Power 50 Notes
last updated: 04/01/2008

Welcome to the first Power 50 of the 2008 season. It's been a long, interesting offseason at the major and minor league level and I'm sure we all can't wait 'til all of the players, from Milwaukee down to West Virginia, are playing games again. Just as the baseball season is returning, I (Toby) am returning to the Power 50 helm. I turned over the keys to the Power 50 last year to Brad, Jim and Patrick and they did a wonderful job. Thank you, guys. They did such a good job that they aren't going anywhere and the Power 50 will be a combination of our four lists from now on going forward. As for the makeup of this edition of the Power 50, we've all had the offseason to reevaluate our thoughts on the various players. There were a few big moves up and down, but most of the usual suspects are about where they were. The most notable player not there anymore is Callix Crabbe, who was taken in the Rule 5 draft by San Diego and made their club. We of course offer our congrats to Callix and wish him luck with his new team. Finally, I want to note that we have an age cut-off of 27. That means guys like Vinny Rottino, Steve Bray and Mitch Stetter weren't eligible, though we do still acknowledge their potential value to the organization. Thank you for viewing, and enjoy! The Power 50 will return again on May 1st.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Parra, Manny   A   MR 37 L L
  Manny Parra is a great success story, getting to Milwaukee less than 24 months after having shoulder surgery while in AA. It is not just that he defied those long odds, it's that he's gotten back to throwing as well as he threw before the surgery. His fastball is back in the mid-90's and his breaking stuff is as good as ever. The only step Manny needs to make now is to gain confidence in his stuff against major league hitters. He can get them all out - he just needs to know he can do it. Once he gets that notion, the sky is the limit. Lingering durability questions from his shoulder surgery may keep him from being a very top of the rotation guy for a few years, but he certainly has the potential to be there eventually.
 02 LaPorta, Matt   MLB   OF 35 R R
  Prospect #1-B. While Manny Parra gets the overall age due to the impact he'll have on the Brewers this year, LaPorta is the Brewers' best hitting prospect. He probably could hit OK in the majors right now. The Brewers say he won't be in the mix until next year at the earliest, but it isn't hard to imagine LaPorta being on the roster in September. The only thing that'll hold him back is his defensive education in left field.
5  03 Escobar, Alcides   MLB   SS 33 R R
  Who wasn't impressed by Alcides Escobar's performance in spring training this year? While he's going back to AA for the moment, the Brewers clearly have a decision pending on how to make room for Escobar. His defensive prowess is top tier and it looks like he'll hit enough to stick. He and Matt LaPorta are at the head of the next wave of prospects.
 04 Gamel, Mat   A   1B 34 L R
  Fans, be prepared for Mat Gamel's 2008 season. He will hit a ton and you'll want him to be promoted to AAA by around mid-April. While you're waiting for this promotion, take a second to remember Ryan Braun's defensive output (maybe throughput would be a better word here) for the Brewers last season. The Brewers really want to have a long-term solution at 3B come from the minors and presently Mat Gamel is the best possibility. To that end, they will work him to death on defense before he gets to Milwaukee.
2  05 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  Jeffress won't be pitching for a minor league affiliate at least until after the next Power 50. Hopefully he's getting his career back on track in the meantime.
1  06 Salome, Angel   A   OF 34 R R
  The good news: Salome is the first of two catchers in the top ten of the Power 50. And he'll be starting the year off in Huntsville after finishing off the final 5 games of his suspension. The bad news: Salome is not yet done with a 50 game suspension, and is one of two players in the top ten of the Power 50 you can say that about. I hope Angel is free and clear of whatever drug caused him to be suspended and is ready to assume the role of Brewers' catcher of the future.
 07 Gillespie, Cole   MLB   LF 35 R R
  Though he went through a number of hot and cold streaks last year, Cole Gillespie had a very good overall year with the bat in Brevard last season. It would surprise me in the least to see him in Nashville by the end of the season and challenging for a job in Milwaukee by next season.
new  08 Pena, Luis   A   CL 37 R R
  In the span of about a year, Luismar Pena has gone from "that name rings a bell..." to "that guy is going to be our closer in a year or two!" Mid-90's gas and a sharp power slider and a healthy arm will get Pena to Milwaukee before the year is out. For now, he's merely Nashville's closer.
