In honor of the Star Wars saga, I started my draft trilogy taking a look back at this past year's draft and followed that by looking ahead to next year. In this installment, prequel-style, I am going to look back at the prospects that were added in both Sal Bando's & Dean Taylor's terms as GM in regards to the current state of the farm system & the organization in general.
Sal Bando takes a lot of heat for leaving the Brewers farm system in shambles by the time Dean Taylor arrived in the late summer of 1999. Much of this is deserved, but not in so many ways that people think. Many often point to his numerous failed 1st round picks as the reason for his demise, while it should be noted that his middle to late round picks didn't fare much better.
As noted just above, Sal Bando often takes a lot of heat just for his failed first round picks. His first round picks started with Ken Felder, and ended with Ben Sheets. They could very well be considered his worst & best picks during his tenure as GM. Here's a look at the first rounders that just didn't have what it took to be productive major-leaguers:
Ken Felder (1992): The Brewers lacked power in the early 90s, with Greg Vaughn as the only legitimate power threat on the major league roster. Sal Bando in turn took the player he felt had the most power potential, seemingly regardless of his other abilities or even his ability to actually succeed as a professional ballplayer. Felder spent a few years in the system, and never displayed much to get excited about, as his power wasn't impressive enough to carry him on it's own.
Kelly Wunsch, Todd Dunn, Joe Wagner (1993): Thanks to the free agent compensation process, the Brewers had 4 first-round picks in the 1993 draft, and Jeff D'Amico was the only one that establishd himself as a productive major leaguer with the Brewers, even if it was for only a short time. Kelly Wunsch is currently a productive member of the Chicago White Sox bullpen, but unfortunately his acquisition meant nothing in return for the Brew Crew. Todd Dunn was the organization's #1 prospect according to Baseball America in 1997, hailed for his power potential. Dunn never turned the corner at the big league level & eventually was traded to the Orioles for AAAA outfielder Lyle Mouton. I can't say I recall what happened to Joe Wagner, but the Wisconsin native did have a relatively successful minor league career even if he never made his presence be known at the big league level.
Antone Williamson (1994): Williamson probably received the most heat from the fans because of the amount of hype he received upon his selection early in the '94 draft. Reportedly, Bando ignored his scout's warnings by selecting Williamson 4th overall, as being a former 3B from Arizona State himself seemed to have clouded his judgement. Williamson went on to have a decent minor league career, but could never make the adjustments at the big league level. Plus, he couldn't handle the defensive responsibilities at the hot corner.
Chad Green (1996): Chad Green was drafted for his speed. Unforutnately for Chad, you can't steal first, as he struggled with all other aspects of the game. Green reached an agreement before the '96 draft, which leads to even more criticism as he was perceived as a budget signing even if he was considered a first-round pick at the time.
Kyle Peterson (1997): Tough to get too down on Peterson, who did advance rapidly through the system & upon his arrival it seemed as though he would have a productive major league career as a #3 type of starting pitcher. Unfortunately, an unorthodox delivery in which Kyle threw across his body led to injuries, as some suspected, and basically ended his career.
7 busts out of 12 first round picks, with one more that could easily join this list within a year or two (J.M. Gold). Not a very good success rate. D'Amico & Jenkins may not be too far away from that dubious honor as well, although both have established themselves enough to avoid the "bust" tag.
The names you knew:
These are the players drafted by Bando that made it to the big league level but are no longer with the organization.
Bobby Hughes ('92 draft, 3rd round): Hughes had tremendous power, but not much else. His power kept him around for a couple of years, and the lack of everything else insured his stay didn't last very long.
Scott Karl ('92, 6): Scott Karl enjoyed several productive seasons for the Brewers. Unfortuantely, outside of the potential of Ben Sheets, Nick Neugebauer & Ben Hendrickson, Karl may be the most productive pitcher of all of Bando's draftees. Karl was included in the Jeff Cirillo deal for Jamey Wright, Jimmy Haynes & Henry Blanco, basically to rid the team of his salary, and has since disappeared from the major league ranks.
