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Milwaukee Brewers 2015 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(3/11)

Chicago
(2/11)

Houston
(1/14)

Atlanta
(12/10)

Chicago
(Bryant)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(2/14)

Los Angeles
(1/17)

Miami
(12/13)

Cincinnati
(Stephenson)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(2/18)

Oakland
(1/21)

New York
(12/17)

Milwaukee
(Today)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(2/21)

Seattle
(1/24)

Philadelphia
(12/20)

Pittsburgh
(11/22)

San Diego
(Renfroe)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(2/25)

Texas
(1/28)

Washington
(12/24)

St. Louis
(11/26)

San Francisco
(Crick)

Organizational Overview
by Jason Hunt

The Brewers got off to a hot start in 2014, going 19-8 in April and jumping out to a 5 1/2 game lead in the division. They held the division lead throughout the first half, with their largest lead reaching 6 1/2 games at the end of June. However, the wheels started coming off with a string of 11 losses in 12 games to start July that moved them back into a tie with the Cardinals for the division lead. They managed to move their lead back up to 3 games by August 17th, but another 4-14 string knocked them out of the race and 6 back by September 8th, and they finished up at just 2 games over .500 at 82-80, and 8 back in the division. Manager Ron Roenicke kept his job, although there were changes made within his staff after the disappointing finish.

The team has a strong core at the major league level with Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun on offense and Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, and Matt Garza on the pitching staff, but the bigger question is really whether this team can push for a division title with some minor upgrades and better luck. The team is built at the major league level for another run at the NL Central crown, but with the Cardinals making significant upgrades and potential improvements by the Pirates and Cubs, it's not getting any easier. If they can't make that run or struggle out of the gate, it might be time for a rebuilding effort.

The farm system is one of the weaker ones in the minor leagues, in part because of graduations and in part because of poor drafts and prospects that didn't develop in the manner originally hoped. They essentially doubled-down with the 2014 draft, taking three potential high-impact, high-risk prospects in Medeiros, Gatewood, and Harrison in the first two rounds. If two of them turn into the talents they're projected to be, this draft class will be a huge success. If not, the system could be dry for a few more years and potentially cost general manager Doug Melvin his job.

2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Irving Falu (ST), Jimmy Nelson (IP), Rob Wooten (ST), Jeremy Jeffress (ST), Wei-Chung Wang (ST)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Jason Hunt

The Brewers have already made a couple of moves to help fill some of the gaps on their roster. Aramis Ramirez had his mutual option exercised by the team, and surprised people a bit when he exercised his portion as well instead of opting for free agency. First base was a completely mixed bag in 2014 as the team struggled to find consistent production, and addressed that already by acquiring Adam Lind from the Blue Jays for reliever Marco Estrada. If he hits well, the Brewers have their answer for the 2016 season as well, with Lind on an $8 million team option. It's possible that the team could look for upgrades at either second base (Scooter Gennett) or left field (Khris Davis/Gerardo Parra), but neither is really particularly likely to change.

The rotation is locked in with either Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson the most likely candidates for the 5th starter spot, but the bullpen could be where we see a potential acquisition. The team traded for Jonathan Broxton down the stretch, who will likely be inserted into the closer's role with Francisco Rodriguez granted free agency, but it's no guarantee that they don't resign Rodriguez or go get another option. Realistically, they are probably not likely to make a major splash, as their projected payroll is already at $91 million just in guaranteed contracts.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors

1. Tyrone Taylor (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.273 69 6 68 23
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
573 0.326 0.388 6.98% 10.99%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
20 R R A+-AA
Roster Status: Protect After 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016
A 2nd round pick in 2012, Taylor is our top fantasy prospect in a Brewers' system which has a ton of question marks surrounding its' players. He spent the year primarily in the offensively challenged Florida State League, where he improved on his stolen base success rate, hit for a solid average, and even showed some solid power (36 doubles, 6 home runs). He finished up with a brief move up to AA Huntsville before the end of the year, and will likely head there to start the 2015 campaign.

