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Toby's Power 50
 
 
  Power 50 Notes
 
last updated: 04/21/2011

Toby here, with your first Power 50 of the 2011 season. I'll keep this short as there is lots of info contained in the player comments section. The Brewers farm system has seen its better days, though there is still room for hope of minor league help in the pitching and outfield departments. And, with two good first-round picks, the Brewers should soon be able to add some top-tier talent to this group. I want to once again congratulate Patrick Ebert on his new position with Perfect Game USA. As he's now a real, professional baseball guy he has stepped down as a Power 50 editor. That leaves me, Eric and Jim. We'll get by, but we'll miss Patrick's insights a great deal. Again, congrats Patrick! I also want to note the new Zach Braddock rule. Braddock has been on the Major League roster for quite some time, but due to the Brewers' careful use of him, he has not yet accrued enough innings to graduate off of the Power 50... until now. We've added a "Braddock Rule" wherein a pitcher with 40 or more relief appearances will graduate off of the list. Braddock meets that criteria, but we're leaving him on the Power 50 this one last time to say goodbye. So that's all from me. I hope you enjoy! Please discuss this in the Minor League Forum or feel free to contact me (@BrewerfanToby) or Eric (@SessileFielder) on Twitter with your thoughts and/or angry diatribes. Thank you for reading and Go Brewers!!!!    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
2  01 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 30 R R
  Despite not being able to nail down a temporary spot in the Milwaukee rotation due to an uneven spring, Wily Peralta is the Brewers' top prospect. The Dominican righty has gotten off on the right foot in Huntsville with a return to the strikeout form that eluded him in 2010. There are some questions about his conditioning - Wily is a big boy - and his breaking pitches are still short of their potential. Still, Peralta could be able to help the Milwaukee pitching staff by the end of the year and has the potential to be a stabilizing mid-rotation guy within a few years.
2  02 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  A tooth infection (a relatively rare malady, though par for the course in Brewers camp this spring) kept Rivas from challenging for the open rotation spot. At 25, Rivas is beginning to run a little short on time to prove himself as something other than a bottom of the rotation guy or relief help, but he profiles as at least a solid #4 or #5 in my book. Anything higher in the rotation will depend on Rivas' ability to keep his fastball heavy and down in the zone while commanding his changeup and developing a second plus off-speed pitch.
1  03 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  Zach Braddock has been one of our favorite prospects to follow on the Power 50 for years now. He's won battles with injuries both physical and emotional and has turned into a mainstay in the Brewers' bullpen. We love him so much, we're creating a special rule for him: Pitchers will now graduate off of the Power 50 with either 50 IP or 40 appearances at the Major League level. So... this is it for Zach on the list. We wish him more than the best of luck and we can't wait to see what's in store for the young man.
3  04 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  While Mark Rogers has typically struggled out of the gate early, it is concerning that both his velocity and command have escaped him thus far. Rogers has walked lots of guys before, but has made up for it with filthy breaking stuff that racked up K's. Without the velocity on his fastball, the breaking stuff doesn't look as tantalizing. Could be that the velocity drop is just an early season thing. We'll hope that's the case, but we'll also keep a close eye on it. As for the Brewers' long-term plans for him, I don't think a switch to the bullpen is in the offing for awhile yet, unless he falls on his face before mid-season.
2  05 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  The Brewers are likely to receive a 4th option year on Scarpetta, who is using his 3rd (and usually final) option year currently, so there isn't the rush to advance him to Milwaukee that might be perceived. MLB won't decide on his option status until the coming off-season. As for Scarpetta's pitching, we'll see if the improvements that Fred Dabney made to his delivery will hold together through Cody's first extended taste of AA. In addition to his command issues, the 2007 11th rounder needs to continue to work on refining a changeup, the pitch which will dictate whether he ends up in the rotation or bullpen.
3  06 Gennett, Scooter   MLB   2B 29 L R
  Gennett is really not too far away from being a top 100 prospect in all of baseball. He's young, has a quick bat, and has the potential to play good defense at second. What will get him on to more prospect lists is a better approach at the plate and more consistent defense. Scooter's walk rate has to improve - he won't be able to rely on the .309 batting average he posted last year. He walked once per every 16.9 plate appearances last year. It would be nice to see that number move closer to 10.0 this year. As for his defense so far this year, six errors in 12 games isn't good, but we'll check back later.
1  07 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  How do you improve on a season in which you allowed a scant 2.4 walks per nine innings? I don't know... DON'T WALK ANYONE. Heckathorn, who was already known for pounding the zone coming into the year, hasn't allowed a free pass in his first 17 2/3 innings of 2011. Sometimes you can be too good at something, though - opposing batters are hitting .304 off of Heckathorn, and he's already given up a career-high four HR. Now that he's locked into the strike zone, he might want to look a little outside it.
