This week’s top prospects all differ greatly from one another. One hitter is a massive power threat, while two others are speed demons. One pitcher is coming off an absolutely forgettable year, while another put his name on the map. One similarity they all share, however, is their potential to significantly contribute in the future. All could conceivably be integral parts to the Brewers’ success within the next three years. Here are prospects #11-15:
- Marcos Diplan, P
Acquired back in 2015 from the Texas Rangers in exchange for former Brewers’ ace Yovani Gallardo, Diplan experienced a breakout season in 2016, spinning a 3.02 ERA with over 10 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). However, 2017 saw him struggle significantly, as he scuffled in his attempts to adjust to a new minor league level (Class A-Advanced). In 125 and 2/3 innings of work, Diplan pitched to a 5.23 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP, both being very concerning numbers. His strikeouts dipped as well, as he posted 8.5 K/9. His control disappeared, evidenced by his walk rate of 5.08 BB/9.
Despite this, Diplan still houses enormous potential. He is only 21 years old, and will be for the entirety of next year’s minor league season. He has two potential plus pitches in his fastball and slider, with a developing change-up occupying the role of being a serviceable third pitch. He stands 6 feet tall on the dot, but still has remaining projectability to add strength (and therefore velocity) as he fills in his 160 lbs. frame. At the least, Diplan should develop into a solid bullpen option, with his ceiling topping out as a mid-rotation starter. To achieve this, he will need to work on his command, as that is the biggest hurdle he currently faces in his development.
- Trent Clark, OF
As the Brewers’ 2015 first-round draft pick, Clark was lauded for his natural hitting ability. He started off his minor-league career displaying his advanced bat and approach, hitting .309/.424/.430 across the two rookie levels in 2015. However, he hit a roadblock in 2016 as injuries held him back at Class A Wisconsin, posting a slash line of .231/.346/.344 in just 59 games. Despite this, the Brewers decided to promote him to Class A-Advanced Carolina for the 2017 season and he struggled again, hitting .223/.360/.348.
Regardless of Clark’s struggles, he still sports a tantalizing skill set. First and foremost, his plate discipline is off the charts. Clark boasted a 17.2% walk rate in 2017, and his walk rate has always been above 14% during his time in the minor leagues. Second, he has wheels. Clark stole 37 bases in 2017, and that speed makes him an asset defensively as well. Finally, I believe Clark still has the hitting ability that made him a first-round draft pick. He has been moved along aggressively, and should probably stay in Carolina for at least the first half of next season. Clark needs time to develop, especially given his injury-laden 2016. Should everything fall into place, it is easy to see him hitting lead-off one day for the Crew.
- Tristen Lutz, OF
This is where the Brewers’ farm depth starts to become apparent. Lutz was drafted in 2017 in Competitive Balance Round A, which is directly after the first round. Lutz is as physically imposing a 19-year-old that one can find, standing 6’3” and weighing 210 lbs. Even though he has a corner-outfield profile, the Brewers thus far have deployed him in center field. Most scouts believe his ultimate home will be right field. Lutz is known for his raw power and strong arm, which both grade out as “plus” tools. He has a short, quick stroke at the plate that should allow him to hit for a solid average.
Lutz experienced great success in his introduction to professional baseball. Between Rookie-levels Arizona and Helena, he hit .311/.398/.559 with 9 home runs and 27 RBI in 40 games. He will likely start 2018 in Class A Wisconsin and could move up the system quickly if his bat holds up against advanced pitching. If he reaches his ceiling, he could be a 30+ home run threat that anchors a lineup.
- Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B
The Brewers acquired Dubon as part of the now infamous Tyler Thornburg trade with the Red Sox, which brought third baseman Travis Shaw, pitcher Josh Pennington, and infielder Yeison Coca to the Cream City as well. Dubon has utility man written all over him. I believe he currently lacks the impact ability to be an everyday contributor, but he would be one of the top bench talents in the league and could find success as a super-platoon player. He can play all around the infield, and even dabbled in center field during the 2016 Arizona Fall League. He is above average in all of his tools except for power, which limits his effectiveness at the plate given his low walk rate.
While he hit for a solid average of .274 between Double A and Triple A in 2017, Dubon’s biggest offensive contributions came on the bases. He swiped 38 bases over the course of the year, and offers high-end speed. He still needs time to develop his bat in the upper levels of the minors (he was a career .300+ hitter in the lower levels), but we could see Dubon in Milwaukee during the second half of next season. His ceiling is limited, but his high floor should guarantee him a role in Milwaukee at some point.
- Freddy Peralta, P
Acquired as part of the deal for Adam Lind after the 2015 season, Peralta’s breakout started in 2016 and rolled right on into 2017. After a 3.62 ERA in 2016 at Class A Wisconsin and Class A-Advanced Brevard County (the Brewers’ affiliate at the time), Peralta took his game to a whole new level this season. He started the year at Class A-Advanced Carolina, where he pitched to a 3.04 ERA while striking out 12.46 batters per nine innings. After a mid-season promotion to Double A Biloxi, Peralta achieved a pearly 2.26 ERA, .167 batting average against, and a 12.86 K/9. His numbers are clearly dominant.
Peralta’s best pitch is his fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s and is said to have “plus life”, meaning it has great movement. His main secondary pitches are a changeup and slider, with the changeup being slightly more advanced. Peralta has a slight frame, standing 5’11” and weighing in a 175 lbs., leading some to believe he will have to move to the bullpen. However, I am confident that he will be able to stick as a starter long-term due to his three-pitch mix. He has some command issues that need to be addressed (4.65 BB/9), but that seems to be his only hurdle at this point. His first action in the big leagues may come in the bullpen (a la Josh Hader) due to his electric stuff, but he certainly should be in the plans for the future rotation.