Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

Top 50 has their list of the top 50 prospects in all of minor league baseball.

Not surprised that Mike Trout, the tormentor of the 2010 Timber Rattlers, is number one.

Ex-Rattlers on the list include:

Michael Pineda (’08) at #13.

Brett Lawrie (’09) at #28.

Jake Odorizzi (’10) at #37.

Click the individual player for a video capsule of each player.

Rising Stars

The Brewers are taking a concept from the Reds and putting their own stamp on it.

If you recall the beginning of the 2009 season, the Dayton Dragons hosted the Cincinnati Reds in an exhibition game on April 4.  The Reds played an all-star team of Reds prospects.  The Reds won 9-6.

In 2011, the Brewers will be holding a “Rising Stars” Game at Miller Park.  It will be held on Saturday, April 2 at 3:10pm.  Here is a link to the flyer on the Brewers website.  Tickets are $10 and will be on sale starting January 21 at 10am.

Adam McCalvy has a few details:

Time Warner Cable Sports32 will televise the Rising Stars Game, which is presented by West Bend, the Silver Lining. Triple-A Nashville manager Don Money and Class A Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson will each lead a team — Blue vs. Gold.

The Brewers are making it an interactive event. Prospects will take part in an autograph session during batting practice, and some winning fans will get to sit in the dugout with the teams during various innings of the game.  Kids 16 and under will be able to run the bases afterward.

Each team will wear custom designed jerseys. Following the game, the players will autograph their game jersey for a raffle, with all proceeds benefitting the Brewers Community Foundation.

The roster was not announced, but unofficially, the following are scheduled to appear:  Kyle Heckathorn, Kentrail Davis, Hunter Morris, Scooter Gennett, Cody Scarpetta, and Erik Komatsu.

I am hoping to be down there to serve in one capacity or another…or, who knows, maybe just kick back and watch the…no I can’t even finish that sentence.

Thoughts on prospects

Jim Breen of Bernie’s Crew, who recently had a Best.Day.Ever., takes a look at the composite rankings of Brewers Prospects.  That would be the top ten prospects in the Milwaukee system as rated by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels of, and The Hardball Times.

Click through for the math and stuff.

Meanwhile over at Brew Crew Ball, Kyle has a post titled: Rebuilding from Within: Eight Players Who Could Improve the Brewers Organizational Rankings.

Head over for the Kyle’s thoughts on former Rattlers, Taylor Green, Eric Arnett, Kentrail Davis, and Cutter Dykstra.  Also included are Zelous Wheeler and Logan Schafer.

The excerpts below involve possible future Rattlers Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg:

When Dylan Covey didn’t sign, Nelson became the Brewers’ top remaining pick in the 2010 draft. Even before signing, Nelson was a little controversial: There was a brief uproar when it was discovered that a pre-draft scouting report compared him to Jeff Suppan. There doesn’t appear to be much to the comparison, though: Nelson throws much harder (can hit 96) and appears to be able to strike batters out.

Obviously, we don’t have much of a sample size to analyze at this point with Nelson, who made just 12 appearances (six starts) for Helena after signing. But he’s a likely candidate to open the season in Wisconsin and if he continues striking out batters at his early pace, he’ll climb the prospect rankings pretty quickly.

Like Jimmy Nelson, Thornburg is a 2010 draft pick who hasn’t spent much time in the organization yet. But, despite the fact that he was drafted after Nelson, Thornburg was dominant in his brief time with the H-Brewers and has drawn a much more favorable comparison: I’ve seen Tim Lincecum’s name come up in conversations about him several times now.

Like Nelson, Thornburg is expected to open the season in Wisconsin, and if he’s successful there good news will likely travel fast.

Lets chat

Tom Haudricourt did a chat at Baseball yesterday.

Unfortunately, the chat is behind the subscriber wall.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of “Where would this guy have rated if XXXX had happened?” Or, “THE SKY IS FALLING!  THE SKY IS FALLING!” or, “Will XXXXX be rated in the Top 30 for the 2011 Handbook?”

So, I’m just going to pull a few Q’s & A’s as they relate to Rattlers from 2010.

