The Milwaukee Brewers farm has slowly climbed its way out of the basement of the rankings and into the realm of respectable minor league systems. Strong draft classes in recent years have provided a huge boost, with their four most recent first round selections taking up four of the top six spots on this list. Accomplishing this with selections entirely in the bottom half of the first round is a remarkable feat. This group is talented with growing depth throughout the system, something that the Brewers haven’t had in the minors in a while.
With the major league club making the playoffs each of the last four seasons, trades have not been used to supplement the Brewers prospect stash, but instead take away from it. However, the stacking of talent the Brewers have done in recent years through the draft and international free agency is going to pay off soon, as some of these prospects are going to make an impact on the big league club in 2022 and this system is finally ready to bloom and produce.
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster
Levels listed for each player are the highest levels player reached in 2021
1. Hedbert Perez, OF, 18, Low-A
Perez takes the top spot this time around after a strong showing in the ACL and a promotion to Low-A Carolina as an 18-year-old last season. He initially struggled with Carolina, going just 3-for-38 over his first nine games in Low-A, then hit .296 (8-for-27) over his next seven games to end the season. Perez can hit for power and average and is an excellent defender that could play any outfield spot.
2. Garrett Mitchell, OF, 23, AA
Mitchell got off to a hot start in High-A Wisconsin, earning a quick promotion to Double-A. There, he dealt with some nagging injuries and a non-covid illness that impacted his playing time. Still, Mitchell is as talented as they come and he was tapping into his raw power last season a little bit. He’ll have to stay healthy in 2022 and prove he can crush Double-A pitching to stay on that fast track to the big leagues.
3. Aaron Ashby, LHP, 23, MLB
Ashby makes the jump into Tier 1 status after a phenomenal stint in the big leagues at the end of 2021. He retained his rookie status, but that won’t stay for long as Ashby is slated to be a big part of the Brewers pitching staff in 2022. His long-term role is as a starting pitcher, the Brewers have been adamant about that and there could be a chance he cracks the rotation out of spring training.
4. Sal Frelick, OF, 21, High-A
Frelick hit the ground running after getting drafted 15th overall in 2021, demolishing pitching in the ACL and Low-A, hitting over .400 at each level before a promotion to High-A where he finally slowed down offensively. Frelick is a plus hitter with blazing speed and can be a top-of-the-order threat. He’ll likely start the season back in High-A and he’ll move up the ladder as quickly as his bat will take him.
5. Brice Turang, SS, 22, AAA
Turang’s prospect status may be suffering a bit because of the lack of an immediate big league home for him. By all accounts, Turang can play shortstop and play it extremely well, and his bat is solid. He showed great plate discipline and drew his walks as a 21-year-old in Triple-A last year. With Willy Adames blocking him in Milwaukee, his MLB debut may be pushed back a little, but he’s still expected to debut this season.
6. Ethan Small, LHP, 24, AAA
A finger injury that sidelined him for two months is probably the only reason Small didn’t make his MLB debut last season. Small dominated in Double-A with a 1.96 ERA in eight starts and earned a quick promotion to Triple-A where he again dominated with a 2.06 ERA in nine starts. If a rotation spot opens up in Milwaukee, Small is quite capable of taking it and doing well. Expect him to debut in 2022.
7. Joey Wiemer, OF, 22, High-A
No one has raised their prospect stock more over the last few months than Wiemer. Beginning early August, Wiemer went on a tear at the plate, earning a promotion from Low-A to High-A. He finished the season with a .295 average, 27 homers, 30 stolen bases, and a .958 OPS between the two levels. Wiemer and Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe were the only players in the minors with at least 25+ HRs and 30+ stolen bases last year.
8. Jeferson Quero, C, 19, Rookie (ACL)
Quero has earned high marks for his maturity and ability to handle a pitching staff at such a young age, and in 2021 we saw what he could do at the plate. He hit .309/.434/.500 in the ACL, walked more than he struck out, and even stole four bases. Quero has the defensive skills and the hitting ability to be a high quality starting catcher one day. His ceiling is very high, but there’s still a long way to go.