Tim Unroe ('92, 28): Utility player that didn't hit well enough to be a 1B nor a corner outfielder. Played 3 seasons with Milwaukee, one in Anaheim & most recently played with the Braves in 2000.
Jeff D'Amico ('93, 1): D'Amico turned out to be a pretty good selection, who flashed signs of brilliance when he wasn't hindered by injuries. He made his debut in '96, and started showing signs of a potential staff ace. Injured in '97, he didn't return to full-time duty until 1999, in which he was named pitcher of the month in July & finished the season 3rd in the NL in ERA. Constant injuries, a lackluster 2001 season & a rumored lack of desire caused D'Amico to be traded to the Mets as part of the Jeromy Burnitz deal.
Danny Klassen ('93, 2): Klassen was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the expansion draft. His star back then shone pretty bright, but has yet to live up to that potential. Klassen remains in the Diamondbacks' system as a utility player.
Brian Banks ('93, 2): Banks came up the ranks & made his stay in Milwaukee as a utility player that could do it all. He didn't do any one thing well enough, which caused for a short career. Banks was playing in the Florida Marlins system this past season, posting impressive numbers at AAA Calgary.
Mark Loretta ('93, 7): Loretta has to be considered one of Bando's more successful draft picks. A fan favorite for his clutch hitting, "gritty" style of play & overall versatility, Loretta was recently traded to the Astros for Keith Ginter & Wayne Franklin. Limited range & a lack of power will likely cause Loretta to finish his career as a utility infielder, but probably not in Milwaukee.
Steve Woodard ('94, 5): Woodard made his claim to fame by pitching a 1-hit shutout over 8 innings of work in his professional debut, outduelling then Blue Jays ace Roger Clemens. Woodard showed promise for 3 seasons, only to have his star quickly fizzle. Woodard was included in the deal to Cleveland that brought Richie Sexson to Milwaukee. Woodard pitched for both the Phillies & Caridinals this season at the AAA level.
Travis Smith ('95, 19): Smith's claim to fame wasn't nearly as impressive as Woodard's. In Smith's first start as a major leaguer, he blew out his arm during his warmup tosses to begin the 3rd inning. Smith rehabbed within the Brewers system for 2 years, only to move onto the Astros organization & is now with the Cardinals, where he saw some time at the big league level given the Cardinals rash of pitching woes.
Kevin Barker ('96, 3): Kevin Barker was the team's starting 1B in 2000. While Barker always exhibited good patience at the plate, he just couldn't hit enough to be the team's starting 1B on a day-to-day basis. He was sent back to the minors a month into the season, and never saw time with the Brewers again. He was traded this past offseason to the Padres for minor league catcher Dusty Wathan, who has since been released.
Allen Levrault ('96, 13): There are plenty of people out there who don't agree with the way Levrault was allowed to be snatched up by the Oakland A's on waivers. The fact remains, if the A's would have passed on him, Levrault would likely still be in the organization. Injuries & inconsistency continued to haunt Levrault this season at AAA in the A's system, just as they did with the Brewers.
None of these guys really break your heart knowing they are no longer with the organization, further exhibiting the lack of talent added via the draft during Bando's tenure as GM.
The names you know:
These are the players drafted under Bando that are currently playing with the big league team:
Ron Belliard ('94, 8): Belliard was named the organization's #1 prospect in 1999, and his presence caused the team to trade 2B Fernando Vina to the Cardinals. Belliard was impressive during his rookie year replacing the injured Vina, showing great promise given his advanced knowledge at the plate. Unfortunately ever since then Belliard has steadily declined instead of building on that initial promise.
Geoff Jenkins ('95, 1): Geoff Jenkins has shown his promise for a few years with the Brewers, but like D'Amico, has been slowed by injuries every year. He still has talent, and the Brewers are still very hopeful that he will return to form next season.
