Johnny Hellweg put up nice numbers in Triple-A but struggled in the majors. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Now it’s time to look at some of the Milwaukee Brewers top ten prospects. Here’s how the prospects we ranked #6 through 10 are performing this season.
10. OF Victor Roache
It’s been a rough go for the Brewers 2012 first round (28th overall) pick. An outfielder known for his bat, Roache has only 17 extra base hits (eight home runs). As a result, his isolated power (.135) is extremely low for a power guy. His batting average is currently sitting at .220 in Low-A ball and, while he may never blossom into a .300 hitter, Milwaukee must be at least a little worried.
Roache has also struggled to reach base this season. His BABIP is only .269 and he has one of lowest on-base percentages in the Midwest League. However, there could be an excuse for his failings. Roache is coming off a broken wrist and there could still be some lingering pain. Remember how badly Weeks performed after his wrist surgery? Their situations are similar.
I ranked the 21-year-old as the Brewers’ #5 prospect and I still believe he has the potential to be an everyday outfielder. And he’d better be, considering Doug Melvin used a first round draft pick on him. Roache will probably spend at least some, if not all, next season with the Timber Rattlers.
As for my prospect list next year, I’m not sure where Roache will fall. I’m guessing he won’t move too far down.
9. OF Caleb Gindl
For the last couple of seasons, Caleb Gindl has been a solid minor league player who never got a shot in the big leagues. That changed this year when he was promoted by the Brewers. He saw only 20 at-bats with the Crew and was able to scrape out five hits before being sent back down.
Gindl has put together a very respectable season in Nashville. He owns a .296 batting average with 10 home runs and 45 runs batted in. However, that might be his ceiling. Plus, the Brewers outfield is already incredibly crowded. Gindl would have to put up monstrous numbers for Milwaukee to even consider him as part of their future. I see him as more of a utility journeyman than a regular player. He reminds me of former Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske.
That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, because he ‘s not. The 24-year-old doesn’t strike out much and walks a decent amount. He has a high BABIP in Triple-A and always hustles his heart out on a routine groundball. But like I said, with the abundance of outfielders the Brewers possess (see Schafer, Braun, Gomez, Roache, Davis, Prince, Haniger and Taylor), Gindl’s future with Milwaukee is cloudy.
In my opinion, we ranked Caleb Gindl a bit too high. I personally ranked him 14th but Benjamin and Lou both had him 6th. He probably won’t make my list next year.
Note: Caleb Gindl was recalled from Triple-A just as I finished typing this.
8. RHP Hiram Burgos
AAA: 7 GS, 3.82 ERA, 24 SO, 12 BB
MLB: 6 GS, 6.44 ERA, 18 SO, 11 BB
It’s been an interesting season for Hiram Burgos. After starting the season in Nashville, he was promoted to the bigs and made six starts for the Brewers before landing on the disabled list with shoulder impingement. He was then sent back to Triple-A.
Burgos was putting together a fine year before being promoted. He limited opponents to a .232 batting average and posted a WHIP of 1.21. But things got a little messy when he took the mound for the Brewers.
In six starts, the right-hander accumulated an ERA of 6.44 and gave up 38 hits in just over 29 innings. Batters had an average of .306 against him. His worst start came against the Cincinnati Reds when he gave up 10 earned runs on 11 hits in just three innings. But take away that outing, and he did just as well (or poorly) as the rest of Milwaukee’s rotation.
The 25-year-old has never had a season in which his walk percentage was higher than 10% and that trend has continued this year. Like Greg Maddux, Burgos finds other ways to get batters out. Burgos also reminds me a lot of Chris Narveson; they are both accurate pitchers who use a high-80’s fastball and for whom strikeouts are a rarity. I actually see Burgos becoming a back-of-the-rotation starter for years to come for Milwaukee.
I have a lot of faith in Burgos and you can expect to see him in my top ten next season.
7. RHP Johnny Hellweg
AAA: 14 GS, 2.82 ERA, 50 SO, 44 BB
MLB: 3 GS (4 G), 10.97 ERA, 3 SO, 13 BB
Hellweg has been lights out in Triple-A this season. He owns a 7-4 record with a 2.82 ERA and has given up just three home runs in 76 innings. Despite these strong numbers, he’s having a hard time controlling his mid-90’s fastball and therefore, walks continue to be a problem – he’s walked 44 already. Besides that, he’s been absolutely terrific.
Because of injuries, Hellweg was promoted on June 25. He made three starts and one relief appearance before being sent down today (July 11). Hellweg gave up a run in every outing and ended up surrendering a total of 20 runs (13 earned). His strikeouts completely vanished while his walks soared. And even though he fell victim to shoddy defense, he still allowed 19 hits in 10 innings. It’s apparent that the 24-year-old is not quite ready for the show.
Hellweg has a lot of potential and other season down in Nashville will serve him well. He needs to learn some control and be able to get more movement on his fastball. If he improves on these aspects, he’ll be a nice middle-of-the-rotation arm.
6. RHP Taylor Jungmann
AA: 16 GS, 3.53 ERA, 57 SO, 40 BB
Selected by the Brewers in the first round (12th overall) in 2011, Taylor Jungmann spent one season in High-A before being promoted to Double-A Huntsville. And Jungmann has caught the attention of a lot of people.
Jungmann is 9-6 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 starts for the Huntsville Stars. At 6’6″, he has fantastic fastball but his offspeed pitches might be even better. He’s a groundball pitcher but in time, with more opportunity to tinker with his pitches, he could transform into a strikeout machine. The Brewers may want to limit Jungmann’s innings in the second half of the season as he’s already at 91 innings. 200 innings too much for a young kid…just ask Dusty Baker.
The 23-year-old limits home runs and while he walks a fair share, his left-on-base percentage (70.5%) makes up for it. Jungmann has a shot to make the opening roster in 2014 but odds are he’ll spend a season in Triple-A first.
Good things are on the way from Jungmann and he’ll only continue to rise on my prospect list.
That’s it for now folks. Check out next weeks piece when I check in on Reviewing the Brew’s top five prospects.