9. Tyler Black, 2B/3B, 21, Low-A
The Brewers focused on big hit tools in the 2021 Draft and they followed up the Frelick pick with Black at 33 overall. Black didn’t immediately light up the minors like Frelick did, but the hitting ability is still there. Black’s long-term home may end up being second base instead of third. He won’t be a huge power hitter, but can provide some pop from the left side, and that always plays well at American Family Field.
10. Eduardo Garcia, SS, 19, Low-A
Garcia is a really intriguing all-around prospect. He has the defensive skills to stick at shortstop and a continually improving bat, and he hit .333 with four doubles in a 10 game stint in Low-A Carolina to end the season. Garcia will likely start 2022 back in Carolina and has the bat-to-ball skills to be a solid to above-average hitter and plenty of raw power.
11. Freddy Zamora, SS, 23, High-A
The Brewers felt they got a steal in the second round in 2020 when they selected Zamora out of Miami, and he proved them right in 2021. He stayed healthy and hit .300 in 92 games with 22 doubles, six homers, 57 walks, and 10 stolen bases. While he won’t provide as much home run power as Garcia or Turang, he can stick at shortstop and that’s plenty valuable.
12. Zavier Warren, C/3B, 22, High-A
Warren was primarily a catcher in Low-A, but once he was promoted to High-A Wisconsin, he spent the bulk of his time at third base and first base. The Brewers drafted Warren as a catcher, but it remains to be seen if they will keep him there or not. Regardless, his bat will be what carries him to the big leagues and the switch-hitter showed some solid power in 2021.
13. Mario Feliciano, C, 23, MLB
A shoulder injury derailed most of Feliciano’s 2021 season, but he made some changes to his throwing mechanics and appears to be a better defender now than ever. He had a strong finish in the Arizona Fall League but will need a little more seasoning in Triple-A to start 2022. Feliciano brings big power as a catcher and as long as he can make enough contact to get to it, he can be a starter in the near future.
14. Hendry Mendez, OF, 18, Rookie (ACL)
Signed as an international free agent just one year ago, Mendez impressed right away, earning a quick promotion stateside from the DSL. He hit .316/.409/.470 with 13 extra base hits, 17 walks, and just 12 strikeouts in 2021. He should be in full-season ball in 2022 and already appears to be on the fast track. His long-term position appears to be left field due to his limited arm strength.
15. Joe Gray Jr., OF, 21, High-A
Gray tore up Low-A East in the first half of the season, earning a promotion to High-A, where he summarily struggled. Gray’s success in the first half boosted his stock, which had fallen a ton since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2018, but his struggles at the next level show there are still concerns about whether he can hit advanced pitching.
16. Antoine Kelly, LHP, 22, High-A
After TOS delayed his start to 2021, Kelly had a lot of rust to shake off when he returned, but is finally feeling back to 100% heading into this season. He has an electric fastball-slider combination with a developing changeup and could still be in the rotation one day, but a bullpen role is also possible.
17. Jackson Chourio, SS/OF, 17, Rookie (DSL)
Chourio and Mendez were the two highlights of Milwaukee’s 2021 J2 class last year. Chourio didn’t get a promotion stateside, but he performed extremely well in the DSL, hitting .296/.386/.447 with seven doubles, five homers, and eight stolen bases in 45 games. He played primarily centerfield in 2021 and is more of a hit-over-power hitter but could be a five-tool player up the middle at full maturity.
18. Felix Valerio, SS/2B, 21, High-A
An undersized middle infielder, Valerio has hit everywhere he’s gone in his professional career and has walked more than he’s struck out. He earned a midseason promotion to High-A, where he seemed to sacrifice his batting average for more power. While the increase in power was good to see, if he can do so without sacrificing his on-base ability in 2022, his stock will continue to rise.
