The last time we updated you on the Milwaukee Brewers, Lewis Brinson was listed as their number one prospect. Allow me to fill you in on how the team’s current group of prospects has played to start the 2018 season.
We’ll start with the hottest hitting prospect in the system, and maybe in the entire MiLB. Shortstop and No. 13 ranked Brewers prospect Mauricio Dubon is in the midst of a 22-game hitting streak. He is hitting .343 with four home runs, six stolen bases and 18 RBI for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
In addition to this base hit, #Brewers and @skysox‘ Mauricio Dubon would add two more Friday night — by the way, he was 3-for-3 in stolen bases on the night as well. This was on the road in neutral-park OKC #ItsTime https://t.co/hasww72AUo
— Jim Goulart (@Mass_Haas) May 5, 2018
However, before you all rush out to grab him in your dynasty leagues, there are some pretty major holes in his game. For starters, he has only drawn one walk on the year, and has struck out 18 times. His walk rate will surely climb as the season goes on, but patience at the plate has never been his strong suit. Likewise, six stolen bases is nice (had three of them Friday night 5/4) but he has been caught stealing twice. And his seven errors at shortstop will surely give the Brewers pause before giving him a call-up. With a crowded middle infield already in Milwaukee, Dubon’s hot hitting may not be enough for him to get the call anytime soon.
Elsewhere in the lineup we have No. 34 ranked prospect Nate Orf, who is slashing a blistering .370/.450/.478. He’s a 28-year-old second baseman without a spot on the 40-man roster however, so he may have a hard time making his way to Milwaukee this season. Right fielder Brett Phillips (No. 11) has been up-and-down a handful of times between Milwaukee and Colorado Springs. He’s hitting .288 with a .434 OBP in Triple-A, but is just 1-for-10 at the big league level. Barring an injury, he’s not likely to stick in the big leagues until September.
On the bump we have No. 2 ranked Brandon Woodruff off to a hot start, while No. 5 Corbin Burnes is not. Woodruff is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP at Triple-A, and 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA with the Brewers. He’s certainly worth keeping an eye on, especially if he sticks in the majors for good.
Burnes was one of the biggest surprises in the minor leagues last year, but it looks like the thin air in Colorado is having an impact on him so far in 2018. Through five starts Burnes has a 5.47 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. He’s struck out 21 and walked 10, while giving up two home runs. He’s still a great stash in deeper prospect leagues, and could be a nice buy-low candidate.
Lastly, Bubba Derby (NR) has had a heck of a start to the 2018 season. He’s 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 31.2 innings of work. The former A’s farmhand had a solid year in 2017 as well, and looks primed to make his big league debut sometime in 2018.
Double-A Biloxi Shuckers
Down at Double-A lies the ghost of Corey Ray, once a top prospect. While there’s still a small glimpse of hope, his .243/.331/.426 slash line in Biloxi is certainly concerning. Ray no longer looks like the surefire big league starter that he was projected to be earlier in his career. With a crowded outfield in Milwaukee, not to mention Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips ahead of him on the depth chart, Ray’s star has faded.
Shortstop Dylan Moore (NR) has gotten off to a hot start in Biloxi, hitting .343/.405/.552 with six stolen bases. He’s a 25-year-old who had an ugly 2017 however, so not worth investing much into him yet. Lucas Ergec (No. 9) is off to a slow start at the plate and an even slower start in the field, committing five errors at third base. The Brewers may have to find a new position for him to stick in the majors. While he has been praised historically for his defense over there, he may end up at first base long term if he can’t put it together.
On the bump we have Thomas Jankins (No. 45) who skipped High-A completely after a very solid 2017 in A-Ball. He is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA and a stellar 26/7 K/BB ratio. The 2016 13th round pick is on the rise, and is certainly worth a look in deeper dynasty formats. He’s around the zone quite a bit and generates a ton of ground balls, which should help him ascend through the minor leagues. Keep an eye on him.
Shouts: Brent Diaz pic.twitter.com/RRShsFfAz1
— Brewers Farm (@BrewersFarm) May 3, 2018
Zack Brown (no. 47) has a 36/7 K/BB ratio in 32.2 innings with Biloxi. His 3.86 ERA is decent but not stellar, but a 30% HR/FB rate is likely contributing to that. The former fifth-round pick is another arm to keep an eye on, particularly if Milwaukee’s starting rotation continues to under-perform. Finally, Luis Ortiz (No. 6) has a 2.11 ERA with a 22/7 K/BB ratio. Ortiz is one of the more well-regarded prospects in the Brewers’ farm system, and is carving Double-A hitters up at just 21 years of age. He’s got the potential to make a strong impact in the big leagues as soon as 2019.
Further down the Farm
After an incredible spring training, superstar prospect Keston Hiura has gotten off to a slow start at High-A. He’s slashing .272/.321/.417 with three home runs and one stolen base, following a 4-5 performance on 5/4. It’s easy to forget he’s just 21 years old, and while the hype is real he is still at least a year, maybe two, away from reaching the big leagues. There’s still the issue of defense for Hiura as well, who has played second base but – like Rangers prospect Willie Calhoun – may need to settle for a future in left field.
Trey Supak (No. 35) has gotten off to a hot start at High-A, with a 1.78 ERA and a 9.24 K/9. He still has a ways to go with his secondary offerings before being big league ready, but at age 21 he’s someone to keep an eye on.
And finally, a super deep prospect for you all to keep an eye on: six-foot-five right-hander Bowden Francis was a seventh round pick by the Brewers in 2017. He’s only thrown 32 professional innings, but has a blistering 35/4 K/BB ratio. He’ll need to limit base-runners, but he’s an arm that definitely intrigues me going forward. Don’t be surprised to see him creep onto the midseason Top 50, which will be coming out in a few months.
Featured image of Corey Ray (from 2017 Futures Game) – photo credit @Scotty_Ballgame
Andy Patton covers the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system for Prospects1500. He is on his third fantasy baseball writing gig, also writing for Pitcher List and RotoBaller. He also covers the Detroit Tigers at FanSided's Motor City Bengals and dabbles with the gridiron, writing about the Seahawks for USA TODAY.