Though the Milwaukee Brewers are off today, their farm system is in full swing. So far, there have been several great showings in the minors, and not all from top prospects.
The work done by a player like Freddy Peralta can not be understated. He is throwing extremely well, and he, along with players who are not among the Milwaukee Brewers most highly touted prospects, are creating sparks early on.
It is too early to really get excited about great performances like these, but too early can be fun. These players are off to a great start. For purposes of my own sanity, each level will have three categories: Best Pitcher, Best Hitter, and Biggest Surprise.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Best Pitcher: Freddy Peralta
I already gave this away, Freddy Peralta has been on top of things early on. During his first two outings, no one scored a run on him. In fact through ten innings he only allowed four hits, while striking out 13. A truly dominating start to his year.
Best Hitter: Christian Bethancourt
During his first five games, Christian Bethancourt accumulated 10 hits in 19 at bats. The catcher even tacked on a steal for good measure. There is very little to complain about with the early returns out of this Milwaukee Brewers offseason signing.
Biggest Surprise: Jacob Nottingham
Another catcher, sure. But Jacob Nottingham is in Triple A this year after hitting .209 last season for Biloxi. His 2017 peripherals showed him being better than that, however, it is still a pleasant surprise to see him batting .385 through his first 13 at bats.
Best Pitcher: Thomas Jankins
There are a lot of solid candidates for this, but Thomas Jankins takes the cake. His first and only appearance so far in 2018 went seven innings. Over that span, he gave up four hits and a walk while sending six batters packing. Not a bad first day at the office for the 2016 13th rounder.
Best Hitter: Lucas Erceg
As big of a Lucas Erceg fan as I am, I really looked hard for another recipient. But there is none. Through six games, the Brewers fourth best prospect, according to MLB Piplene, is hitting .385. He tacks on an impressive four doubles to that number. The man can flat out hit.
Biggest Surprise: Kodi Medeiros
After some struggles with Carolina the last year, Kodi Medeiros showed some serious growth in his first start with Biloxi. His ERA in 2017 was just a few ticks under five. The former first rounder came out in his Double A debut to throw five shutout innings.
Best Pitcher: Cameron Roegner
Much like several starters, Cameron Roegner has only one start to his name so far in 2018. However, he went six shutout innings, while striking out six. The most impressive part is that he walked only one, showing excellent command. If he can keep up these solid performances his stock will rise.
Best Hitter: Tucker Neuhaus
Seven games into his Carolina debut, Tucker Neuhaus is hitting .385, just like Erceg. They are also both third basemen. Neuhaus has done something that Erceg has not this year, however, and that his drive the ball out of the park. The Mudcats slugger already has two longballs on the year.
Biggest Surprise: Chase Williams
Chase Williams was flat out impressive during his first three relief appearances. He struck out five batters across four innings while giving up a single hit. Not bad, though he did plunk a batter. The 25 year old righty is throwing well in his current bullpen role.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
Best Pitcher: Bowden Francis
In two appearances in 2018, Bowden Francis has both started a game and finished one. He has done so during eight innings of work, averaging a strikeout per inning. It is also worth noting that he has yet to walk a batter, though his ERA does sit above three.
Best Hitter: Payton Henry
This was a tough one. But, the deciding factor was all of Payton Henry’s extra base hits. Three games and 14 at bats in, four of his five hits went for extra bases. Three doubles and a homer have his slugging percentage sitting pretty to start 2018.
Biggest Surprise: Dylan File
There is a serious case to say that Dylan File is the best pitcher thus far for the Timber Rattlers. What makes him the surprise in my mind is that his 2018 debut was only his 13th professional game and eighth start. He went five innings giving up a run and striking out five to debut with Carolina.
It is always nice to have the farm working early in the year. The Milwaukee Brewers certainly have some exceptional talent, and they are starting 2018 on the right foot. Now, it is up to them to keep it up and raise their prospect stock.