Milwaukee Brewers: Top Prospects Who Can Turn It Around In 2018

The Milwaukee Brewers farm system took a hit following the Christian Yelich deal. That being the case, it is still a pretty solid system.

With the new Milwaukee Brewers team rankings set to come out in a matter of a week, it is a perfect time to reflect back on the 2017 rankings. There are several guys who might not have performed to expectation, but they are excellent candidates to turn it around this year.

In order to be considered a candidate the player must be in the 2017 top 30 for MLB Pipeline. While any player can improve from year to year, in this case I want to be able to see a statistical reason to believe the player will have a better year in 2018.

Two honorable mentions to this list that did not make it are Trent Grisham and Marcos Diplan. The pair were ranked 11 and 12 respectively in the 2017 rankings. Grisham led the minors in walks, but hit .223. Diplan threw for a very high ERA and walk rates, but his strikeout rate is a positive.

C Jacob Nottingham

Jacob Nottingham is an interesting case in 2017. He is listed at the number 17 prospect in the system last year. That number will surely drop in 2018 after he hit .209 in 101 games for Biloxi. The average is down from his already less than impressive .234 showing at the same level in 2016.

The intriguing thing about Nottingham is that his 2017 wRC+ is 103 despite his poor performance. According to the Fangraphs glossary the average player will post a 100. That alone is what gives the catcher the potential to increase his production in 2018. His ISO is also above average at .160.

It will be an interesting year to say the least. At 22 years old it is about time to see his adjustments take place. He came to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Khris Davis deal and is not stunning anyone. But overall his stats are interesting in that they appear uneven. It seems he will eventually trend towards the mean one way or another.

LHP Kodi Medeiros

The former first round pick, drafted at 18, is starting to figure things out. Kodi Medeiros is getting better, whether it is immediately visible or not. His standing is not as good as it once was, however the southpaw still sits at 23 in the 2017 rankings.

In his second straight year playing for Carolina, Medeiros saw a hefty drop in BB/9 and a rise in K/9. That translates to a significant drop in his ERA. The thing is that over his first four season, his FIP and xFIP are well below his ERA. During this last season, his 4.98 ERA matched up with a 3.93 FIP.

His numbers will not necessarily blow anyone away. But remember for a guy that started his at 18 years old out of Hawaii there is significant learning that needs to occur. Four years into his professional career he is maturing and learning to pitch. His numbers should look a lot better in the coming year.

OF Corey Ray

After trading for Yelich, Corey Ray became the number one prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers. He sat behind Lewis Brinson all season, but then the spot opened up. That being said, his struggles are well documented. Playing for the Carolina Mudcats in 2017, Ray hit .238. However, his last 10 games ended with a .342 average and two homers.

Beyond just that finish to the year, there are a couple reasons that make Ray a great bounce back candidate. First off, his BABIP is unreal compared to his overall batting average. He is hitting .346 on balls in play. That tells me his is making good contact. But his wRC+ and wOBA both grade out poorly, which goes against the case for improvement.

What really poises Ray for an uptick is his health. The beginning of the 2017 season for the outfielder was later than normal due to a knee injury. If he can carry over the momentum from his performance from his last 10 games, things could turn around. If they do not, it will be three seasons of poor performance, and decisions will have to be made.

This is a group of players who might be on their last legs as prospects, but they do show the potential to have much better years in 2018. These are two Milwaukee Brewers first round picks and a sixth rounder that come over in a trade. Look out for them as the 2018 MiLB season progresses.