2021 Milwaukee Brewers Top 5 Prospectsby Johnnie Black March 11, 2021 5 comments
The Milwaukee Brewers farm system is not that great compared to others when looking at the players who will make a significant impact in the next year or two. Much of their talent lies in the lower minors and with last year being a virtual washout, many players saw their timelines to the big leagues delayed. Still, the Brewers do have a few players who could slide right into starting roles in 2022 with impressive showings in 2021. Milwaukee has shown a propensity for drafting prospects up the middle so it is no surprise their top 5 profile to play there.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Team Top Prospects.
#1 – Garrett Mitchell – CF
The Brewers may have gotten the steal of the draft last year when Mitchell fell to them at pick 20. According to MLB Pipeline, he was considered the sixth-best prospect in the draft. Mitchell has type-1 diabetes which is largely why teams were reluctant to select him. It is a disease he has dealt with since third grade and should continue to excel on the field. Because when he is on the field, the dude can play.
Although his 2020 season was cut short, he batted .355 with five steals in 15 games. That followed up a stellar 2019 campaign for UCLA where he showed off his wheels with 12 triples and 18 steals with a .984 OPS. His speed, range, and arm will keep in centerfield for the long haul. His bat plays and for a kid who stands 6’3, he has a short stroke and keeps his hands back well. The Brewers would like to see him tap into a little more of his power in games. That is the one tool that, as of now, keeps Mitchell from being a true five-tool player. With some major-league experience, the barrels should come, and when that happens, the Brewers could have themselves an absolute stud roaming center at Miller Park for a long time.
#2 – Brice Turang – SS
The 21st pick in 2018 out of High School, Turang was signed away from his commitment to LSU by the Brewers. Brice has a little baseball in his genes as well. His father, Brian, played in 78 games for the Seattle Mariners in 1993-94. The younger Turang has shown himself to have an impressive baseball IQ to go along with some solid tools. Through his minor league career as a teenager in 2018-19, Turang also showed an excellent eye at the plate with a 114/135 BB/K rate through 171 games. He also uses his speed wisely evidenced by the fact he stole 44 bases and was caught only seven times.
Turang should also stick at shortstop. He has excellent footwork and a smooth transfer to go with an above-average arm. At the plate, he is a line-drive hitter and can spray the ball to all fields. He profiles as more of a gap hitter even at his peak so don’t expect more than 10-15 HRs at most. That will be fine with Milwaukee especially if Turang turns into a top-of-the-lineup on-base hitter with above-average defense at shortstop as expected.
#3 – Ethan Small – LHP
The tall, lanky lefty from Mississippi State was taken 28th overall in 2019. He isn’t the flamethrower we see generally taken that early as his fastball sits 88-91. It plays harder than that though as it has a natural ride to it. Combine that with Small’s deceptive delivery because he varies his timing, and you have a plus heater. He used it a lot on his way to an excellent 2019 between College and Rookie ball. In 128 IP, Small had an impeccable 212/36 K/BB rate with a 1.76 ERA.
His curveball isn’t great, but because he can throw it for strikes, it is a decent third pitch especially to lefties. His changeup has a little sink to it and he has a nice velocity gap off his fastball (12-14 mph). Small is kind of an enigma. Just on his stuff alone, one wouldn’t think he could generate such good swing-and-miss. Yet, he does with deception and an incredible vertical break on his fastball which is rare from a left-hander at 6’4. His ability to throw strikes helps him a ton and if he can improve the changeup slightly and develop the curve into at least a solid third offering, Small could be a mid-rotation starter within the next year or so.
#4 – Hedbert Perez – OF
The Venezuelan outfielder is another one of the Brewers’ prospects with some MLB pedigree. Hedbert’s father, Robert, played for six seasons in the majors as an outfielder. The younger Perez is only 17 years old and has incredible raw talent. Standing at just 5’10 but already at about 175 lbs, there is room to fill out for the teenager. He checks all of the boxes at the plate with a discerning eye and a very quick bat. As he develops physically over the next few years, Perez will not have to sell out for power. The bat speed, strength, and natural loft to his swing will be enough to profile as a 30-35 HR hitter.
Perez is very athletic and may lose a little as he gains muscle mass, but his instincts even at a young age are above-average. He also has a strong arm when he unleashes it, but it can use a little refinement in the accuracy department. As long as he doesn’t become too bulky and swing out of his shoes to generate power, Perez is a must-watch kid in the Brewers’ organization.
#5 – Freddy Zamora – SS
Zamora was taken with the 53rd pick of the 2020 draft. Another one of Milwaukee’s picks that may be a steal, Zamora fell to the second round due to a suspension from Miami University and a torn ACL. In 104 games with the Hurricanes, the young shortstop batted .300 with 33 SBs and walked more than he struck out (55/45). He profiles as an excellent fielder and should stick at shortstop as long as he can show the fluidity he had before his knee injury.
Zamora is a line-drive hitter with a slight loft to his swing. Some power may come, but don’t expect much. Contact and driving the ball from gap to gap is what he excels at. It will be interesting to see how he progresses with Turang likely blocking him at short for the big club. Zamora should be able to slot in as an above-average third baseman or second baseman easily. He could also possibly fit into a corner outfield position defensively. Ultimately, his bat might keep him at short or second.
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