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Toby's Power 50
 
 
  Power 50 Notes
 
last updated: 04/08/2004

The crack of the bat, the blossoms blooming on the trees, the smell of brats burning on the grill... it must be time for baseball. The Power 50's first edition of the new season is listed below, but it's not a whole lot different from what it was at the end of last season. That's a good thing. Baseball America rated the Brewers' farm system as the best in all of baseball about a month ago, and that group of players is still intact. Me and about three-four other people on the planet think J.J. Hardy (#1) is a better prospect at the moment than Rickie Weeks (#2), and I'll tell you why I think that is. J.J. plays a more difficult position, and plays his position (shortstop) a heckuva lot better than Weeks plays his (second base). Weeks has great tools at second base, but unlike Hardy at short, has yet to put those tools together. The offensive potential of both players is also not as far apart as some believe. Weeks' ceiling is undoubtedly higher than J.J.'s, but we're beginning to see more projections that Hardy may have more power potential down the road (in the 20-25 HR territory), and J.J. is already a disciplined hitter with the potential for a batting average of over .300. While his offensive potential isn't as distinct as Weeks' is, judging prospects is laregly subjective, and I think Hardy will be a fine Major League hitter someday. This is taking nothing away from Weeks, who I also think will be a fine ML hitter someday. The difference between Hardy's and Weeks' defense is greater than the difference between Hardy's and Weeks' hitting prowess. But that's just my view. Manny Parra (#5) slipped down a spot this time around on the Power 50, and might slip down another spot next time. Parra has an ailing left shoulder that will sideline him until May. Former number one pick Mike Jones (#6), however, is back and healthy, and could easily pitch himself past Parra in the first month of the season. Assuming both of them are healthy for the whole season past April, it should be a spirited battle for the title of #1 pitching prospect. Power 50 Notes: -The biggest mover was closer Nick Slack, moving up seven spots to #43. After holding rookie ball Pioneer League hitters to a 0.79 WHIP with an impressive 6+:1 K:BB ratio to boot, Slack was skipped past Beloit and will become the closer for High Desert. Slack has been a closer for a few years now and doesn't have the wear and tear on his arm some of the other prospects do. -Other big movers included SS Gilberto Acosta (up six to #30 and SP Greg Kloosterman (up 5 to #28). CF Tony Gwynn, Jr. (#15), CL Jeff Bennett (#22), SP Jeff Housman (#35), and SP Chris Saenz (#38) all moved up four spots apiece. -Power 50 favorite SP Carlos Ramirez was the biggest dropper this time out, falling four spots to #31. Ramirez was originally ticketed for Beloit after a strong performance in Helena last season, but showed up out of shape and got injured. -Other injured Power 50ers include: SP Manny Parra (#5), SP Greg Bruso (#18), and SP Ben Diggins (#23). -Longtime Power 50er OF D.J. Clark and SS Alejandro Machado were traded in the final weeks of spring training, and are no longer on the list. SP Chad Petty was released, also taking him off of the list. -Finally, SP Chris Capuano (#20) is only eleven Major League innings away from gradutating off of the Power 50. We cut players off at 50 IP or 130 AB in the bigs, so Chris is two good starts away from that.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Hardy, J.J.   MLB   SS 37 R R
  Bum left shoulder made for a quick exit from Major League camp, but once recovered, J.J. hit as many homers as anyone else in spring training
 02 Weeks, Rickie   A   2B 37 R R
  Rickie is too good for High Desert and will start his hard charge to Milwaukee in Huntsville, probably putting himself in position to be the Brewers' second baseman in 2005
 03 Fielder, Prince   A   1B 35 L R
