This is the time of year when the stove gets hot and the rumors run wild. It is also the perfect time to take a deeper look into the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system.
Every season a player emerges from out of nowhere, surpassing all preseason prospect rankings. For the Brewers in 2017, that prospect was Corbin Burnes. For 2018, David Stearns says Milwaukee fans should keep an eye on Jordan Yamamoto.
After struggling for two seasons in rookie ball for the Brewers, Yamamoto started finding his groove in A ball. Pitching for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2016, he had 134 1/3 innings with 152 strikeouts and only 31 walks. After allowing 15 home runs over a combined 83 2/3 innings the two previous seasons, Yamamoto allowed only six.
Coming into 2017, Yamamoto went mostly unnoticed by most prospect rankings. The Milwaukee Brewers moved him up to High-A, and the results were there. In 111 innings pitched, he lowered his ERA from 3.82 in ’16, to 2.51.
Although his innings pitched and strikeout numbers were down, Yamamoto allowed only 31 earned runs, as opposed to 57 the year prior. He doesn’t possess a “blow it by you” fastball, clocked as high as 95 MPH but it usually sits closer to 90 MPH, but his 113 strikeouts show the talent is there.
Yamamoto has flown under the radar for two solid seasons, and now is his time to make a mark. The Milwaukee Brewers are deep with high ceiling arms in the low minors (I know, who would have thought?), and Yamamoto could play a role in the future for The Crew.
However, with the Brewers sudden climb from out of rebuilding, Yamamoto could also turn into a prime trade chip. With needs at second base and in the rotation, Milwaukee needs to be aggressive in their pursuit to improve.
Yamamoto could prove to be that final piece to that blockbuster trade that pushes the Milwaukee Brewers into the playoffs. Or, he could be that back end of the rotation starter that every team needs. One way or another, with his talent, Yamamoto will leave his mark within the Milwaukee Brewers organization.