There's a lot of good things going in the Brewers farm system right now. It's a consensus top three system in baseball, it has a consensus top-two prospect in all of baseball with Jackson Chourio, several of the top prospects are coming off great seasons, and all are near the big leagues.
Even with a lot of players succeeding and seeing their stocks rise this past season, there are a few who did not enjoy a great year in 2023. Even on good days on the stock market, there's always a couple of stocks that go down, and the same situation happens in baseball.
Luckily for Milwaukee, this isn't a very long list of players who saw their stocks drop, but they're still notable names trending downward after 2023. Here are three Brewers prospects whose stock fell this past season.
1. LHP Ethan Small
You may look at Ethan Small's numbers in Triple-A Nashville and think that he had a good year. Small posted a 3.18 ERA in 38 appearances covering 51 IP with seven holds and converting three out of five save opportunities. Small struck out 61 while walking 24.
There were some improvements, his BB/9 dropped from 5.07 in 2022 to 4.24 in 2023, which is progress but that's still a high walk rate. His strikeout rate also improved from below ten to 10.76 K/9 this year.
However, there are some major concerns with Small and his prospect stock. He made the full time move to the bullpen this season, which greatly diminishes his prospect stock and overall value. On top of that, even with his solid performance, the Brewers didn't really call on him despite their need for a second lefty in their bullpen. Small was promoted to the big leagues just twice all season, making two appearances and posting a 11.25 ERA in four innings.
Small is a 26 year old former first round selection our of college. He had a lot of hype coming in as someone who could move quickly and have a high floor as a big leaguer. But that hasn't materialized as Small is already entering his age 27 season in 2024. Small hasn't been able to recapture his 2021 success when he posted a 1.98 ERA in 18 starts and he may never be able to.
The fact the Brewers continue to pass over Small as a bullpen option speaks to how far Small's stock has fallen, even with the solid surface numbers in Triple-A. MLB Pipeline has dropped Small to the Brewers 28th ranked prospect, but that's being generous given his high profile draft status. He was once ranked as the #2 prospect in the org. The results and the lack of proving himself ready for big league opportunities speaks to how the organization views him.