Prospecting: Sean Halton

Here's another feature we'll be introducing, not on any particular day but when slow news days permit.  The Tap gained a very favorable response on our Farm Reports but those can be broad and not provide as good of a breakdown of what a prospects strengths and weaknesses are.

So when time allows, we'll be looking in-depth into a Brewers prospect, this doesn't mean an end to the Farm Reports however.  Some will be big names, some could be diamonds in the rough and some could be career minor leaguers, but these are the guys that make up the Milwaukee Farm System.

Who is Sean Halton?

Drafted in the 13th round in 2009 to play first base, Halton was a pitcher and first baseman for Fresno City College for two seasons before transferring to Lewis-Clark State College.  With Fresno City College he was a first team Junior College All-America both seasons.  After transferring to Lewis-Clark State he was an honorable mention NAIA All-America.

At 6'5" and 240 lbs. Halton is not small, he has a first baseman's frame if I've ever seen one.  He'll turn 24 in June of next season and graduated from Fresno High School in California where he earned First Team All-State recognition his final two seasons.  Halton bats and throws right-handed.

He splashed onto the scene by hitting .330 with the rookie league Brewers after being drafted.  After 25 games he was promoted to rookie Helena where he put up even better numbers, batting .354 in 44 games.  For his debut season he finished with six home runs and 45 driven in while batting .344.

2010 started off slow for Halton though, in 23 games with Wisconsin (Low A) he hit just .221 with zero home runs.  But due to an organizational need at Brevard County (High A), Halton received an early promotion and responded.  He drove in 77 runs to lead the Manatees despite playing in only 104 games with the team and batted .292 along the way.  Between the two levels Halton finished with 10 home runs and 88 RBIs.

The Good

Halton was a very consistent hitter in 2010, never too hot and never too cold.  His lowest batting average for a month was .274 in July and his highest was .298 in June (Halton also hit .391 in September but he played only five games that month).  Consistency should never be overlooked.

His power was also up last season.  10 home runs may not seem like much but Brevard County can be very tough on hitters so to see Halton improve on his power numbers is promising, so long as it wasn't an aberration.  Also, he only committed 10 errors in 2010, that's not exactly gold glove material but it's no Mat Gamel either.

The Bad

The big first baseman's walk rate isn't terrible, but it isn't good either.  A .332 OBP with two A-ball teams won't translate well to the majors especially when you include the 102 times he struck out.  That said, a batter's eye can improve with experience and Halton is only two seasons into his big league career.

At this point his plate presence isn't a major hole in his game but it's definitely something to watch.  Players get better every season and this is an area of Halton's game that will likely be a focal point next season.  Pitch selection and walk rate.

The Outlook

Halton *should* be destined for Double-A Huntsville next season.  I say should because you never really know what thoughts the organization will have in regards to a player - but if it is Huntsville next year is very important for him.  Double-A is where you really get a feel for a players major league prospects because there is more talent competing for less spots.

If Halton is going to establish himself as a true first base prospect he will need to maintain his offensive production, while showing a bit more power than he has so far.  You can see that batting average dip a few points if you see the run production increase.  Also there will need to be an improvement in his plate presence, it doesn't have to be huge but at least enough to think he will keep getting better.

At this point it is impossible to say what kind of future Halton has in the big leagues.  He's not a Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun type of prospect where you can look at him and just know that he will be in the majors - Halton has tools, it's just a matter of how strong those tools are.

That said, the Brewers farm system is devoid of strong first base prospects so if he can put up a big year he may find himself at the top of that list.  But he'll need to put up those numbers first and Double-A has washed out the Brewers last two first base prospects.