Brewers Find Two Players in One New Top 100 Prospects List
By Matt Carroll
As the month of January winds down, there is plenty for Brewers fans to focus on. Spring Training is (hopefully) right around the corner. The team continues to be active in the market, as many recent rumors have implied, even if that big name signing hasn’t happened yet.
This is also the time of year where top prospect lists start to get updated for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, in recent years, due to the weakness of their farm system, leaguewide top prospect lists have been largely absent of Brewers prospects.
Yes, you had Keston Hiura a few years ago. Brice Turang also flirted with MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list a couple years back before ultimately dropping off. Most recently, 2021 1st rounder Garrett Mitchell finished 2020 at No. 56 according to MLB Pipeline.
It’s been some time, though, since the Brewers had a system strong enough to feature multiple players on a top prospects list. So is there a chance that recent focus on the farm system could change that trend?
On Thursday, one publication ranked two Brewers prospects on their initial Top 100 prospects list for the 2021 season.
Keith Law, now of The Athletic, has been putting together a list of the top 100 prospects in baseball for 14 years. Earlier today, he released his most recent version of that list for the 2021 season.
In his Top 100 list to open the 2020 season, Law had just one Milwaukee Brewers player among his best prospects in baseball. This year, he doubled that number as two members of the Crew just snuck their way on to the list.
The first was Mitchell, the aforementioned 2020 draftee. He debuted at No. 95 on this year’s list and it’s his combination of elite speed, defense, and offensive potential that has Law interested in the outfielder.
"“Mitchell is at least a 70 runner with plus range in center, and he has good hand-eye coordination, rarely striking out in college but often mistiming so that he doesn’t always hit the ball as hard as he should. I said at the time of the draft that his defense and speed would make him a regular even with just a 45 hit tool and 45 power, which is still a realistic projection for him. If he gets that timing issue at the plate worked out, and can use his speed more out of the box, he could get to a 55 hit tool and be a borderline star.”"
Next was Turang, who remained on the list from 2020, though he dropped from No. 81 last season to just below Mitchell at No. 96. Though he fell in the rankings, Law still found plenty to be excited for with the 21-year-old.
"“He’s a plus defender at short and a plus runner who has excellent instincts on the bases. We’ll see what type of hitter he is in games this year — he was a high-contact guy in 2019, a more strikeout-prone guy with some more power in high school — but either way he’d project as a solid regular or more at a position where any offense is a bonus.”"
While two players just barely cracking a top 100 prospects list may not seem like a big deal to some, it’s a step in the right direction for a Brewers organization that hasn’t had much to brag about in terms of top prospects in some time.
As Milwaukee has become competitive on a more regular basis, they have gotten there at the expense of some of their more valuable prospects. In fact just recently we looked back on the haul of players it took to bring in 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich, a trade that ended up looking more like a heist.
That is often the price that small market teams pay in order to make a run at their division. Now, slowly but surely, it looks like the Brewers are rebuilding their farm system into one that is better regarded.