- Jorge Lopez || Age 24 || AAA stats: 6.81 ERA (79.1 IP) || Prospect rank: 13
It might not be worth mentioning Lopez here. He had a heck of a time in Colorado Springs last year, and it probably wouldn’t be wise to bring him back for round two.
He’s still a promising pitcher, but when the high altitude hung up his curveball, he lost control of his pitches, and likely, his confidence.
Look for Lopez to return to AA Biloxi, where he was mostly his usual self (3.81 FIP), until the team feels he’s ready for the leap to Milwaukee. No altitude required.
- Brent Suter (L) || Age 27 || AAA stats: 3.45 ERA (146 IP) || Prospect rank: N/A
For starters, Suter throws an 84 mile-per-hour fastball. That’s pretty rad. He’s another pitcher who might make the Brewers 25-man roster, but I anticipate he returns to Colorado Springs for the start of the season.
He was great in AAA in 2016, posting a 3.50 ERA while striking out basically nobody (6.1 batters per 9 innings) but walking even nobody-er (1.1 per 9). He posted similar numbers in a 21 2/3 inning stint with the Crew, so he should toss Big League innings again in 2017.
- Wei-Chung Wang (L) || Age 24 || AAA stats: 3.94 ERA (32 IP) || Exceeded rookie limits in 2014
Wang would definitely be a top 30 prospect with the Milwaukee Brewers if the team hadn’t stashed him until his rookie limits ran out in 2014.
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He has long received high marks for his changeup, the ideal pitch for a lefty who wants to remain a starter at the highest level. He also throws a low-90s fastball and a curve.
Despite a slight frame, Wang has exceeded 130 innings pitched in each of the last two seasons. Wang’s 2016 was quietly a big improvement, as he bumped his strikeout rate from 5.9 batters per 9 innings in High-A in 2015 to 7.7 between Double- and Triple-A last year. He maintained his 2.4 walks per 9 innings both years.
Wang likely needs his strikeouts to stick if he’s going to make it as a starter in the Majors, but I think he’s a promising back-of-the-rotation arm.
- Aaron Wilkerson || Age 27 || AAA stats: 4.56 ERA (102.2 IP) || Prospect rank: N/A
Speaking of pitchers who are close to Major League ready. Wilkerson had a productive season in 2016, even if he got bullied by BABIP in the Pacific Coast League. He struck out nearly 10 batters per 9 innings over the course of 147 innings while walking just 2.5.
"Milwaukee Brewers: 2017 Under-the-Radar Pitching Prospects"
He doesn’t have the best pure stuff, but succeeding at every level of the minor leagues should get him a shot.