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Toby's Power 50
  Power 50 Notes
last updated: 06/01/2008

Welcome to the June edition of the Power 50 -- Jim here with comments for the combined rankings of the four members of the P50 staff. This month's P50 is a pre-cursor to one next month that should be like no other in P50 history, what with six of the top 62 selections in the upcoming draft belonging to the Brewers. With that kind of infusion of top-level talent (in terms of potential), it will be our challenge to balance that potential and 'new toy' excitement with the hard work and established resumes of current Brewer farmhands. We welcome your comments on our Minor League Forum not only on this month's rankings, but on how you would handle the rankings strategy next month. As for this month's P50, we have some big movers (in both directions), and, in my opinion, one of the most impressive and balanced top six placements ever. Finally, kudos to Brewerfan reader and poster 'twobrewers' for his comment on how he would rank the P50 this month -- 1-8 Huntsville Stars, 9-50 everyone else. Fantastic.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 LaPorta, Matt   MLB   OF 34 R R
  While Matt doesn't have the stranglehold on the top spot he once did, please realize that his "down" month of May still produced an OPS of .916. We should all have such slumps. He also seems to be handling right field just fine.
 02 Gamel, Mat   A   1B 34 L R
  Yes, Mat does change into his Huntsville uniform in a phone booth and is sporting a stylish cape these days. As superhuman as his offensive feats have been, how wonderful it is that we can praise his greatly improved defensive work as well.
 03 Escobar, Alcides   MLB   SS 32 R R
  Just as hoped, the 21-year-old is adding more than a hint of power to his exciting game, but oddly with more home runs (six) than doubles (five). Alcides managed to bypass gap power while somehow finding bleacher power.
 04 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  Welcome back to Mr. Jeffress, who has struck out 22 in his first 12.1 innings of high-A ball. One very difficult inning is going to keep his ERA skewed for quite some time, but look past that.
 05 Salome, Angel   A   OF 33 R R
  Congratulations to the newly engaged Angel -- showing maturity off-the-field as well as on will be a big part of his inevitable ascension to Milwaukee.
5  06 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  Green is 3rd in the Florida State League in RBI and is putting to rest doubts that he will display long-term mid-range power. You get the sense that if the Brewers could clone just one prospect in terms of both ability and make-up, they'd choose Taylor.
1  07 Gillespie, Cole   MLB   LF 35 R R
  Steady as always, Gillespie continues to post very solid numbers across the board. He'll turn 24 this month, though, and could be viewed value-wise as more of a trading chip right now.
 08 Pena, Luis   A   CL 36 R R
  Luis needs to cut back on the walks -- too often, a typical line for Luis is 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 hit, even if he's limiting the damage very nicely. That'll work in AAA, but not the big leagues.
1  09 Lucroy, Jonathan   MLB   C 33 R R
  Lucroy posted a 1.025 OPS in May, and you could make the argument that no player promotion makes more sense at this time than to hustle Jonathan to Brevard ASAP. League All-Star Game appearances are fun and all, but there's no need to wait in this case.
3  10 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  Braddock drops three spots through absolutely no fault of his own -- as we noted recently, Zach's box-score appearances are as anticipated as any in recent memory. And on a side note, Zach's name just sounds so major league-ish. Now pitching for the Brewers, Zach Braddock -- yeah, that will work.
2  11 Brantley, Michael   MLB   OF 32 L L
  Brantley's not taking walks at his 2007 pace, but all it took was turning 21 to generate enough power for his first AA home run. 11 K's in 214 at-bats -- unreal.
4  12 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 33 R R
  If the month of May is any indication that Lorenzo has turned the proverbial corner after a year and a half at high-A, then the additional value he brings to the organization is a fantastic thing, because it looked for a while there as a real plateau might never peak again.
1  13 Iribarren, Hernan   MLB   2B 35 L R
  Hernan's future role with the organization may be as cloudy as anyone's -- it'd be interesting to see what he could do with a non-contender if given a second base job on an everyday basis.
1  14 Brewer, Brent   A   SS 31 R R
  You can argue whether a promotion to high-A Brevard County was warranted or not, but the change of scenery may be the kick-start Brent needs at this time.
2  15 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Gindl showed improved on-base skills and power in May compared to his April figures. He's doing exactly what a 19-year-old in full season ball is supposed to be doing, making incremental advances.
