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Toby's Power 50
 
 
  Power 50 Notes
 
last updated: 09/26/2010

That was quick. The 2010 minor league season has come and gone, and the major league season is close behind (for the Brewers and 21 other clubs, at least). With the Brewers out of the playoff hunt for most of the year for the first time since 2006, there was something of a renewed focus on the minor leagues. Even the minor leaguers started slowly, with a rash of disappointing starts and early season injuries. The second half of the season was refreshing, however, as the Arizona Brewers and the Helena Brewers won their league championships, and more importantly, the Milwaukee Brewers got a big dose of talent from the minors that should help the team for years to come. Jonathan Lucroy and Lorenzo Cain have become fixtures in the everyday lineup, John Axford and Zach Braddock became fixtures in the bullpen, and we got to see the big league debuts of Mark Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress, Brandon Kintzler and Mike McClendon. Mat Gamel even managed to find the one AB necessary to graduate off of the Power 50 this time. As for the list itself, pitchers dominate the early part of the Power 50, filling seven of the top ten slots - hopefully a good omen for the fixing Milwaukee's moribund pitching staff in the future. The rest of the list is actually pretty even and deep, if not at the level it was when Fielder, Weeks and Hardy were at the top. We hope you enjoy this edition of the Power 50. We'll be back in a few months sometime after the Arizona Fall League and after annual winter meetings in December. Until then, from me (Toby) and the rest of the Power 50 staff, thanks for reading.    
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  Power 50
+/- Rank  Name  Level  Pos  Age 
 01 Lawrie, Brett   A   2B 29 R R
  Lawrie acquitted himself well as a 20 year-old in AA. There are still rough edges on defense to be worked out, but regardless of where he ends up on the field, there's less and less of a doubt that his bat will play. Lawrie's presence may afford the Brewers the luxury of being able to trade an everyday player from the major league roster, because he'll more than likely be ready for Milwaukee sometime next season.
5  02 Jeffress, Jeremy   A   MR 32 R R
  Regardless of what you think about the Brewers' decision to add Jeffress to the 40-man roster to avoid any further testing for marijuana, you probably can't say Jeffress didn't earn his way to Milwaukee following dominating stops in Wisconsin and, especially, Huntsville. All the time off from the suspension has apparently not impacted Jeffress' arm. The question now becomes: should the Brewers allow him to dominate in the bullpen, or hope he can become effective as a starter?
1  03 Odorizzi, Jake   MLB   SP 29 R R
  The Brewers' 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year was almost a no-brainer as Odorizzi breezed through A-ball hitters with ease for the most part, including pitching the first 8 innings of a no-hitter against Cedar Rapids on August 8th. There are some very good pitchers in the Brewers' system, but very few have Odorizzi's potential. As his breaking stuff becomes more refined, watch out.
 04 Braddock, Zach   A   MR 32 L L
  You sure can't say the Brewers haven't been careful with Braddock - since calling him up on May 23rd, the Brewers have given him all of 32.1 innings in the ensuing four months. We look forward to continued domination out of the pen next year, even if it won't be in the closer's role just yet.
 05 Cain, Lorenzo   MLB   CF 33 R R
  This is likely Cain's swan song on the Power 50 as he should hit 130 at-bats before the end of the season. Cain has brought a youthful spark to the Brewers that has made the end of another disappointing baseball season fun to watch again, at least for this fan. Good luck in the future, Lo!
4  06 Rogers, Mark   A   SP 33 R R
  It was equal parts gratification and pure shock to see Mark Rogers' first appearance in a Brewers uniform against the Cubs on September 10th. It truly seems like a lifetime ago that he was drafted in the first round, the next great hope for the Brewers solving their pitching woes. Sure it took a little longer than expected, but Mark made it and in the near future, we should be seeing a lot more of him.
1  07 Peralta, Wily   A   SP 30 R R
  There seemed to be a conscious effort on Peralta's part to pitch to more contact this year and induce more ground balls, because from all reports he still has the same stuff, but his strikeout totals dropped as his ground ball rate increased. Despite that big drop in strikeouts this year, we still love him as a prospect, though it would be nice to see a recovery in the good ol' K/9.
 08 Rivas, Amaury   A   SP 33 R R
  Rivas' 2010 campaign was very... Rivas-like. Lots of quality starts, solid if not spectacular numbers, and a generally good feeling about his future. I was a little surprised Rivas was not rewarded with a cup of coffee in Milwaukee, but no matter... he will be challenging for a rotation spot sometime very soon.
