With shortstop Orlando Arcia graduating to Milwaukee last season, we have a new number one in our latest prospect ranking with outfielder Lewis Brinson edging Corey Ray and Josh Hader for the top spot. There have been plenty of new faces joining Milwaukee’s ranks over the past two years and, in fact, only 13 of our top 40 prospects were in the Brewers system at the end of the 2014 season. Here’s a look at how our latest prospect rankings break down.
1. LEWIS BRINSON (OF) – Acquired from Texas last July as part of the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers, the ultra-talented Brinson finished off 2016 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he hit .382 with nine doubles and four home runs in 23 games with the Sky Sox.
2. COREY RAY (OF) – Selected by Milwaukee with the fifth overall pick in the first round of last year’s draft, the left-handed Ray jumped straight to High-A Brevard County to begin his pro career. He hit .247 in 53 games with the Manatees before joining Wisconsin at the tail end of the season for a brief playoff run.
3. JOSH HADER (LHP) – After coming over from the Astros in a trade at the 2015 deadline, Hader was lights out in 11 starts for Double-A Biloxi last season, posting an ERA of 0.95 while holding opposing hitters to a .194 average. He struggled some after a promotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, but enters 2017 as the Brewers top pitching prospect.
4. ISAN DIAZ (2B/SS) – Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2016, Diaz was acquired from Arizona last February as part of the Jean Segura deal. In 135 games with Single-A Wisconsin, the young middle infielder went on to post an .827 OPS, collecting 34 doubles, five triples and 20 home runs.
5. LUIS ORTIZ (RHP) – Another piece of the Lucroy/Jeffress trade with Texas last August 1st, Ortiz was the Rangers first round pick in 2014. The 21-year-old right-hander has been sensational through his first three pro seasons, sporting a 2.52 earned run average, allowing just 45 earned runs over 161 innings of work.
6. TRENT CLARK (OF) – The Brewers first round pick in 2015, Clark was plagued by a nagging hamstring injury for much of last season, limiting him to just 59 games at Low-A Wisconsin. When healthy, he’s a sparkplug at the top of the order, posting a combined on base percentage of .384 with 30 stolen bases and 66 runs scored over his first two seasons.
7. BRETT PHILLIPS (OF) – Acquired from Houston in 2015 as part of the deal that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros, Phillips took a step back in 2016 after hitting just .229 in 124 games for Double-A Biloxi. Despite his high strikeout totals, he did manage 36 extra-base hits, including 16 home runs, and at age 22, could be in for a bounceback season in 2017.
8. JORGE LOPEZ (RHP) – Lopez turned in his best season as a pro in 2015, when he was named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher and earned a September call-up to Milwaukee, but he struggled mightily at Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2016, going 1-7 with a 6.81 ERA before being sent down to Biloxi. He appears to have righted the ship over the winter however and should be back in the mix in 2017.
9. BRANDON WOODRUFF (RHP) – An 11th round pick out of Mississippi State in 2014, Woodruff split last season between High-A Brevard County and Dobule-A Biloxi, going a combined 14-9 with a .268 earned run average. His 173 strikeouts in 158 innings of work were tops in the minor leagues and he was honored as the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
10. LUCAS ERCEG (3B) – Selected by the Brewers in the second round of last year’s draft, Erceg spent 26 games with Helena, hitting an even .400 with 22 runs batted in before receiving a promotion to Wisconsin. He finished out the year with the Timber Rattlers, hitting .281 with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 42 Midwest League contests.
11. MAURICIO DUBON (INF) – Accquired from the Boston Red Sox in an offseason trade for Tyler Thornburg, the 22-year-old Dubon adds depth on the middle infield, with the ability to play multiple positions. He split last season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland in the Red Sox system, hitting a combined .323 in 124 games.
12. MARCOS DIPLAN (RHP) – Traded to Milwaukee from Texas in the January 2015 deal that sent Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers, Diplan rolled through the Midwest League last season, going 6-2 with a 1.80 ERA in 17 outings for Wisconsin. That earned him a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team and a promotion to High-A Brevard County, where he made ten more appearances to finish out the year.
13. PHIL BICKFORD (RHP) – Dealt to the Brewers from San Francisco last July along with catcher Andrew Susac in exchange for Will Smith, Bickford participated in the Futures Game in San Diego and was 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA for Brevard County in six outings. He received a 50-game suspension over the offseason which will force him out of action for the first two month of 2017.