Steaky (Mass): What’s your assessment of Hunter Morris, and how close to your top 10 list did he rank?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers think Morris’ bat will take him through the system quickly. They even gave him some playing time at third base in the Arizona Fall League. I don’t have the list I submitted originally to BA, so I’m not sure where Morris will rank. I believe he was 10-20, somewhere in there.

Tex (Houston, TX): Khris Davis – prospect or suspect?

Tom Haudricourt: The Brewers’ love Davis’ bat. They just aren’t sure exactly where to play him to keep moving him through the system. They’ve had that problem with players before and eventually figured it out. Davis was given consideration for my Top 30 list but didn’t quite make it.

Kade Nelson (Chippewa Falls,Wi.): What do you think of Erik Komatsu and Cam Garfield? Also,any chance Arnett turns it around? Thanks.

Tom Haudricourt: Komatsu is a guy to watch because after an injury-plagued 2009, he played very well last season. The Brewers think he’s going to be an on-base type guy and therefore a future leadoff hitter. Garfield has to continue to catch, get experience and prove he’ll hit enough to be more than a projected backup. As for Arnett, let’s just say that 2011 is a mighty big year for him.

Shane (Miami): Tom – My condolences on having to put together this list; however, I am one that believes the Brewers used their system properly in making their deals for Greinke and Marcum, if they feel they can contend. What are your thoughts about Gennett sticking at second?

Tom Haudricourt: Second base is definitely the position for Gennett in the future because he comes up a bit short defensively at shortstop. He’s one of those gritty kids who does what it takes to win. Gotta like anybody named “Scooter,” right?

There are a few other Timber Rattlers noted in the chat.  TH thinks that Del Howell may wind up back in Wisconsin to start the 2011 season.  He also thinks that it is too early in the career of Kentrail Davis to compare him to Caleb Gindl.

Baseball Americas Top 10 List

It’s Prospectmas!

Another list about the prospects in the Brewers system.  This one is from Baseball America.

Pitcher Mark Rogers is the #1 prospect in the organization.  Numbers 2-5 are all ex-Rattlers

2.) Cody Scarpetta
3.) Wily Peralta
4.) Scooter Gennett
5.) Kentrail Davis

Kyle Heckathorn is the other ex-Rattler on the list and he checks in at #9.

Two of the players on the list were in Helena last season.  They may be Rattlers in the near future.

#6 is Pitcher Tyler Thornburg, who was a 3rd round pick out of Charleston Southern in 2010.  Baseball America likes him as a closer in the future.  But, they note that he will probably stay a starter and begin 2011 with the Rattlers…with a chance to move on to High A at some point during the season.  From behind the subscriber wall: Thornburg’s fastball sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 98, though it
doesn’t feature much of life. Some scouts think his power curveball is
his best pitch. He flashed an improved changeup in pro ball, so he may
have the requisite three pitches to remain a starter

Thornburg was 1-0 with a save and a 1.93ERA in nine games (six starts) for Helena last season.  He struck out 38 and walked 11 in 23.1IP.  The link on his name takes you to his page.  This link right here will take you to his page at Charleston Southern.

#8 is Pitcher Jimmy Nelson, a 2nd round pick out of Alabama in 2010.  According to the scouting report behind the subscriber wall: Nelson can hit 96 mph with his fastball, but he has learned that he’s
more effective when he throws a two-seamer in the low 90s with heavy
sink. He complements his fastball with a hard 84-86 mph slider that will
give him a second plus pitch if he gains more consistency.

BA mentions that the Brewers will “turn him loose” in Wisconsin this year.

Nelson was 2-0 with 3 saves and a 3.71ERA in 12 games (no starts) for Helena last season.  He struck out 33 and walked 13 in 26.2IP.  The link on his name is to his page.  This link will take you to his page of Alabama.

Other notes of interest at the BA link:

Best Tools.  Click through for the whole list, but here are the Rattlers from 2010 who BA like:

Power Hitter: Hunter Morris
Athlete: D’Vontrey Richardson
Control: Hiram Burgos
Outfield Arm: D’Vontrey Richardson

Baseball America‘s projected lineup for the Brewers in 2014 includes, Scooter Gennett at second base and Cody Scarpetta as the #5 starter.*

*Take note that their 2014 lineup also has Rickie Weeks in center and Prince Fielder at first base.