2  08 Komatsu, Erik   A   OF 32 L L
  Komatsu is listed generously at 5'10 and that's the primary reason why people have such a tough time latching onto him as a legit prospect. He plays CF well, runs well, does nothing but get on base, and even has enough gap-to-gap pop to be dangerous at the MLB level. Diminutive players always just have a tougher time and Erik will keep having to prove scouts wrong as he continues to succeed. For my money, if he isn't the Brewers' CF of the future, it's only because Logan Schafer outplays him.
1  09 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Speaking of short players, Caleb Gindl made the Nashville Sounds roster out of spring training at the tender age of 22, only to be sidelined five at-bats into his season by the scourge of the Brewers' medical staff, the oblique strain. Gindl should be back in another 2-3 weeks.
5  10 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  As long as D'Vontrey Richardson or any other center fielder is not in the same lineup as him, the Brewers definitely see Davis as a center fielder. In other words, I don't expect Davis to be in the Brewers' long-term center field plans. The question we have to ask then, is: will Kentrail Davis hit enough to be a corner outfielder? It's an open-ended question right now, and the answer will ultimately define this Davis' future as an MLBer.
 11 Thornburg, Tyler   MLB   CL 31 R R
  I admit, I had to do a double-take when I saw that Thornburg was not amongst our top 10 prospects, but I can see my fellow Power 50 editors' takes on the subject. Thornburg, while as full of potential as any pitcher in the system, has to navigate through his own tricky delivery and prove his fastball command and movement is good enough to succeed beyond A-ball, and succeed more than once through the lineup.
 12 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  Schafer made it almost all the way through big league camp this year without the injury bug biting, until breaking his right thumb in the third week of March. With any luck, that'll be it this year for the injury-riddled (but not injury-prone) center field talent. Logan should be back in Huntsville sometime in early May.
2  13 Green, Taylor   A   IF 32 L R
  Filed in the rolodex of my mind under "Undecided Issues Re:Canadians We Didn't Have to Trade to the Cleveland Indians" I have the following note: "Taylor Green's career Fangraphs WAR as a Milwaukee Brewer is, having not yet played for the Brewers, 0. Michael Brantley, the dude the Indians decided to take instead of Green in the Sabathia deal, has a career Fangraphs WAR of -0.7." In other words, he has cost the Indians about $2.6M worth of production over parts of the past three years. Meanwhile, Taylor Green is mashing in AAA, possibly finally reaching post-wrist surgery recovery. I still like the odds that the Brewers got to keep the better player of the two.
3  14 Kintzler, Brandon   A   MR 35 R R
  The role of the Brewers human yo-yo is being played by Brandon Kintzler early on this season as he bounces back and forth between the Major League bullpen and the AAA bullpen. He continues to pitch well for the Brewers when he's up, but his remaining options mean he'll be down again once the Brewers get some pitchers back from the disabled list. Brandon, don't worry, your yo-yo string will be cut eventually.
9  15 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R
  D'Vo was held back in extended spring training to begin the season with some hip discomfort. We knew he'd come back shortly in to the season, but we weren't entirely sure which roster he would pop up on. The Brewers decided to be aggressive and promote the still-raw Richardson to Brevard County, where he replaces Kentrail Davis as the Manatees' everyday center fielder.
3  16 Nelson, Jimmy   MLB   SP 30 R R
  First... make sure to follow Jimmy Nelson on Twitter @Jimmy_J_Nelson. Second... complete analysis of Nelson's 2011 season: one good start, one bad start.
2  17 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  The Brewers announced that Farris will start playing SS a few times a week at Nashville to increase his versatility and utility usefulness in the big leagues. Do not read in to this: "Shortstop of the future." If the Brewers thought he could play shortstop everyday in MLB, he'd be playing SS everyday in Nashville. Now if they really want him to increase versatility, I'd like to see him play some CF and 3B, too.
new  18 Estrada, Marco   MLB   SP 36 R R
  Pretty sure that this will be the last time Estrada is eligible for the Power 50, so let's all thank him for stepping up and plugging the rotation hole while we wait for Zack Greinke to return. Marco is not a world beater, but he looks like a fine option as a 5th starter/swingman for a few years and that's nice to have.
1  19 Davis, Khris   MLB   OF 31 R R
  All four of Davis' home runs have been hit on the road, not surprising given how Space Coast Stadium zaps right-handed power. We're excited about his continued show of power potential, but worried that his power this year seems to be coming at the expense of his walk rate. Last year, Davis walked once for every 7.2 plate appearances. This year, that number is way down to once every 19.3 plate appearances. Still early, but not a good trend. We also still have to see where he fits in on defense. His arm limits him to LF or 1B.
4  20 McClendon, Mike   A   MR 34 R R
  If Kintzler is the yo-yo, what does that make McClendon? Boomerang?