1  09 Brewer, Brent   A   SS 32 R R
  Brewer is repeating West Virginia to begin 2008, though his fate may be tied to Alcides Escobar. Once Escobar gets promoted to AAA, we should see Brewer advance to Brevard (to fill the spot of Yohannis Perez, who would presumably go to AA). I'm now obligated to also mention Ozzie Chavez, because, you know, he plays shortstop in the minors as well. Plus there's J.J. Hardy. He used to play in the minors. But I don't think he and Brent Brewer have much to do with each other right now. Robin Yount was a pretty good shortstop. Ted Kubiak was the first person to ever start for the Brewers at shortstop. Bet ya didn't know that! Unless you're counting the Pilots, then... oh, nevermind. Brent Brewer, ladies and gentlemen!
3  10 Lucroy, Jonathan   MLB   C 33 R R
  Good skills at the plate and behind it, along with a great work ethic and leadership skill, have people very excited about Lucroy. He'll start the year in West Virginia and gives the Brewers a rare commodity: two catchers amongst their top ten prospects.
 11 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 34 R R
  Will repeat his stay with Brevard County to begin 2008, in part due to the outfield logjam in AA. I'm sure the Brewers would also like to see him drive the ball a little more before he gets to Huntsville.
6  12 Ford, Darren   MLB   CF 34 R R
  I was watching Carlos Gomez play for the Twins last night and the Brewers need to make a copy of that game to send to Darren Ford. Gomez did what Ford needs to do every game: take pitches, bunt for base hits, make smart steals and play good defense. Ford's speed alone will get him to the big leagues some day. It'll be the other things that keep him there.
1  13 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  Any sort of decent offensive performance from Green in Brevard will go a long way to proving he may have the bat to stick at third base.
1  14 Iribarren, Hernan   MLB   2B 35 L R
  The Hurricane is within sniffing distance of a call-up to Milwaukee. If he continues to play outfield defense well, it'll probably happen sometime this season.
6  15 Brantley, Michael   MLB   OF 33 L L
  It's hard to believe Brantley will still only be 20 years old on opening day for the Stars. After spending most of his outfield time in left field, Michael figures to get most of his time in center and right with Matt LaPorta in the same outfield.
2  16 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  After crushing Pioneer League pitching, Caleb will get his first big test as a pro as he launches into full season ball as a 19 year old.
1  17 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  While Zach is being held back in extended spring training, it shouldn't be too long before he's lighting up Sally League hitters.
2  18 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 34 R R
  Not quite ready yet to begin the season. At this point it would just be nice if he pitched in more games than last season.
16  19 Bryson, Rob   MLB   SP 32 R R
  Bryson leads an impressive group of young pitchers on the West Virginia staff. Rob's good fastball-slider combination and feel for pitching should help pace the staff despite the fact he's only 20 years old.
1  20 Hinton, Robert   A   MR 35 R R
  With a turnaround performance this year, Hinton will join a little wave of relief prospects that Brewers have percolating at the top of the system. Hinton has the most promise of any of these relievers, except Luis Pena.
5  21 Chapman, Steve   A   1B 34 L L
  Has played a lot of first base recently. He'd probably be an above-average defender there, but he has much more value in the outfield. Hopefully the Brewers are just trying to test his versatility.
3  22 Seidel, R.J.   A   MR 32 R R
  The best change-up in the system, a huge frame and a Wisconsinite to boot. Lots of attention will be paid to young Mr. Seidel as he opens the season in West Virginia.
6  23 Palmisano, Lou   A   C 37 R R
  Captain Lou will be in the infirmary until mid-June with a knee injury. This is not a small setback with Rottino in front of him and Salome on his tail.
3  24 Errecart, Chris   A   1B 35 R L
  Looks to be recovered from a broken wrist received in the Hawaiian Fall League. We'll see if it effects his power at all this coming season.
8  25 Periard, Alex   A   SP 32 L R
  One of my personal favorite prospects. Alexandre throws hard, keeps the ball down, and pitches to contact. He could strike out more guys - he has the ability - but he hasn't needed to, yet.
2  26 Katin, Brendan   A   OF 37 R R
  It would appear Katin is well blocked in the Brewers' outfield picture. That will not, of course, stop the big right fielder from swinging for the fences in AAA.
4  27 Jackson, Zach   MLB   MR 37 L L
  As Zach begins his third season in AAA, we're reminded just how far the Brewers' starting pitching depth has come. This is his last option year, so when he finally makes it back to the bigs, it could well be with another team.
2  28 Miller, Derek   A   SP 38 L L
  Derek has had nothing but success in the minors during his career, but his age is beginning to be a factor as he starts the year back in Huntsville.
