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Toby's Power 50
  Power 50 Notes
last updated: 12/03/2009

Jim G. here, your intrepid Link Reporter, with a Winter Meetings version of the Brewerfan Power 50. The Power 50 returns for the first time since a mid-August appearance. Since we last visited, we've seen the last four weeks of the regular season, the Huntsville and Brevard County playoffs, World Cup appearances for some international farmhands, Maryvale instructional league, 40-man roster decisions, Arizona Fall League action, Caribbean Winter League play, and the onset of minor league free agency. Should the Brewers either trade or acquire impact prospects this offseason, we will try to adjust the P50 accordingly when the dust settles, not assigning new comments to all the names, but we will squeeze in or out players into their slots. As always, we invite your reaction, praise, venom, etc., in the Power 50 thread on our Minor League forum.    
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Nice batch of minor leaguers here - surely a few will make their mark in baseball history. Use the Internet to learn about the history of baseball, from baseball drafts to baseball drills.
  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Escobar, Alcides   MLB   SS 32 R R
  Before he was even 17 and 1/2 years old, the Brewers assigned Alcides to Helena in 2004 for his pro debut. Now Escobar is primed to compete for, if not favored to become, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, and is set to dazzle Brewer fans for years to come. We think a lot of that dazzle will come at the plate, not just in the field. Just enjoy.
 02 Gamel, Mat   A   1B 34 L R
  We're extending Mat's stay on the Power 50 for a bit even though he's exhausted his Rookie of the Year eligibility due to time on the active big league roster. Gamel's status heading into the new year is as perplexing as any player in the system. Here's hoping his value is eventually maximized for the Brewers, either on the field or in trade.
 03 Lawrie, Brett   A   2B 29 R R
  There's just a very strong sense that Mr. Lawrie, still a teenager until January, is on a path that will eventually have many wondering how he slid to the 16th pick in the 2008 draft. Count confidence among his biggest attributes, similar to a certain Brewer left fielder we've grown to appreciate.
 04 Lucroy, Jonathan   MLB   C 33 R R
  Despite our longing and impatience to see a legitimate homegrown catcher starting in Miller Park, Gregg Zaun's signing makes a lot of sense -- that tiny little bridge that should lead to the full-blown Lucroy era? Or is that the Salome era? Read on...
1  05 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 31 R R
  Are you ready to see a big strong 1st round horse pitch with a full arsenal, free from an innings-heavy college campaign and rookie league arm-saving restrictions? Yeah, we are too...
1  06 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  We'd love to see some quotes from Zach this spring, indicating if he has his own preference, starting vs. relieving. Brewer fans, would you rather follow a young and healthy Billy Wagner-type closer (OK, maybe not 101 MPH) or an often spectacular but not always present Erik Bedard-type starter? Either way, Zach is amazingly easy to root for, because the limit is so sky-high.
2  07 Salome, Angel   A   OF 33 R R
  Angel is brought to us by the letter "U" - unorthodox, unique, and a really tough buy or sell candidate for any GM while still a bit unproven at the AAA level. Angel is the ultimate paradox, probably incapable of having a middling career. It will either all come together in spectacular fashion, or the assorted uncommon skill sets will remain unrefined for the big league game. Buy or sell? For Doug, it probably means "hold", for now.
4  08 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  Has a player ever received more hype solely based on post-season workouts and instructional league action in Maryvale? Kentrail, the Link Report looks forward to finally meeting you in April in your Timber Rattlers uniform. Or will he just debut in Milwaukee? :)
1  09 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  Wrist injuries are just the worst. Lost in a pedestrian AA season was that Green maintained his career-long low strikeout rate, so he still knows what he's doing up there, but we need to see some semblance of bat strength return quickly.
1  10 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 33 R R
  There were some positives to take from Cain's AFL campaign, including a .375 OBP and eight steals. The 21 K's in 66 AB's, not so much. Good health for 2010 the only wish on Lorenzo's Christmas list.
2  11 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  A .313/.369/.446 line (.815 OPS, .882 OPS vs LHP!) in your age 22 season patrolling CF in the tough FSL environment? Congratulations on that well-deserved Organizational Player of the Year Award, kid. Just a hot Southern League start away from becoming a truly elite prospect.
11  12 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  This coming year's Huntsville squad is going to be so much fun to follow. Last year's Brevard club was awesome, but we'll actually have audio and print reports as all the 'Tees move up, highlighted on the mound by this soon-to-be 24-year-old Dominican workhorse.
6  13 Odorizzi, Jake   MLB   SP 29 R R
  So far, so good for the 2008 supplemental first rounder. Following top pick high school pitchers is such an investment of time for the prospect watcher -- unless your name is Kershaw or Porcello, it is a tedious yet hopefully rewarding process.