Nick Neugebauer ('98, 2): Neugie has all of the potential in the world with a mid to high 90s fastball & a nasty high 80s breaking pitch that has touced the low 90s in the past. Unfortunately, like so many other promising Brewers prospects, Neugebauer's development has been slowed the past 2 years by injuries. He has pitched himself back to health to finish the season, and hopefully will enter next season at full strength.
Bill Hall ('98, 6): Hall busted onto the Brewers' prospect scene last year with an impressive campaign at High Desert in which he was named the league's most exciting player by the managers. He didn't fare as well after earning a promotion to Huntsville, but had a strong showing once again during the Arizona Fall League. He struggled at Indianapolis this past year, and continued to do so after his seemingly hasty callup to Milwaukee. Hall no doubt needs more seasoning, and many hope his rapid promotions didn't hurt his development.
Ben Sheets ('99, 1): Ben Sheets is the only guy on this list in which you can basically just type his name & leave it be. While he's not exactly a proven ace starter, he certainly has shown what he can do when he is on top of his game.
Dave Pember ('99, 8): Solid starting pitcher, but not spectacular. Control is the name to his game, and he should continue to progress likely returning to AAA to open the 2003 season. Didn't see much playing time after his callup late in the 2002 season.
Amazingly, sadly, unfortunately, pick your favorite word to show your disgust, but these are the only 5 Brewers currently on the Brewers roster that were drafted by Sal Bando, and 2 of those (Neugebauer & Hall) spent most of the year on the DL & AAA respectively. 2 more draftees did see time with Milwaukee this past year, Matt Childers ('97, 9) & Brian Mallette ('97, 27), neither of whom performed well enough to stick for an extended period of time but both remain promising relief pitching prospects. And while Pember was on the big league roster to finish the season, he didn't exactly have many opportunities to prove his worth.
The names you look forward to:
There are still a few holdovers from Bando's drafting efforts that offer promise. The list isn't very long, but Ben Hendrickson alone offers a glimmer of hope.
Paul Stewart ('96, 6): Paul enjoyed a comeback season this past year for the Huntsville Stars to get his name back on the promising prospect map. Look for Stewart in AAA next year, hoping his name is added to the 40-man roster first.
Jeff Deardorff ('97, 3): Drafted as a 3B, Deardorff didn't start living up to his billing until Bando was out of the organization. Now playing 3B, 1B & LF, Deardorff could serve as a valuable right-handed hitting power hitter with versatility off of the bench.
J.M. Gold ('98, 1): Rated the top high school arm heading into the 1998 draft, the Brewers were amazed to have Gold fall to them. J.M. Gold is still incredibly talented, with a mid-90s fastball & power curve. However, to go with the common theme, Gold has been limited in his progression by injuries. Gold still has promise, but that window of opportunity is closing rapidly. When he returns next year, IF he returns, the club should consider using him out of the bullpen. If he never makes it, Gold will join the "bust" list, and despite the title, that's not very good company.
Kade Johnson ('99, 2): Power hitting catcher that likely can't catch anymore given lingering injuries to his throwing shoulder. Will now likely be brought along as a LF, and is going to need to hit to prove his worth.
Ben Hendrickson ('99, 10): Named the Brewers minor league pitcher of the year, pitching incredibly well at both A-level High Desert & AA Huntsville. Should begin 2003 in AAA Indianapolis, and could see time in Milwaukee before the '03 season is over.
Steve Scarborough ('99, 18): The 2nd coming of Mark Loretta. Limited range & throwing arm, but gets the job done. Not much more than gap power, though shows a good understanding of how to hit & work the count. Potential steady utility IF in a year or two, but needs to start '03 at AAA.
Brian Foster ('99, 42): Not exactly a promising name to watch, but the Brewers system isn't exactly overwhelmed with catching prospects. Foster will be given every chance to succeed, and could be a good bet to see time with the big league club in the not-so-distant future.