The reports of the demise have been greatly exaggerated

Tom Haudricourt had this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday.

Brewers say farm system not depleted by trades

After the Milwaukee Brewers traded away several highly rated prospects to acquire starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke this off-season, some analysts suggested they had “gutted” their minor-league system.

Those who oversee the drafting and developing of players for the Brewers consider that assessment a bit harsh.

“I’m very tired of hearing that,” said scouting director Bruce Seid. “We have work to do, but our fans can feel good about what the future holds for the Brewers’ system down the road.  “A lot of them are down lower in the system at present, but we have more athletic, big arms in the system than at any other time I can remember.”

The Brewers acknowledge that they surrendered some of their best prospects to get Marcum from Toronto and Greinke from Kansas City in trades two weeks apart in December. Second baseman Brett Lawrie, a first-round draft pick in 2008 who was an advanced offensive player at age 20, returned to his native Canada in a one-for-one swap for Marcum.

Lawrie was slated to be ranked as the No.?1 prospect in the Brewers’ system for 2011 by Baseball America. When Lawrie was traded, right-hander Jake Odorizzi – a supplemental first-round pick in ’08 – was in line to move up from the No.?2 spot.

But Odorizzi didn’t last long as the heir apparent. The weekend before Christmas, he was included in the six-player deal with the Royals that netted Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect entering 2010, also went to Kansas City along with centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, No.?8 on the 2010 list, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, a 2006 first-round pick slated to be the No. 3 prospect for 2011.

There’s no denying that the Brewers cut a wide swath through the top of their prospect list, but there were solid reasons they were willing to do so, not the least of which was improving a starting rotation that ranked near the bottom of the National League for two years.

The key takeaway quote from this article is this one from Gord Ash:

“We do have to be a development and scouting organization because we can’t go into the (free-agent) marketplace and sign whomever we want,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash.

“But that doesn’t mean you stockpile them. You use them to make your big-league team better, as (general manager) Doug (Melvin) has done. You can’t operate your farm system separate from your major-league club. There has to be a cooperative path between the two.

“If your team is positioned to win now, which ours is, you have to take advantage of that.”

Here are some names you may see on the back of Timber Rattlers jerseys in the near future.

Seid also thinks folks should keep an eye on four pitchers taken in the 2010 draft – Jimmy Nelson, Matt Miller, Austin Ross and third-rounder Tyler Thornburg, whose slight build and high-90s fastball has drawn comparisons to a younger Tim Lincecum.

“This past year, I’ve had several unsolicited compliments from player development directors, scouts and coaches who have seen these players we have infused into the system,” said Seid. “I respect those comments above anyone else who hasn’t seen these kids.

“These kids need time to develop, so patience is needed there. But some of these arms have front-line potential. There’s no way to predict what their roles will be in three to five years.  Time and development will reveal that, but I don’t remember us having this many power arms at one time.”

Time will tell.

A Brewers Top 20 Prospect List

John Sickels from posted his Top 20 Brewers Prospect List on Thursday.  Click over to read his grades and a quick capsule on each player…and to see the entire list.

Eleven of the 20 players on his list are former Timber Rattlers.  Six of the 11 former Rattlers played for Wisconsin in 2010.  For each of the 2010 Rattlers, I have included the information the John provided.

The ex-Rattlers on his list are:

2.) Cody Scarpetta

3.) Kentrail Davis: Grade B-: Good tools, hits for average, I think he’ll get on base. But what about power?

5.) Kyle Heckathorn: Grade B-: Huge ground ball specialist, another future fourth starter?

6.) Wily Peralta

7.) Scooter Gennett: A very good hitter, needs to polish defense but could make a lot of noise in ’11. Keep close track of him.

10.) Erik Komatsu

12.) Hunter Morris: Grade C: Plenty of power potential, but something makes me wonder if
he’ll fully live up to expectations. I might be underrating him.

13.) D’Vontrey Richardson: Grade C: Outstanding tools, extremely raw. Can he refine them?

