Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Future Isn't That Bleak

We've heard it time and time again; the Brewers are going 'all in' this year. While it's tough to question that logic, is it exactly correct?

There is little doubt arguing Brewers did dealt away many of their top prospects in an already slim minor league system this offseason. First, they sent top prospect Brett Lawrie to the Toronto Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum. Then, the sent Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Jake Odorizzi to the Kansas City Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. Those were certainly two moves that drastically changed the future plans for the Milwaukee Brewers.

But, despite sending those key pieces away, the Brewers find themselves in a pennant race and I would suggest many think those trades worked out. It's tough to argue with that logic considering the excitement surrounding the club at the moment. However, what many feared in these deals was not the immediate consequences, but the long term effects.

I'm hear to argue that although those trades certainly didn't help the future chances of this organization, they didn't entirely cripple them either.

The minor league system currently has some very nice pieces falling into place that should benefit the future Brewers clubs. Here are some of those options that will be explored in years to come.

Mat Gamel

While Gamel always seems to be forgotten and not labeled as a top prospect, I argue there is no player more in the minor league more important than Gamel. Gamel has a couple of things going for him. First, he can hit. Despite struggling in limited playing time in each of the last three years in Milwaukee, Gamel has consistently been tearing the cover off the ball in AAA. He has averaged an OPS around .900 over of the last three years in Nashville. Even more impressive is the ability he possess to get on base. In each of the last two seasons, Gamel has posted OBP's of .387 while playing everyday. Sure, he's not going to be Prince Fielder, but few are with the bat.

Another nice thing for the Brewers regarding Gamel is he is cheap. To date, Gamel has just over one year of MLB service time under his belt. He is cheaply control for years to come. While not playing him in the major leagues has frustrated me, it has also allowed the Brewers to save money in the future. There is little doubt in my mind, if Gamel plays everyday in Milwaukee, he will hit.

Taylor Green

If there is one player that has helped soften the blow of losing Brett Lawrie this offseason, it's Taylor Green. After posting some very impressive numbers to start his pro career, Green really fell off the map. His walks regressed, as did his power. However, that seemed to all change this season. Green is murdering AAA pitching to the tune of a .337/.419/.587 line. Yes, that's correct, Green's OPS is over 1.000 in 449 plate appearances. His wOBA currently resides at an incredible .431. Green is sure to be a big part of the future plans in Milwaukee and, again, will come very cheap.

Caleb Gindl

Gindl, like Green is also enjoying a resurgent season in Nashville. Despite always posting very good walk totals, he always seemed to struggle with a low batting average that seemed to kill his value. This season, Gindl has changed that. He is batting .298/.381/.473, while playing everyday in right and center for the Sounds. He, like Green must be placed on the 40-man roster by the end of the year to avoid the Rule 5 draft. Obviously, it's pretty clear both players will be in Milwaukee next season.

While there are others who could certainly contribute (Kyle Heckathorn, Tyler Thornburg, ect.), in the future, these look to be the most immediate impact in Milwaukee. With the entire starting rotation intact for 2012 and the majority of the positional players, next year looks just as good in Milwaukee. What I'm arguing is that after that won't look like the early-2000's either.