1  21 Morris, Hunter   MLB   1B 31 L R
  There is some plate discipline work to be done here, but the Brewers love Morris' bat, and rightly so. He should keep hitting for average and a fair amount of power as the year wears on. I sincerely doubt he will finish the year in Brevard. A promotion should be forthcoming around mid-season.
1  22 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 33 L L
  Random trivia time: Merklinger is one of six left-handed pitchers to have made a start for the Brewers or one of their minor league affiliates this year. Who are the other five?
2  23 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  Besides working on fastball command, the Brewers want Bucci to work on keeping the ball down in the zone. He doesn't have a true sinker, but can get enough movement with his fastball that down in the zone strikes will induce plenty of grounders. The very young Canadian (he does not turn 21 until the middle of July) is having a fine start to the season. The Brewers love almost everything about Bucci and see him being a Major League fixture not too far down the road.
1  24 Lamontagne, Andre   A   MR 33 R R
  We're still waiting for Lamontagne to finish his biceps tendonitis rehab and report to Huntsville, and we're curious to see if the Brewers stick him in the rotation or continue his fast track as a reliever.
2  25 Miller, Matt   A   SP 30 R R
  Last summer with Helena, Matt Miller's command was both impressive and unexpected - he had been removed from the Michigan rotation due to control issues. That's why eight walks over his first 9 1/3 innings with the Timber Rattlers can make you nervous. Hopefully just a blip.
9  26 Roberts, Tyler   A   C 29 L R
  Roberts and Cameron Garfield both made the Wisconsin roster and were to form a catching prospect tandem that was strange to think about, considering how much work both of them need behind the dish. It's a moot point for the moment as Garfield was just placed on the disabled list. "Country" Roberts will get the bulk of the playing time, which he needs.
10  27 Ross, Austin   A   MR 31 R R
  The leader at the turn for the Brewers' minor league pitcher of the month award, Ross won't be long for Wisconsin, especially if he makes progress with his changeup.
5  28 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 28 R R
  As I noted in the Tyler Roberts comment, he and Garfield were in a catching tandem in Wisconsin that led to a lot of head scratching given how much work he and Cameron need. Garfield just went on the disabled list with an undisclosed injury (rumored to involve his leg), and when he comes back, I hope the Brewers can find a way to give both he and Roberts regular playing time behind the plate, even if it means demoting one to extended spring training.
14  29 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  One of the bright spots of Brewers Major League camp and it seemed like Zelous made a favorable impression on a lot of people. Unfortunately, Wheeler suffered a sprained knee in a play at the plate on April 8th and will be out of action until the end of May.
1  30 Fiers, Mike   MLB   SP 34 R R
  I thought that if Fiers didn't make the Nashville Sounds' rotation, he would wind up in their bullpen. Or at the very least, he'd start for the the Huntsville Stars. Turns out, it's the very very least and he's in the Stars' bullpen. At least he's closing. Soon-to-be 26 year old relievers need a little more fast tracking than this. The Brewers need to see what they have, unless they already know and don't like it.
9  31 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Dennis was placed on the disabled list recently after suffering a horrible start to the season: .103/.188/.138 with 17 strikeouts over 31 at-bats. No word on the injury, but hopefully whatever ails him is cured and he gets back to crushing.
13  32 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  Lee Haydel has always been able to hit, but for a guy with limited power (please do not read that as "no power" - Tony Gwynn, Jr. he is not), not drawing walks was the single biggest flaw in his game. We don't know if he has found a permanent fix to his plate discipline problems or not, but Haydel has already walked seven times (vs. only five strikeouts) in 44 plate appearances with the Stars. His previous career high walk rate was last year with the Stars, when he managed 35 walks over 497 plate appearances (vs. 97 strikeouts). If this is truly a "light bulb on" moment for the speedy Haydel, he becomes a legit leadoff/CF prospect instantly.
3  33 Hawn, Cody   A   1B 31 L R
  Timber Rattlers broadcaster Chris Mehring has been adamant that Hawn has been hitting in to a lot of bad luck, hence his weak 564 season-opening OPS with the club. Bad luck or not, Hawn's OPS will be over 800 before you know it. He's a good hitter.
new  34 Maldonado, Martin   MLB   C 33 R R
  The new edition of the Power 50, in which we begin to appreciate Martin Maldonado. The Brewers added the defensive-first backstop to the 40-man roster in the off-season and what do you know? He's hitting a little bit in Nashville. Martin could be a solid backup to Lucroy for the foreseeable future.
new  35 Rosario, Adrian   MLB   MR 30 R R
  The Brewers had to be relieved that they were able to get Rosario back from the Orioles after Baltimore selected him in the Rule 5 draft. Rosario has a good arm with a nice, sinking fastball and a quality changeup. He's far from a finished product, but he's a quality young kid.
