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Toby's Power 50
 
 
  Power 50 Notes
 
last updated: 08/17/2010

Patrick here with the August comments, and how can I start without mentioning first-round draft pick Dylan Covey's decision to forego the Brewers offer and head to college? Without a doubt understanding and compassion are needed given his recent diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, but since the idea of him joining the system, adding needed depth to a modest yet growing stable of arms, was so exciting, it's difficult not to be disappointed with the way things turned out. Onto happier notes. Congratulations to both Jonathan Lucroy and John Axford for graduating off of this list. There's a chance both Lorenzo Cain and Mat Gamel (who better get at least 20 at-bats in September) may do the same by season's end. Mike McClendon joined Axford and Zach Braddock in the bullpen last weekend, while Cain, Lucroy and Alcides Escobar have established themselves up the middle. Currently on the 40-man roster, Amaury Rivas, Mark Rogers and Jeremy Jeffress could all get a taste of the big-leagues before season's end. Despite Covey's decision, the pitching certainly appears to be brighter, with many to most of the team's top pitching prospects (outside of Eric Arnett) enjoying solid years as they inch closer and closer to Milwaukee. Young slugger Brett Lawrie on the other hand isn't inching his way toward Milwaukee, he's forcing it, and may continue to force the issue by midseason next year if he continues to rake like he has this year.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Lawrie, Brett   A   2B 29 R R
  Pick your favorite number: .824 OPS, 34 doubles, 15 triples, 8 home runs, 28 stolen bases, 20 years old. It's safe to say that Lawrie should retain the top spot until he finds his way to 150 big-league at-bats.
2  02 Odorizzi, Jake   MLB   SP 29 R R
  A tip of the cap to this young man, providing excitement we haven't felt since Yovani Gallardo soared up the ladder. It may be time to shut him down however, as he's already more than doubled (108 to 47) his innings from last year.
2  03 Gamel, Mat   A   1B 34 L R
  Gamel has finally picked up where he left off toward the end of the 2008 season when he was first bumped up to Nashville, and is now poised to see full-time duty at the big league level next year, whether it be 3B, RF or 1B. As long as he given a better chance to succeed that is.
1  04 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  The young lefty has quietly been enjoying a successful debut season out of the bullpen, creating what appears to be a formidable 1-2 punch in the years ahead with John Axford. And to think he turns all of 23 years old next week.
1  05 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 33 R R
  Patience has been key in Cain's development, who has enjoyed a slow but steady climb towards Milwaukee. He is now being rewarded for that patience and hard work, while providing a much-needed boost of energy and enthusiasm to the Brewers lineup.
2  06 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 30 R R
  The strikeouts may be down a little from last year, but so are the walks, and he also been inducing a lot more groundballs. That earned him a nod to AA Huntsville to close out the season, and he hasn't missed a beat. AAA and then Milwaukee may not be out of the question for 2011.
3  07 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  I know his value is greater as a starter, but the thought of Jeffress, Axford and Braddock at the back of the bullpen reminds me of the Reds' Nasty Boys from 1990. He seems to be taking to the transition as well, and no matter how he's used, it's nice to see this young man get back on track.
1  08 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  Rivas' upside may not be as high as Odorizzi's and Peralta's, but he likely will be the best of the team's pitching prospects to next join homegrown starters Gallardo and Parra with the Brewers. That may come when rosters expand next month.
2  09 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  Heckathorn, whose changeup was recently named the Midwest League's best, was thought to be in need of polish, but he carved up the Midwest League pretty handily, and he continues to pitch well for the 'Tees after a promotion in late July.
3  10 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  Helter Skelter! Fear not, Rogers current DL stint has nothing to do with his arm, and he even managed to put together two consecutive impressive starts before his last one. The reins supposedly have been released, so let's hope for more efficient 6 & 7 inning games and less free passes.
4  11 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Aside from a few bumps along the way, Scarpetta has been dealing the entire second half of the season, and may join his former rotation mate, Wily Peralta, in Huntsville before the season's out. As a friendly reminder, he is also on the 40-man. Yes, crazier things have happened.
 12 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  Davis probably should have returned to BC upon finding his stroke with the T-Rats, but he's joined a nice collection of talent that may be brought along similar to groups that included Hart & Hardy, Fielder & Weeks as well as Braun & Gallardo. Davis starts a nice little run of lefty hitters here.