4  14 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 30 R R
  Folks forget that Peralta was barely 17 when he made his Maryvale pro debut in 2006, so even though 2007 was lost to Tommy John surgery, Wily will be primed for some potentially dominating more-than-age-appropriate numbers at Brevard. Will he be working 4th through 9th innings under Doug Melvin's proposed plan for starters? The 2010 Manatee staff may be best positioned to try to implement that philosophy.
4  15 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Gindl smacked six of his 17 home runs vs. LH pitchers last season in only 102 AB's, so he's not intimidated by them despite a .206 average in the fairly small sample. Caleb was genuinely contrite after an out-of-character door-punch that cost him post-season AB's. He remains an intriguing high-end prospect, especially accounting for youth.
2  16 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  At 6'6", 235, Kyle is a mountain of a young man, but his school, Kennesaw State University (bonus points to you if you knew it was in Georgia), has no connection to baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
1  17 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  Mark did the best he could to put a positive spin on dreadful Arizona Fall League numbers -- it will be interesting to see to what extent innings restraints will be loosened in Huntsville. Because of his remaining two minor league options, Mark will need to be in Milwaukee to stay in 2012.
3  18 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  All the peripherals look wonderful except for the 4.7 walks per nine innings. Another pitcher we're looking forward to seeing untethered by the understandable but still slightly frustrating piggyback routine...
1  19 Butler, Josh   A   SP 35 R R
  Raise your hand if you foresaw a dizzying 2009 tour of Brewer affiliates leading to a big league debut for Josh, immediately after a very middling 2008 performance in the FSL. Yeah, not us, either...
10  20 Axford, John   A   CL 36 R R
  Circuitous career path, already 26 years old, who cares? We're intrigued by what we saw in those seven Brewer appearances, and remind you to pay attention to any and all of the most obscure off-season minor league transactions. The Brewers' scouting efforts in Canada really paid off here. Fantastic story so far...
4  21 Anundsen, Evan   A   SP 31 R R
  Talk about steady progress for the 2006 4th round high school pick. Four years in the system, one full season at each level -- make full-season living arrangements in Huntsville, Evan. Anundsen wasn't the extreme ground ball pitcher he was two seasons ago in West Virginia, but he also dropped his H/IP ratio by nearly 30% and increased his K rate dramatically. It'd be great to see him regain his lost 2-4 MPH on his fastball, and at 6'3", 200, he should be able to make that happen.
1  22 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  The Brewers placed all the onus on Jeremy when they didn't prematurely add him to the 40-man roster, which apparently would have allowed him to avoid a lifetime ban if found to be smoking marijuana yet again. Nobody wants to see you featured on a future ESPN Outside the Lines, young man, unless it's a positive story focusing on your ultimate Brewer success. See you at midseason, probably back at Brevard County.
2  23 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  The 4th Canuck in the top half of the Power 50, Bucci followed up a wondrous out-of-nowhere campaign with fantastic efforts for the Canadian National Squad in the World Cup, including a no-hit five-inning stint. Three of his four August Helena starts could have been called "rough", so his post-season work confirmed that the all the positive season-long comments from Brewer brass had real merit. Won't turn 20 until mid-July...
new  24 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R has learned that Bobby Bowden, now with time on his hands, has been hired as hitting coach for the Timber Rattlers to help bring along Bowden's former quarterback in what will be Richardson's 2010 formal pro debut. Oh wait, what kind of "hitting" are we talking about here?
12  25 Howell, Del   A   SP 32 L L
  The University of Alabama southpaw adds a portside flavor to the 2009 college pitching-rich draft. Some stays in Wisconsin will be brief, if they happen at all -- so many valuable arms trying to share Timber Rattler innings, and bypassing early-season weather may be a consideration for some.
2  26 Periard, Alex   A   SP 32 L R
  Nous avons vraiment besoin de voir une saine Alex cette ann
16  27 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  Barring a Brett Lawrie move off of second base, Farris and Lawrie will collide positionally and level-wise at some point, but for now, we can look forward to having Farris terrorize opposing Southern League batteries. It's too bad he's a right-handed bat, which negates some infield hit opportunities.
6  28 Iribarren, Hernan   MLB   2B 35 L R
  We'll know Iribarren's fate come April, if not before, as he is out of options. It'd be interesting to see him get a nice string of starts somewhere at the big league level just to see what comes of it. He was just fantastic for Nashville this year, that can't be denied.
3  29 Wooten, Rob   A   MR 34 R R
  In 98 pro innings (including his sucessful AFL tour of duty), Wooten has 134 K's and only 29 walks. Gotta love a true pitcher's pitcher with a mentality (if not a radar gun reading) to match. Keep on rollin', dude.
4  30 Prince, Josh   A   OF 31 R R
  Prince got caught up in the malaise that was the Wisconsin offensive output (or should we say, lack thereof), as all his numbers took a nosedive after his dynamic Helena debut. Here's hoping for a solid 2010, as the organization is wide, wide open at shortstop behind the big league level.
