2022 Milwaukee Brewers Top 5 Prospects

2022 Milwaukee Brewers Top 5 Prospects

by January 15, 2022 1 comment

Just three short years ago the Milwaukee Brewers had some promising position players ready to make the jump. Keston Hiura did that in 2019 but has struggled since then. Corey Ray is 27 years old now and just had his cup of coffee this year with three plate appearances in April. Mauricio Dubon was shipped off to the San Francisco Giants in July of 2019 and Tristen Lutz, who is still only 22, has not shown the improvement the Brewers were hoping for.

That brings us to the 2022 version of Milwaukee’s top prospects. This time they have some pitching mixed in with a few solid outfielders. The Brewers need some kind of offensive boost as their .713 OPS ranked in the bottom five in the NL last year. Despite winning 95 games during the regular season, they fell 3-1 to the eventual champion Atlanta Braves and scored just six runs in those four games including being shut out twice. Let’s take a look at who the Brewers have to look forward to in the near future.

Make sure to check out all of our other Top Prospect Articles.

1. Aaron Ashby, Pitcher

Fastball: 55
Slider: 65
Sinker: 55
Changeup: 50
Overall: 55

Ashby was a fourth-round pick in 2018 out of Crowder College, a JUCO in Missouri. Moving up from rookie ball all the way to the majors in just three years is impressive. During his minor league career, Ashby impressed the organization with his swing-and-miss stuff, striking out 301 batters in 247 innings. He continued racking up the Ks with 39 in just 31.2 major league innings in 2021. He seemed to improve his control, which was a question surrounding his stuff, as the southpaw walked just 12. Ashby incorporated a sinker which he used to some success last year. His four-seam fastball, once clocked between 92-95, averaged 97.3 last year. His slider remains his best pitch and plays extremely well off of his harder offerings.

Ashby will start the season in the majors but is still listed here as he retains his rookie status. Whether he begins the season in the rotation is another question. If he keeps the gains he has made in both velocity and command, there is a real possibility he could battle Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer for a spot behind Milwaukee’s big three.

ETA: 2021

2. Garrett Mitchell, Outfielder

Hit: 50
Power: 50
Run: 70
Arm: 60
Field: 60
Overall: 55

After a hot start to 2021 at Advanced-A Wisconsin where he slashed .359/.508/.620, Mitchell got called up to Double-A Biloxi in July. He struggled to the tune of a .554 OPS in 35 games aided by an 0-for-24 slump in mid-August. The former first-round pick in 2020 out of UCLA has near-elite speed and can easily stick in centerfield. His hit tool is average and despite a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, he doesn’t hit for much power due to a choppy, level swing that doesn’t get much loft.

Mitchell will likely start the season at Double-A to see if he can improve on last year’s showing. It will take some improvements. The 23-year-old has always had solid plate discipline, but maintaining that will be more difficult as he advances. Adding some loft to his swing may also help Mitchell tap into some of his natural strength. With his speed and defense already very good, what Mitchell does at the plate will determine when he hits the majors.

ETA: 2023

3. Ethan Small, Pitcher

Fastball: 55
Curveball: 55
Changeup: 60
Command: 50
Overall: 50

Small was a first-round pick in 2019 out of Mississippi State. In his senior year, the southpaw struck out 176 in just 107 innings with a 1.93 ERA. Since being drafted, he has made 25 starts and has struck out 128 in 98.1 innings. However, in his nine starts at Triple-A Nashville, Small walked 21 and only struck out 24. The big lefty has always had a knack for getting hitters to swing and miss without big velocity. His ability to mix pitches and pound the strike zone with three above-average offerings make up for the lack of a mid-90s heater. He simply knows how to pitch and his fastball plays up due to his offspeed pitches and the extension he gets off the mound.

Small will be in big league camp again this year. He will be able to show if his stuff will play but will likely start the season in the minors. We all know you can never have too much pitching and Craig Counsell loves to keep his guys fresh and limit innings. Don’t be surprised to see Small make his debut at some point this season.

ETA: 2022

4. Sal Frelick, Outfielder

Hit: 60
Power: 45
Run: 70
Arm: 50
Field: 55
Overall: 55

Frelick was selected 15th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Boston College. The Lexington, MA native made an immediate impact in his first taste of professional baseball. In 20 games between rookie and Low-A ball, he slashed .442/.505/.605 with nine stolen bases. The Brewers promoted him to Advanced-A Wisconsin, but Frelick struggled in his 15 games there. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old has an excellent all-around skillset. He has a quick stroke with limited movement which produces hard contact all over the field along with very good plate discipline. It allows Frelick to take what the pitcher gives and still be productive. Defensively he played centerfield exclusively in 2021 and has shown he will be able to stick there albeit with an average arm.

Frelick’s struggles are likely just a combination of some fatigue and small sample size at the end of a long season for him. While the Brewers aren’t expecting much power from the 5-foot-9 outfielder, he may be served well to use his pitch recognition and drive the ball more in the air. Frelick will likely start the season in Wisconsin to tweak his swing and get more acclimated to centerfield. He is similar to fellow minor leaguer Mitchell and although just a step behind him now, they should both see the majors in another year or two.

ETA: 2023

5. Brice Turang, Shortstop

Hit: 55
Power: 40
Run: 60
Arm: 55
Field: 55
Overall: 50

Turang was a first-round selection in 2018 out of High School. He has played around two full seasons worth of baseball in the minors (288 games) and has been pretty consistent. Although his offense doesn’t jump off the page, Turang has maintained a .364 OBP while striking out just 17.4 percent of the time. He had an impressive 32/35 BB/K rate in his 44 games at Triple-A Nashville this year which suggests that part of his game is here to stay. Turang has also improved at shortstop and Milwaukee is confident he will stay there long-term with good hands and a strong, accurate arm.

Speed and athleticism are Turang’s strengths. Power is not. However, he plays a premium position. Maintaining good defense, a .350+ OBP, and stealing 30 bags will get him to the majors and keep him there for a while. Of course, the Brewers have Willy Adames, who played very well for them last year, and they are committed to Kolten Wong for one more year. While Turang may be ready in 2022, he may need a poor performance or an injury to someone on the big club to get his shot.

ETA: 2022

What Does the Future Hold?

The Brewers have a solid, well-rounded minor league system. Hedbert Perez is one name to keep an eye out for. The outfielder is still only 18 years old and is raw, but is getting work against older more experienced players which will serve him well. Perez can do it all and projects as at least above-average in all five tools. Tyler Black is another name who should move up quickly. Taken 33rd overall in 2021, the second baseman can flat out hit. Like some others on this list, he struggled a bit this season, but don’t be surprised to see Black move up into the top 5 by the end of the year.

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