“Let’s hope there’s beer.”

This quote can be attributed to multiple sources:

  • Humans traveling toward a gathering of humans
  • Especially me on the way to Thanksgiving 
  • Farm-focused Brewers fans reading organizational rankings this winter

I’m sorry to say there’s not. 

Beer here, I mean. 

Well, there is, but it’s at my desk with me, and maybe there at your location with you, but it’s not in this next sentence. 

Maybe someday we’ll have that? There could be an advertisement on this page, and you’d click it, and a six pack would be teleported to your desk.

Where’s Bill Gates on this one?

Frightfully counting his billions, I guess. 

Back in beer country, Milwaukee’s system has been fermenting fruits for years. From Keston Hiura to Brandon Woodruff to the straw Rumplestiltskin spun into Christian Yelich two years ago, nobody’s complaining over their Miller at Miller Park, even if the barley farm currently looks a semi-successful house party at 3 a.m.? 

 

1. SS Brice Turang | 20 | A+ | 2022

The surest thing in this system is Brice Turang on top. Once a contender to be the top overall pick in the 2018 draft, Turang struggled as a senior and fell to Milwaukee at pick 21. 

While it’s great that he hit the ground running, Turang has a ways to go before he’s useful to our game. He played in High-A but hit .200 and slugged .278 across 47 games, so he’s probably going back to Carolina with something to prove. 

 

2. SS Eduardo Garcia | 17 | R | 2023

Garcia has as good a chance as anyone to top this list next year. His feel for contact is extreme, and if his health cooperates better in 2020 than it did last year, he could be among the youngest kids playing stateside by season’s end. 

 

3. C Mario Feliciano | 21 | AA | Mid 2021

4. 1B Luis Castro | 24 | AA | Late 2020

Feliciano strikes out too much—28.8 percent on the year—but he’s always been young for the level (-2.6 at High A), so he gets half a pass on that. Catchers scare me more than ever these days as the robot umps inch ever closer to our realities, but they’re intriguing through the same lens. If receiving no longer matters, that probably helps Feliciano, but it also opens up a whole new player group to compete for those at bats. 

Milwaukee claimed Luis Castro this week after he ran out of time in the Rockies thick system. He struggled some in 20 AA games and is a bit old for the level, but he pairs a good approach with consistent loft and feels like a perfect fit for the juicy balls. I wonder if the front office is thinking of him as a Jesus Aguilar type gamble without the track record or the extra weight. For what it’s worth, Castro has played all over the diamond, and given Milwaukee’s vision, that seems more important here than it would be for some teams. I doubt many teams would’ve even considered Mike Moustakas or Travis Shaw as second baseman. 

 

5. OF Tristen Lutz | 21 | A+ | 2022

I tend to be comparatively low on guys like Lutz. If they ever hit enough to let their power play in games, it’ll likely happen after multiple Buy windows. How much does Tyler O’Neill cost today? How about Jorge Soler before the season? Ian Happ even now after fairly significant skill gains in 2019? I think these guys are all a lot better than Lutz, and they could’ve been acquired on the cheap for most of their post-prospect career. If you have a lot of swing-and-miss in your game, the road to a productive, everyday gig can be existentially dreadful like a strobe light at 3:30 am on a Tuesday. 

 

6. RHP Trey Supak | 23 | AAA | Late 2020

7. LHP Aaron Ashby | 21 | A+ | Late 2022

8. LHP Ethan Small | 23 | A | Late 2021

9. LHP Antoine Kelly | 20 | A | 2023

10. 3B Jesus Parra | 17 | R | 2025

0.87 

That was Trey Supak’s WHIP across 122.2 innings at AA Biloxi. 

It’s kind of a shocking number on its own but especially when paired with his 21.2 percent strikeout rate. His plus command of four pitches fits well with what appears to be Milwaukee’s type. I’m not bouncing off the walls with excitement, but I’m holding Supak in a 20-team rebuild where innings have good value. Can always cut him if he doesn’t adapt to the ridiculous AAA environment in Colorado Springs, but he won’t have to show much there to get a major league look in 2020. 

Over the Top is a film about Arm Wrestling featuring the super-syllabic stylings of Slyvester Stallone, written by Sly and Stirling Silliphant. If you haven’t seen it, I envy you. You’ve got a wonderfully ridiculous 80’s afternoon in your future.

“Over the top” is also an apt description of Aaron Ashbys delivery, which gives all four of his pitches slightly different spin angles than hitters typically see. If he can find a way to command it, he’s got a good chance to be effective as a starter. If not, he’ll still carve out a career as a bullpen piece. 

Ethan Small features command of three pitches and might have another tick or two of velocity waiting as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. For what it’s worth, I doubt he’d be top ten in a decent system. 

Okay.

Trivia time: 

Who said the following about whom?

“Better teach this kid some control before he kills somebody.” 

Jeopardy music . . . 

do dew dooo dew do doo dewww . . . 

If you said Lou Brown about Rick Vaughn, you win the big prize!! 

It’s a smile: the prize. And maybe a laugh as you remember any number of moments from the best baseball film of all time. (And perhaps the best Film film of all time . . . )

Oh, also I said the control-before-kill thing just now about Antoine Kelly, an enormous lefty with a murderous fastball. Might take him time to master his mechanics and command, but maybe he just needs some glasses? 

Jesus Parra isn’t as twitchy as you’d like to see in a rookie-league lottery ticket, but beggars can’t be choosers, and Parra’s got power and extreme youth on his side. He posted a 118 wRC+ playing at 16 (1.7 years younger than his average competitor).

 

Radio Flier: 

Eduarqui Fernandez was in my top ten for much of this process and remains a name I’m tracking, but I’m giving this spot to 6’6” Andre Nnebe, a 230 pound outfielder with upside well beyond his 28th round draft day price. His college swing mechanics were used in a Tom Emansky video from the upside down, but he’s got big topside if the Brewers can coach him up. 

 
  1. M says:
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    Where would Trent Grisham fall on this list had he been wligible?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi M,

      Thanks for the question!

      Grisham would be #1 by a wide margin.

  2. knucks says:
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    Judging from the ranks (#16 vs #37), I maybe shouldn’t be asking this question. But for a 14 Team Dynasty (7×7, with Hits, OPS, QS, Holds the extra cats), would you condone me accepting the following:

    I get Oneil Cruz and the #14 FYPD pick
    I give Patino

    Its with the same owner that I had the Yordan trade on the table with the other day. He pretty much accepted the deal I was asking you about via text, then declined over the weekend when the offer was sitting there on Fantrax. Started asking for Patino to be included into it. And since then, we’ve gotten here at this smaller deal. I’m thinking I should favor the bat over the arm. Plus I could end up with someone like Baty or Lodollo with that #14 pick too.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Dang, I had that suspicion we were dealing with a feeler-outer who’d have no problem asking and asking and then agreeing to a trade the moment before changing his mind.

      Don’t be that guy, dear readers.

      I’d run to hit the button on that trade.

      Oneil Cruz forever!!!!

      • knucks says:
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        Exactly the kind of owner!!!

        I tried very hard to not comment and touch base with you until I had a firm commitment. But it seems that there isn’t such a thing with this owner.

        Pressing accept now. Thank you!!

        I don’t hate still having Yordan either. So I’ll consider him changing his mind on that big package still a win for me.

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