  One of the youngest players in AA (seems like the Brewers have one of those every year), Prince can probably already hit AA pitching, so it'll be his defensive work that'll get him outta Huntsville
1  04 Nelson, Brad   A   1B 36 L R
  Hamate bone? Brad don't need no stinking hamate bone... in other words, prepare for the return of Nelson
1  05 Parra, Manny   A   MR 37 L L
  Out until May with some shoulder weakness... cross your fingers, folks
1  06 Jones, Mike   A   MR 36 R R
  One winter and no surgery scars later, Mike is putting himself in position to reclaim his spot as Milwaukee's top pitching prospect
1  07 Hart, Corey   A   OF 37 R R
  You draft him as a shortstop, you move him to first base, you give him a third baseman's mit, and now you expect him to play the outfield... Doug Melvin, stop admiring the fact that he has a good pitcher's frame
 08 De La Rosa, Jorge   MLB   MR 38 L L
  After briefly flirting with Yost's starting rotation musings, Jorge later proved that he belongs in AAA to start the season, where he'll be in Indy's starting rotation
 09 Hendrickson, Ben   MLB   SP 38 R R
  I don't think it is too far of a stretch to guess that Ben will be called up to Milwaukee before Hardy, and it'll be sometime this season
 10 Krynzel, Dave   MLB   CF 38 L L
  I disagree with Krynzel's roster placement in AAA because I don't think he's proven much in AA, as witnessed by his .334 OBP in Huntsville
 11 Palmisano, Lou   A   C 37 R R
  Cap'n Lou will get the vast majority of the time behind the plate in Beloit, unlike last year's Beloit catching platoon of Vanden Berg and Esparragoza
 12 Sarfate, Dennis   MLB   MR 38 R R
  No High Desert for Dennis as the Brewers appear to becoming increasingly unaware of the existence of High Desert, or the value of making a pitch prove himself in advanced A-ball whatsoever
1  13 Ford, Matt   A   MR 38 S L
  Matt is all healthy and might only be making a stopover in AA before heading up to AAA sometime this summer
1  14 Liriano, Pedro   A   SP 39 R R
  By the end of the season, Pedro is probably going to be pitching in the bullpen somewhere, whether it be in Indy or in Milwaukee
4  15 Gwynn Jr, Tony   MLB   OF 37 L R
  And silly me, here I had doubts that a guy who struggled down the stretch in Beloit might actually only get promoted the adjacent affiliate!
 16 Wilhelmsen, Tom   A   MR 36 R R
  Tom is just now getting his arm into shape after arriving to camp a little late... he'll be in Beloit in a month or so
 17 Moss, Steve   A   CF 35 R R
  The Snappers' web site originally listed Steve as on the DL to open the season, which is not true... he had a hamstring tweak during apring training, but it's nothing to worry about
3  18 Bruso, Greg   A   SP 39 R R
  Mr. Bruso is still in Arizona recovering from an undisclosed injury... the Power 50 would greatly appreciate it if someone disclosed this injury to us
2  19 Eveland, Dana   MLB   SP 36 L L
  Yesterday, the bullpen. Today, an Opening Day starter. Tomorrow, the world!
2  20 Capuano, Chris   A   SP 41 L L
  Chris immediately became one of my favorite players on the Power 50 by performing well enough in spring to get Wayne Franklin the heck out of here, but that won't last long, because he'll graduate off the list in 11 Major League innings pitched
3  21 Ballouli, Khalid   A   SP 39 R R
  The Brewers are now trying to spite me and my High Desert shenanigans by sending one of my favorite players out to California
4  22 Bennett, Jeff   A   MR 39 R R
  Not only almost-free talent from Pittsburgh, but almost-free talent from Pittsburgh that apparently can pitch in the bigs
3  23 Diggins, Ben   A   MR 40 R R
  Only two more months until I have to stop making stuff up to fill space in this comment area... godspeed healing, Mr. Diggins
1  24 Gemoll, Brandon   A   1B 39 L L
  Krynzel in Indy and Gemoll back in Huntsville? Are you kidding me? More angst to come next Power 50
1  25 Cruz, Enrique   A   SS 38 R R
  Enrique did hit .291 in advanced-A ball a few years ago, so there is some hope he'll succeed in AA
1  26 Belcher, Jason   A   RF 37 L R
