Throughout most of the second half of the last decade, left handed pitching prospects had been rather scarce in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
In fact, here at Reviewing the Brew site expert David Gasper recognized the deficiency and was practically begging the Brewers to draft and develop more left handed pitchers.
Thankfully this changed in 2019 when the Milwaukee Brewers drafted seven left handed pitchers in the first 17 rounds. At that time, the Brewers farm system had been depleted due to the Brewers trading for now superstar Christian Yelich and their playoff contending status with subsequently aggressive moves acquiring players at previous trade deadlines.
From the 2019 draft class, left handed pitchers Ethan Small and Antoine Kelly currently sit in the Brewers top 30 prospect list according to MLB Pipeline. Of the Brewers top 30 prospects, four players are left handed pitchers with Aaron Ashby and Clayton Andrews being the other two. Andrews, a two-way player, is the only one not in the Brewers top 10 of the list.
When comparing the Brewers number of four LHP prospects in their top 30 to the rest of the league, they trail only five teams that have more prospects. The Braves and Rockies have five LHP prospects, the Orioles and Cubs have six, and the Phillies have the most at seven.
The Brewers are currently in a five team tie with four left left handed pitching prospects in the top 30. They are tied with the Indians, Angels, Marlins, and the Padres. The Blue Jays, Twins, Astros, and Pirates are all at the bottom of the rankings with zero.
Please keep in mind that those rankings only took into account left handed pitchers that are in the top 30 prospect rankings as of December 13, 2020. From a Brewers perspective, they also have pitchers like Angel Perdomo, Quintin Torres-Costa, Nick Bennett, recently acquired Leo Crawford, and others who are not taken into account due to not being a top 30 prospect.
To take this analysis a step further, it is worth looking into how the Brewers left handed pitching prospects grade out compared to the others. There are currently 14 left handed pitchers in the MLB Pipeline top 100 players list and zero of those pitchers are from the Brewers organization.
According to an article from Prospects 1500, LHPs Ethan Small, Antoine Kelly, and Aaron Ashby are are ranked as tier three level players which is players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor. The fact the Brewers don’t have a left handed pitching prospect ranked in the top 15 of their position group more than likely gives an accurate representation of these prospects.
Small can work his way quickly through the minor league system, but his ceiling is likely as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter and not a frontline guy. Ashby has a similar ceiling and Kelly could have the potential to be a frontline guy, but he’s very raw and has a long way to go to get there.
While that certainly puts a damper on all the work the Brewers have done to stockpile left handed pitchers, keep in mind that prospect rankings and grades are not perfect for also in that third tier level players was RHP Devin Williams.
While it took Devin revamping his pitch mix and trusting his changeup to put up historic numbers, have faith that this Brewers organization and staff will continue to develop great young pitchers, with hopefully Ethan Small, Antoine Kelly, or Aaron Ashby emerging as one of those players.