’s impossible to discuss the Milwaukee Brewers’ young talent without mentioning Jean Segura, the prized piece acquired in the trade that sent Zack Grienke to the Angels. Segura gathered enough at-bats (148) with the Brewers to earn rookie status, and thus, I cannot rank him here. But in case you’re wondering, he’d be #1 — the 22-year-old has tremendous potential with the bat, and he figures be a well-above average hitting shortstop at the Major League level. Sloppy defensive play is certainly a concern with Segura, but 15 homers and 30 steals will be valuable no matter where he plays. After him, though, the still-are-prospects prospects of the Milwaukee Brewers are not quite as exciting. Not to suggest that this is a particularly awful system — it’s flush with solid young arms, which is a wonderful asset to a ball club — but it sure lacks that pizazzy element we all so desperately desire.
Top Ten Prospects
1. Wily Peralta, RHP: Peralta regressed in 2012 during his time in the minors, casting some concern over his prospect status, but the 23-year-old was quite good in six appearances with the big club last year, posting a 2.248 ERA, and a K/9 above 7. He still looks like a future #2 or #3-type to me. ETA: 2013
2. Tyler Thornburg, RHP: I wrote a brief scouting report on Thornburg during the season, so check that out here for a closer look. The gist: he’s an undersized flamethrower with a filthy change, a solid curve, and control issues. If he can command his plus stuff, he’ll miss plenty of bats and could be a nice option in all fantasy formats. ETA: 2013
3. Johnny Hellweg, RHP: Hellweg — the other dude snagged in the Grienke deal — is tall. He’s 6-9 and he throws in the upper-90s and, at times, he’s utterly unhittable. At other times, he struggles finding his release point and cannot locate the strike zone. Projections for Hellweg vary from front-of-the-rotation starter, to high-leverage reliever. Either way, he’ll be useful to the Brewers sometime soon. ETA: Late 2013
4. Clint Coulter, C: Milwaukee took Coulter out of high school with the 27th overall pick in June. And while the 19-year-old’s numbers weren’t quite mind-blowing during instructional league play, scouts have fallen in love with him nonetheless. He’s a long way off, and it’ll be interesting to see how aggressively the Brewers choose to develop him, but it’s already fair to consider Coulter among the most promising catchers in the minors. ETA: 2016
5. Hunter Morris, 1B: It’s tough to ignore 28 homers and a .920 OPS. That’s what Morris did in 2012 in a full year at Double-A Huntsville. His big year will surely earn him consideration for a major league job in 2013. ETA: 2013
6. Taylor Jungmann, RHP: At 6-6, 210, Jungmann is a big righty with a power repertoire and good command. As such, he’s a very safe bet to reach the bigs as an innings-eating mid-rotation starter, possibly more. He’ll start 2013 at Double-A, and could certainly reach Milwaukee before year’s end if things go well. ETA: 2014
7. Scooter Gennett, 2B: Gennett is praised for his outstanding hitting tool, and he projects as a .300 hitter in the bigs. But with no immediate opportunity for the 22-year-old, he’ll spend the next year or two refining his defensive skills in the upper minors. ETA: 2015
8. Jed Bradley, LHP: The 6-4, 225, power lefty struggled with command at High-A in 2012 — a year that was cut short due to injury and workload. But like Hellweg and Jungmann, Bradley’s frame and arsenal should be enough to carry him to the bigs. ETA: 2014
9.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Milwaukee Brewers 2011 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2011)
2011 (30) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (10) | 2008 (21) | 2007 (5) | 2006 (5) | 2005 (3) | 2004 (1)
Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [94-65] NL Central (record as of 9/25/11
AAA: [71-73] Pacific Coast League – Nashville
AA: [64-73] Southern League – Huntsville
A+: [62-76] Florida League – Brevard County
A: [67-72] Midwest League – Wisconson
R: [30-46] Pioneer League – Helena
R: [17-39] Arizona League
The Run Down
Prior to the 2011 season start, the Brewers made several trades that depleted their farm system of top talent.