A Minor Review of 2016: Milwaukee Brewers

Welcome to the annual series that provides both a review of your favorite teams’ 2016 season, as well as an early look toward 2017. It also serves as a helpful guide for keeper and dynasty leagues.

The Graduate: Orlando Arcia (SS): The rebuilding Brewers added Arcia to their infield in early August and hope to have him anchoring the club’s infield defence for years to come. The gifted infielder’s best tool is probably his defence — which doesn’t really help fantasy owners — but he has some potential with the bat and on the base paths. His minor league numbers suggest he might need a little more polish before he threats to become a solid hitter. His strikeout rate has risen with each promotion over the past four years and surpassed 20% – which is quite high for someone that doesn’t have power as a major weapon at their disposal. On the plus side, he got stronger as a hitter with each passing month during his MLB debut. Arcia is a threat to be a solid big league contributor but don’t expect his bat to be a major weapon in 2017; if he can get on base enough, though, he could steal 20+ bases.

The Riser: Isan Diaz (SS): Unlike Orlando Arica, Diaz’s best weapon at present is his bat. A former second round pick of the Diamondbacks, the 20-year-old infielder hit for power and got on base at a solid clip, which led to an OPS of .827. Despite playing in full-season ball for the first time, he slugged 20 home runs and added 34 doubles. On the down side, he struck out a lot (25%), which kept him from producing much in terms of batting average (.264). Listed as a shortstop, range is not his strength so he’ll likely move over to second base permanently in the near future. With breakout player Jonathan Villar earmarked for second base for the foreseeable future, the club has lots of time to let Diaz develop. He’ll move up to high-A ball in ’17 and look to reach double-A in the second half.

The Tumbler: Tyrone Taylor (OF): As recently as 2014, Taylor was trending as a potential breakout prospect but he hit a wall at double-A in 2015 and his struggles carried over — and worsened — in ’16 at the same level. His gap power has dried up, he’s stopped stealing bases and he hit just .232 last season. Taylor, 22, still has potential as a center-fielder but his ceiling is going to top out as a fifth outfielder unless he can find a way to jumpstart his bat. With the likes of Corey Ray and Lewis Brinson now in the system — joining the likes of Trent Clark and Brett Phillips — the Brewers outfield depth is actually rather impressive, which is not good news for Taylor, who could slip into near obscurity with another poor season, which will likely begin again at the double-A level.

The ’16 Draft Pick: Corey Ray (OF): A lot of teams were excited to have a shot at Ray during the 2016 draft due to his blend of power, speed and all-around polish. The Brewers quickly snapped him up with the fifth overall selection in the draft and he spent most of his pro debut in high-A ball — albeit with modest results. The 22-year-old outfielder may return to that same level in 2017 but he won’t be there long before being given the challenge of double-A. There’s even an outside chance that he might reach the majors this year but he’s more likely to see significant playing time in The Show beginning in ’18. In his prime, Ray could be a 20-20 guy with a solid average to boot.

The Lottery Ticket: Demi Orimoloye (OF): Canadians often take a little extra time to develop because the baseball season isn’t as long as it is in the warmer U.S. states. Orimoloye will need a fair bit of development time but he could be worth the wait. He had a promising debut in ’15 but struggled last year while playing in advanced rookie ball. He needs time to gain a better eye at the plate after striking out 57 times in just 219 at-bats. When he makes contact, though, he can hit the ball a long way. And his speed gives him the potential for 30+ steals in a full year. A decent spring should allow the club to move Orimoloye up to full-season ball will he’ll look to gain 400-500 valuable at-bats.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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5 years ago

The Brewers suck. Always have and always will.