Brewers continue recent restocking at Deadline
Club adds five new members to Top 30 Prospects list in 24-hour period
MILWAUKEE -- Two more trades in the hours before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline reinforced the Brewers' entry to a rebuilding phase and forced more changes to the list of the team's Top 30 prospects, more than a third of whom were not in the organization on the final day of last season.
Eleven of the Brewers' 30 best prospects, as they're ranked by MLB.com, have come to the Brewers in the past nine months. Nine of those players were added in the past two months, either via the Draft or by trade, including five in the final 24 hours before Friday's 3 p.m. CT Deadline.
"In all honesty," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, "I would prefer our Major League club be better. But if it can't be, then it's good to improve your farm system. ...
"I think our guys did a great job. Zack Minasian headed up our pro scouting. Karl Mueller headed up our analytics. We had our scouts in town. There was a lot of interaction. It's a lot of fun. We call it the war room, but when you bring [the scouts] in, it's sort of the 'dream room.'"
Here's the breakdown of the recent changes to the Brewers' prospects list, in chronological order:
• In November, the Brewers made an opportunistic trade with the Braves for outfield prospect Kyle Wren, the son of the Atlanta general manager who had just been dismissed. Wren is currently No. 23 on Milwaukee's list.
• In January, a trade with the Rangers netted three young players, two of whom (infielder Luis Sardinas and reliever Corey Knebel) are former top prospects who have graduated to Major League status. The other player in the deal was 18-year-old right-hander Marcos Diplan, the top-rated prospect during the 2013 international signing period who is No. 21 on the Brewers' list today.
• The June Draft netted three new members of the list, including first-round pick Trent Clark, an outfielder who is ranked No. 3 in Milwaukee's system and No. 86 in baseball by MLBPipeline.com. Competitive Balance pick Nathan Kirby (a polished left-hander) is No. 14 on the Brewers' list, and second-rounder Cody Ponce (a big right-hander with upside) is No. 30.
• Then came the trades, which, over the course of eight days, cost the Brewers five Major League players (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Gerardo Parra and Jonathan Broxton) and netted seven prospects, including five new members of the Top 30.
Outfielder Brett Phillips, the key piece of the Gomez/Fiers trade, checked in at No. 2, and another outfielder in the deal, Domingo Santana, is No. 4. The other players in that trade were pitchers: Left-hander Josh Hader (No. 15) and right-hander Adrian Houser (No.28). Both Phillips (39) and Santana (87) rank among the Top 100 Prospects in baseball.
On Friday, the Brewers parted with Parra to add another top prospect in right-hander Zach Davies, who'd been No. 3 in Baltimore's system and joined Milwaukee's at No. 11. Davies could get a chance to crack the Major League rotation as early as this season.
In addition to those players, the Brewers added hard-throwing reliever Yhonathan Barrios in the Ramirez trade and assigned him to Triple-A.
"Prospect lists aren't the end all, be all," Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash said. "But the depth is encouraging."
Said Melvin: "The thing that we liked is that these are upper-level guys. You've heard the word retool, remodel -- rebuild is the one nobody wants to use -- these players help us get better maybe a little bit quicker than if we went after A-ball players that are high risk, high reward that might be four or five years away. You put these players in with some of our upper-level players, and we feel pretty good."
The passing of Friday's Deadline didn't close the door on deals. Teams can still make trades in August if they expose players to waivers first, and right-hander Kyle Lohse is one player who could clear because of his $11 million salary. First baseman Adam Lind also could be a candidate to trade if a team with interest makes a claim.