1.31.2012

Farm Report: Outfielders

Depending on Plush 2.0, Logan Schafer could start sometime in 2012

We'll be doing the outfield group a little bit differently.  Too many minor league outfielders see time at all three outfield spots to group them into being a right fielder, left fielder or center fielder.  That said, some players have established themselves in an outfield spot so when those do pop up we'll let you know.

But first, feel obligated to take a look back at the infield:

Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop

1. Logan Schafer - Centerfielder of the future, probably very near future.  After an injury plagued 2010 season Schafer reclaimed the top spot in the outfield rankings with a strong 2011 campaign.  Schafer hit .315 with a .385 OBP and 33 extra-base hits.  His best success came after a call-up to Nashville, where he hit .331.  A full season at Nashville wouldn't be a bad idea, especially with what could be a packed outfield at the major league level.

2. Caleb Gindl - A corner outfielder most likely, but Gindl has seen a fair amount of time in center.  If he is the future replacement for Corey Hart in right it will be quite the change.  Gindl is 23 years old and only 5'9" but he can hit.  Last season he hit .307 with 15 home runs and 60 runs driven in.  He also walked 63 times.  Gindl won't be on the big club in 2012 but he's knocking on the door pretty loudly now.

3. Khristopher Davis - 2012 is a big year for Davis, after hitting the ball well at Low-A and High-A he struggled mightily in a stint with Double-A Huntsville.  With Wisconsin in 2010 he hit .280 with 22 home runs and in 90 games with Brevard County he hit .309 with 15 homers.  After being promoted to Huntsville he hit the wall, batting .210 with only two home runs in 35 games.  If he can replicate his success from A-ball with Huntsville next year he will be a top prospect, replicating that success will be no small feat though.

4. Brock Kjeldgaard - This may be a little high for Kjeldgaard, but it's hard to overlook his power.  In his last three seasons his home run numbers have been 20, 17 and 24.  Arguably his best season was 2011, when he hit .270 with a .354 OBP and 76 runs driven in.  He even stole 15 bases.  His game is not without holes, but he is a very raw talent and if he continues to improve he could be a legit major leaguer.

5. D'Vontrey Richardson - Speaking of raw talents, Richardson fits very well into that category.  A true five-tool prospect, Richardson has flashed every tool possible in his two seasons but is far from any degree of consistency.  In his two seasons in pro-ball he has played almost exclusively in center.  Last year with Brevard County he hit .284 with 23 extra-base hits and a .327 OBP.  It would seem prudent to give Richardson another season in A-ball to sharpen up a few areas of his game.

6. Kentrail Davis - Another example of why I won't rate players based solely on their draft position, Davis saw his stock dip in 2011.  Considered a five tool prospect, Davis has shown those tools despite not being able to consistently put it all together.  Last season he had 34 extra-base hits and stole 33 bases, but he also hit just .245.  It wouldn't be a surprise to see him bumped to Double-A if the organization thinks stiffer competition will draw better results from him.

7. T.J. Mittelstaedt - A 44th round pick in 2010, Mittlestaedt did a little bit of everything for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last season.  In the minors he's played left and right field, second and third base and he even pitched a couple innings last season.  At the dish he hit .293 with an impressive .410 OBP and 29 extra-base hits.  Oh and he stole 28 bases.  Mittlestaedt will be with Brevard County in 2012, if not higher.

8. Ruben Ozuna - Ozuna will be 20 when the season starts, he saw time with three teams in his second season in the Brewers organization.  He played 11 games with the Brewers Dominican Summer League affiliate, seven with the rookie Arizona Brewers and 12 with rookie Helena.  Ozuna batted .299 with a .356 OBP and eight extra-base hits.  Nothing outrageously good but it catches your eye.  Expect a little more stability in 2012, in the form of a promotion to Wisconsin or at least a full season with Helena.  You get the feeling the organization wants to see him play.

9. Max Walla - A true project pick, Walla was drafted in the second round in 2009.  He spent his first two professional seasons with rookie level Arizona.  In his first season he hit .201 with a .282 OBP, in season two he hit .252 with a .335 OBP and in his third season (now with rookie Helena) he batted .285 with a .374 OBP.  With Helena he also had 22 extra-base hits and a career high .785 OPS.  Nothing too good, but steady improvement.  It will be interesting to see what Walla can do in 2012, probably with the Timber Rattlers.

10. Lee Haydel - I really don't know what to make of Haydel.  Supposedly he can fly but he was only successful on 17 of 35 stolen bases attempts last year.  He's a career .282 hitter in five seasons but with only a .324 OBP, so he doesn't project as a leadoff hitter.  If he can improve his plate presence and not get caught stealing bases so often he will probably have a chance to reach the majors as a fourth or fifth outfielder someday.  He may have a chance at Nashville's bench in 2012, otherwise it's a third straight season in Double-A.

Final Thoughts - This is the strongest position group for the Brewers organization, with some very high ceiling players. With a big season a guy like Kentrail Davis or D'Vontrey Richardson could shoot to number three on this list.  Both players are very athletic and have had a degree of success so far, but need to develop more consistency before having a shot at the majors.

Schafer and Gindl are about as close to sure things as there are for hitting prospects.  They've had success at every level they've been and seem to be ready for a chance at the majors.  You also have a guy like Brock Kjeldgaard, who has huge power but strikes out a ton and Khristopher Davis, a college hitter who has hit the ball well at every level but faces his biggest test with a full season at Double-A.

Further down the list you have project guys like Ozuna and Walla, who once they start to really take strides in their development could see their stock shoot up.  This is a good group of players and the Brewers have to be happy with their options for the outfield.

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