The next Milwaukee Brewers prospect according to MLB Pipeline is Cody Ponce.
Ponce is a right handed pitcher who briefly made it up to Biloxi last season. Since being taken by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 2015 draft, he has performed well for the most part.
His performance during the 2017 season raised Ponce’s stock. In fact, last season his rank sat at 20. This season he is up to 14. There is a chance he would be higher on the list if not for a forearm strain that slowed him down back in 2016.
The first thing anyone will notice about Ponce is that he is a big presence on the mound. That is very evident considering his 6’6″, 265 pound stature. Big pitchers are thought to have big fastballs; in this case it will run up to the plate in the low 90’s. He also uses a cutter in the high 80’s, which can help against lefties. His off-speed pitches are below average, but improving. The changeup and curveball give Ponce a four pitch mix.
While he has some good control, there is a desire to have him throw more downhill. If he can drive the ball downward, he will become more effective than he already is. Because of his run in with the DL in 2016, there are also questions of durability.
In the year he was drafted, Ponce threw for a combined 2.29 in 14 games. He got as high as full season A ball. The season after was 2016, where his injury hindered the overall performance, ending with an ERA over five. That being said, his xFIP sat at 2.83 for that year.
In 2017, his performance improved. In 25 starts his ERA was in the low three’s. This is the most time he has ever gotten on the field, and he looked good in a starting role. His xFIP for last season sat around 3.70. Ponce will likely be starting with Biloxi this season after only three appearances there to his name.
How Does He Project?
MLB Pipeline projects Ponce to be a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. With his four pitches that are consistently getting better, he will continue to grow as a pitcher. By his profiles estimation, he will be in the majors at some point in 2019. Though that likely will be in a spot start or relief role depending on how he performs in the next couple years.
I think he will be a solid three or four pitcher. If he can develop his curveball or changeup into a reliable pitch, he can become a two. I do not think he will develop into an ace, but the Milwaukee Brewers have that elsewhere in their farm.