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Toby's Power 50
 
 
  Power 50 Notes
 
last updated: 05/29/2010

Hello, fine people of Brewerfan.net and the internet at large, Eric here with my first-ever Power 50 write-up. It's been a month since we last hollered at you, and I have to say, it hasn't been a particularly encouraging month on the Brewers prospect scene; let's hope that as the weather warms up, so will the bats and fastballs of our farmhands. With the draft coming up next week, the prospects near the bottom of this month's list are going to have to push hard to stay on the Power 50. As always, feel free to chime in on the Minor League forum with your thoughts on this month's rankings.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Lucroy, Jonathan   MLB   C 33 R R
  In what we believe to be the closest vote in P50 history, Lucroy edged out Brett Lawrie by a single point. Though he was called up to The Show since the last ranking, at his current rate of (non-)play, Lucroy will conserve his eligibility for several more months. While we might prefer to see him play more often, I'm sure he's enjoying his first taste of the big leagues, even as a backup. It will be interesting to see what the Brewers do with him and George Kottaras, who is under team control for four more years, should Kottaras continue to hit so well.
 02 Lawrie, Brett   A   2B 29 R R
  Lawrie's frighteningly high strikeout rate has been steadily coming down, and he continues to produce a regular succession of 1-4 nights, punctuated weekly by three-hit outbursts, leading to a respectable overall line for the second-youngest player in the Southern League. However, he's done most of his damage against lefties, and his line drive rate is very low, though some of that can be chalked up to the vagaries of minor league batted-ball classification.
 03 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  Like Lucroy, Braddock is probably just enjoying biding his time while drawing a Major League salary. As expected, his stuff has been impressive, though with John Axford's rise, predictions that he'll be closing by the end of the year may have been premature. I hope the Brewers will keep him around for the rest of the year, easing him into a setup role. His ability to go multiple innings and his starter-quality repertoire should make him a valuable bullpen weapon.
2  04 Odorizzi, Jake   MLB   SP 29 R R
  Entering the year, I was concerned about Odorizzi's upside, viewing him as possibly a precocious pitcher yet lacking top-of-the-rotation stuff. Shows how much I know. Odorizzi's fastball has picked up some velocity this year, and he's carving up Midwest League hitters, striking out 60 in 46.2 innings while maintaining a reasonable walk rate. A lot can happen between A-ball and the big leagues, but for now Odorizzi appears to be blossoming just as hoped.
1  05 Gamel, Mat   A   1B 34 L R
  Cleverly maintaining his P50 eligibility by suffering a torn lat in spring training, Gamel remains one at-bat shy of graduation. When will he get it? Tough to say. He's currently on a rehab assignment at Huntsville, but that will be up in about a week, and then it's decision time: do the Brewers call him up and use him as a bench bat? The fact that he's only been playing third base (and DHing) while rehabbing would suggest not, so perhaps he'll again be headed to Nashville.
1  06 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 30 R R
  Peralta hasn't been as dominating as expected in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, but his stuff remains possibly the best among all starting pitcher prospects in the system. He's experienced occasional bouts of wildness but for the most part has exhibited good control, and he's kept the ball on the ground effectively.
2  07 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 33 R R
  Rapidly putting last year's injury-plagued season behind him, Cain is again displaying the well-rounded set of skills that had us so excited about him in 2008. He's hitting for average, being patient, and, after a slow start, again driving the ball with power, all while playing a premium defensive position. Still, it's worth noting that Cain is 24 and now in his third go-round at AA, so I'd like to see him promoted to Nashville sooner rather than later.
4  08 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  Though his strikeout rate is down from last year at Brevard County, Rivas is getting significantly more ground balls than he did last year while maintaining his good control, and the quality of his stuff leaves room open for recovery in his K rate as he learns to set up more advanced hitters. Rivas was recently disabled with elbow tenderness, which is claimed not to be serious but bears watching for this Tommy John survivor.
4  09 Salome, Angel   A   OF 33 R R
  No prospect has experienced a more disappointing 2010 than Salome, who has been out of action for over a month with what is apparently an anxiety problem. Even apart from this issue, Salome is now stuck behind two promising catchers, in Kottaras and Lucroy, who are under team control for a long time coming. That context isn't taken into account when evaluating Salome, and indeed his continued high ranking here in the face of so many questions is a testament to our belief in his actual baseball-playing ability, but were this list instead a ranking of expected future contribution to the Brewers specifically, Salome would no doubt rank much lower.