14  29 Farris, Eric   A   2B 34 R R
  Doesn't have any one mind-blowing tool, but a solid mix of good skills. Can play shortstop and the Brewers would be smart to play him there a bit.
new  30 Narveson, Chris   A   MR 38 L L
  This signing went completely under the radar. What didn't go under the radar was Narveson's performance in spring training. Once a top prospect, Chris has returned to the cusp of the big leagues.
14  31 Tyson, Nick   A   MR 32 R R
  Good fastball and potentially great curveball have the Brewers and prospect followers alike salivating at young Mr. Tyson's potential.
2  32 Hammond, Steve   MLB   SP 38 L L
  Nothing went quite right last year, and Steve is back in Huntsville to right the ship. The Brewers still love his arm.
new  33 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Looks to start his pro career in Helena later on in the season. If he's healthy, Cody will be a Power 50 force in the near future.
5  34 Fermaint, Charlie   A   CF 34 R R
  Try #3 at Brevard for Fermaint. We'll just pretend 2007 didn't happen.
4  35 Heether, Adam   MLB   IF 38 R R
  After a dissapointing 2006 season, Heether bounced back last year and has put himself in decent enough position to be a big league utility prospect. It would be nice to see him bounce around the field a little bit to improve versatility.
9  36 Perez, Yohannis   A   SS 37 R R
  Yo #2 returns to Brevard to begin the '08 campaign. His career as a Brewer isn't going as well as some of us hoped, but there's still time for the Cuban shortstop to make a push.
9  37 Anundsen, Evan   A   SP 32 R R
  Heading to A-ball as a 19 year old, not too shabby. Though he's moved down a few spots on the Power 50, we still love Evan the same.
 38 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  The most glaring deficiency in Haydel's game during his first foray into pro ball was a lack of walks. Without a ton of power, Lee will need to make getting on base a point of emphasis.
2  39 Bell, Michael   A   2B 35 R R
  It'll be easy to overlook Mike Bell in the prospect-studded Huntsville lineup. Please don't overlook Mike Bell (message does not apply to opposing pitchers).
8  40 Dillard, Tim   A   MR 36 R R
  A rough 2007 campaign by Tim Dillard's standards... will the sinkerballer be able to find a return to success and keep himself firmly on the prospect map? Let's hope so.
7  41 McClendon, Mike   A   MR 35 R R
  The Brewers don't seem to be too concerned about McClendon's durability... he threw 152 innings in A-ball last year, an almost unheard of total for that level of the minors for a guy in his first full pro season.
2  42 Welch, David   A   SP 37 L L
  The steady climb up the ladder continues for the Aussie left hander. After one year apiece in Helena, West Virginia and Brevard, I can accurately project that Mr. Welch will definitely open the '10 season in the Milwaukee rotation.
7  43 Cody, Chris   A   SP 36 L L
  Cody was not able to elbow his way onto one of the full season clubs due to some arm soreness that's keeping him in Arizona.
2  44 Aguilar, Omar   MLB   CL 35 L R
  You might be hearing Mr. Aguilar's name a lot more this season as he takes his high octane right arm into the pitching haven of the Florida State League.
new  45 Nelson, Brad   A   1B 37 L R
  Nelson hit 20 home runs in '07 for the first time since he was 19 years old. The secret to his success was something any midwesterner could appreciate: he put the weight back on he lost a few years ago. More power? More steak! (With apologies to Prince Fielder.)
2  46 Mercedes, Roque   A   SP 33 R R
  Seems like Mercedes has been around forever, but he's still only 21. Will 2008 be the year he becomes less of a Roque and more of a Mercedes?
new  47 Johnson, David   A   MR 37 R R
  Under the radar relief prospect returns to Huntsville to start the '08 campaign. Don't expect him to stay in the Southern League too long.
9  48 Sollmann, Steve   A   UT 38 R R
  Shouldn't play nearly as much first base this year with Nashville this year after inexplicably playing the position for 109 games with Huntsville in '07.
 49 Arias, Hitaniel   A   MR 29 R R
  Big, toolsy, young corner outfielder from Bani in the Dominican Republic. Are we sure this isn't Cristian Guerrero trying to make another run at it?
3  50 Wright, Brae   A   SP 36 L L
  "Brae" is the Scottish word for "hill." Hill... mound... pitcher... why is Mr. Wright only ranked #50? A'dinnieken!

Players removed this week: Steve Bray... Callix Crabbe... Rolando Pascual... Chad Robinson... Zelous Wheeler...