Milwaukee Brewers Prospects Update: 11-20
I’m providing some updates on the guys I ranked 11-20 in my Milwaukee Brewers Top 50 Prospects back on January 10th. I have brief updates on their performance so far and where they’ve started 2017. There’s a lot to like, particularly Lopez and Harrison, and Phillips has given reason to be encouraged, with some signs of concern to watch. You can see my previous updates here:
40-50 update, published April 28
30-39 update, published May 4
21-30 update, published May 5
Jorge Lopez, SP
Lopez had just one disastrous start in spring training and avoided going back to Colorado Springs after it kicked his butt last season. Lopez went to AA Biloxi and has been pitching lights out. In 30.1 IP he as 34 K’s to 7 BB’s, with a 2.97 ERA and 6.8 H9 allowed. Lopez has been really impressive and is in the running with Woodruff for a call up to the big league club at some point, perhaps even in a poor Milwaukee bullpen. Skipping AAA this time would be fine with me.
Diplan went back to High A, this time in Carolina, to continue his development in 2017. Diplan has had some success in his 18.1 IP with three nice outings and two poor ones that have skewed his overall numbers. Diplan should get a full season at the high A level as a 20 year old to work on control and consistency.
Brett Phillips, OF
Phillips is knocking the ball around in AAA Colorado Springs to the tune of a .299/.365/.558 slash line through 85 PA’s. This includes a .300/.364/.375 in 44 PA on the road. Overall, Phillips is hitting for power with 10 XBH, and getting on base with 7 BBs. The only knock is that most of the power is in Colorado Springs and Phillips is still striking out at 33%. All in all, Phillips has given believers enough reason to stay hopeful.
Cody Ponce, RHP
Ponce returned to high A Carolina, the level he spent all of last seasons, and he’s expected to excel as a 23 year old at the level. So far he’s had two great starts then three not so great sporting a 4.66 ERA in 29 IP. He’s only stuck out 18, his walk rate has been low (1.2 BB), but he’s been very hittable (11.2 H/9). Ponce will continue to get his starts but Milwaukee would love to see some success before they look to move him to Biloxi.
Gilbert Lara, SS/3B
Lara was moved to low-A Wisconsin where he’s 2+ years younger than average. Stop me if you’ve heard this before – the stats have not yet caught up to the tools. He’s slashing just .145/.185/.258 in 65 PA. That’s so not good. He’s struck out 22 times to 3 walks. Most of his playing time has been at shortstop where he’s impressed, avoiding a move to 3B as long as possible, but wherever he plays in the field he’ll have to hit at some point.
Jake Nottingham, C/1B
Nottingham went back to AA Biloxi where he is still relatively young, and has gotten almost all his work behind the plate where the Brewers would like him to develop his defensive skills. But he’s hitting even worse than he did in a bad season last year slashing .162/.288/.235 in 81 PA. Nottingham noted he was trying too hard last season. Not sure what’s going on this year, but the results have been awful so far.
Nathan Kirby, LHP
Kirby is recovering from Tommy John. There was a hope he’d be ready to start 2017 but he’s not made his debut. It’s anticipated he’ll start at low A Wisconsin.
Taylor Williams, SP
I was very much excited to see how Williams returned to pro ball after missing the last two seasons to injury. He was sent to AA Biloxi and pitched well in five games, but they are easing him back into things limiting him to 11.2 IP in those games. He’s pitched to a 1.54 ERA with 15 K’s, but 7 BB’s. Control has not been an issue for Williams in the past so hopefully this is just a matter of getting back into things as a pitcher. The Brewers organization will continue to stretch him out beyond the two or three IP per outing he’s been seeing. I’d say so far so good, he’s healthy and having some success justifying Milwaukee’s decision to keep on 40 man, and I’ll continue to follow with optimism here.
Devin Williams, SP
Williams has not made his 2017 debut yet.
Monte Harrison OF
Finally completely healthy, Harrison is knocking the ball around the low A Midwest League. Slashing .286/.348/.571 in 93 PA’s, he’s near the league lead with 6 HR and 6th in the league with 48 TB. If there’s any concern it’s his 24 K’s. Harrison is about league average age so it’ll be interesting to see if Milwaukee looks to challenge him in high A or let him build on success. Real exciting progress here.
Article featured image of Jorge Lopez, courtesy MLB.com & Luis Gutierrez – Associated Press