10  10 Axford, John   A   CL 36 R R
  The Ax-man cometh, and cometh fast. Trevor Hoffman's struggles cracked open a door, and Axford jammed his foot, and his mid-90s heater, into that opening. Axford doesn't have nearly the track record that Braddock does, and Brewers fans still traumatized by the memory of Derrick Turnbow will be understandably wary of hard-throwing closers who appear out of nowhere, but for now at least Axford appears to have harnessed both his stuff and his mustache wax.
5  11 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  Unexpectedly it's been Heckathorn and not Eric Arnett as the college-sourced pitcher starring for the Timber Rattlers. For prospect watchers weary of the general lack of control amongst even the best minor league pitchers, Heckathorn's miserly walk rate is a refreshing sight. That, combined with a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a hard slider, and a workhorse build, would seem to portend great things for Heckathorn, but he's hasn't quite dominated the way you might expect, remaining a bit too hittable and lacking the huge strikeout totals you'd like to see. As a well-pedigreed college arm, we should expect Heckathorn to be very good in the Midwest League, so all his performance tells me is that he needs a promotion.
2  12 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  After a hot start, Green cooled off considerably and then spent over two weeks on the disabled list. Given that he spent last year recovering from wrist surgery, he can't afford to lose another year to injury.
2  13 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 31 R R
  While Salome's had the most disappointing season so far, Arnett's is at least in shouting distance. Expected to dominate A-ball as a hard-throwing college starter with an advanced breaking ball, Arnett has instead struggled to achieve mediocrity. His mechanics are reportedly a mess, throwing off his velocity and his control and leading to a shocking amount of hits allowed. Arnett's last two starts offer some hope, and of course it's far too early to give up on an arm with his potential, but this is clearly not the pitcher most Brewers fans were expecting when his name was called last June.
6  14 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Like Green, Gindl got off to a blazing start before falling ice cold in May. Also like Green, he's a player whose upside has been a constant source of debate, and AA is about the level where you'd expect such players to begin having some problems. Still, Gindl's excellent corpus up to this point, and the ages at which he put it together, cannot be ignored. He's consistently made adjustments and grown as a player in the past, so it's going to take a lot more than one cold month for me to write him off.
2  15 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  Another college product off to a disappointing start, Davis was challenged with making his pro debut in Brevard County and so far seems a bit over his head. He's not hitting for average or power, and though some of that can be chalked up to the damp air of the Florida State League, we should be seeing more out of him at this point. His plate discipline has at least been good, but not as good as you'd conclude from his .384 OBP, buoyed as it is by 10 HBP. Drawing HBP is a useful skill for some players (like Rickie Weeks), but Davis might be better off without it, as he's already been injured three times this year, twice seemingly related to being hit by a pitch.
1  16 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Scarpetta's strikeout stuff remains intact, but he's really battled his control this year. He's also giving up a lot of fly balls and can thank the Florida humidity for the fact that he's only allowed one home run.
3  17 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  Still hasn't played this year after suffering a groin tear in spring training that was apparently much more severe than initially anticipated.
1  18 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  Rogers' strikeout rate is way down and his walk rate, the old bugaboo, is way up. The stuff and story are still inspiring, but if you're suddenly remembering how frustrating it was to watch Rogers' box scores in 2005-06, you're not alone. With one more option year to play with, the Brewers probably aren't in a particular hurry to move Rogers to the bullpen, but he needs to experience a breakthrough in his ability to control his pitches to remain a starter.
8  19 Gennett, Scooter   MLB   2B 29 L R
  Perhaps more Brewers farmhands should adopt nicknames taken from a children's show. Gennett, who dubbed himself "Scooter" as a child after the Muppet Baby, has taken the Midwest League by storm with his offensive performance. Though some hold out hope that he'll be a shortstop, it's looking like he'll more likely man the other side of the keystone. Short and slight, his stature belies the charge he puts into the ball, but he'll likely continue to be doubted at every stop because of his build. Nevertheless, it's been quite the scintillating start for Scooter.
2  20 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  Despite a superficially good ERA, Bucci's peripherals are disappointing. He continues to struggle with his control, surprising after his strong walk rate at Helena last year. He's also not putting up the strikeouts and seemingly getting very lucky on balls in play; as the hits inevitably begin to fall in, he'll need to cut down on the walks to compensate. You have to appreciate his competitiveness, though.
2  21 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  Jeffress is officially unsuspended but still hasn't pitched this year while recovering from supposedly minor forearm tightness. When he returns, it will be at Brevard County initially, where Jeffress, having hopefully tamed one demon, will try to tame a second: his control.
4  22 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Dennis has fallen back after scorching the ball in April but remains an intriguing left-handed power bat. The road to the big leagues will be much tougher as a first basemen--which the Brewers apparently have decided Dennis is--though.
2  23 Butler, Josh   A   SP 34 R R
  You have to think a healthy Butler would have been called up by now, what with all the turmoil on the Brewers staff this year. Finally healthy, he's been sent to Huntsville to get back on track and with his power sinker remains as good a candidate as any to be a back-of-the-rotation starter for the Brewers in the coming years.
2  24 Lasker, Maverick   A   SP 29 R R
  Lasker, like Bucci, is an aggressive pitcher lacking in top-end projectability. Like Scarpetta, he's benefited from a kind home run rate as a fly-ball pitcher. Since he didn't pitch at all after being drafted in 2008 and only accumulated 56 innings last year, the Brewers will keep a short leash on him this year, which so far has meant a frustrating amount of two-inning appearances.
11  25 Estrada, Marco   MLB   SP 36 R R
  After a great start to his Brewers career at Nashville, Estrada has struggled since being called up, managing only two scoreless outings in seven relief appearances. Like Chris Narveson, he seems like a guy unsuited to be either a short reliever or a full starter. Maybe they can tandem start.
2  26 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 28 R R
  As one of the youngest players in full-season ball, Garfield's struggles need to be put into context, but still, he hasn't been very good. It's apparent that he's a decent pure hitter with some power potential, but his plate discipline has been terrible. Now, the offensive bar is set very low for catchers, so he won't have to hit much to keep progressing up the ladder, but at some point he will have to improve on his caught-stealing percentage. Prep catchers are notorious for struggling to adjust to pro ball, but check out Devin Mesoraco's and Kyle Skipworth's lines from previous years and then this year for some hope.
2  27 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R
  The evo for D'Vo has been painfully slow, as expected. The gifted natural athlete has plainly struggled with many aspects of being a baseball player, from plate approach to making contact to baserunning. Still, his upside is huge, and the good news is that he seems like a good defensive center fielder, which raises his floor considerably.
3  28 Periard, Alex   A   SP 32 L R
  The good news is that Periard has reportedly regained the low-90s velocity on his sinker that he had before last year's shoulder problems and that he's putting up the highest ground-ball rate of his career so far. The bad news is that he's only struck out 21 in 56.2 innings. Unless he pulls a Chien-Ming Wang 2006 out of his pocket, it's very unlikely he can be a successful MLB pitcher with a strikeout rate that low. If he can figure out a way to induce more swing-and-misses, his good control and wormburning ways should enable him to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.
1  29 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  Farris has missed a month and will probably miss another with a sprained knee ligament, but before he went down he continued to demonstrate that he is what he is: a canny baserunner who can hit for a decent but empty average and who is limited defensively to second base. In the Brewers' eyes, this apparently makes him a decent prospect, but I'm not so sure.
 30 Howell, Del   A   SP 32 L L
  Howell is the pitching version of Richardson: tons of potential but very raw for his age. His has rare velocity for a lefty and a good slider, but the results so far don't reflect the quality of his stuff. At this point, he just needs experience, but soon we'll hope to see the strikeouts come up and the walks and hits go down.
4  31 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  Hall is the only member of the 2009 draft class yet to see the field, not even for instructionals. It's hard not to be excited about his fastball/slider combo, but like most young pitchers, he'll surely have his ups and downs along the way. Expect to see him in June when the rookie leagues begin.
 32 Heether, Adam   MLB   IF 37 R R
  At first glance, Heether's slash stats this year are disappointing, but delving deeper, he's getting quite unlucky on balls in play and is actually posting a season not dissimilar to last year's. He could still be a valuable utility player, a right-handed Joe Inglett with more pop, or even luck into Casey Blake's career, but he seems in danger of being lost in the shuffle of infielders who can hit but can't play shortstop.
10  33 Lofgren, Chuck   A   SP 33 L L
  After some spring training hype and a promising first few starts, Lofgren's gotten off track, regressing with his control and allowing a lot of home runs. Since he throws with his left arm, he'll get lots of chances, but we might have gotten a little carried away with this one.
5  34 Anundsen, Evan   A   SP 31 R R
  Anundsen still hasn't pitched this year after suffering a shoulder strain in spring training. Hopefully he comes back with his stuff intact, because he can't afford to lose anything off his already below-average fastball. Anytime a pitcher injures his shoulder, you worry, particularly when the injury lingers longer than expected, as Anundsen's has.
2  35 Bowman, Michael   A   SP 32 R R
  Bowman continues to be a decent sleeper. Though he's been hit hard this year, he's actually raised his strikeout rate and lowered his walk rate from last year and, all in all, has made the jump to AA pretty well.
5  36 Komatsu, Erik   A   OF 32 L L
  The forgotten man after getting into only 26 games last year because of injuries, Komatsu has rejuvenated his prospect status at Brevard County this season. A classic tweener, he doesn't have the glove for center and probably won't hit enough to start in an outfield corner, but he's a good contact hitter with a decent eye and could turn into a fourth outfielder.
5  37 Davis, Khris   MLB   OF 31 R R
  At 22, Davis is a little old for the Midwest League, but at least he's dominating like he should, with an attractive .300/.400/.500-style line. He has more upside than Komatsu thanks to his power, and together with Gennett is helping to take some of the sting out of the lackluster performances from the top of the 2009 draft class.
4  38 Prince, Josh   A   OF 31 R R
  Where did Prince's plate discipline go? He doesn't seem quite as overmatched at the plate at BC this year as he did at Wisconsin last year, but he'll need to rediscover his batting eye to maintain his prospect status, as he likely won't hit for enough average to maintain a respectable OBP otherwise and has no power to speak of.
8  39 Kintzler, Brandon   A   MR 35 R R
  The mini-Axford, Kintzler was likewise rescued off the scrap heap and is likewise making quite an impression out of the pen. As Huntsville's closer this year, he's allowed just two runs (one earned) on the year and struck out a batter an inning while walking just one. He can run his fastball up there in the low 90s, so it's not like he's a junkballer. Easy story to root for.
2  40 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 34 L L
  Merklinger's numbers last year were intriguing, particularly because he has good stuff for a lefty. He hasn't been as good this year and needs to pick it up a little bit in order to get bumped to the more age-appropriate AA.
1  41 Fiers, Mike   MLB   SP 34 R R
  Fiers has been good enough as a starter for the Manatees, exhibiting good control while striking out a man an inning, but I still think his future lies in the bullpen, where his fastball at least plays up to average. I'm not sure what he's accomplishing by dominating A-ball hitters as a 25-year-old.
new  42 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  Haydel's always been extremely fast and a pretty good pure hitter, but his utter lack of secondary skills held him back up this point. This year, though, he's displaying much-improved patience, already walking almost as many times as he did all of last season. He hasn't been Huntsville's primary center fielder, ceding that role to Cain, but he has the ability to play the position, which lowers the bar for his offense considerably.
4  43 Krestalude, Damon   A   SP 30 R R
  A notch below guys like Bucci and Lasker stuff-wise, Krestalude nevertheless is young enough to still add some velocity.
7  44 Walla, Max   A   MR 28 L L
  Walla went from folk hero to human wind machine after the draft last year, but he's only 19 and has plenty of time to figure out how to put his prodigious raw power to use.
 46 Watten, Trey   A   SP 32 R R
  Watten keeps the ball on the ground very well, getting over two ground outs for every air out in his minor league career, while also striking out a decent number of hitters. If he can refine his control, he's the kind of guy whose numbers could improve as he moves up simply by pitching in front of better defenses and on better-maintained fields.
4  47 Wooten, Rob   A   MR 34 R R
  They say Tommy John surgery gives pitchers an extra few ticks on their fastball, in which case it will turn out to have been an excellent investment for Wooten, the owner of a good slider but below-average fastball. We'll see next year.
new  48 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  Stretched at shortstop though not incapable, Wheeler just keeps making contact and getting on base, doggedly working himself into the utility infielder conversation.
new  49 Dykstra, Cutter   MLB   3B 30 R R
  Creeping his way back onto the list after a lost 2009, Dykstra's on his third position in three years, and while the reviews of his glove work at the hot corner have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic, he's at least hitting and getting on base this year. Still only 21, he has time to rehabilitate his prospect status.
2  50 Cody, Chris   A   SP 35 L L
  After pitching very well for Huntsville last season, the Commander has regressed this year, seeing all his ratios trend in the wrong direction. Still, as long as he's left-handed, he'll draw interest.

Players removed this week: Casey Baron... Evan Frederickson... R.J. Seidel...
 

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