16.) Khris Davis: Good power production in the Midwest League, but a bit old for the
level. Grade will rise if he hits in Double-A. . .might be able to pull a
Jerry Sands.

18.) Dan Merklinger

19.) Mike Fiers

If you are interested in another prospect list, Baseball America’s Top 10 Brewers prospect list is coming out on Monday.

Lawrie is #5

Baseball America released their Top 20 Prospects for the Southern League on Thursday.  Ex-Rattlers second baseman Brett Lawrie was #5.

Two other Ex-Rattlers made the list.  Michael Pineda (’08) of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx was #3.  Pineda’s West Tennessee teammate Alex Liddi (’06, ’07, ’08) made the list at #16.

A bit from behind the subscriber wall:

Aside from [#1 prospect Mike] Stanton, no SL prospect excited scouts and managers alike as
much as Pineda. He throws in the upper 90s from his first pitch and
maintains his velocity throughout a game.

Yet, some scouts seem him as more of a closer than a starting pitcher.

Like [Dan] Uggla, Lawrie is a strong, aggressive hitter with a big swing. He
has a quick bat that stays in the hitting zone for a long time, and
balls carry well off his bat. While he’s prone to chasing pitches out of
the zone, he also has shown the ability to make adjustments during
at-bats and series.

Some scouts see him as a corner outfielder at the upper levels.

Liddi’s numbers were bound to take a hit after he played at hospitable
High Desert in the hitter-friendly California League last year. A career
.244/.311/.372 hitter entering 2009, he led the minors in hitting while
batting .345/.411/.594. He legitimized himself as a prospect with a
solid 2010 season at West Tenn, leading the league with 92 RBIs.

Possible move to first base at the next level? BA and scouts don’t like it.

Mehring Monday: Heckathorn and the list

Welcome to the first edition of Mehring Monday in a long time.  Back at it again for the rest of 2010.

I know that it’s just a list, and that with 16 teams in the MWL it is tough to make a Top 20 prospects list without leaving deserving candidates off the list.


The reasoning behind the decision to leave Rattlers pitcher Kyle Heckathorn off the MWL list leaves me…oh…underwhelmed…That seems to be a word that is pretty popular.

IMG_2270_Brewer Outfit_PSB FOTO.jpg
Photo Credit: Patrick S. Blood/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Battlekow and colbyjack over at have done some of the heavy lifting on this.


Jim (South Bend): Was Kyle Heckathorn considered in this list?
Callis: Scouts were underwhelmed by him. Some velo but also some
effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches. He wasn’t as much of a
disaster as Eric Arnett was, but scouts weren’t in love with Heckathorn
at all.

Ha. Okay, we get it: Heckathorn isn’t as good as his numbers might lead
you to believe, but “wasn’t as much of a disaster as Eric Arnett” is
silly hyperbole. Come on now, Jim.


That’s a very curious assessment by Callis, since Baseball America also
had Heckathorn’s changeup ranked as the league’s best according to their
poll of the league managers. There is an obvious inconsistency there,
and you have to wonder if Callis is speaking of “scouts” or the 1 scout
that he polled that saw Heckathorn on his worst day.


Some velo but also some effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches.

BA’s midseason tools reports:

Best Changeup: Kyle Heckathorn, Wisconsin

There is some serious inconsistency here that makes me question the validity of either report.


I asked Callis, and he said: “Scouts didn’t like it nearly as much as mgrs did.”

You get the idea. Plus, you get a gratuitous shot at Eric Arnett, too.  Really, Jim?

Just out of curiosity, I went back to take a look at the 2010 Baseball America Prospect Handbook entry for Heckathorn, who was rated as the #10 Prospect in the Brewers organization.

His raw stuff is outstanding and rivaled anyone’s in the 2009 draft.  His fastball sits at 91-94 mph and peaks at 98.  His slider also can be devastating, registering in the high 80’s. Even with his live are and big frame, Heckathorn doesn’t have any problems throwing strikes.  Heckathorn is learning how to use his stuff. He doesn’t know how to set up batters and actually throws too many hittable strikes at times. He must come up with a reliable changeup so hitters can’t sit on his hard stuff, and he’ll have to locate his pitches better in the strike zone…The Brewers will keep Heckathorn in a starting role for now, though some scouts project him as an overpowering closer.