Other Bando draftees currently still in the system with fading stars:
Jose Garcia ('96, 2), Brian Moon ('96, 48), Chris Rowan ('97, 14), Derry Hammond ('98, 3), Mike Penney ('98, 8), Ryan Poe ('98, 21), Elio Ayala ('98, 23), Jack Krawczyk ('98, 25), Roberto Maysonet ('98, 32), Dustin Lansford ('99, 5), Mark Ernster ('99, 6), Jeff Robinson ('99, 7), Terry Mayo ('99, 13), Ryan Knox ('99, 24), Justin Gordon ('99, 32).
Other Bando draftees of interest:
Gabby Martinez ('92, 1): The only 1st rounder not mentioned above. Good fielding middle IF with a decent bat, but didn't do any one thing better than average which prevented him from being given that chance at the major-league level. Replaced the damaged Pat Listach to join Graeme Lloyd in the trade to the Yankees for Bob Wickman & Gerald Williams. Wickman & Williams later brought Richie Sexson & Chad Fox to the Brewers, so for that alone I can't really consider Martinez a bust. Played in the Atlantic Independent baseball League this past summer, and played at AA Binghamton in the Mets system in '01. Matt Morris ('92, 26): Unsigned RHP out of high school that is currently the St. Louis Cardinals staff ace. Danan Hughes ('92, 3): Talented WR for the University of Iowa that went on to play 6 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. Did not sign with the Brewers. Mike Kinkade ('95, 9): Played on the US Olympic team in 2000. Played the 2002 season in the Dodgers organization at AAA Las Vegas. Doug Johnston ('96, 9): Traded to the Cubs straight-up for Ray King. Josh Klimek ('96, 10): Owns the Huntsville Stars all-time HR record. Alvin Morrow ('97, 2): Ended his baseball career to re-discover a potential football career. Bucky Jacobsen ('97, 7): Fondly revered by the "Bucky Backers." Bucky just didn't have what it took to make the jump from the upper levels of the minors to the major league level. At least, he was never given that chance. Rhett Parrott ('98, 4): Unsigned draft pick out of high school that is now a promising RHP in the Cardinals organization. Jeff Pickler ('98, 11): Light hitting 2B with good speed & patience. Now in the Rangers organization. Ruddy Lugo ('99, 3): Brother of the Astros Julio. Athletic yet short RHP traded to the Dodgers with Marquis Grissom for Devon White.
Bando's legacy to the Brewers:
Bando simply did not get the job done by building from within. After focusing mainly on college players, he and his scouting staff seemed to take a different direction starting with the '98 draft by taking a couple of high-ceiling high school power pitchers in Gold & Neugebauer. He added some valuable talent in the form of Bill Hall & Ben Hendrickson, but for the most part, the team's success now can be directly linked to the failure of the scouting department to provide the system with any major league talent. Ben Sheets seems to be a good player, but he alone doesn't offset years of neglect. For the most part, Jenkins, Sheets, Neugebauer, Hall & Hendrickson would seem to be the last rays of hope. Considering no team is successful without it's fair share of homegrown talent, the Brewers success the past couple of years can be directly tied to Bando's drafting efforts, and quite frankly, it's pretty sad that you can count the number of his draftees currently on the team with one hand. While there are a couple of more prospects to be excited about in the coming years, there isn't enough to consider Bando's time as the Brewers GM as anything more than a waste of time.
Will Dean's drafting efforts be viewed any better than Bando's? Of course we won't know the answer to this until 3-5 years down the road. Without breaking down the talent, it was quite obvious that the Brewers under Taylor & scouting director Jack Zduriencik made a very serious effort to infuse as much talent into the system as they could in just 3 years. New GM Doug Melvin has already pointed to the efforts Dean Taylor has made in these areas, and has dubbed Taylor's work as the foundation in which the Brewers will build off of.
