Everybody knows of the big-name prospects in baseball. Over the years, fans around the country, and the world, have seen hype arise around many top prospects of the league. From Bryce Harper, to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and most recently Wander Franco, these players have so much potential for success, giving promise to their franchises in hopes that they can help bring a future championship to their team.
But it’s not always the top prospects that lead their teams to championships. As the annual MLB Draft is normally 40 rounds long, teams have plenty of opportunities to bring in seemingly unknown generational talents that weren’t selected earlier.
One team that has not relied on top prospects for their success in recent years is the Milwaukee Brewers. Prior to the addition of Garrett Mitchell, the Brewers have not had any elite-level prospects (arguably) since Ryan Braun. Yet, they manage to make the most of what they have. Over the years, players like Brandon Woodruff, Josh Hader, Devin Williams, and others have seemingly come out of nowhere to shine in Milwaukee. It’s hard to argue against any of the following players becoming the next prospect to “come out of left field”.
Here are a few of the many prospects in the Brewers’ farm system proving their worth and potential to make an impact on the major league roster.
C/IF Zavier Warren
2021 Stats (39 Games at Low Class-A Carolina): 135 AB (168 PA), 35 H, .259/.405/.556 (AVG/OBP/SLG), 10 HR, 25 RBI, 6 2B, 2 3B, .976 FLD%
The only prospect listed in the Brewers’ top-30 prospects on MLB.com, Warren is the Brewers’ third round selection from 2020. After a very successful collegiate career at Central Michigan, Warren’s abilities have carried over to the minor leagues thus far. The jump from college baseball straight to Low-A is much larger than college to rookie ball, but Warren has definitely made the most of the giant leap. He currently has the second most home runs on the Carolina Mudcats, behind one other player who will be highlighted later in this piece. He also has the fourth highest on-base percentage and second highest slugging percentage on the team. Warren has great defensive versatility, and can play catcher and the corner infield spots.
ZAVIER WARREN WALK-OFF HOME RUN. pic.twitter.com/Xe4UUnbfnv
— Carolina Mudcats (@CarolinaMudcats) July 7, 2021
Warren’s main obstacle? Position blocks. There are currently two catchers ahead of Warren in the Brewers’ top-30 prospects, plus nine total catchers ahead of him in the minor leagues. With all of these players ahead of him at catcher, Warren may have to switch to another position to continue to push through the minor leagues.
OF Joe Gray
2021 Stats (51 Games at Low Class-A Carolina, 7 Games at High Class-A Wisconsin): 213 AB (260 PA), 58 H, .272/.392/.582, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 16 2B, 7 3B, .945 FLD%
Joe Gray destroyed Low-A pitching this season, and I mean destroyed Low-A pitching. His .632 slugging percentage and 1.039 OPS in his 51 games at Carolina are the second and third best in the Low-A East league, respectively. He also has the second most home runs and most total bases in the league as well.
Brewers Joe Gray Jr. continues his great year by taking Astros first selection in the 2020 draft (72nd overall), Alex Santos, deep for his 12th homer of the year pic.twitter.com/xDuZgGSiec
— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) July 4, 2021
Following his promotion to High-A Wisconsin, Gray has seen a dip in his production. Despite only hitting .130 in seven games, Gray still has an on-base percentage hovering around .300 with the Timber Rattlers. As he becomes acclimated to a newer environment with the Timber Rattlers, Joe Gray will return to that level of production soon enough.
INF/OF Weston Wilson
2021 Stats (53 Games at Triple-A Nashville): 160 AB (183 PA), 41 H, .256/.350/.575, 13 HR, 27 RBI, 10 2B, 1 3B, .960 FLD%
A long-time member of the Brewers’ farm system, Weston Wilson may soon get the call to the big league roster. The 26-year-old is listed as an infielder on the Nashville Sounds’ roster, but has played 10 games in the outfield this season. Knowing he has defensive versatility could be crucial down the stretch for the Brewers, as they fight through injuries on the roster.
Wilson has never been known as a stellar hitter. His fielding is most definitely his claim to fame, especially at first base, where in 149 games, he’s only made four errors. That’s a .997 fielding percentage, which could be useful for Milwaukee. They have great defensive depth behind Keston Hiura, Daniel Vogelbach, and Rowdy Tellez. This season, though, Wilson has seen a massive increase in his power, slugging a career-high .575 SLG% with 13 home runs this season. This isn’t very unfamiliar, though, as in 2019 at Double-A Biloxi, Wilson hit 19 home runs. With pop like that, it’s surprising that the Brewers have yet to give Wilson a chance in the majors.
LHP Brandon Knarr
2021 Stats (11 Games at Low Class-A Carolina): 47 IP, 5-1 W-L, 4.60 ERA, 44 H, 26 R (24 ER), 23 BB, 65 K, 1.426 WHIP
Brandon Knarr’s stats do not look too flashy. Outside of the win-loss record, it appears that Knarr has not had a great season.
But here’s the catch: Knarr is only in his first season in the minor leagues. That matters when you consider that Knarr is truly heating up. In his two starts in July, the 23-year-old lefty has allowed only five runs on eight hits, striking out 20. That’s good enough for a .190 opponent batting average, a 3.75 ERA, and a near 50% strikeout percentage.
Brandon Knarr was solid once again. He allows two runs over six innings this afternoon, and strikes out nine. pic.twitter.com/86A3lCMtS8
— Carolina Mudcats (@CarolinaMudcats) July 10, 2021
In other words: Knarr has been borderline elite this month. With a mid-90s fastball and great curveball movement, the only way for Knarr to go is up. Be ready for Brandon Knarr to dominate the minor leagues in the near future, and possibly the majors in a few seasons.
Follow for More!
Looking for more great content on the Milwaukee Brewers? Follow me on Twitter at @sam_uel27 and follow us at @WiSportsHeroics! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest on all things Wisconsin sports, click here. To read my last article on trade deadline predictions for the Milwaukee Brewers, click here.
Be sure to check out our merch page! Use promo code “WISCO” at check out to receive $1 off your order!