The Brewers have been pulling away from their division foes over the past few years thanks to incredible pitching and an opportunistic front office that always answers the phone when a team calls looking to move a Willy Adames or Rowdy Tellez type. They won the NL Central by five games despite an epic late push from the Cardinals and a bad year from Christian Yelich. It’s hard to imagine anyone closing the gap anytime soon.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA
1. OF Hedbert Perez | 18 | A | 2024
A lefty bat with easy opposite field power, even as a 17-year-old against upper minors arms at the training site in 2020, Perez had some contact issues early in his first taste of pro ball but nothing too concerning. He slashed .333/.394/.575 with 6 HR and 2 SB in 32 games on the complex before spending the final 16 games striking out 36.8 percent of the time in A ball. He’s a muscle bound 5’10” listed at 160 lbs , but there’s just no way he’s that light today. Probably more like 185. He’s a rare offensive talent who could help us in every category at peak.
2. LHP Aaron Ashby | 23 | MLB | 2021
Proximity and team history give Ashby the edge over others on the list—not that he doesn’t bring considerable gifts of his own to the table. He has big velocity for a lefty (96.5 mph) and mixes it well with his off-speed pitches: a true FU slider he threw 38.5 percent of the time in the majors and a solid changeup he can rely on (21.4% usage rate). I like his delivery: a high-release that creates some deception and gives me some Steve Avery vibes. Exciting stuff in an organization that just coaxed a 3.19 ERA from Eric Lauer and a 3.22 from Adrian Houser, M.D.
3. OF Joey Wiemer | 23 | A+ | 2023
A 4th round pick in 2020, the 6’5” 215 lb Wiemer exploded onto the scene in 2021 with 27 HR and 30 SB across two levels. Yipes. His 34-game stretch at High-A breaks the brain a bit: .336/.428/.719 with 14 HR and 8 SB while maintaining an 11.8/23.7 percent BB/K rate. As seen in the rates, his swing is tighter and quicker than most huge humans. I might have him too low here. It’s fair to say he’s earned the top spot.
4. OF Sal Frelick | 21 | A+ | 2023
A Razzball favorite for Prospect Hobbs and myself, Frelick hit the ground running in his pro debut, slashing .329/.414/.466 across three levels, culminating in a tough 15 games at High-A (.167/.296/.267), but I’m not going to ding him much for that because it was the tail end of his draft year. The 15th overall pick out of Boston College possesses double-plus bat control and contact abilities that should let the rest of his game flourish as he climbs the ladder. He swiped 12 bags in 35 games as a pro and should be able to contribute in that category at the highest level.
5. OF Garrett Mitchell | 23 | AA | 2023
Mitchell is a wide receiver type talent at 6’3” 215 lbs, and he’s smooth in pretty much everything he does on the field, which is kind of the problem in the batters box, where the lefty lacks torque.
Here’s what I wrote about him on September 8 in Prospect News: Josh Lowe Climbs the Ladder, Garrett Mitchell Falls:
“I’ll cover Mitchell today because this one is pretty simple. Truth is, Milwaukee OF Garrett Mitchell’s worst tool is hit. That’s not what we want. Sure, it works out sometimes, but others, you’ve got an experienced college hitter slashing .197/.309/.282 for a month at AA.
“For a month” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. Can’t blame anyone who goes shoulder to the wheel on a player and ignores a month of output. Please, Garrett, just drive. Trouble is he has always had to grind on his hitting. Several scouts thought he’d need a swing change in the pros, something we’ve yet to see. Milwaukee has been great at a lot of things this past decade, but developing its own hitters when they major structural need help isn’t at the top of that list.”
6. OF Korry Howell | 23 | AA | 2023
Milwaukee has an obvious type: premium athletes, and Howell is certainly that. The 6’3” moving castle comes from a multi-sport background and features double-plus speed and plus power to float his developing contact skills. There’s risk in the profile, sure, but he’s coming off a 16 HR, 24 SB season accrued in just 96 games across two pitching-thick levels. He was striking out too much in AA, but that’s par for the course in this system, so it shouldn’t hold him back, opportunity-wise, like it might on another club that’s more invested in slap and dash dudes. The Brewers want impact, and Howell brings the noise.
7. OF Joe Gray Jr. | 22 | A+ | 2023
Gray Jr. was by far the most impactful player in his Low A league, slashing .289/.407/.632 with 12 HR and 12 SB, and that line is a little dampened by a tough stretch that saw him hit .157 over his final 11 games at the level. Gray employs an uppercut that might struggle to stay on top of elite spin up in the zone as well as down and out, as evidenced by his struggles in High-A, where the 6’1” 195 lb righty slashed .219/.306/.381 across 59 games. Nonetheless, he compiled 20 HR and 23 SB in 110 games across two levels as a 21-year-old, and I suspect we’d all be happy with 25/25 upside on our roto squads.
8. C Jeferson Quero | 19 | CPX | 2024
Would be much higher on a “real-baseball” list. Gets dropped a little for time (no fun waiting half a decade on a catcher) and position here, but that could be a mistake sooner than later, especially as the real baseball rankers start sliding him up their lists. He’s got a good chance to get the Francisco Alvarez treatment around mid-season next year if he continues to walk (14.5%) more than he strikes out (12%) while generally smashing face in the lower minors (.309/.434/.500 with 2 HR and 4 SB in 23 games).
9. SS Brice Turang | 22 | AAA | 2022
Turanga Leela might be too low on this list, particularly if he can generate enough impact with the bat to earn an everyday gig. As is, the profile looks a little like Yonny Hernandez in Texas: walks, steals and singles. He’s got a very good eye, walking at an 18.2 percent clip in 44 games at AAA while striking out 19.9 percent of the time and slashing .245/.381/.315 as a 21-year-old against much older players. If he ever generates power, he’ll be a no-doubt everyday shortstop, but until that future(ama) manifests, we’re in slapdick city here.
10. SS David Hamilton | 24 | AA | 2023
Hamilton’s blurb could read a little like Turang’s in that if his bat comes along, we’re looking at a fantasy mainstay. A top-of-the-scale baserunner who’s a little behind the age-to-level curve thanks largely to injuries, Hamilton swiped 52 bags in 61 attempts across two levels, slashing .258/.341/.419 with 8 HR in 101 games, tallying 38 extra base hits this season due to his emerging gap power and tremendous speed. I love how the Brewers love speed. If an infielder can really run, he’s got a chance to play anywhere in the field. True speed creates options all over the field, multiple paths to value and playing time for everyone who burns. Big Ray Bradbury fans in that front office. In fantasy baseball, it is a pleasure to burn.
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