14. CODY PONCE (RHP) – Drafted by Milwaukee in the second round in 2015, Ponce gained a lot of helium after going 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA between Helena and Wisconsin in his pro debut, but he missed the first couple months of 2016 and experienced up-and-down results upon his return with High-A Brevard County, going just 2-8 with a 5.25 ERA in 17 starts.
15. GILBERT LARA (SS) – Signed by the Brewers in 2014 for a bonus in excess of $3 million, things haven’t all clicked for Lara just yet as he’s posted a combined .245 average through his first two seasons of rookie ball. The young infielder just turned 19 in October however, leaving plenty of time for him to find his groove at the plate.
16. JACOB NOTTINGHAM (C) – Acquired from Oakland last February as part of the trade that sent Khris Davis to the A’s, Nottingham put together an impressive 2015 season before coming back to earth a bit in 2016. As the regular catcher at Double-A Biloxi, Nottingham hit .234 with 11 home runs and drove in 37 runs in 112 games for the Shuckers.
17. DEVIN WILLIAMS (RHP) – The Brewers selected Williams out of high school in the second round in 2013 and he’s steadily progressed through their system, reaching High-A Brevard County last season. He went 6-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 games for Low-A Wisconsin, before moving up to Brevard, where he finished out the year with five Florida State League appearances.
18. MONTE HARRISON (OF) – A second round pick of the Brewers in 2014, Harrison has battled injuries the last two seasons, missing time in 2015 with a broken leg, then again in 2016 when he broke his hamate bone. When he did suit up for Wisconsin last season, he saw action in 75 games, hitting .221 with six home runs.
19. KODI MEDEIROS (LHP) – Milwaukee used the #12 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 draft to select Medeiros, and have been aggressive with the young lefty, sending him to Brevard to open 2016 at just 19 years of age. As one of the youngest players in the Florida State League, Medeiros struggled to get outs and finished the year with a 4-12 record and a 5.93 ERA.
20. NATHAN KIRBY (LHP) – The Brewers used their competitive balance pick at the end of the first round in 2015 to select Kirby out of the University of Virginia but he saw action in just five games for Wisconsin before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Kirby missed all of 2016 while rehabbing from injury but should return to action in 2017.
21. RYAN CORDELL (OF) – The player to be named later in the Brewers trade with Texas last August 1st, Cordell spent last season with the Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco. In 107 Texas League games, Cordell hit .264, collecting 22 doubles, five triples and 19 home runs while driving in 70 runs and scoring 69 for the RoughRiders.
22. TAYLOR WILLIAMS (RHP) – Williams put together a phenomenal 2014 campaign and was invited to spring training with Milwaukee in 2015, but after suffering an arm injury, Williams underwent Tommy John surgery and was force to miss all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, Williams should return to game action in 2017.
23. DEMI ORIMOLOYE (OF) – A fourth round pick of the Brewers in 2015, Orimoloye impressed in his first season, hitting .292 with six home runs in 33 AZL games in 2015. He moved up to Helena last season but couldn’t quite replicate his 2015 results. In 61 games he posted just a .205 batting average with 45 hits in 219 Pioneer League at-bats.
24. JAKE GATEWOOD (1B/3B) – Selected by Milwaukee with their competitive balance pick in 2014, Gatewood has shifted from shortstop to third base to first base during his young career. He split time between third and first in 2016 with Wisconsin, hitting .240 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI while earning a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team.
25. CORBIN BURNES (RHP) – Drafted by the Brewers last season in the fourth round out of St. Mary’s, Burnes made three appearances in the AZL before being promoted to Wisconsin in July. He saw action in nine games for the Timber Rattlers, starting five and went 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA, holding opposing hitters to a .200 average while striking out 31 in 28.2 innings.
26. FREDDY PERALTA (RHP) – One of three players acquired by the Brewers from Seattle in the December 2015 trade of first baseman Adam Lind, Peralta opened 2016 with Class-A Wisconsin, going 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 outings. That earned him a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team and a promotion to High-A Brevard County where he finished out the year with the Manatees.