Taylor is capable of providing value across all five categories, although none are likely to be at an above-average rate. He won't hit for a ton of power, but should provide 10-15 home runs a season, and a bunch of doubles as well. His batting average should be solid as well, as he makes a ton of contact and has shown the ability to draw walks on a consistent basis as well. He should be good for 10-15 stolen bases per year as a baseline, with 20 steal seasons a definite possibility. Defensively, he is more than capable of staying in center field long-term, although he also could play right with his arm strength.

Taylor is trending right now to be the potential long-term replacement for Carlos Gomez should the current centerfielder leave after the 2016 season as a free agent. He'll return to AA to start the 2015 campaign, and we could see him for a cup-of-coffee by the end of the 2016 season.


2. Monte Harrison (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.261 37 1 20 32
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
224 0.402 0.339 13.84% 21.43%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019
The third of the Brewers' top picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft may have the best combination of floor and ceiling of the bunch. Drafted out of a Missouri high school, Harrison was considered one of the top athletes in the draft, and has the tools that make prospect followers drool. The Brewers sent him to the Arizona league, where he led the league with 32 stolen bases in just 50 games.

Harrison is considered a potential five category contributor, with the potential to provide double-digit production in both power and speed categories in the future. The steals totals jump off the page, and with it the potential for a large impact if his speed can hold up as he grows and matures physically. He could provide at least average production for batting average, which coupled with the counting stats could lead him to be a top 40 outfield option in the future.

Harrison has a long way to go from where he is now to playing for the Brewers in Milwaukee, and there is an open question about whether that will be in center field or if a move to a corner spot will be needed as he grows. He should get a full season assignment in 2015, and could give us a better idea if the performance he showed in the AZL matches up with his long-term potential.


3. Devin Williams (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
4 0 4.48 1.42 66
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
66.1 0.70 1.18 7.02% 23.16%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2018
The top draft pick for the team in 2013, Williams returned to short-season ball for the 2014 season and performed well there overall, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning while limiting his walks to under 3 per 9 innings. The numbers don't even necessarily tell the whole story of what is possible with Williams at this point.

Williams gets rave reviews about his potential as a starting pitcher, capable of providing good ratios to go along with a high strikeout total. He features a three-pitch mix with a fastball, changeup, and slider, all three of which have the potential to be at least average or better offerings. There are some questions right now about his ability to command all his pitches, but this seems like something that can be worked out with more innings thrown. The other interesting part regarding Williams is the fact that he still has a projectable frame, as he is 6'3" but just 165 lbs. The potential to add more muscle to his frame could lead to a stronger possibility that he will be able to provide 200+ innings on a regular basis when he reaches the majors.

There is risk with any player, especially a pitching prospect, that has not pitched a full season yet, but Williams remains one of the most interesting ones. He appears ready for that assignment to Low-A Wisconsin, and could rocket up prospect lists with a strong performance there as well.


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4. Kodi Medeiros (LHP)

Photo Credit: Rich Schultz - Getty Images
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 1 7.13 2.094 26
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
17.2 1.00 1.90 13.98% 27.96%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019
Medeiros was the top draft pick of the Brewers in 2014, and a bit of a surprise selection at the 12th overall slot. Baseball America had him going nearly 20 picks later in their last mock draft, and had him ranked as their #32 prospect just before the draft. He signed for a bonus of $2.5 million quickly, and was sent to the Brewers' Arizona League for his professional debut.

The range of outcomes for Medeiros is a lot wider than you'd normally expect from a player taken in the top half of the first round. He features a three pitch mix of a fastball, slider, and changeup, which all have the potential to be average or better offerings. His fastball and slider both have the potential to be strikeout offerings, although his command of all three pitches will continue to need work as he moves up toward the majors.

There are a lot of questions regarding his long-term role on the pitching staff, which seem to stem from both his current repertoire (third pitch, command) and continues onward with his arm slot. He throws from an extremely low arm slot, and reports on him note that he can be inconsistent with his delivery and release point. The Brewers will likely need to continue to work on that, but it is not considered something that cannot be fixed.

