The Brewers AA affiliate Biloxi Shuckers currently has eight of the top 30 Brewer prospects according to MLB.com, including two of the top 5. The future of the Brewers could very well be playing in Biloxi this summer.
Brett Phillips, Outfield
Phillips is the number two prospect in the Brewer system right now, after Orlando Arcia of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Phillips was the marquee player that the Brewers received in the Carlos Gomez trade last July. Brewer fans know Phillips by his distinctive laugh, which they got to hear in Spring Training this year.
Phillips gets on base and has some power and above average speed, which has translated into 33 home runs and 28 triples in the last two seasons in the Minor Leagues. He has a strong arm which would suit him well in either center field or right field. Currently, Phillips figures to be the Brewers’ long-term solution in center field.
Phillips is off to a hot start in Biloxi. In his first 10 games this season, he is hitting .351 with a home run and 7 RBI. Phillips went 4-7 with a triple and a run scored in a double header sweep against the Mobile BayBears on April 16.
The Brewers are looking forward to having Phillips, and his laugh, patrolling center field at Miller Park in the very near future.
Tyrone Taylor, Outfield
Taylor was drafted by the Brewers in second round of the 2012 MLB draft out of Torrance High School in Torrance, CA. The 22-year-old is in his fifth professional season and his second at the AA level.
Taylor is a contact hitter that does not strikeout often. He does not have a lot of power (19 home runs in his first four seasons), but he does have the ability to hit the gaps (98 doubles and 11 triples). He has a strong arm and good speed.
Taylor is hitting .297 in his first 10 games this season, with 3 stolen bases. Taylor also went 4-7 in the double header against Mobile, and he stole two bases in the first game.
Taylor is another outfielder that the Brewers are looking forward to having at Miller Park.
Josh Hader, Left Handed Pitcher
Hader is another prospect that the Brewers received from the Astros in return for Gomez and Mike Fiers. The 22-year-old lefty was drafted by the Orioles in the 19th round of the 2012 MLB draft.
Hader throws a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. He has 398 strikeouts and 152 walks in four Minor League seasons. Hader was named Pitcher of the Year in the California League in 2014.
Hader has started two games in Biloxi, giving up 1 run on 6 hits in 9 innings. He has struck out 12 and walked 3. In Hader’s last start, he gave up a run in 5 innings and struck out 7 in a game that the Shuckers won in 13 innings.
Hader is a the kind of left handed pitcher that could be a top of the rotation starter, the kind of pitcher that the Brewers need.
Jacob Nottingham, Catcher
Nottingham is another prospect with ties to the Astros. He was drafted by Houston in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB draft. The Brewers acquired Nottingham from the A’s for outfielder Khris Davis.
Nottingham has a good arm, but his catching technique needs work. He has raw power at the plate and found his stroke last season. After hitting .238 in two years of Rookie Ball, he hit .316 with 17 home runs for three different teams in 2015. He is off to a slow start in Biloxi, hitting just .129. However, 3 of his 4 hits went for extra bases, including 2 home runs, and he has scored 5 runs.
With all of the trade rumors about Jonathan Lucroy, having Nottingham coming up is a good thing. If Lucroy does not get traded, Nottingham will be able to learn the ropes under an elite catcher. Either way, the Brewers should be set at the catcher position for years to come.
Javier Betancourt, Second Base
The Brewers acquired Betancourt from the Tigers for Francisco Rodriguez over the winter. The Tigers signed Betancourt out of Venezuela as a 17-year-old in 2012.
Betancourt can play anywhere on the infield, but his arm is best suited for second base. He is a consistent hitter who hits line drives to all fields. At just 20-years-old, he is one of the youngest players in the Southern League.
Betancourt and fellow Brewer prospect Arcia could be a formidable double play combination in the very near future.
Victor Roache, Outfield
The Brewers selected Roache with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft. The 24-year-old outfielder has progressed quickly through the Brewers’ system so far, and figures to keep on progressing.
Roache is a power-hitting outfielder with 58 home runs in his first three Minor League seasons. He is a typical all or nothing hitter, though, as he strikes out at an alarming rate. He is hitting just .227 so far this season with twice as many strikeouts as hits.
If Roache can start making better contact, he will be a power-hitting outfielder for the Brewers in a couple of years.
Kyle Wren, Outfield
Wren was drafted by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2013 draft. The Brewers acquired him before the 2015 season in a trade with the Braves for pitcher Zach Quintana.
Wren climbed quickly to the AA level in the Braves system. Last season, he hit .300 at Biloxi before getting called up to the AAA club in Colorado Springs. Wren is a speedster who has stolen at least 35 bases in each of his three Minor League seasons.
Wren’s speed makes him a good center fielder, and he can also play in left. He does not have the arm to play every day in right, but he could see some action there. With his speed and hitting, he could find himself at the top of the lineup for the Brewers.
Adrian Houser, Right Handed Pitcher
Houser is yet another prospect that the Brewers got for Gomez and Fiers. He was drafted by the Astros in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Houser has a low 90s fastball along with a good curveball and a changeup that he is working on. After joining the Shuckers last season, he went 4-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 37 innings. Houser could be a solid number 3 or 4 starter for the Brewers.