Though there has been a little bit of traction recently, MLB remains in the middle of a lockout. Luckily, the lockout doesn’t affect the minor leagues, which are all systems go as we approach the beginning of the 2022 season for Brewers affiliates.
Just a year removed from the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, we’ll be going through to see how some of Milwaukee’s top prospects fared through either their first season in professional baseball or how they dealt with the bounce back of a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is our first review of the 2021 season for one of the Brewers’ top prospects, Hendry Mendez.
Hendry Mendez, 18, Outfielder
Hendry Mendez was signed by the Brewers out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Jan. 15, 2021. Following the signing of the 6’ 2”, 175-pound left-handed hitter, the Brewers went ahead and assigned him to the Brewers 1 team that was a part of the 2021 Dominican Summer League.
Mendez played 21 games for Brewers 1 where the 18-year-old would hit a promising .296/.391/.481. In the 54 at-bats that he accumulated, he gathered 26 total bases on 16 hits all the while striking out only twice.
With the promising play by Mendez, he was promoted to the Arizona Complex League where he would play for the Brewers Blue team after only a month of playing in the Dominican League. He played even better at the higher level, hitting .333/.425/.460. Overall, the outfielder went 21-for-63, walking 10 times and stealing three bags. Out of the 63 at-bats, he only struck out 10 times.
Mendez’s profile on MLB.com mentions some of the promising technique that the slugger shows from the left side of the plate:
"Mendez already shows promising bat speed, using a toe tap against righties and a bigger leg kick against lefties to stay back on pitches from both sides."
That approach often led to some, shall we say, “loud” results.
Mendez played every position in the outfield when he reached the Arizona rookie ball league. Out of the 192 innings played in the outfield during his first minor league season, he had 25 put-outs out of 28 total chances and had three errors in his first summer, finishing with a .888 fielding percentage.
Mendez’s MLB.com profile mentions that he is “average-at-best” for his speed, and could eventually slow down as he grows older, thus he will most likely continue to play in the corners as the seasons move on.
Mendez has quite a bit to go as some scouts claim him as a “lottery ticket.” There’s a lot of promise behind his bat speed and his work ethic fits in perfectly for the Milwaukee theme. Most of his pressure and judgment will be based on what he does with his bat.
While Mendez finished the season in the ACL, he will probably start there again in 2022 with a good chance that he will be a part of the Brewers Low-A Carolina Mudcats team at some point during the 2022 season.
MLB.com has Mendez projected to arrive on the big league club by 2025 at which point the Brewers are projected to be a bright young outfield already. It’s possible, then, that Milwaukee could use him in the new NL DH role as he played a few games in that position during his first season.
As we all wait to hear about the eventual end to the MLB lockout, stay tuned here as we go over more 2021 profiles of the top Brewers prospects.