  Jason finally makes it to AA, and if he's able to hit well there, he's a guy that could probably be in AAA by the end of the season
1  27 Adams, Mike   MLB   CL 41 R R
  The Brewers have a closer in AAA that they developed themselves, no lie... everyone meet Mike Adams
5  28 Kloosterman, Greg   A   SP 37 L L
  The second best lefty in the Beloit rotation behind Eveland, but he's not that far behind Eveland, and the Brewers seem to love this guy
2  29 Vanden Berg, John   A   C 39 R R
  I don't even know what it is I like about Vanden Berg... he just keeps moving up
6  30 Acosta, Gilberto   A   SS 37 S R
  As predicted here many moons ago, Gilberto will indeed by Beloit's shortstop this season
4  31 Ramirez, Carlos   A   SP 35 L L
  Came to camp out of shape, got injured, and landed squarely on my "poop" list (this is a family web site)
 32 Crabbe, Callix   A   UT 36 S R
  Callix might have a big year in High Desert, but there's no way he gets promoted until Weeks moves up to Indy
3  33 Childers, Matt   A   MR 41 R R
  It now seems to be settled that Matt is a middle reliever, and I hope the Brewer stick with it with him, because he has a good arm
3  34 Johnson, Kade   A   C 41 R R
  Not much room for error for Kade this season with a catching conga line of Vanden Berg, Palmisano, and Opdyke follwing right behind
4  35 Housman, Jeff   A   MR 38 L L
  Housman is in Huntsville's rotation and they release a guy like Chad Petty? C'mon
2  36 Chavez, Ozzie   A   IF 36 S R
  At least the Brewers didn't decide to promote Ozzie to AA, which would have likely been disastrous
4  37 Fermaint, Charlie   A   CF 34 R R
  Baseball America's "Sleeper to Watch" for the Brewers in 2004, you'd better take a long nap, 'cuz he ain't playing official games 'til June
4  38 Saenz, Chris   A   SP 38 R R
  Chris wants to be a closer, but the Brewers want him to start, so he starts in Huntsville... I like his idea better
new  39 Woolard, Glenn   A   SP 38 R R
  Part of what we got for trading Franklin and Estrella to San Fran, Woolard is a middle or bottom of the rotation starter with an average fastball and a good changeup and curve
new  40 Stewart, Paul   A   MR 41 R R
  Back with the Brewers and back in AA, Paul returns to the scene of his best pro season, and hopefully he'll get back on track to the big with the Crew... best of luck, Paul
1  41 Ramirez, Manny   A   1B 37 R R
  Seems that Manny (let's call him "Deuce") Ramirez is finally back on track after getting jerked from rookie ball to advanced-A ball two years ago, and then back to rookie ball last year
1  42 Bausher, Tim   A   SP 40 R R
  Another one of the High Desert skipees, the Brewers probably wanted the soon-to-be-25 year old in Huntsville to see if he truly projects as a closer or not
7  43 Slack, Nick   A   CL 36 R R
  At first, a jump of 8 spots seemed like a bit much, but High Desert is (figuratively speaking) a long way from Helena
 44 Anderson, Drew   A   OF 38 L R
  How long will it take before Drew learns of my obsession with him?
 45 Rottino, Vinny   MLB   UT 39 R R
  Do us proud in Beloit, Vinnie
 46 Wooley, Robbie   A   SP 35 R R
  Did not make the Beloit squad and Baseball America projects him as a reliever, but I have a pretty good feeling about this one... reminds me of a stouter Ben Hendrickson
 47 Hawk, Tommy   A   SP 34 R R
  As reported in this space last time around, there was speculation that Hawk might end up in Beloit, but instead he'll start the year in Helena (and rightly so, might I add)
 48 Taubenheim, Ty   A   SP 37 R R
  Indeed not in Beloit's rotation at the moment, but I hope they give Ty a shot there as the season rolls on
new  49 Opdyke, Bryan   A   C 35 L R
  2003's fifth rounder is raw as hamburger still on the cow, but he's a toolsy catcher with a chance to be Palmisano's main competition for "Catcher of the Future"
new  50 Murray, Josh   A   3B 35 R R
  Josh gets new life on the Power 50 after getting the nod to be Beloit's starting shortstop to open the 2004 season

Players removed this week: D.J. Clark... Alejandro Machado... Chad Petty... Mitch Stetter...
 

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