Brewers: Ranking the Team’s Top 15 Prospects for 2021
By Matt Carroll
4. LHP Ethan Small
We’ve reached not only the highest ranked southpaw on our top prospects list, but the highest ranked pitcher period. Ethan Small also is the first of three recent first rounders who make an appearance among the team’s top five players on this list.
Small was taken 28th overall by the Brewers in the 2019 draft after a successful stint at Mississippi State. As a Bulldog, Small went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.098 WHIP over three years. His final year saw him go 10-2 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.869 WHIP while leading his team to a College World Series berth.
Small didn’t skip a beat in his first bit of pro ball after being drafted. After a quick few innings with the team’s rookie league team in Arizona, he headed to Low-A Wisconsin and dominated. In 18 innings across five starts, he gave up just two earned runs on 11 hits and four walks while striking out 31, good for a 15.5 K/9.
The pitch mix for Small is a nicely balanced one with a low to mid 90s fastball, a curve, and a change that all grade out above average, as does his control. It’s the type of profile that could see him hit the majors as a long reliever or mid to backend rotation piece, possibly sooner than expected like Ashby.
3. C Mario Feliciano
Our third spot brings us to the leader of the minor league catching depth for the Brewers farm system. Mario Feliciano has been one of the highest risers in the organization over the last couple years, having finished 2018 ranked just 23rd on MLB Pipeline’s end of season prospect rankings for Milwaukee.
But when you have the type of season like Feliciano had in 2019, you make your organization take notice. That year, the backstop slashed .273/.324/.377 with a team-leading 25 doubles, 19 homers, and 81 RBI, a stat line that earned him the Carolina League MVP and a late-season promotion to Double-A Biloxi.
As if that weren’t enough, Feliciano not only was added to the team’s alternate training site roster last summer, he was also added to the 40-man roster this past offseason in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, a sign that he is now a clear part of the team’s future.
Feliciano has some of the best power in the system and a solid hit tool, it was just a matter of whether he could reach his full defensive potential. Reports are that he improved quite a bit in that area while with Carolina, though, meaning he may now be set to be Milwaukee’s catcher of the future.