14  16 Errecart, Chris   A   1B 34 R L
  It's past time to give Errecart his due, as for too long he's been the 'other' college guy drafted in 2006 with Cole Gillespie. Chris overcame back pain to hit seven home runs in May, although one has to wonder if the amazing Huntsville lineup doesn't wear opposing pitchers down to the point where everyone benefits from the pitchers' stress.
11  17 Nelson, Brad   A   1B 36 L R
  No player in Power 50 history has ever taken the wild P50 ride that Brad has, from long-time top five stud to near oblivion to important status once again. You have to feel good for the kid, as his big league debut is truly within sight now.
6  18 Aguilar, Omar   MLB   CL 34 L R
  A well-deserved promotion to Huntsville has many rightly excited. There is no greater dollar value to a big league club than to establish a young and effective pre-arby closer (Papelbon, Soria, etc.); the Brewers have two chances with Luis Pena and Aguilar.
6  19 Hammond, Steve   MLB   SP 37 L L
  Hammond's last three starts have left plenty to be desired, but he heads the group of older AA southpaws who all have chances to contribute in the majors, but none of which is going to break through into Power 50 top ten status at any time in the future.
6  20 Butler, Josh   A   SP 35 R R
  We obviously put a lot of faith upon Josh's arrival in the Baseball America ranking of Butler within the very strong Tampa Bay organization, but Josh is primed for a precipitous drop in the P50 rankings unless he starts showing something soon.
2  21 Periard, Alex   A   SP 32 L R
  Alex only turns 21 this month, so he's doing fine. His nine K's in his final April start was obviously an outliner -- this kid is about pitching to contact, getting his groundball outs, and limiting his walks. Periard's never going to be a 'wow' pitcher, but we should enjoy and follow his work.
16  22 Dillard, Tim   A   MR 36 R R
  The welcome blindside of us all, with Tim throwing 94-95 with consistency (who knew?) rivals any of the blindsides seen on the past enjoyable season of Survivor. It's hard to picture a return to AAA for Dillard at this time, but Mitch Stetter had us saying the same thing not long ago.
8  23 Ford, Darren   MLB   CF 34 R R
  Ford's numbers in 2008 mirror his Manatee numbers in 72 games in '07. Unfortunately, that's not a good thing. We're still hopeful, but there needs to be evidence of progression soon.
2  24 Bryson, Rob   MLB   SP 32 R R
  If there's one pitcher who is primed to zoom into the Jeffress - Braddock rarefied air, it's this 20-year-old. But we're waiting for the organization to discover and define his true role. As of now, we're as confused about that as the Brewers seem to be.
4  25 Seidel, R.J.   A   MR 32 R R
  The LaCrosse product has been good in West Virginia. That's boring to say, but that's the proper description. Never dominant, never awful, just well, good. And you know something? That's good.
1  26 Anundsen, Evan   A   SP 31 R R
  Our Power 50 stretch of West Virginia pitchers continues with Anundsen, who remains a ground ball machine with excellent control and the ability to limit the long ball. Similar to the Taylor Green comment above, you would think Brewer management would love to have dozens of pitchers with Evan's profile in the system. We're big Anundsen fans.
15  27 Bell, Michael   A   2B 34 R R
  Dare to dream? Look up the Marlins' Dan Uggla's AA stats as a 24-year-old. Then think about the 23-year-old Bell. Don't get me wrong, Uggla's a freak who has never seen AAA and will go down as one of the greatest Rule 5 picks of all time, but it's fun to play along.
5  28 Miller, Derek   A   SP 38 L L
  Miller has yet to pitch into the 7th inning this year, but that's about the only negative, and it's nit-picky. Multi-inning lefty relievers have big league value, and that's what Derek is projecting to, which is fine.
11  29 Chapman, Steve   A   1B 34 L L
  Stephen is paying a big P50 price this month for a brutal May that coincided with others just behind him in last month's rankings enjoying success. Hopefully he bounces back soon.
1  30 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  Reports are that Farris is predictably already flashing his elite glove since his arrival in Charleston, and if he's still posting a .507 OPS next month (as he is now after his first 76 AB's), then we may as well just blow up the whole P50.
13  31 Hand, Donovan   A   MR 33 R R
  From 14th round selection to member of the AA rotation in less than a calendar year -- yeah, we'd say that merits some attention. So does just 15 walks in 126.1 pro innings...