The names to look forward to:
With extended coverage of the draft & the amazing resources provided by so many websites, especially those at Brewerfan.net, not too many prospects can really be considered unknowns. Even some of the most seemingly obscure names, such as Calvin Carpenter, may carry as much promise as some of the more well known, such as Dave Krynzel. Let's take a peak at Dean Taylor's first 2 drafts (if you want more detailed information regarding Taylor's efforts towards the 2002 draft, please visit http://www.brewerfan.net/fullArticle.jsp?articleId=113):
2000: Dean Taylor approached the draft stating he wanted to add tools to the system. Most people were unfamiliar with such a claim, and didn't really know what to expect. That claim led to the selection of Dave Krynzel, a highly talented & athletic OF prospect out of high school with blazing speed. Krynzel has been labelled as the team's leadoff hitter of the future, and has caused some to be concerned about such a claim given comparisons to '96 draftee Chad Green. While Krynzel does strikeout more than you would like from a player that really should be doing his best to put the ball on the ground & in play, he has added some power to his game & proved to be a rather disciplined hitter this past season posting a near .400 OBP at High Desert. So while Green couldn't steal first, Krynzel seemed to learn the value of getting on base not only via the hit, but also through patience at the plate. Krynzel has been pushed rather aggressively, gaining praise for his ability to make adjustments at such a young age. He will return to AA Huntsville to begin the 2003 season, and the organization will likely be looking for him to continue to draw walks, to cut down on his strikeouts, and to improve his efficiency in his stolen base attempts.
And the 2000 drafting efforts didn't end with Krynzel. The team lost it's 2nd round pick for signing Jose Hernandez as a free agent, and so far, their 3rd & 4th round picks haven't worked out (LHPs Dane Artman & Eric Henderson). 5th rounder Jason Belcher likely has been moved to LF for good after getting too dinged up behind the plate, and his refined bat may be enough to allow him to stay there. Bill Scott (8) could be a valuable right-handed bat off of the bench down the road, as he likely won't crack the organization's glut at 1B. 11th-rounder Corey Hart & 13th-rounder Matt Yeatman were absolute steals for where they were selected. Hart has made tremendous strides, and made it to AA this past year after spending all of last year at Ogden in the rookie level Pioneer League. He also appeared in this year's Future's Game as part of the All-Star activities at Miller Park, and is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League. Yeatman as a pitcher is being brought along more slowly, but has drawn praise for his low to mid 90s fastball & good curve. The development of his changeup may determine his future whether it be as a starter or out of the bullpen.
Other '00 picks include Todd West (14) who has been very impressive with his glove, but isn't much of a hitter. He could prove to be a fine utility IF down the road. RHP Dan Hall (15) emerged this past year at Beloit, but likely will have to progress quickly to be considered a prospect being drafted out of college 2 years ago. D.J. Clark is another steal of the draft as a 17th-rounder, whose hitting prowess has drawn the praise from the organization. His defense at 3B left a lot to be desired, and is likely to be moved to LF permanently. Jonah McClanahan (OF-18), Ryan Trytten (RHP-39), Mike Shwam (RHP-44) all remain in the system, but have yet to prove their worth.
2001: After Dean Taylor's first full season with the organization, it seemed as though he would be looking for the best positional prospect available in the draft given the system's supposed need for positional talent. When talented fire-balling RHP Mike Jones fell in their lap, the Brewers couldn't resist taking him. The club fell in love with Jones' mid-90s heat & effortless delivery. They knew his secondary pitches needed a lot of work, but they also knew he had plenty of time to learn how to pitch in the minor leagues. Jones is an incredibly determined young man, as he is starting to show progress with both his curveball & changeup. He spent the entire 2002 season with Beloit, and pitched a good portion of the year without his best stuff. He finished the season on a good note, really turning the corner after the minor league All-Star break. He will open 2003 at HIgh Desert, and could move up quickly after that if he continues to show progression with his overall repetoire.
Dean Taylor & Jack Zduriencik were far from finished with Mike Jones as their first pick. 2nd-rounder J.J. Hardy may offer more promise than Jones as a SS, and has drawn comparisons to Robin Yount, as unfair as that may sound to Hardy. His defense is already major league ready, but his bat needs some work. The potential for offensive improvement is there however, as many believe he could develop into a pretty good hitter over time. While it would seem unlikely he will ever reach Yount-like status, he is arguably the most exciting prospect in the system to watch.
