With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training earlier this month, it’s officially baseball season! The Brewers notably have one of the worst farm systems in the league but that doesn’t mean their minor league teams are completely void of talent. Below are five prospects to watch in the 2020 season if you’re a Brewer fan. All five of these players have a chance to be solid contributors in Milwaukee in the near future.
- Clayton Andrews
Clayton Andrews is one of Milwaukee’s most interesting prospects in their system. He’s basically the Brewers’ Great Value version of Shohei Ohtani. Andrews plays a good center field, can handle the bat very well, and is a reliable pitcher out of A+ and AA teams’ bullpen. In 2019, Andrews found himself pitching in 39 games, all out of the bullpen, and ended the season with a 3.19 ERA in 59.1 innings pitched. Andrews also recorded 11 saves, 77 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.146. At the plate, Andrews was just as impressive. In 69 plate appearances, Clayton Andrews hit .333 with an OBP of .391. He has never been a big power hitter but he showed he’s a great option as a pinch hitter if the team needs someone to make contact.
The biggest knock on Clayton Andrews is his size, which can hinder how much the 23-year-old can develop. He’s only 5’6” meaning he does not possess any power attributes, at the plate or on the mound. However, on the mound, Andrews can command his changeup, slider, and low 90s fastball at a professional level.
If Andrews keeps at the current pace he’s at, Brewer fans could expect to see him as early as the end of this season or middle of 2021. Most likely, the Brewers would deploy Andrews out of the bullpen and use him in a 6th or 7th inning setup role.
- Antoine Kelly
Kelly was Milwaukee’s second round pick in 2019. He’s a big, lanky lefty who has a triple digits type fastball. Many scouts see Kelly as a player with an incredible amount of upside. At only 20-years-old, Kelly still has a lot to work on but his development should be on the top of every Brewers’ fans list of things to keep an eye on.
In half a season last year, Kelly only appeared in 10 games, splitting time between rookie ball and A ball. In those 10 games, Antoine Kelly definitely impressed. He threw 31.2 innings out of the bullpen and recorded a 2.84 ERA with 45 strikeouts. Opponents struggled to generate any power off of Kelly as his elite fastball was just too much.
Kelly still has a little bit to go when it comes to his development in the minor leagues. He could absolutely be a diamond in the rough so there’s no reason to rush his progress. Brewer fans should expect to see the 6’6” lefty during the 2022 season.
- Payton Henry
The Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal to the Chicago White Sox this offseason and with it, lost one of their best players from the 2019 season. New signee, Omar Narvaez, should be an excellent replacement but an MLB team can never have too many good catches. This is where 22-year-old Payton Henry can be an excellent asset to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Henry took a big leap last season in the minors and improved in every statistical category. In 2019, Payton Henry hit .242, which is a respectable mark for a catcher, and he also added 14 home runs, 22 doubles, and 75 RBIs. Henry’s best trait is his power at the plate considering he is a catcher. With his size and skills, he has all the tools to be a top offensive catcher in the league but he will first have to learn discipline. Henry is a very free swinger and has a terrible walk-to-strikeout ratio. If Henry learns to be patient and can raise his OBP by 20 or 30 points, he will be on a fast track to the majors.
Behind the dish, Henry has above average arm strength and defensive ability. If he can smooth out the flaws in his game where they are less noticeable, Brewer fans could see him as early as 2021.
- Mario Feliciano
Mario Feliciano is another catcher within the Brewers’ system and the catcher I see as the Brewers future starter. Like Payton Henry, Feliciano’s biggest draw is his ability to hit as a catcher. In 2019, Feliciano hit .270 with 19 home runs and 81 RBIs in 496 plate appearances. He’s also added 25 doubles and 5 triples which showcased his surprising speed as a catcher. At this moment, Mario Feliciano is the better hitting prospect at the catcher position between him and Payton Henry. He’s also a year younger at 21-years-old.
Defensively, his arm strength is comparable to Henry’s but his fielding ability is slightly worse. If the Brewers chose to go with Feliciano over Henry they would be trading a little defense for offense. The Feliciano against Henry position battle is definitely something Brewer fans need to watch going into 2020. Whoever has the better season could very well be Milwaukee’s starting catcher of the future.
- Brice Turang
At number one, everybody needs to be watching the Brewers’ top prospect, Brice Turang. Milwaukee’s first round draft pick in 2018, if it wasn’t for Keston Hiura, Turang would be getting all the spotlight as Milwaukee’s best young player. He was supposed to be the number one overall pick of the draft but Turang slid to the Brewers and they lucked out. When describing Turang, scouts say the only thing that he lacks is true home run power. However, in the future as he grows into his body, scouts still think he can hit 10-15 home runs per season. Although the power isn’t always there, Turang projects to be one of the best hitting shortstops in the majors when he arrives. He has the ability to hit above .300 every season. Offensively, Turang also has blazing speed which is highly regarded as his best tool. When thinking of Brice Turang, think of Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner for a comparison.
Defensively, Turang doesn’t have any red flags and should be able to play shortstop in the majors with no hiccups. Imagine a young stud infield consisting of Luis Urias, Brice Turang, and Keston Hiura in the future for the Brewers, that would be terrifying for opposing teams.
At only 20-years-old, Turang is already one of the best hitters in Milwaukee’s system which will allow him to rise through the minors at a rapid pace. Fans could expect to see Turang as early as 2021 to replace Orlando Arcia.