6  32 Palmisano, Lou   A   C 37 R R
  Hi, my name is Lou, and I hope to be back in Nashville within the next month or two before you all forget about me. Seriously though, we hope the knee rehab is going well, but we have not heard one way or another.
1  33 Tyson, Nick   A   MR 31 R R
  Wonderful control and a nice ground ball ratio, but hitting way too much of the plate in order to reach those objectives (.358 batting average against). It's such a fine line between pitching to contact and being effective for the young kids.
5  34 Hinton, Robert   A   MR 35 R R
  Hinton drops in our rankings despite a high quality month of May. It's admittedly hard for middle relief guys to hold the attention of the P50, but Robert's managed to do so for quite a while now.
2  35 Katin, Brendan   A   OF 36 R R
  Katin's power numbers can't mask a .288 OBP, and he's getting only semi-regular playing time in the extremely fluid day-to-day Nashville lineup.
2  36 Narveson, Chris   A   MR 37 L L
  An ankle sprain is going to sideline Chris for a bit. To be honest, Narveson had as golden an opportunity to impress over the first two months of the season as a minor league vet is going to get, and he did not take advantage of it.
 37 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Scarpetta should debut in Helena's rotation this month. Or maybe he'll just sit idly by, and hold off on ever making that pro debut, and just eventually climb to the very top of the Power 50 by complete attrition.
3  38 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  May was not as kind to Haydel as April, as he only drew four walks in 105 AB's this month. If only the Haydel's and Darren Ford's of the organization could have a little more Michael Brantley in them. It's still extra early for Haydel, though.
9  39 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  It is such a pleasure to see a Brewer pitching product from Latin America who really 'gets it'. Finally! A WHIP that is approaching sub 1.00? Outstanding. Expect a meteoric rise in the rankings for Amaury. Nice! A name you really start to need to know...
new  40 Cody, Chris   A   SP 35 L L
  The Commander has touched down in Charleston after experiencing shoulder pain this spring. Look for an appropriate promotion soon. Commander Cody, you say? The name of a very cool country rock band from the 70's.
21  41 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  If you think we're frustrated, imagine how Mark feels. Sigh...
new  42 Ryan, Patrick   A   MR 36 R R
  Possibly the most overdue Power 50 debut in history -- please take it upon yourself to review Ryan's career-long stats. 'Beef' is officially P50 grillin'!
 43 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  Jeff Isom simply can't refrain from getting Zelous into the lineup somewhere every single day, but to be honest, Wheeler's numbers in May were, let's just say, not good (.637 OPS vs. 902 in April).
5  44 Heether, Adam   MLB   IF 37 R R
  Left field, shortstop -- the suddenly very diverse Mr. Heether had a heck of a month despite unusually high strikeout numbers. It's an odd dichotomy at the tail end of a P50 -- do you begin to project very young kids, or do you still make room for 26-year-old's who at best might one day be utility men in the majors?
5  45 Welch, David   A   SP 36 L L
  Another steady member of the Huntsville lefty brigade, but unlike Hammond and Miller, Welch has really struggled against, of all things, LH bats -- .313 BA against, seven of his nine HR's allowed. David's going to have to continue to be effective as a starter, as he likely won't have the LOOGY thing to fall back on.
10  46 Jackson, Zach   MLB   MR 36 L L
  Jackson seems completely revitalized emotionally by his long-term bullpen assignment -- we'll have to see if his work justifies his excitement. The Lyle Overbay trade seems so long ago...
6  47 Fermaint, Charlie   A   CF 34 R R
  An amazing fall and likely Power 50 swan song for the player who was at # 9 as recently as December 2006. Tools only take one so far, you've got to want it as well, and we've heard that may not have always been the case with Fermaint.
new  48 Crabbe, Callix   A   UT 36 S R
  The Brewers would have been thrilled to see Callix succeed in San Diego, but the decision to take Crabbe back was a slam dunk, given his newfound versatility.
new  49 Ramlow, Mike   A   MR 33 L L
  The tall lefty's numbers have been so much better (in smaller relief-sized portions) this year compared to last, you have to wonder if it's the same guy in the West Virginia uniform. Brevard should beckon soon.
4  50 Bramhall, Bobby   A   MR 34 L L
  Bramhall continues to strike out more than one per inning for a second consecutive season, while also limiting opponent's batting average.

Players removed this week: David Johnson... Freddy Parejo... Yohannis Perez... Chad Robinson...

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