Long term, Medeiros is looking at either a short-season assignment, or potentially a move to full-season Low-A in 2015 if the Brewers want to push the Hawaiian lefty. Another year will give us a better idea of his potential to stick in the rotation, and he could move way up these rankings in a year's time. He has the potential to be a mid-rotation starting pitcher if it all clicks for Medeiros.


5. Gilbert Lara (3B)

Roster Status: Protect After 2018 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019
It's a bit hard to see an international signing from the current period on a top 10 list, but with the Brewers, Lara definitely fits that bill. He was the Brewers' top acquisition this past international signing period, getting the largest bonus of the period at over $3 million. Lara did not play as a professional this year, but was a participant in the instructional leagues.

Lara's calling card prior to signing was his potentially elite raw power, which could be capable of providing 25-30 home runs a season if it all comes together. Signed as a shortstop, Lara is not expected to stay at the position long-term, but rather move to third base. He is already 6'3", 205 lbs despite just turning 17 last month, and as such is considered essentially physically mature.

It's a long way from where Lara is to the bigs, but the potential for a high impact offensive contributor is there. He could be a very interesting option at third base down the line, but it's not even clear yet whether he will play stateside in 2015, let alone in a full-season league.

6. Orlando Arcia (SS)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.289 65 4 50 31
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
546 0.346 0.392 7.69% 11.90%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A+
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017
The brother of Twins' outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, Orlando is likely the shortstop of the future for the Brewers. Signed out of Venezuela in 2010, he gets rave reviews about his defense at the position and while he was shifted to second base for parts of the season to allow Yadiel Rivera stay at short, Arcia should be the better defender long-term.

The hard part with Arcia is reconciling his fantasy value with his real-life value. The top prospect in the system on a number of lists, his value to fantasy owners is depressed based on his skill set. He's not expected to provide very much power in the future, mostly a token few home runs per year, if that. He should provide batting average, but it may not come with a ton of speed.

The key to remember with him is that if he only provides average value in those two categories, that he may only be a fringe starting option in more shallow leagues. He is a prospect that I would move up a couple spots if you're looking at deeper formats, as he is extremely likely to be a starting shortstop in the majors, and provide at least reasonable value in two to three categories as a MI option.


7. Clint Coulter (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 84 22 89 6
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
529 0.410 0.520 13.80% 19.47%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
20 R R A
Roster Status: Protect After 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017
The first round pick of the Brewers in 2012, Coulter spent the full season at Low-A Wisconsin after a rough start there in 2013 led to his return to the short-season leagues. He was able to deliver on some of the promised power potential this go around, hitting .289 with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, and 89 RBI while splitting time between catcher and designated hitter.

The Brewers had hoped that Coulter would develop into at least an average backstop defensively, as his bat would play well above-average if he could stick there. However, the team made the move to shift him to the outfield after the season, with right field likely to be his long-term home in the field. While that does put a little more pressure on his bat, it should still play well there.

He has above-average power potential, with 20 home runs a season a definite possibility. There are some questions about whether he can provide batting average to go with it, although his approach at the plate this year portrays the potential that he could provide value both in that category and in on-base percentage leagues as well. With the additional tasks of learning to play behind the dish removed, we could see him move quickly if he hits well and takes to the outfield. He gets rave reviews about his makeup and work ethic, which should only help him as he moves through the minors.


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8. Jake Gatewood (SS)

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.206 19 3 32 7
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
222 0.249 0.279 5.86% 31.98%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
18 R R Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2014 Season
ETA to Majors: 2019
The second of the Brewers' selections in the 2014 draft, Gatewood may have the highest upside of any prospect in the Brewers' organization. He was drafted out of a California high school, and signed less than two weeks after the draft to a bonus of over $1.8 million. The Brewers sent him to the Arizona Rookie League, where he struggled to a .206/.249/.279 slash line, three home runs, and seven stolen bases in fifteen attempts.

A shortstop out of high school, Gatewood could stay at the position for a few years but long-term is expected to move to third base due to his size (6'5", 190 lbs currently). His calling card in the draft was raw power, which is considered above-average to potentially elite. However, there are a lot of questions about how well he will be able to translate that power in game based on his current contact issues (71 K in 222 PA).