 09 Heckathorn, Kyle   A   MR 31 R R
  What Arnett was not able to do, Heckathorn was: he outclassed Midwest League hitters on a regular basis and earned a late season promotion to Brevard, where he continued to pitch well. The paradox about Heckathorn is that while he throws hard, his strikeout rate is quite pedestrian. He gets a lot of ground ball outs, but you'd still like to see the K/9 a tick high moving forward.
2  10 Davis, Kentrail   A   OF 31 L R
  Every bit the hit-by-pitch magnet that Fielder and Weeks are in Milwaukee and then some, Davis managed to get through the season while enduring a constant pummeling (19 HBP's in just 97 games) and suffering through a hamstring tear. Can't wait to see what a healthy Davis will bring to the table in the near future.
 11 Scarpetta, Cody   A   SP 31 R R
  Not any dramatic improvements statistically between 2009 and 2010, but Scarpetta was brilliant in the second half of the season. Hopefully that's a precursor to a breakout season for Huntsville in 2011.
1  12 Gindl, Caleb   A   OF 31 L L
  Almost all of Gindl's numbers declined this year and I am curious to see if the Brewers keep pushing him next year or if they let him go back to AA and give the Southern League another go-around. Whether he's in AA or AAA, he probably won't be playing as much CF next year, so he'll have to continue to prove he has enough power to succeed as a corner outfielder.
1  13 Gennett, Scooter   MLB   2B 29 L R
  Missed some time toward the end of the season and generally stopped drawing walks in the second half, but it is hard to argue with Gennett's body of work in his first pro season. His long-term future hinges on Lawrie's ability/need to stick at second base, but his road is pretty clear at second for the next few years.
1  14 Green, Taylor   A   IF 32 L R
  Green's 2010 was alright, but it seems like he's never come back all the way from his injury last year. In an attempt to add value to himself, Taylor has volunteered himself to play catcher in instructionals this fall. Can't hurt.
1  15 Komatsu, Erik   A   OF 32 L L
  Congratulations to the 2010 Brewers Minor League Player of the Year! Komatsu not only dominated the Florida State League, he was consistently dominant. If he can play center field half as well as he hits, the Brewers may have a real log jam in the middle of their outfield.
11  16 Thornburg, Tyler   MLB   CL 31 R R
  Quite possibly the early revelation of the 2010 draft class. Thornburg evokes Tim Lincecum with his pitching motion and though he doesn't quite have The Freak's stuff, he put up freakish stat lines in his limited use in Helena. This includes 38 strike outs and only 15 hits allowed in his 23.1 innings of work. Thornburg may have as much upside as anyone the Brewers drafted this year, though some scouts said that he may be limited to the bullpen down the road. The Brewers, though, will very likely keep him in the rotation for the time being and it'll be fun watching him in Appleton.
4  17 Nelson, Jimmy   MLB   SP 30 R R
  After a rough start, Nelson settled down nicely and was able to put together a good rookie campaign. He'll move back to starting next year and as the top draft pick to sign from the 2010 class, have a lot of people interested in how he performs.
1  18 Schafer, Logan   A   OF 33 L L
  At this point last year, we were wondering if Schafer had passed Lorenzo Cain on the CF depth chart. Now, we're just happy Logan is healthy enough to be able to play in the Arizona Fall League. With a strong showing there and a good start to next year, he still has a chance to keep his name in the conversation for the big job in Milwaukee.
 19 Davis, Khris   MLB   OF 31 R R
  A wonderful surprise this season with nearly unrelenting production from the middle of Wisconsin's order, Davis put himself squarely on the prospect map, even if he's still not quite to the level of his fellow K. Davis teammate. The key to Davis' future might now be his defense - can he prove that he can play the corner outfield positions well enough to allow his bat to move him up the ladder?
5  20 Dykstra, Cutter   MLB   3B 30 R R
  After suffering through a disheartening 2009 season filled with injury and family problems, Dykstra bounced back harder than he fell and showed that he may indeed be Milwaukee's leadoff hitter of the future. Now the Brewers just need to find him a position and let him stick with it for more than a year.
1  21 Bucci, Nick   A   SP 29 R R
  It is still a little shocking to see Bucci's walk rate skyrocket and ground ball rate sink like they did, but he was a 19 year old pitching in A-ball, so it could have been a lot worse. Bucci held his own and exhibited the gumption that makes the Brewers think so highly of him.
10  22 Kintzler, Brandon   A   MR 35 R R
  Like Axford before him, it is great to see a guy plucked out of near oblivion go on to earn his way on to the big league roster. Kudos to the Brewers' scouting department for finding Kintzler, and of course, best wishes to the man himself.
1  23 Dennis, Chris   A   OF 31 L R
  Is this who will eventually replace Prince Fielder in Milwaukee? While it's almost out of the question that Dennis will be ready by the time Fielder is gone, the slugging Canadian keeps putting up big numbers.