2  31 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Chris' serious ankle injury took away a lot of fun from Link Report followers -- he was absolutely mashing Midwest League pitching (.947 OPS) through 38 games. Our 6th and final Canadian, by the way...
4  32 Aguilar, Omar   MLB   CL 34 L R
  Normally we'd say that Aguilar needs to show he can compete at the AA level, but he already has, in 2008. His early and mid-season Huntsville struggles, coming off a spring training oblique strain, led to his disappointing re-assignment to high-A.
1  33 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 34 L L
  It was a fantastic 2009 for the Seton Hall lefty, who was consistent from start to finish with shining peripherals. Here's hoping that he showed enough moxie in only eight high-A games to warrant a Huntsville assignment in April.
10  34 Lasker, Maverick   A   SP 29 R R
  Lasker was called up directly from Maryvale in the final week of the Timber Rattlers' season to make two starts -- the first a seven-inning shutout dazzler, the second a two-inning dud. We're predicting many more efforts like the former.
2  35 Dillard, Tim   A   MR 36 R R
  Dillard has an option remaining, and he doesn't seem to have the faith of the coaching staff or the front office. A change of scenery might serve him well, otherwise it's more spinning of the Nashville wheels next season.
16  36 Cody, Chris   A   SP 35 L L
  Chris takes a big drop in the rankings, which is probably more of a correction than anything specifically attributable to his performance over the final weeks of the season. At some point the baseball world needs to ban the words "the next Jamie Moyer", at least until that pitcher really does come along.
10  37 Walla, Max   A   MR 28 L L
  The Brewers have 500,000 reasons to hope that this 2nd rounder can bring his performance up to a level that matches his draft-day enthusiasm, because those rookie league numbers were downright scary, even for an 18-year-old getting his feet wet.
2  38 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  Last we heard, a non-baseball health issue (illness?) kept the high school 4th rounder from attending instructionals, so the late signee has yet to make a pro debut of any kind. Hopefully all is well...
1  39 Seidel, R.J.   A   MR 32 R R
  After making 25 low-A starts in 2008, last winter's slip on the ice and resulting torn knee ligament resulted in 57 uneven innings split between a Maryvale rehab tour and Wisconsin. Kudos to R.J. for even getting that much work in.
5  40 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 28 R R
  A 2-for-31 September didn't help the final numbers, but 18-year-old catchers in the Pioneer League have a right to wear down at season's end.
new  41 Nieves, Efrain   A   SP 30 L L
  Nieves is getting some work in during the Puerto Rican winter ball season after representing his country at the World Cup. His father was a 1992 baseball Olympian. And yes, Efrain was undeniably much too hittable with the Rattlers. The Power 50 editors are giving him another chance to impress us, don't let us down, Efrain!
new  42 Baron, Casey   A   MR 35 L L
  Lefty relievers had better be death to lefty batters, and Baron has been, while holding his own against RH bats.
4  43 Dykstra, Cutter   MLB   3B 30 R R
  This is another late P50 slot that some might think is more deserving for others, but there are those who feel that Cutter isn't a lost cause. Hopefully a fresh year also means a clean break from all the distractions his family name brings with it.
new  44 Bowman, Michael   A   SP 32 R R
  Bowman had one of the more consistent very good start-to-finish seasons of any Brewer farmhand, and he got stronger as the season progressed. Just a real nice tip of the cap campaign -- congratulations, Michael!
14  45 Frederickson, Evan   A   MR 33 L L
  Frederickson walked 47 men in 47 innings after the All-Star break, so it's not like he made great strides during the course of the long season. Sigh...
2  46 Krestalude, Damon   A   SP 30 R R
  Krestalude will need to miss more bats in Wisconsin, but he's another of the "not yet legal" pitching brigade that definitely skews the P50 toward the mound.
9  47 Komatsu, Erik   A   OF 32 L L
  Similar to losing Chris Dennis, Komatsu's injury woes added to the decimation of the Wisconsin everyday lineup.
6  48 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  5-1-4-5-2. Those are the walks by month (August and September are combined) for Haydel. 17 in 491 AB's. Lee, if you're tired of reading about bases on balls in your Power 50 comments, please do something about it, or there won't be a P50 status, will there?
4  49 Lintz, Seth   A   SP 29 R R
  Lintz has walked 54 in 58.2 innings in the hot Maryvale sun over two summers. Within 27 picks of each other in the 2008 draft, Jack Z. pegged Evan Frederickson, Lintz, Cutter Dykstra and RHP Cody Adams. Well, at least he sandwiched that crew around Brett Lawrie, Jake Odorizzi and 3rd rounder Logan Schafer.
 50 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  Wheeler has posted consistent numbers over 1100 minor league AB's with reported makeup that's off the chart, and his relative youth and position flexibility in the infield still give him possible big league utility value.

Players removed this week: Brent Brewer... Jose R. Garcia... Scooter Gennett... Brendan Katin...

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