19. Carlos Rodriguez, OF, 21, High-A
Rodriguez received an aggressive assignment to High-A as a 20-year-old and completely skipped Low-A. As a result, his offensive stats took a little dip, but he still put up respectable numbers. Rodriguez won’t hit for power but he makes consistent contact and has plus speed.
20. Russell Smith, LHP, 23, College
Smith was Milwaukee’s 2nd round pick in 2021 but didn’t pitch in any official games after getting selected. The 6’9″ lefty has a fastball that plays up, despite its less than stellar velocity. Smith has great control of the strike zone, especially for such a large pitcher and the Brewers have a history of successfully developing pitchers with his kind of profile.
21. Korry Howell, OF, 23, AA
Howell has been slowly putting it together over the last few years with his power-speed combination. He had his best year yet in 2021, hitting .244 with 16 homers across High-A and Double-A. If he can cut down that strikeout rate some more and improve his hit tool a little, Howell can make that leap to the next level.
22. Jake Cousins, RHP, 27, MLB
Cousins came out of seemingly nowhere to become a huge piece of the Brewers bullpen down the stretch in 2021. His fastball-slider combination is extremely difficult to hit and racks up the strikeouts. He didn’t give up an earned run until his 18th outing. Cousins is going to be one of the top setup guys for the big league club this season, where he should surpass the 50 IP rookie threshold in the season’s first half.
23. Jheremy Vargas, IF/OF, 18, Rookie (ACL)
24. Logan Henderson, RHP, 19, College
25. Abner Uribe, RHP, 21, Low-A
26. Gabe Holt, 2B, 24, AA
27. Victor Castaneda, RHP, 23, AAA
28. Miguel Sanchez, RHP, 28, MLB
29. Thomas Dillard, 1B, 24, AA
30. Ernesto Martinez, 1B, 22, Low-A
31. Je’Von Ward, OF, 22, High-A
32. Carlos Luna, RHP, 25, AA
33. Stiven Cruz, RHP, 20, Rookie (DSL)
34. Dylan File, RHP, 25, AAA
35. Alec Bettinger, RHP, 26, MLB
36. Corey Ray, OF, 27, MLB
Tier 4 has a mix of really young talent that’s far away and some close to MLB talent to fill some back end of the roster roles. Some of the most intriguing prospects in this group are Logan Henderson, Abner Uribe, Gabe Holt, Ernesto Martinez, and Stiven Cruz. Henderson should thrive in the Brewers system with his mix of control and stuff, while Uribe needs to find some control to make effective use of his 103 MPH heater…..Holt made a successful jump to Double-A and is an excellent top-of-the-order bat…..Martinez has a blend of power and speed and has shown an ability to hit for average…..Cruz dominated in the DSL and although DSL pitchers don’t have the best track records as prospects, Cruz is one to keep an eye on.
37. Micah Bello, OF, 21, Low-A
38. Hayden Cantrelle, SS, 23, AA
39. Noah Zavolas, RHP, 25, AA
40. Luis Medina, OF, 18, Rookie (ACL)
41. Jesus Parra, 2B/3B, 19, Rookie (ACL)
42. Weston Wilson, INF, 27, AAA
43. Ashton McGee, INF, 22, High-A
44. Alberis Ferrer, OF, 20, Rookie (ACL)
45. Noah Campbell, IF/OF, 22, Low-A
46. Darrien Miller, C, 20, Low-A
47. David Fry, C/3B, 25, AAA
48. Jesus Chirinos, C, 20, Rookie (ACL)
49. Justin Bullock, RHP, 22, AA
50. Domingo Mejia, RHP, 20, Rookie (DSL)
Tier 5 also has a number of super young prospects from the international ranks as well as a mix of upper level minor leaguers who have a chance to crack the big league roster as utility options or relievers but don’t have the upside of everyday starters. Medina and Parra were once ranked higher but struggled in their 2021 debuts, so their stock could still rebound with a strong 2022.