MLB Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects for 2013 MLB Season

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Milwaukee Brewers Top 10 Prospects for 2013 MLB Season

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers will most likely avoid any big acquisitions in free agency and will instead give several pitchers in their farm system a try at the professional level. Which players have what it takes to make a difference in the majors and who makes the list of the top 10 prospects for the 2013 season?

If Milwaukee were to do anything in free agency, it should be to acquire a left-handed reliever because that is something the team desperately needs. There is no left-hander in the Brewers’ farm system that would be ready to pitch in the majors next season, which means they must go outside of the organization to fill the void in the bullpen.

Many people believe Milwaukee also needs a veteran arm in the starting rotation to backup ace Yovani Gallardo. Although this may be true, the Brewers look to be content with the arms they have and appear ready to give talented pitchers such as Mike Fiers, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta a try. Not to mention, Marco Estrada and left-hander Chris Narveson have proven their worth in the starting rotation and should be starters next year.

The good news is Milwaukee has restocked their farm system in the Zack Greinke trade after it had depleted due to several big-time trades over the past several years. The Brewers acquired three prospects that ranked in the top ten of theLos Angeles Angels’ farm system. Jean Segura looks to be the starting shortstop while pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena will make big contributions down the road.

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#10 Jed Bradley, LHP

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The Brewers selected Jed Bradley 15th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Bradley has shown plenty of potential but struggled with his command at High-A Brevard County that led to poor statistics. The 22-year-old went 5-10 with a 5.53 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 20 starts. A groin strain in the middle of the season forced the organization to shut down the potential future starter. Bradley has a solid fastball with a decent slider and changeup that will make him a good middle of the rotation pitcher. However, do not expect to see him in the majors until at least 2014.

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#9 Clint Coulter, C

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#8 Jimmy Nelson, RHP

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Jimmy Nelson dominated in High-A before being moved up to Double-A Huntsville this past season. He posted a 4-4 record with a 2.21 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 13 starts at Brevard County. However, he did not have the same success in Double-A as he went 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 10 starts. Nelson has a good fastball and has developed a solid sinker with a plus-average slider over the past three seasons. The power pitcher still needs some work in the minors but could see the big leagues in 2014.

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#7 Johnny Hellweg, RHP

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The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Hellweg is a groundball pitcher with a good mid-90s fastball. The 24-year-old played with two different Double-A affiliates due to his time with the Angels before he was traded to the Brewers. With Double-A Arkansas he went 5-10 with a 3.38 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 21 starts. Meanwhile, with Double-A Huntsville he went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 17 strikeouts in seven appearances.

Milwaukee does not see Hellweg as a starter as they believe he would be better suited for long relief. It is hard to say when Hellweg will get called up to the majors considering the Brewers are not sure about their bullpen situation quite yet. However, it could be as early as 2013 that Hellweg is in a Brewers uniform.

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#6 Scooter Gennett, 2B

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Scooter Gennett has a bright future with Milwaukee as he represented the team in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game. Gennett also hit for the cycle earlier this year against the Kansas City Royals in a spring training split squad game. The 22-year-old is a high-average hitter who does not have the same power as Rickie Weeks but gets on base more. In 2012, Gennett batted .293 with five home runs, 44 RBIs, 30 doubles, two triples and 11 stolen bases in 573 at-bats with Double-A Huntsville. Gennett certainly has the capability to hit over .300 in the majors but will have to wait to get his turn with Milwaukee.

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#5 Hunter Morris, 1B

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The Brewers in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft selected Hunter Morris. He was named the 2012 Southern League Most Valuable Player after batting .303 with 28 home runs, 113 RBIs, 40 doubles, six triples, a .357 on-base percentage, a .564 slugging percentage and a whopping .920 OPS in 571 plate appearances at Double-A. The 24-year-old lefty slugger must find a way to improve on his strikeouts (117 in 2012) and accept more walks if he wants to ever play in the big leagues. However, Morris has certainly improved on this and a more disciplined approach at the plate could mean a starting job with the Brewers in a couple years.

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#4 Logan Schafer, OF

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Logan Schafer is expected to be the backup outfielder in 2013 as Milwaukee will use a few minor league prospects to fill the bench. The 26-year-old made his Major League debut in 2011 and played in 16 games this past season. Schafer has a career batting average of .308 with five RBIs, one double and two triples in 26 at-bats. He is an excellent defensive outfielder who has not committed an error in 42 2/3 innings.

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#3 Taylor Jungmann, RHP

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Taylor Jungmann was selected 12th overall by the Brewers in the 2011 MLB Draft, three spots ahead of Bradley. The 22-year-old was awarded the Dick Howser Trophy in 2011 for being the best collegiate baseball player. This past year was his first time pitching for a Milwaukee affiliate, as he went 11-6 with a 3.53 ERA, 99 strikeouts and a complete game in 26 starts for High-A Brevard County. The power pitcher has great command of his repertoire and rarely walks batters. Jungmann just needs some more time in the minors to establish some consistency and then will be ready to take the big leagues by storm.

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#2 Tyler Thornburg, RHP

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Tyler Thornburg made his Major League debut this past season on June 19 in a start against the Toronto Blue Jays. He surrendered five earned runs on four homers but also showed good potential at times. In eight appearances, three starts, with the Brewers he posted a 4.50 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 22 innings.

The 24-year-old still has plenty to learn but could certainly be a member of Milwaukee’s starting rotation in 2013 depending on who establishes themselves in spring training. More than likely, he will be pitching out of the bullpen if anything and could very well start the year out at Triple-A Nashville.

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#1 Wily Peralta, RHP

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Milwaukee’s No. 1 prospect is right-hander Wily Peralta. Depending on what happens between now and spring training, Peralta could very well find himself as the fifth member of the starting rotation come the start of 2013. The 23-year-old pitched outstanding in his limited action with the Brewers. He posted a 2-1 record with a 2.48 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 11 walks in 29 innings. He showed signs of greatness and appeared to be exactly what the Brewers had hoped for when they drafted him. It is not a matter of if Peralta will be on the Major League roster, but rather if he will be a starter or pitch out of the bullpen.

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