Brewers Farm System: A Rebuttal

stevenjewell
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Sep 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez (28) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez (28) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Yesterday, our editor Adam wrote an article saying that the Brewers farm system was overhyped and light on talent. At the risk of arguing with my own editor, I’m here to argue with my own editor. Naturally there’s nothing wrong with differing opinions, they make sports fun to write about.

I simply didn’t agree with the conclusions Adam drew. His evidence was largely based on a recent article from the head of Minor League Ball, John Sickels, that graded the top prospects of the Brewers system.

I greatly encourage you to take a more in-depth look at Minor League Ball for more commentary on each team’s farm system. We’ve already made two articles thanks to their work, so it would be nice to send some readers their way.

In Sickels’ analyses, prospects are rated from A to C, as can be explained in the following linked article. Here’s how the Brewers stacked up:

Grade A:  Zero
Grade A-:  One
Grade B+:  Three
Grade B:  Three
Grade B-:  Eight
Grade C+:  Nine
Grade C:  11

Adam points out in his article that the majority of the Brewers prospects are C-grade. But more C-grade players just means more depth. The Brewers could have the best farm in baseball and still have more depth players in their system than future stars.

I understand that those wouldn’t be valedictorian grades in high school, but this appears to be high praise from Sickels. Let’s take a look at the comparative breakdown of some of the consensus top systems in the league.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Grade A:  Two
Grade A-:  Zero
Grade B+:  Two
Grade B:  Three
Grade B-:  Six
Grade C+:  Nine
Grade C: 13

Boston Red Sox

Grade A:  One
Grade A-:  Zero
Grade B+:  Three
Grade B:   Two
Grade B-:  Two
Grade C+:  11
Grade C:  16

I’m still stacking the deck against the Brewers by putting them up against two of the most well regarded farm systems, but the Crew matches up well with its peers. Sure, the Dodgers — who almost certainly boast the league’s best system — are more top heavy, but beyond Grade A, the Brewers are a great match.

More from Reviewing the Brew

The Brewers look even better against the Red Sox, whose system I have seen ranked as highly as second best in the league. According to Sickels, the Brewers have 15 players rated A through B-, while the Sox have eight.

With all of this information, it seems hard to believe that the Brewers would place outside of the top 10 in Sickels’ rankings. This is what fan blogs and the Brewers have been saying since the Brewers began trading their top players: The Brewers have a great system, and still have a few more valuable players available to flip for prospects.

And while Sickels’ opinion is far from the only one that matters, he has been covering baseball a long time, and I certainly don’t think he would call the Brewers minor league system “light on talent.” In the coming months, more websites will release their reviews of the Brewers farm, and I think fans will be happy with what they read.

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