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Milwaukee Brewers: Top 10 Prospects For 2013

Brewers ProspectsYoung players were pivotal in the Milwaukee Brewers‘ second-half push for a wild card berth last season. Jean Segura, the 22-year-old Dominican shortstop who was part of a package that also included pitchers John Hellweg and Ariel Pena in the Zack Greinke deal with the Los Angeles Angels last summer, batted .264 in 163 plate appearances for the Brewers while providing superb defense.

Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers and Mark Rogers were summoned from Triple-A Nashville to give the rotation a lift. Norichika Aoki, signed as a free agent out of Japan, filled in for the injured Corey Hart in right field and hit .288 with 10 home runs, 58 RBI and 30 stolen bases.

In 2013, Segura is slated as the everyday shortstop while Peralta, Fiers and Rogers will be given opportunities to earn rotation spots to join Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. With prospects like Tyler Thornburg, Taylor Jungmann and Hellweg, the Brewers have more quality arms on the way.

Here are the top 10 prospects in the Brewers’ farm system entering the 2013 season:

1) A 23-year-old right-hander, Wily Peralta’s 2012 numbers at Triple-A Nashville were not captivating. He posted a 4.66 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP, allowing 154 hits in 146.2 innings while walking 78. A lack of command was the main culprit, but he improved in the second half and logged a 2.48 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with 11 walks in 29 innings over six games (including five starts) for Milwaukee.

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2) A third round pick in 2010 out of Charleston Southern University, Tyler Thornburg has three plus pitches and keeps hitters off balance with deception. The power right-hander could be used as a late-inning reliever, but he has excelled as a starter in the Brewers’ farm system, reaching Triple-A Nashville after an in-season promotion last year.

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3) Taylor Jungmann is a 6-foot-6 right-hander who was Milwaukee’s first round pick (12th overall) out of the University of Texas in 2011. He combined a high 90s fast ball with a dangerous curve ball and an effective change-up. When he hones his command, he will be a more consistent starter. The 23-year-old Jungmann is slated to make his Double-A debut in 2013.

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4) Part of the trade that sent Greinke to the Angels last summer, 24-year-old John Hellweg is 6-foot-9 and 210 pounds, so he has a tall and lanky frame. A potential frontline starter, Hellweg boasts a plus fast ball and an effective breaking ball. He is working on his change-up, and improving his command.

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5) A fourth round pick out of Auburn in 2010, the 24-year-old Hunter Morris is a potential middle of the order bat in the majors. He clubbed 28 home runs and 40 doubles while driving in 113 last year at Double-A Huntsville.

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6) Drafted in the second round out of the University of Alabama in 2010, 23-year-old Jimmy Nelson is a right-hander who missed part of last year on the disabled list with a tired shoulder but posted a 2.83 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and a .213 opponent’s batting average between advanced Single-A and Double-A.

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7) Known for his power at the plate and his arm behind the plate, 19-year-old catcher Clint Coulter was Milwaukee’s first round pick (27th overall) last summer. He is still a work in progress on defense, but the Brewers praise his work ethic and believe he can emerge as a quality catcher with the potential to have a run-producing bat.

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8) Victor Roache was selected one spot after Coulter last summer out of Georgia Southern University. He spent most of 2012 recovering from a broken wrist he suffered in March. One of the best college power hitters in 2011 when he slugged 30 home runs, Roache projects as a corner outfielder in pro ball.

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9) An unheralded 16th round pick out of high school in 2009, the diminutive Scooter Gennett continues to exceed expectations at every level of the minors. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound infielder has a .300 average over three minor league seasons, including a .293 mark at Double-A Huntsville in 2012. He projects as a second baseman at the Major League level, and he will likely make his Triple-A debut to open the 2013 season.

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10) The 2012 draft was productive for Milwaukee as it yielded Coulter and Roache in the first round and 22-year-old outfielder Mitch Haniger in the supplemental round (38th overall). The right-handed hitter was a run producer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has raw power the Brewers hope he taps into.

Jeff Louderback is a professional freelance writer and the founder and editor of BoSox Banter a site about the Red Sox, the Red Sox farm system and baseball-themed travel