Brad Nelson might give him a run for that claim. Nelson entered the 2001 as one of the most promising power-hitters. He fell to the 4th round, and the Brewers landed a steal. Leading all of the minor leagues with 49 doubles and 116 RBIs caused the Brewers to name Nelson their minor league player of the year. Nelson was promoted to High Desert towards the end of this past summer, and likely will begin at that level next year, where he has the chance to post some lofty power numbers. Jones, Hardy & Nelson alone could make the 2001 draft special.
3rd rounder Jon Steitz has struggled with control so far during his professional career. His stuff reportedly also took a dive, as he entered the draft flashing a low to mid-90s fastball & an impressive slider. He has yet to turn that stuff into production, yet he has time to turn his game around. Hopefully that turnaround will begin next season, as there's a good chance he'll start at Beloit once again. Judd Richardson (5) was injured for too much of the season to make an assessment on his ability, but 6th-rounder Calvin Carpenter stayed healthy & made the most of his time while with the Ogden Raptors. Look for Carpenter in Beloit next season, and don't be surprised if you start to hear more & more about the talented RHP similar to how Matt Yeatman emerged this past season. Speaking of talented RHP, Dennis Sarfate (9) and Greg Moreira (10) have the size & stuff to succeed down the road, but have yet to make their mark at the professional level.
Taylor McCormack (7) has good hitting actions, but has yet to get past rookie-level Arizona. Similar to '00 draftee Bill Scott, Brandon Gemoll (8) & Travis Hinton (13) are going to make their marks with their bats, but it's questionable whether or not they'll be able to handle the defensively responsibilities of the OF given the glut of 1B in the system.
Manny Parra might be the best name of them all, as he might be lumped into the 2002 draft class as a spring DFE signing even if he was drafted in 2001. As a 26th rounder, Parra decided to return to American River Junior College, and the Brewers held the right to sign him until a week before the '02 draft. Parra proved his worth & then some by adding 10 mph to his fastball & honing his overall game. Parra enters the Brewers system as one of the few, if not the only, promising left-handed pitchers. Stephen Hunt (35) was also a DFE signing in the spring of 2002, but it remains to be seen just how much promise he holds for the future.
Jeff Eure (C-18), Dan Kolb (RHP-24), Chris Barnwell (IF-25), Dan Boyd (OF-27), Chris Saenz (RHP-28), Tom Carrow (OF-37), Hubert Pruett (RHP-41) and Ralph Santana (2B-42) have all proven to be productive during their 2002 campaigns, but at this point in time, all of them would seem to be bench players or relief pitchers down the road.
As noted above, the 3rd draft under Dean Taylor was covered in a previous story. For the sake of adding some promising names to look forward to, keep your eyes on Prince Fielder (1B-1), Josh Murray (SS-2), Eric Thomas (RHP-3), Khalid Ballouli (RHP-6), Tom Wilhelmson (RHP-7) & Steven Moss (OF-29).
3 years of drafting, and you already have most of the Brewers projected top 10 prospect list with Krynzel, Hart, Yeatman, Jones, Hardy, Nelson, Parra & Fielder.
Speaking of top prospect lists & just how much work Dean Taylor has done rebuilding the farm system, let's take a peak at the Brewers top 10 prospects (according to Baseball America) when Taylor first entered the system:
1. Nick Neugebauer
2. Ben Sheets
3. Kevin Barker
4. Allen Levrault
5. J.M. Gold
6. Chad Green
7. Jose Garcia
8. Santiago Perez
9. Scott Kirby
10. Cristian Guerrero
All products of Sal Bando's drafts, with the exception of Perez (acquired from Detroit) and Guerrero (signed out of the Dominican Republic), although both transactions were the responsiblity of Bando as the team's GM.
