The Milwaukee Brewers, at one point, had one of the best farm systems in baseball. Indeed, the Brewers drafted and developed stars like Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovanni Gallardo, and Lorenzo Cain. However, over the years, the farm system has fallen to the bottom ranks of baseball, with few prospects reaching star potential. There is, though, hope on the horizon, especially with the top nine prospects in the Brewers’ system. Here, we begin a breakdown of these prospects and when fans can expect to see them in Milwaukee. Be sure to check back every day for a new prospect spotlight.
*Note: These prospects are ranked based off of Keith Law’s rankings in his recent article for The Athletic.
Prospect #4- LHP Ethan Small
Unlike most prospects on this list, Ethan Small is very close to breaking into the Big Leagues. Small was the Brewers’ first-round pick in 2019 and signed with the team for $1.8 million. While in college, Small underwent Tommy John surgery, which took some velocity off of his fastball. However, what he lacks in velocity he makes up for in finesse.
Ethan Small’s fastball clocks in the 89-92 mile per hour range. He does not blow batters away with it, but throws it effectively for strikes. This was evident in college when he led Mississippi State to the College World Series with a 14.8 k/9 average. That season, he went 10-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 107 innings.
In addition it his fastball, Small boasts an above-average changeup that clocks 75 miles per hour. Even with his diminished fastball velocity, this change keeps batters guessing. Small also has a curveball that acts more like a slurve. He can throw all three for strikes, which is vital for any pitcher.
Ethan Small has pitched one season for the Brewers’ farm system. In 2019, Small went 0-2 in seven starts with a 0.86 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. Like all prospects, he did not play in 2020 due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Small was invited to Spring Training this year and has made two appearances so far. In two innings pitched, he has given up a run, walked two, and struck out one. The Brewers will continue to monitor his play as he is a candidate for the fifth starter spot or a role in the bullpen. According to the Brewers’ website, he is expected to make his Major League debut this year.
For More Thoughts on Ethan Small
Here at Wisconsin Sports Heroics, we have a great group of podcasts that cover all of your favorite Wisconsin sports. One of these is The Nasty Nine, a Brewers/Nashville Sounds podcast. On our latest episode, we broke down the top nine prospects according to Keith Law. You can listen to our complete analysis here.
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