27. TYRONE TAYLOR (OF) – Among Milwaukee’s top prospects just two short years ago, Taylor has stalled out a bit over the past two seasons at Double-A Biloxi. After hitting .260 in 128 games in 2015, Taylor managed to hit just .232 in 134 games last season, though he did post a career high in home runs with nine.
28. MICHAEL REED (OF) – A fifth round pick of the Brewers in 2011, Reed made his big league debut with Milwaukee in 2015. He spent the majority of 2016 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, hitting .248 with eight home runs in 121 Pacific Coast League games for the Sky Sox before earning another September call-up late in the year.
29. CLINT COULTER (OF) – Drafted by the Brewers as a catcher in the first round in 2012, Coulter moved from behind the plate to the outfield in 2015 but has struggled with the bat over the past two seasons. In 87 games at Brevard County last season, he hit just .220 with six home runs, before getting a bump to Double-A Biloxi late in the season.
30. ZACH CLARK (OF) – Milwaukee used their 19th round pick in last year’s draft to select the 21-year-old Clark out of Pearl River Junior College. He debuted with the Brewers Arizona League affiliate in Maryvale and saw action in 30 games, batting .252/.314/.409 with a pair of home runs and 19 runs scored.
31. MARIO FELICIANO (C) – Drafted by the Brewers out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico in 2016 with their competitive balance pick at the end of the second round, Feliciano appeared in 29 games with Maryvale after signing. He hit .265 with five double and three triples, knocking in 16 runs while also scoring 16.
32. BRADEN WEBB (RHP) – Milwaukee’s third round pick last season out of South Carolina, the Brewers took it easy with Webb, who had Tommy John surgery in 2014, following a heavy workload with the Gamecocks. Though he didn’t see any game action in Maryvale, he should make his pro debut with one of the Brewers affiliates in 2017.
33. CHAD McCLANAHAN (1B/3B) – The Brewers 11th round selection in the 2016 draft, Milwaukee was able to sign McClanahan away from an offer to Arizona State and sent him to Maryvale to begin his professional career. In 35 AZL contests, McClanahan hit .208 with seven doubles, a triple and three home runs.
34. TREY SUPAK (RHP) – Traded to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh along with Keon Broxton in exchange for Jason Rogers in December of 2015, Supak opened last season in extended spring training, then made four appearances for Helena before moving up to Wisconsin. In 11 games with the Rattlers, six starts, Supak went 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA.
35. DAMIEN MAGNIFICO (RHP) – Drafted by the Brewers in the fifth round out of the University of Oklahoma in 2012, Magnifico made his major league debut with Milwaukee last August, appearing in three games with the Brewers. He spent the majority of the year at Colorado Springs where he saved 18 games and was selected to the PCL All-Star team.
36. JOSH PENNINGTON (RHP) – Traded to Milwaukee from Boston in December along with Mauricio Dubon and Travis Shaw in exchange for Tyler Thornburg, Pennington made 13 starts for the Red Sox rookie league affiliate in the New York-Penn League in 2016 and went 5-3 with a 2.86 earned run average while holding opposing hitters to a .200 average over 56.2 innings.
37. RONNIE GIDEON (1B) – A 23rd round pick out of Texas A&M last season, Gideon burst onto the scene with Helena, posting an OPS of 1.010 in 59 Pioneer League games. The 22-year-old slugger had more than half of his 72 hits go for extra bases as he racked up 20 doubles and 17 home runs while driving in 41 runs and posting a .321 average.
38. GABRIEL GARCIA (1B) – Selected by the Brewers in the 14th round of last year’s draft out of Broward Junior College in Broward, Florida, Garcia saw action in 37 games for Milwaukee’s Arizona League affiliate after signing. The 19-year-old hit an even .300 with 12 doubles, four triples and two home runs while knocking in 27 runs.
39. VICTOR ROACHE (OF) – Drafted by Milwaukee in the first round in 2012, Roache has put up solid power numbers in his Brewers career but has struggled with the rest of his overall game. He missed time with injury last year, appearing in just 51 games with Double-A Biloxi where he had 11 doubles, a triple and four home runs.
40. NASH WALTERS (RHP) – A third round pick of the Brewers in 2015, Walters opened last season in extended spring training before splitting time between Maryvale and Helena. In 14 combined games, nine of which were starts, the 6’5″ Texan went 2-2 with a 5.35 earned run average, striking out 48, but also walking 45, in 38.2 innings of work.