The Milwaukee Brewers finished 73-89 in 2016, placing fourth in the National League Central for the second straight season. For a team in the middle of a rebuild, the Brewers weren’t as bad as other teams in the same position. They sent most of their big-name guys, minus Ryan Braun, to competitors, in hopes that they can compete in the near future.
The prospects they brought in are ready to start making waves in the Brewers farm system and will show off their skills this spring. Here are three youngsters to keep an eye on as the Cactus League progresses.[Milkins]
- Josh Hader – The Brewers’ third best prospect, the 38th overall prospect, and the top left-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. These are just a few notes Josh Hader has added to his resume since being drafted in 2012. He forced his way onto the top-prospect lists in the 2015 Arizona Fall League, and significantly raised his stock in 2016. Hader was dominant in Double-A, but struggled after moving up to Triple-A. His struggles could be attributed to pitching in a hitter friendly park, as Hader’s stuff didn’t regress much. He has dominant swing-and-miss ability, helped by a powerful fastball, a wipeout slider, and an improving changeup. Hader could make an impact sooner rather than later in the Brewers rotation, and his starts this spring will be monitored very closely.
- Lewis Brinson – Another 2012 draftee, Brinson has worked his way to the top of the Brewers organization. He’s come a long way, and finally emerged as one of the game’s top prospects in 2015. Brinson has established himself as a borderline five-tool player. His patient approach at the plate has allowed him to hit for average and work walks to go along with his plus raw power. When he reached base, his speed forces pitchers to take notice. He has 30/30 type talent, and will be a staple in the Brewers lineup for years to come. Brinson struggled with a shoulder injury last season, and all eyes will be on the top prospect as he looks to get back into shape this spring.
- Corey Ray – The left-handed outfielder earned a non-roster invite to the Brewers’ camp this spring. He’ll use this opportunity to prove why he’s the Brewers second overall prospect. Despite suffering a torn meniscus and undergoing surgery in October, Ray has recovered in time for spring. Like Brinson, Ray’s combination of power and speed makes him someone to keep an eye on as his minor league career progresses. He doesn’t have quite the consistency at the plate as Brinson, but at just 22-years-old he still has plenty of time to develop. Ray is likely the farthest away from the majors of the three, but with his skills he can’t be too far off.
The Brewers’ future is bright, and Hader, Brinson, and Ray will provide a glimpse into the future this spring. Their young talent makes them one of the most exciting teams to watch this spring, as they look to establish themselves as future contenders. Spring training is fun in that even if the team isn’t expected to compete this season, fans can get a glimpse at what to expect in the future. Don’t expect too much from the Brewers in 2017, but these guys could turn them into very serious competitors sooner than some may think.