Brewers Prospects

Milwaukee Brewers: How has Ethan Small started his career?

Matthew Dewoskin
FORT BRAGG, NC - JULY 03: A detailed view of baseballs prior to the game between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves on July 3, 2016 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Fort Bragg Game marks the first regular season MLB game ever to be played on an active military base. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
FORT BRAGG, NC - JULY 03: A detailed view of baseballs prior to the game between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves on July 3, 2016 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Fort Bragg Game marks the first regular season MLB game ever to be played on an active military base. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Brewers 2019 first rounder Ethan Small has made only five appearances in the Minors, but he’s already impressing. Could he breeze through the Minors and arrive sooner than later?

The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Ethan Small 28th overall in the 2019 draft because he would sign below slot, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t supremely talented. Small only spent a few weeks at Rookie Ball, and appears to be doing the same at Single-A. How far can he advance, and when will he arrive?

How has Small performed?

Small’s Rookie Ball career lasted all of two starts and three innings. He struck out five of the nine batters he faced, and didn’t allow a hit or a walk. Coaches had seen enough, and he earned a promotion to Single-A.

He’s already made three starts with the Milwaukee Brewers Single-A affiliate, and he’s producing similar results to his stint in Rookie Ball. Small has made three starts with the Wisconsin TimberRattlers, and he’s tossed 10 innings. He’s only allowed one run on eight hits and one walk with 16(!) strikeouts.

Why is Small flying through the lower levels?

It’s really no surprise that Small is doing so well in the lower levels of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He’s facing guys who are only months removed from High School or the Dominican Summer League. Small profiled as a ‘mature’ college left-hander with a very deceptive fastball and an advanced change up. Asking 19- or 20-year old hitters to handle Small’s repertoire simply isn’t fair.

What’s next for Small?

The Carolina Mudcats end regular season play on September 3rd. There’s a non-zero chance that Small makes at least one start in High-A before packing it in for the winter. Given the results he’s posted in Single-A, there isn’t much for him to prove. A taste of higher competition makes sense, even if it’s only one start.

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While Small doesn’t light up a radar gun, he is more than capable making hitters look foolish in other ways. He’s baffled hitters in the lower minors with his deception and ability to change speeds. It remains to be seen if he can get by in the upper minors without the big fastball or ridiculous breaking ball, but he’ll definitely get a chance to prove himself. If Small continues to dominate, he has a chance to crack the Milwaukee Brewers 25-man roster by late 2021.

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