Gatewood is an extremely raw prospect that has the potential to be an elite fantasy option if it all comes together, but right now the range of outcomes are so wide that it's hard to move him up too much more on this list.


9. Jorge Lopez (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
10 0 4.58 1.38 119
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
137.2 0.80 1.73 7.89% 20.41%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R A+
Roster Status: Protect After 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017
Lopez may turn out to be the best player that the Brewers signed from their 2011 draft class, although that may not be the accomplishment they'd hoped for. He was their second round pick that year and third overall pick for the team behind college starters Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley, and made his full-season debut in 2013 at Low-A. A move to High-A Brevard County in 2014 saw improvements in most categories, including walk rate (down to 8%) and strikeout rate (increase to 20%)

Lopez remains a bit projectable physically, as he has not filled out his 6'4" frame to the extent expected so far (just 165 lbs). He features a fastball, curveball and changeup combination, of which the fastball and curveball are both graded out as average or better offerings right now. He gets a ton of ground balls (over 48% each of the last two seasons), and profiles as a bit of an innings-eater type that could have some seasons where he provides additional value. AA will be a big test for him in 2015, but if he can continue to get grounders at that rate, he should see some success in the majors. As a fantasy starter, he is likely a streaming option in shallower leagues, with a back-end profile in deeper or NL-only leagues.

10. Victor Roache (OF)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.226 46 18 54 11
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
481 0.298 0.400 7.69% 28.69%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 R R A+
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017
Roache followed up his strong power performance in 2013 at Wisconsin with another great performance (18 home runs) at Brevard County. However, the rest of the game appeared to suffer, as he hit just .226 and struck out in nearly 30% of his at bats. He did add 11 steals this year as well, but realistically those aren't expected to be a consistent part of his game.

Roache's future will be determined by his ability to make consistent contact and improve his pitch recognition. He has not posted a batting average about .246 in either season, and while he has shown solid walk rates around 8% each year, the strikeouts may be too much to overcome. He has potentially 30+ home run potential in terms of raw power, but is more likely to be limited to around 15-20+ if these contact issues cannot be resolved. He did finish the season with his best month of the year (.282/.357/.515, 6 HR) so we did get a glimpse of what could be possible with him if it does all click.

Roache could return to High-A for a second go-around, but more likely seems headed to AA as the team looks to move him towards the majors. He's worth keeping an eye on because of the power potential, but I wouldn't hold him in dynasty formats except for the deepest ones.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Jason Hunt

Kyle Wren (OF) - It's probably a reasonably good bet that if you're the son of the general manager and he loses his job, you could get traded. This is exactly what happened with outfielder Kyle Wren, whom the Brewers picked up in a prospect-for-prospect trade last week. While he may get some of his publicity for being Frank Wren's son, Kyle is still a decent prospect in his own right. Wren has a leadoff-type profile, capable of providing a solid batting average to go with excellent speed and good contact skills. He's not going to provide value at all in terms of power, but is an interesting name for deeper formats where a lot of players are rostered, as he should provide decent value in three categories if given a starting job.


Hunter Morris (1B) - Morris repeated AAA in 2014, which is a bit telling of his long-term potential given that they struggled to find production at his position in the majors. He'll be 26 for the upcoming season, and is a name only if you think Lind will struggle and want a flier in a deep NL-only league.

Taylor Jungmann (SP) - The top draft pick of the Brewers in the 2011 class, Jungmann has plugged away in the minors and spent most of the season at AAA Nashville. He will likely be called upon should the Brewers need a starting pitcher during the season, and seems likely to profile as a streaming option in shallow formats and a back-end option in deeper ones.

Taylor Williams (SP) - The potential that Williams, a starter currently, ends up in the bullpen, keeps him off this top 10 for me. He continues to work on a changeup that would strengthen his case for a long-term starting spot, but if that does not develop he could still provide value to his team as a reliever providing a solid amount of strikeouts.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
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David Spracale is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter