Chris Mitchell at Fangraphs released his KATOH projection today (he ranks all 30 farm systems) and at the very top, you see the Brewers.Mitchell, himself notes that the Brewers don’t even have any competitors. The closest farm system is the Astros who have a KATOH ranking of 77 (whereas the Brewers KATOH ranking is 86). For those who are unfamiliar with KATOH and its ranking system, it is in a nutshell, each team’s cumulative projected WAR based on their KATOH projections.
Orlando Arcia is the Brewers top KATOH prospect, but he wasn’t acquired under Stearns. However, the Brewers prospects ranked #2-8, Flores, Nottingham, Phillips, Hader, Diaz, Davies, and Betancourt, were acquired under Stearns. In 9 trades they’ve also added the likes of Liriano, Broxton, Cecchini, Villar, Houser, Derby, Peralta, Supak, Walsh, Jones, Herrera, Missaki, and Pina. That’s 16 players in 9 trades under Stearns.
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In prospects, Stearns is using the law of large numbers during his rebuilding process. That is, he is getting as many as he possibly can and hoping some of them churn over into good ball players. In one hand Stearns has been collecting players who have shown strong minor league outings, like Bubba Derby who dominated during his time in Vermont. In the other hand, Stearns has been collecting once top prospects who have fizzled out, like Rymer Liriano, in hopes that there is still a chance they’ll turn into something worthwhile for the Brewers. Prospects like Liriano have the chance to be at best an average player, but for a rebuilding Brewers, the more than unlikely chance of them propelling to all-star status is worth the risk. Even an average ballplayer has trade value (someone has to be the worst team in the league each year).
It’s no secret that the Brewers are going to be horrid (I’d steer clear of anything USA Today says, though), however, Stearns is doing what a rebuilding team does, hoping that his plethora of prospects blossoms into something more than just being potential.