During the offseason, sometimes there’s a player or two out there who look rather enticing for a team to sign through a trade. For the Milwaukee Brewers, they could be looking for that in a third baseman or perhaps a starting pitcher, but at what cost?
When it comes to the Brewers’ prospects, there are three who I believe are untouchable when it comes to trades:
1. Jimmy Nelson
Nelson has become one of the most exciting Brewers’ prospects in the past few years. Perhaps we can credit that excitement to the fact that he’s in an organization struggling for a starting rotation at the major league level. Within 2013, Nelson saw a promotion from Double-A Huntsville to Triple-A Nashville and all the way to the big leagues as he made his debut on September 6.
In Huntsville, Nelson was 5-4 with an ERA of 2.74 in 69 innings pitched, or 12 starts. He had dominated some hitters in that level, hosting a K/9 of 9.4 and walked very little with a BB/9 of 2.0. When he was promoted to Triple-A, Nelson wasn’t fazed at all. He would see a slight rise in ERA to 3.67 in 83.1 innings, but still had a K/9 of 9.8. Batters had a rough time against Nelson in Triple-A as they hit only .236.
By the time Nelson makes it up to Milwaukee as a regular on the 25-man roster, he’ll do so with open arms (no pun intended) from the starting rotation. Clearly Nelson has the stuff to start and in his 10 innings pitched this season, he was only hit for one run while striking out eight. Nelson is untouchable because he simply could be the future of the Brewers’ rotation.
When the Brewers’ outfield gets to a stage that it needs new life, either when the contracts of Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez run out or through an injury, Haniger will be there to take that spot. Haniger made the transition from Single-A to Advanced A ball this year and did so with a punch. In Single-A, Haniger’s .297/.399/.510 slash line alongside more walks (25) than strikeouts (24) probably helped propel him to the next stage.
That said, Haniger has a long way to go as he only hit .250 in 88 games at the Advanced A level, but he knows that. In the past month, Haniger took a part in the Arizona Fall League and did well with the Surprise Saguaros where he hit .280 and led the team in RBIs. He may not be up with the Brewers for a couple years, but when he’s there, he’ll be valuable part of the team.
The reason why I think Haniger is untouchable is because he looks to have the best chance out of most of the outfield prospects in the organization. I’m not saying he’s better than Tyrone Taylor or Victor Roache, but Haniger has stood out the most in making progress. He may not be the future of the team, but he’ll make an impact one way or another.
The Brewers’ future rests a lot in the arms they’ll place in the rotation. Alongside Nelson, Jungmann can be a vital part of that future if things pan out for him. While Jungmann had a rough year in 2013, it was only his second professional season and one that he started in Double-A Hunstville which is impressive considering his lack of experience.
Jungmann was hit for an ERA of 4.33 (or a FIP of 4.84) in 139.1 innings, which totaled up to 26 starts. The positive thing about Jungmann is he does show promise, but wasn’t able to really capitalize on offseason performance as he battled a groin injury in this year’s Arizona Fall League and was tagged for eight runs in only 7.1 innings pitched.
That said, Jungmann is one of the Brewers’ top pitching prospects and Baseball America ranked him sixth out of all the prospects in the organization. Fortunately, Jungmann is young and at 23-years-old, he has time to improve on his command and control since he did hit 10 batters in 2013 and walked 73 while only striking out 82. Still Jungmann is an untouchable Brewer because of the potential he possesses.
Are there any Brewers’ prospects besides these three that you feel are untouchable? Let us know in the comments below!