6  24 Lasker, Maverick   A   SP 29 R R
  Faded badly toward the end of the season, though I think it would be fair to chalk it up to the increased workload over his first full season of pro baseball. I look forward to seeing what Lasker can do next year with the Manatees.
3  25 Butler, Josh   A   SP 34 R R
  Regressed to pre-2009 from after missing the first month and a half of the season. The most worrisome thing to me was his career low ground ball percentage - getting grounders is his bread and butter. Was not called up to Milwaukee and was not assigned to the Arizona Fall League again. Butler needs to get back on track, quickly.
4  26 Arnett, Eric   A   MR 31 R R
  There's really no good way to spin Arnett's season, especially when you build in the expectations most people had going into the year. You just have to hope that whatever was going on with Arnett in '10 will be rectified in '11 - the talent is still there.
11  27 McClendon, Mike   A   MR 34 R R
  You can't help but feel good for McClendon. He was never rated as a top prospect and was switched out of starting a year and a half into his pro career, in A-ball as a 23 year old. That story usually does not have a happy ending. But McClendon's tenacity in the strike zone and proclivity for inducing the ground ball earned him a ticket to Milwaukee and so far, it looks like he might be there to stay.
5  28 Lamontagne, Andre   A   MR 33 R R
  A somewhat unexpectedly brilliant start to the season in the bullpen turned into a nice finish in Huntsville's rotation. Like Fiers a few spots below, it will be interesting to see if the Brewers continue to groom these slightly older guys as starters, or allow them to help the major league bullpen in the short run.
5  29 Richardson, D'Vontrey   A   OF 31 R R
  There are lots of good takeaways from D'Vo's season: solid walk rate, decent power, at times brilliant defense, strong finish. There was also the inconsistency at the plate, defensive miscues, and high strikeout rate that you almost had to expect going in to the season from a great athlete who was just getting into a focus on baseball. Richardson will continue to be a work-in-progress next year, but his upside will make him fun to follow.
7  30 Farris, Eric   A   2B 33 R R
  The Brewers bumped Farris past Huntsville to Nashville to begin the season ostensibly to allow both he and Brett Lawrie to play second base this year. Unfortunately, Farris missed about two months with an injury and never really got on a roll at the plate. Now that Lawrie has earned his way to Nashville, will Farris be forced down to Huntsville, or will he take on a utility role with the Sounds in 2011? We might get an inkling of that answer as both are slated to play in the Arizona Fall League this year.
5  31 Fiers, Mike   MLB   SP 34 R R
  Despite a fringey fastball and being comparatively old for his leagues, it is rapidly becoming more difficult to discount what Fiers has been able to do for the Brewers in the past year and half. In his first 165 professional innings, Fiers has struck out 189 while only walking 37 - a dominant ratio. He's held opponents to a .229 batting average to boot. He'll get another healthy dose of testing with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
6  32 Garfield, Cameron   A   C 28 R R
  Never really got going at the plate apart from an alright June, and a 19% caught stealing rate (runners nabbed 140 bases against him) point to a return to Wisconsin, you'd think. Which is not to rag on the guy - 19 year old catchers in full season A-ball are few and the successful ones are very far between. Garfield still has a lot of potential, to be sure.
3  33 Morris, Hunter   MLB   1B 31 L R
  While his pro debut with Wisconsin wasn't a barn burner at the plate, Morris was solid and able to diversify a little by playing left field. It's hard not to see Morris and Dennis on the same team again next year, so they'll continue to battle it out for playing time and the better prospect status.
1  34 Miller, Matt   A   SP 30 R R
  Winning the clinching game of the Pioneer League Championship after leading the league in wins isn't a bad way to start off your pro career. Miller flashed improved command from his University of Michigan career and with 135 innings under his belt in '10, the 5th rounder could move quickly as a workhorse starter if that command holds up.
11  35 Merklinger, Dan   A   SP 33 L L
  Still a little confounded as to why Merklinger was left to dominate A-ballers virtually all season when the Brewers' big league club isn't exactly teeming with starting pitching success. Guys like Merklinger need to be pushed a little bit.
3  36 Hawn, Cody   A   1B 31 L R
  Hawn was as good as any hitter in the Brewers' minor league system in 2010, and you wonder how he would have hit in Wisconsin. We'll probably find out next year as he, Morris and Dennis battle to claim the mantle of "possible Brewers first baseman of the future."
6  37 Hall, Brooks   A   MR 29 R R
  The oft-talked about young pitcher had a solid, if not awe-inspiring, inaugural campaign, flashing good command and showing a propensity to get hit hard on occasion. Hall will be 21 next year, so I wouldn't be too surprised to see him open up 2011 with Wisconsin, or at least be in Appleton at some point.
