Despite the Brewers farm system ranking among the worst in baseball, including being 28th in our Prospects1500 organization rankings, but you wouldn’t guess that based on the way these prospects have been performing this spring for the Crew.
Milwaukee has had numerous prospects come up and surprise in their Cactus League performances and they’re showing a lot to be excited about. Remember, of the 15 highest ranked prospects in our Brewers Top 50 list, six haven’t even played a professional game yet and three others have 10 games or less of professional experience.
There’s a lot of talent in this system that seemed quite far away, but based on their performances this spring, they could be much closer than initially thought.
1. OF Garrett Mitchell
Few prospects across baseball have been more impressive this spring training than Garrett Mitchell. The 20th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Mitchell was an absolute steal for the Brewers at the time, and he’s well on his way to making the 19 teams that passed on him look like fools.
Through 17 game appearances, Mitchell is 11-for-29 with a double, tripel. a home run, six RBI, three stolen bases, and a 1.006 OPS. Six of his 11 hits have come off left handed pitchers, which is great to see for a young lefty hitter.
His speed has been on display, his hitting ability has been on display, and his power has been on display. One of the knocks on Mitchell’s game heading into last year’s draft was that he hadn’t tapped into his big raw power in college. The Brewers believed they could tap into it, and so far things are looking good. If he does fully tap into it, Mitchell could be a perennial All Star in the big leagues as he’d have all five tools in his arsenal.
Coaches, scouts, and executives have all given positive reviews of Mitchell this spring, and according to Fansided’s Robert Murray, one evaluator gave Mitchell a Nick Markakis comp. Mitchell I believe has much more speed and is a bigger stolen base threat than Markakis was, and could end up with more home run power. If he doesn’t tap into his power, he could put up similar offensive numbers to Markakis, who was one of the most consistent offensive performers of the past 15 years.
2. LHP Aaron Ashby
Aaron Ashby survived the first round of Brewers camp cuts as a minor league NRI, and manager Craig Counsell said “You can write what you’d like about that”.
He had clearly been impressive to that point, striking out all six batters he faced in his first two outings in Cactus League play. His slider had stymied hitters and he was continually showing off different deliveries and throwing off their timing.
After facing a little bit of trouble in his next outing, Ashby was reassigned to minor league camp in the next round of camp cuts, but he had already made a big impression.
Counsell has said Ashby is likely to be in a position to get a big league call up later in 2021 and could help out this rotation down the stretch as the Brewers will try to get as many innings covered as possible coming off a shortened season.
Ashby could lock down a permanent spot in the Brewers rotation starting in 2022, but has moved up his timeline for his big league debut with his impressive spring.
3. OF Hedbert Perez
Perhaps one of the biggest risers over the past year, despite not playing in any official minor league games, Hedbert Perez has impressed everyone in the Brewers organization. He was at the Alternate Training Site last year and impressed, then impressed at Instructs, and now has impressed everyone with the big league club at spring training.
At 17 years old, Perez was one of the few minor leagues selected to be at minor league mini-camp this spring. He’s gotten little playing time in Cactus League games, playing in just two of them, but the fact that he’s even at the point where he is making Cactus League appearances says so much about his ability.
He’s only 17!
Hedbert Perez is showing off his defense. pic.twitter.com/I2CSTsiXwC
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 26, 2021
He’s 0-for-3 in his at-bats, but he’s facing big league level pitching and holding his own, including an AB against the highest paid player in baseball this year, Trevor Bauer. Sure, Bauer may have won that battle, but the Brewers gave him that experience and felt he was ready for it.
Like Garrett Mitchell, Perez has been a sponge, soaking up every bit of knowledge he can from the veteran group of outfielders the Brewers have on their big league roster and being a positive presence in the clubhouse.
As for where Perez starts the 2021 season, perhaps the Brewers feel he’s beyond the need to play in the Dominican Summer League and could keep him in Arizona for Rookie ball. Maybe he’ll head to the Alternate Training Site in Appleton again to start the year since the minor league season won’t start until May.
4. OF Tyrone Taylor
Prospect fatigue has certainly set in on Tyrone Taylor. A 2nd round pick out of high school back in 2012, Taylor has developed slowly, but has made appearances in each of the last two seasons although he’s still rookie eligible.
Taylor is 12-for-40 in 15 games with two doubles, two homers, and a .826 OPS. He’s making a push to be on the big league roster on Opening Day, although the free agent signing of Jackie Bradley Jr. limits his chances to get regular big league ABs in 2021.
He does have a minor league option remaining, and the Brewers are likely to use it this year, but Counsell has publicly stated that Taylor is finally looking like a big league outfielder right now, praise that hasn’t quite been heaped on him in the past. Taylor appears ready for a big league role, but the question is if there will be one available for him to take.
It’s unlikely Taylor will ever become much more than a backup outfielder, especially with the depth the Brewers currently possess at that position, but he’s showing he can be a serviceable player.