1  13 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  It's hard what to make of Gindl, who still shows some strong peripherals, but his OPS has been steadily dropping during his 4-year pro career. The biggest difference this year is the drop in power, but the approach remains strong, meaning don't lose hope despite my Debbie Downering.
3  14 Gennett, Scooter   MLB   2B 29 L R
  A year ago word had it that signing Gennett came right down to the wire. I would like to be so whimsical as to say you win some and you lose some, but I would prefer to win them all. Scooter has been raking all year long, posting some impressive numbers as a 20-year old in the Midwest League.
1  15 Green, Taylor   A   IF 33 L R
  July was a good month for Green, when he hit almost half of his extra-base hits on the season, but his fortunes quickly turned back around once August began. Similar to Gindl, it's hard to get a good read with what the Brewers have in this young man, who hasn't been the same since breaking his nose in the AFL in '08.
9  16 Komatsu, Erik   A   OF 32 L L
  We'll give Komatsu a mulligan for the 2009 season, as he's now jumped 20 spots in the last two P50 edits. He's been remarkably consistent all year as well, seemingly going 1-for-3 with a walk every night.
2  17 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  Lorenzo Cain's impressive surge towards Milwaukee has somewhat tempered what initially seemed like a disappointing and lost season for Schafer. Well, it may still be disappointing for Schafer, but at least the urgency for him to produce upon his return won't be as glaring.
3  18 Lasker, Maverick   A   SP 29 R R
  Evan Frederickson, Seth Lintz, Cody Adams and Josh Romanski separated Jake Odorizzi and Lasker among the boat-load of pitchers the Brewers selected in the first 5 rounds in '08. He may not be as dynamite as Jake, but he's held his own while progressing at the same pace.
5  19 Davis, Khris   MLB   OF 31 R R
  Kh. Davis has been steady and productive all season long for the T-Rats, and yet doesn't carry the same fanfare or attention as several of his teammates. That means he'll have to continue to be productive to secure more and more believers, but sitting at #19 here is a pretty good start.
 20 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  For someone known for his command entering the year, Bucci sure has walked a lot of batters all season long, and yet it hasn't come back to haunt him. He still possesses one of the best 3-pitch repertoires in the system, and has been effective despite his control issues.
1  21 Nelson, Jimmy   A   SP 30 R R
  Consider Nelson's first two appearances to start his pro career as tuneups, as he's been lights out since. His 2.75 GO:AO ratio indicates the sinker is still working for him, and first-hand reports indicate he's been working consistently in the low-90s.
4  22 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 31 R R
  You hate to see such a promising and prominent prospect seemingly hit the wall while barely getting his pro career off the ground. His stuff is too good to be hit as much as he has been this year, and his recent trip to the DL may signal the merciful end to his season.
4  23 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  Farris often goes forgotten when discussing the future lineup, although missing significant time due to injury didn't help. He enjoyed a successful July, and hopefully will finish strong to put his name back into said discussion.
4  24 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Dennis' power/patience combo is legit even if it would be nice to see his BA up and the Ks down. It's nice to see him receive regular playing time with the T-Rats despite the logjam in LF and 1B.
14  25 Dykstra, Cutter   MLB   3B 30 R R
  Dykstra has firmly put himself back into the prospect discussion, and has now soared back up 24 spots on the P50 the last 2 edits. Finding an ideal position for him may be a little tricky since there isn't a path at 2B, but he may profile as the system's best leadoff hitter.
 26 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 28 R R
  We can give Garfield all the credit in the world for handling a pitching staff in his first full professional season at 19 years of age, but at some point he's going to have to start hitting the ball better.
3  27 Thornburg, Tyler   MLB   CL 31 R R
  He doesn't fit the organization's newfound pitching blueprint at 5-foot-11, but Thornburg is doing his best Lincecum impression by striking out 20 batters in 9.2 innings.
5  28 Butler, Josh   A   SP 35 R R
  Butler is allowing a lot more baserunners than he did a year ago, but maybe it takes him a year to figure out each level, as it did from '08 to '09. He stills profiles as a 4/5 and is a phone call away.
4  29 Howell, Del   A   SP 32 L L
  While he's not the fire-balling lefty we thought he could be, and despite less than desirable peripherals, Howell has been enjoying a solid season since April and has a knack for inducing groundballs.
2  30 Morris, Hunter   MLB   1B 31 L R
  The transition to pro ball hasn't gone as smoothly as we hoped it would for Morris, and the idea of him finishing the year in his hometown (Huntsville) may have been wishful thinking. Still, he continues to show power in his swing (.459 SLG) despite the lower BA/OBP (.254/.311).
2  31 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  While his last start was encouraging (6 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 0 BB), we all knew Hall would be a work in progress upon beginning his pro career. Don't be surprised to see him brought along slowly, similar to Odorizzi, with a full season in Helena next summer.
1  32 Kintzler, Brandon   A   MR 35 R R
  Kintzler seemingly came out of nowhere to add another arm to a modest group of relievers knocking at the door to compete for the Brewers bullpen. Look at the numbers and prepare to be wowed.
9  33 Lamontagne, Andre   A   MR 33 R R
  See Kintzler's comments above, although Lamontagne has returned to a starting role for his last 4 appearances. He soared past low and high-A this year, as he too may be knocking at the door to Milwaukee next season.
 34 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R
  It's easy to dream of what Richardson could become, and even though he's not hitting the greatest, he is receiving praise for his defensive play in center. He could profile as a Mike Cameron type given his D' and athleticism if he's able to make the necessary adjustments at the plate.
5  35 Miller, Matt   A   SP 30 R R
  If you haven't taken notice of Miller this summer, take a peak. He's leading the Pioneer League in wins (6) and starts (11) while also sitting towards the top in ERA, innings and WHIP. He may just Heckathorn his way to BC by this time next year.
 36 Fiers, Mike   MLB   SP 34 R R
  Fiers' transition to a starter has gone pretty well this year, earning a bump up to AA, but his best bet may be a return to the bullpen, where he was nearly unhittable last year.
2  37 Salome, Angel   A   OF 33 R R
  I honestly don't know what to say about this young man. Instead of going with what I really feel here, I'll put on my happy hat and remind everyone that we soured on Mat Gamel for a while...
5  38 McClendon, Mike   A   MR 34 R R
  Congratulations young man. If you can toss 3 scoreless innings at Coors, you can do anything. This has been a common theme on this list, even dating back to the last update, but kudos to the Brewers for developing more starters and relievers alike.
5  39 Hawn, Cody   A   1B 31 L R
  Even people that turn their nose up at batting average know that Cody Hawn should be hitting better than .284 with Helena. The other numbers are strong, especially in the power/patience dep't., but he has certainly cooled after such a hot start.
new  40 Burgos, Hiram   A   SP 32 R R
  The recently turned 23 old is going to have to continually impress at each and every level to climb up this list. If he does so, he could join the growing list of effective & fast-tracked homegrown relievers as profiled in the lower third of the P50.
8  41 Roberts, Tyler   A   C 29 L R
  Not since 2005 have we seen someone (Lorenzo Cain) put up such impressive offensive numbers in the Arizona League, but in this instance we need reason as to why Roberts, who also played with the Baby Brewers in '09, hasn't been bumped up to Helena yet.
3  42 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  Wheeler has risen a level each year he has been in the system, and has legitimate utility potential. He continues to post solid peripherals, showing a good eye at the plate, gap power and diversity in the field.
5  43 Lofgren, Chuck   A   SP 33 L L
  He's a good kid, with good stuff and doesn't turn 25 until next January, but you have to wonder what it will take for the light switch to turn on for Lofgren. Melvin may have him in his late-blooming lefty category, and hopefully he's right.
new  44 Hand, Donovan   A   MR 33 R R
  His upside is limited, but Hand is a big kid that has posted an impressive ground ball/flyball ratio all along the way. He has pitched himself into consideration for big-league service time out of the bullpen.
new  45 Pokorny, Jon   A   MR 31 R L
  As impressive as Pokorny's stats have been this season, he really has had no business remaining at low-A for this long. Another name to pile on to the growing potential reliever pile that could advance quickly.
new  46 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 34 L L
  You have to wonder if there's a reason why the Brewers aren't challenging the 24-year old, A-ball bound Merklinger a little more than they are this season. He has strong overall numbers and sprinkled in a pair of back-to-back dominant appearances in late July.
new  47 Zarraga, Shawn   MLB   C 30 S R
  While he's holding his own at BC, Zarraga's status as a prospect remains to be an enigma. Known for his power signing for early round money as a late-round pick in '07, he has only 4 HR in 467 professional ABs.
new  48 Watten, Trey   A   SP 33 R R
  Watten's groundball ratio is exceptional this season, sitting just over 3 to 1 for the 'Tees. He's another player relatively old for his level that should be challenged with a promotion to see what he can do.
3  49 Prince, Josh   A   OF 31 R R
  Prince is in danger of falling off this list completely, and would have had Covey signed and Axford not tossed 1.2 innings on Tuesday night against the Cardinals.
new  50 Nieves, Efrain   A   SP 30 L L
  Nieves could make quite a career out of being ranked #51 on the Power 50. He's been a little harder to hit this season for the T-Rats, otherwise he's been about the same pitcher this year as he was a year ago. Age is still on his side, but he needs to step up.

Players removed this week: Evan Anundsen... John Axford... Marco Estrada... Jonathan Lucroy... Alex Periard... R.J. Seidel...
 

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