Milwaukee Brewers: Four Prospects Off To Hot Starts

Lucas Erceg, photo credit Baseball Census on YouTube

The minor league season is well underway, and Milwaukee’s four affiliated teams; the San Antonio Missions, Biloxi Shuckers, Carolina Mudcats and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, have all given Brewers fans a chance to see some of their future team in action.

While it’s still very early in the season, there are a handful of prospects from my 2019 Brewers Top 50 who have gotten off to hot starts. Below is one from each of Milwaukee’s affiliated teams, with my take on their future value in deeper dynasty leagues. Sometimes a hot start is just a hot start, while sometimes it could be a sign that a player is worth paying closer attention to.

Triple-A San Antonio Missions: Lucas Erceg, 3B (Preseason: 18)

Keston Hiura and Corey Ray are the two names to watch at the plate in San Antonio, but it’s the post-hype sleeper in Lucas Erceg that has done the most damage to kick off the 2019 campaign. Erceg is currently slashing .300/.400/.620 with four home runs, 11 RBI and a very nice 15% walk rate, helping lead to a 144 wRC+.

The 21.6% strikeout rate is a tad concerning, as that has been an issue for Erceg in the past. His ability to put the ball in play, especially against left-handers, will go a long way toward ensuring his future as a big league regular. For now he still projects as a platoon bat, albeit on the strong half, in the big leagues. His defense could limit him to 1B duties as well, which would cap his fantasy value pretty considerably going forward.

Still, for right now he’s worth watching after getting off to a strong start down in San Antonio.

Double-A Biloxi Shuckers: Trey Supak, RHP (Preseason: 14)

Supak started the 2019 campaign right where he left off, as a dominant starter at Double-A Biloxi. After posting a 2.91 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP at Biloxi in 16 starts last season, Supak has kicked off 2019 with four starts that have generated a 1.52 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP.

The problem is that his strikeout totals, which were low in 2018, are even lower this year. He posted an okay but not great 7.79 K/9 last year, but that is down to just 5.70 this season, as Supak only has 15 strikeouts in 23.2 innings of work on the year.

Supak still projects as an end of the rotation starter, with a solid four-pitch mix that won’t wow anyone but tends to get the job done. He could find himself in the big leagues as soon as September, but unless his strikeout stuff shows up he probably won’t be useful in fantasy formats.

High-A Carolina Mudcats: Payton Henry, C (Preseason: 19)

On the surface, Henry’s .286/.342/.471 slash line, along with his .186 ISO and 131 wRC+, indicate that he has taken to High-A pitching quite well. However, his 3.9% walk rate and 40.8% strikeout rate say otherwise.

Henry worked hard to develop his defense into average, which should allow him to stick behind the plate in the show. That’s huge for his value in dynasty leagues, but unless he can rapidly cut down on the strikeouts then it won’t matter. His huge pull-side power is tantalizing, but more contact needs to be made for him to be a real asset going forward.

Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: Brice Turang, SS (Preseason: 2)

Turang was Milwaukee’s first round pick last June, and thus far he has acclimated himself quite well to minor league ball. So far for Wisconsin, his first taste of A-ball, Turang is slashing a tidy .293/.394/.397 with a 14.1% walk rate, a 15.5% strikeout rate and five stolen bases in 16 games played.

Turang was considered a well-rounded, if unexciting, middle infield prospect. Thus far that looks to be the case, although he only has one career home run in 263 minor league plate appearances, which is a tad concerning.

Regardless, he should be on the radar in shallower dynasty formats where he isn’t already owned. For those who do own him, you’ll hope the power shows up soon. With his speed and already solid plate discipline, he could be a fantasy darling in the coming years.

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.

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