Managers think that Heck developed the best changeup in the Midwest League this season.  Scouts didn’t. Baseball America used the managers vote for their Best Tools issue.  But, that had no impact on the thinking for the prospect list. Sounds like a template has been set for Heckathorn and he will be made to fit in that template no matter what.

After seeing all of his appearances this season, it appeared to me that Heckathorn became more comfortable once he was placed in the starting rotation and was no longer used in the tandem.

Starting on May 16, Heckathorn made eight straight quality starts.  I know what you are probably thinking, “Ho-hum, quality starts. Big deal.  Three earned runs in six innings.  You know that is an ERA of 4.50, right?”

Well, how about if I told you that in those eight quality starts he allowed one earned run three times, zero earned runs three times, and three earned runs twice.  Also, in those eight starts starts, he went seven innings in four straight games. He also walked six batters and struck out 36 batters over the 52 innings of those starts.

Plus, there was a stretch of 24-2/3 innings in there where he did not walk an opposing batter.

Since this was a Midwest League list, I doubt that consideration was given to Heck’s performance once he was promoted to the Florida State League.  Also, I have no first hand reports on his performance with the Manatees, so I will just have to go off his statistics.

Eight starts with four quality starts in the FSL. 39IP, 40 hits, 15 runs, 13 earned runs, 10 walks, 23 strikeouts.  I know that the latest fad is to not mention records because wins aren’t the best way to measure the performance of a pitcher. *cough*4-0withBrevardCounty*cough*

For a pitcher in his first full season who throws too many hittable strikes at times and needs to work on his changeup, Heckathorn gave up a total of 122 hits in 124 innings pitched between Wisconsin and Brevard County.  Add in 33 walks over those 124 innings and you have that new wave WHIP stat of a 1.25.  I’m pretty sure that number is pretty good.

At the end of the day, the list has served its purpose. It has fans who follow minor league baseball talking about baseball, looking at the stats, and drawing their own conclusions.  And that is a good start to the offseason.

Odorizzi is #8 on BA List


Photo Credit: Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Baseball America released their list of the Top 20 prospects in the Midwest League for 2010. Jake Odorizzi is the only Timber Rattler on the list. He checks in at #8.

The other pitchers on the list ahead of Odorizzi are: #2 Shelby MIller (QC); #4 Jacob Turner (WMI); & #7 Trey McNutt (PEO).

To no one’s surprise, Mike Trout (CR) was the #1 prospect in the MWL this season.

There is a bit behind the subscriber wall on Odorizzi. But, well, you know…it’s Baseball America.

There is a chat for Baseball America subscribers at 1pm CDT today. Head over to their website and check it out. If there is anything Timber Rattlers-related mentioned in the chat, I’ll share it either later today or some time tomorrow.

As a preview;

Q: How close was XXXXXX to making the Top 20?

A. XXXXXX was in the conversation.  But, we had to leave some worthy candidates off the list.  It is only a Top 20 list.

Q. Had XXXXXX been eligible where would XXXXXX have been in the Top 20?

A. We heard from some scouts that, while they loved the way that XXXXXX approached the game and worked, they only see XXXXXX as a fringe player and there would have been no serious consideration to put XXXXXX on this Top 20 list.

Q. XXXXXX had an outstanding season and STILL didn’t make this Top 20 list? What does he have to do to get any respect?

A. You are obviously related to XXXXXX.  Please never chat with us again.

Q. The stats show that XXXXXX struggled this year. What does this do to his stock?

A. Stats don’t tell the whole story.  XXXXXX’s stuff has been outstanding.  Scouts we talked to really like his makeup and believe that the results will come with time.

Q. I saw XXXXXX several times this season.  He looked very good, but the results weren’t there. Will he come around?

A. His BB/K ratio needs to come way down and some scouts are concerned about his mechanics. Only time will tell, but the consensus is that it will take a long time for the light bulb to go off for XXXXXX.

I could go on, but why spoil the chat for everyone.


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