9  38 Howell, Del   A   SP 32 L L
  Was getting better as the season rolled past June in to July, but Howell hit something of a wall in late July and August. That wasn't completely unexpected given his relative pitching inexperience. While Howell's final numbers were generally not pretty, he got good seasoning this year and will look to build on it in 2011.
2  39 Roberts, Tyler   A   C 29 L R
  Recently named the 4th best prospect in the Arizona Summer League, Roberts has people talking about his bat even though his early-season Nintendoesque numbers didn't quite hold up. I loved reading the story about Tyler learning about catching by watching the Braves on TV - he definitely has the skills to be a good defender, it'll just be about getting reps behind the dish. I wouldn't be shocked not to see him in full-season ball next year.
 40 Burgos, Hiram   A   SP 32 R R
  It's hard to see the crafty Burgos not having a good year in pitcher-friendly Brevard next season, so he might have to wait to get to Huntsville to really prove his place on the prospect map.
4  41 Salome, Angel   A   OF 33 R R
  I suppose Salome can take some solace that he had a strong finish in Brevard as a DH, but with the expectations that he had entering 2010 reduced to that, Angel has some soul searching to do as he and the Brewers decide whether he'll be in the organization next year. I, for one, would love to see him brought back to see him given a shot at redemption, even if it has to be in the outfield.
2  42 Hand, Donovan   A   MR 33 R R
  Whether or not Hand makes it to Milwaukee, I imagine he was more than happy just to make it out of Huntsville at mid-season after arriving there in May 2008. Hand has always seemed to have better results than stuff, though a much improved groundball rate this year gives hope that his promotion to Nashville won't be the last promotion he'll get.
5  43 Watten, Trey   A   SP 32 R R
  One of the more impressive displays of groundballmanship I've seen in quite some time from a Brewers minor leaguer. Watten got nearly 4 ground balls for every line drive or fly ball given up. And except for a modest decline in strikeout rate, his peripheral numbers were improved as well. Watten has a good arm with heavy stuff and as he gets better defenses behind him and better turf underneath him, he could start to flourish.
2  44 Wheeler, Zelous   MLB   IF 32 R R
  Got jobbed again in milb.com's best name competition, but Wheeler seems to have played well enough in Huntsville to have earned a good shot at a job in Nashville next year. Wheeler will have to keep working on defense - if he wants a good shot at a big league job, he'll probably need to get better at shortstop. With the caveat that minor league error totals are somewhat unreliable, a .932 fielding percentage at short probably won't work.
new  45 Ross, Austin   A   MR 31 R R
  Any way you slice it, Ross had an outstanding professional debut for Helena, with a 8.67 K/BB ratio and a good fastball/slider combination that resulted in a good groundball rate. A reliever at LSU, Ross will have to prove to the Brewers that he has the stamina and stuff to stick in the rotation as he moves up to A-ball and beyond.
new  46 Haydel, Lee   A   OF 32 L R
  Haydel's career has been the epitome of moving step-by-step up the chain - one year in Helena, one in West Virginia, last year in Brevard and 2010 in Huntsville. He's also been remarkably consistent at each level, though unfortunately that means Lee hasn't broken out, yet. 2011 might see Haydel repeating a level for the first time, and since he'll be just 23 next year, that's more than fine.
2  47 Pokorny, Jon   A   MR 31 R L
  Finished the year with an impressive 13.0 K/9 ratio, though he wasn't as effective after the all-star break, mainly due to a rapid increase in free passes issued. Pokorny has major league caliber stuff, he just needs to keep working on command and trust his stuff inside the zone.
1  48 Zarraga, Shawn   MLB   C 30 S R
  After starting the year as a DH, Zarraga was used exclusively as a catcher for the first time in his career. While his defense is a work in progress and his power is still stuck in the "potential" stage, he's exhibited enough offensive tools to put himself into prime sleep prospect status heading into next year.
new  49 Katin, Brendan   A   OF 36 R R
  Katin's on-again, off-again relationship with the Power 50 is back on, but you have to wonder if another team will pick him up in Rule 5 draft if the Brewers don't protect him on the 40-man roster. He had a career year for the Sounds. Maybe Ryan Braun has some pull that will keep his former Hurricane teammate in the organization.
7  50 Lofgren, Chuck   A   SP 33 L L
  Suffered from control issues that got worse as the season progressed and, strangely, got worse when he was used out of the pen. Like Salome, Lofgren is a pending minor league free agent. We'll see if the Brewers saw enough potential to bring him back.

Players removed this week: Mat Gamel... Efrain Nieves... Josh Prince...
 

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