Of these players, it's obvious where Neugebauer & Sheets are at. I tackled Barker, Levrault, Gold & Green above. Jose Garcia remains in the Brewers system, but his own injuries have seemed to take away his once impressive stuff. Perez, like Barker, was dealt to San Diego, and played briefly this past season with the Rangers AAA club. Kirby had one big year between Beloit & Stockton (our high-A affiliate at the time), and was named the organization's minor league player of the year because of that. He never built on that promise, and is now out of the Brewers' system & is nowhere to be found.
Now, let's take a look at the current top 10 prospects courtesy of our resident minor league expert Toby Harrmann:
1. Brad Nelson
2. Ben Hendrickson
3. Mike Jones
4. J.J. Hardy
5. Corey Hart
6. Dave Krynzel
7. Manny Parra
8. Prince Fielder
9. Ben Diggins
10. Matt Yeatman
All but Hendrickson have been added to the system by Dean Taylor. Of those remaining players, only one was not added via the draft, Ben Diggins, whom was acquied from the Dodgers as part of the trade for Tyler Houston.
All 10 of these players enjoyed impressive 2002 campaigns with their respective teams. Nelson enjoyed a productive season at Beloit, Hendrickson was dealing from High Desert to Huntsville, Jones reminded people why he was drafted in the first round during the 2nd half of the season, J.J. Hardy enjoyed a quick promotion to Huntsville after starting the season in High Desert by skipping Beloit, Hart was one of the most exciting players in the California League, Krynzel started to show improvement to his overall game, Parra dominated at times while focusing on his fastball, Fielder owned Pioneer League pitching, Diggins was virtually unhittable at AA after his acquisition, and Yeatman was Beloit's ace for the first half of the season.
The big question of course is whether or not this group will be any better than the top 10 that Dean Taylor inherited from Sal Bando. I think just by looking at the list, one can easily see there is a lot more talent from top to bottom. There's no Neugebauer or Sheets at the top, but the depth is that much more impressive, as one could easily make an argument for the top 1-8 guys on this list to be the team's #1 guy.
And of course, it doesn't end with the top 10. Pitchers such as Carpenter, Moreira, Ballouli, Steitz, Artman, Sarfate & Richardson all offer signs of hope, as at least one of these guys would seem capable to step up as a potential top 10 prospect for next year. Todd West & Josh Murray offer depth at the middle IF. Jason Belcher, D.J. Clark, Steven Moss, Stephen Hunt, Bill Scott, Brandon Gemoll, Jonah McClanahan & Travis Hinton all have the potential to make a name for themselves in the OF next year. The lack of any promising catchers in the system from top to bottom remains an organizational concern, although '02 draftees Jeremy Frost & John Vanden Berg will be given every opportunity to succeed behind the dish.
Taylor's legacy to the Brewers:
Of course, this remains to be seen. If the Brewers are going to be successful in the coming years, no doubt they are going to have to continue to build from within. In a couple of years, we may be seeing a team consisting of homegrown guys like Jones, Krynzel, Nelson, Hardy, Hart, Fielder & Parra. Obviously, they're not all going to make it, and even the one's that do have a lot of adversity before even being successful at the major league level. If the Brewers are actually blessed with some good fortune and some of these prospects start to turn out as hoped, we may be looking back & hailing Dean Taylor for his efforts to rebuild the system through the draft. Of course, credit will also be deserving to scouting director Jack Zduriencik & his scouting staff, who have done a great job identifying talent after the more glamorous first round picks. On the other hand, most to all of these guys may not make it at all, or at least prove to be unproductive at the big league level, in which Taylor's efforts of rebuilding the organization through the draft will look just as bad as Bando's. For the sake of optimism & the Brewers future, let's just hope that's not going to be the case.
Special thanks to Brewerfan.net staff member Jim Goulart & Brewerfan.net user SoCalBrewfan for filling in a few of the blanks.
If you have any questions or comments, please fee free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.