 36 James, Justin   A   MR 38 R R
  At 29, James is not a typical prospect. But as a reliever with a plus fastball and an often-nasty cutter/slider combination, he is a prospect. Like Kintzler and McClendon, he also has options left and will be in the Brewers' bullpen plans soon, if not this year.
6  37 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  We were hoping that Brooks Hall would break camp with the Timber Rattlers, but it wasn't in the cards. The young power sinker/slider pitcher should debut with Helena later this summer if he doesn't get to Wisconsin before then.
10  38 Lasker, Maverick   A   SP 29 R R
  Has been hit hard early, but has also been inducing a ton of ground balls, which makes me think that he's trying to pick up some things from fellow Manatee pitcher/ground ball artist Kyle Heckathorn. Maverick is just 21. Even if he gets hit hard all year, still plenty of time.
13  39 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 31 R R
  Bad '10 season, terrible spring training, and now rotator cuff tendinitis. Hopefully bad things indeed just come in threes. No date has been set for Arnett's return to full season ball.
new  40 Perez, Osmel   A   RHP 26 R R
  Ladies and gentleman, we would like to present you with a future Brewers top 10 prospect by the name of Osmel Perez. The young Mr. Perez will be just 17 this season, and already features a 90-94 MPH fastball, a plus changeup and a good slider. He threw 28 2/3 mostly outstanding innings last summer in the Dominican Summer League and stands a decent chance at pitching in Arizona this summer. Look out world... it's Osmel!
3  41 Zarraga, Shawn   MLB   C 30 S R
  Unfortunately, it took a head injury to Rafael Neda (which we do not know the full extent of yet, but we hope he recovers fully and soon) to finally get the Brewers to play Zarraga every day at catcher. Why they haven't done this previously is beyond me, but such are the stylings of Reid Nichols. Zarraga needs work defensively but can hit. Zarraga has received the most 50th place votes by Power 50 editors in Power 50 history by quite some margin. So, there's that too.
6  42 Sanchez, Jesus   A   MR 32 R R
  The infielder-turned-catcher-turned-pitcher hasn't been mind-blowing in his first taste of AA, but for a 23 year old who has been pitching for just a few years, he's doing just fine. He could become a really fascinating story as he gets more successful on the mound.
2  43 Butler, Josh   A   SP 34 R R
  2009 seems like a really long time ago for Butler. After his five level success that year, including three Major League relief appearances with the Brewers, Josh developed an elbow problem in big league camp in 2010 and it seems like he was never the same after it. After being taken off the 40-man roster, he somehow needs to get his strikeout ratio and K/BB ratio back up to get the Brewers' attention again.
2  44 Meadows, Daniel   A   MR 31 L L
  Just keeps on having success with a limited mound repertoire. Meadows won't be a starting pitcher at the Major League level, but it is getting harder and harder to say he's not a legitimate relief prospect.
7  45 Pokorny, Jon   A   MR 31 R L
  Unlike Meadows, when Jon Pokorny pitches, it can make you say "Wow, that guy is gonna be in the big leagues pretty soon." But Pokorny needs to keep working on command and getting ahead in the count. He was able to get away with pitching out of hitter's counts last year in Wisconsin, but it'll get much harder very soon if he doesn't make adjustments.
new  46 Rivera, Yadiel   A   IF 27 R R
  ...the point in the Power 50 where the editors see scouting reports with words like "defensive promise" and "could develop" and "one day" and "inexperience" and "could improve" and ".243 OBP" and "500 OPS" and we don't care, but apparently others do, and we realize he's our best SS prospect and we're screwed anyway, so here he is!
new  47 Walker, Mike   A   3B 31 L R
  He's 23 and playing in A-ball, but he can play 3B, he walks a ton and he has a 1236 OPS. Wait... Scott Krieger is calling... what the? How did he get my number?
new  48 Byrd, Darren   A   SP 33 R R
  Ex-Northern League signee, turned dominant relief pitcher in Huntsville: Brandon Kintzler wants his story back.
9  49 Katin, Brendan   A   OF 36 R R
  If the Brewers haven't called him up yet, or even given him much more than a cursory shot in spring training, it looks like it isn't going to happen for Brendan in Milwaukee. Which is a shame, because he can hit a ball a long way and throw people out at home from a long way away. I thought "Deputy" Ryan Braun had more pull.
new  50 Wooten, Rob   A   MR 34 R R
  Missed last year while recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Velocity was never a big thing for Rob, so he should be effective even if his fastball isn't all the way back. He'll be 26 in late July, so much like Fiers, the Brewers should push him to see what they have.

Players removed this week: Kenny Allison... Cutter Dykstra... Pat Egan... Brian Garman... Del Howell... Roque Mercedes... Rafael Neda... Trey Watten...
 

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