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Stearns has Brewers heading in right direction

Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2017




BY DAN ZIELINSKI

In year one of the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild, the team won a surprising 73 games. Record wise, the Brewers exceeded expectations while players like Zach Davies and Jonathan Villar showed promise for the future. 

With the regular season beginning on April 3, the Brewers will once again be one of the worst teams in baseball in 2017. While fans want to see the Brewers win games, it’s not about immediate results. Instead, this season is about the future.

Entering the second season of the rebuild, the Brewers have one of the top-ranked farm systems in baseball. General manager David Stearns has done a terrific job in just more than a year building up the system by adding quality prospects through the MLB First-Year Player Draft and trades.

Former GM Doug Melvin started the rebuilding process right before he stepped down in 2015, trading Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros for a package of prospects that included left-handed pitcher Josh Hader and outfielder Brett Phillips.

Hader is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, while Phillips has a high ceiling, despite a down 2016 campaign.

 Hired in September 2015 to take over for Melvin, Stearns continued to restock the farm system with a flurry of moves throughout the off-season leading up to the 2016 season. His most notable move was trading Jean Segura for Isan Diaz.

A 20-year-old shortstop, Diaz flourished at Class-A Wisconsin in 2016, hitting .264 with 20 home runs, 75 RBIs, 34 doubles, five triples and 11 stolen bases. The Brewers named Diaz their Minor League Player of the Year in 2016.

Last off-season, Stearns also swung a deal with Houston for Villar, giving up only a minor league pitcher in return.

Then at last season’s trade deadline, Stearns made a blockbuster move by sending Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Texas Rangers for outfielders Lewis Brinson and Ryan Cordell, and right-hander Luis Ortiz.

Brinson instantly became the Brewers No. 1 prospect and has all the makings of being at least an All-Star caliber player. Regarded as a top 20 prospect in baseball, Brinson has an impressive combination of power and speed and figures to play centerfield in the majors.

Ortiz also has the skills to make an impact for the Brewers in the future, possessing No. 2 starter potential.

In the 2016 MLB Draft, the Brewers also selected outfielder Corey Ray with the No. 5 overall pick and third baseman Lucas Erceg in the second-round. Both figure to make an impact on the major league roster as early as 2018. 

It’s only year two of the rebuilding process and the Brewers have done a tremendous job adding depth and talent to their farm system through trades and the draft.

With Stearns at the helm, the Brewers are moving in the right direction. While Stearns has a lot of work to do and needs to hope some of the team’s top prospects pan out, the future appears bright for the Brewers.


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