Breaking down the Brewers' Top 30 Prospects

Crew's farm system ranked No. 5 with savvy trades at foundation of rebuild

Breaking down the Brewers' Top 30 Prospects

No team added more top prospects to its system than the Brewers in 2016. In the first full season of a rebuilding process, general manager David Stearns used well-timed trades of big league assets to acquire a slew of promising young players, including a number of Top 100 prospects. Those trades have helped the Brewers climb in MLBPipeline.com's farm system rankings to No. 5 after checking in at No. 9 just a year ago.

Stearns' shrewd trades have netted the Brewers four (of their five) Top 100 prospects in Lewis Brinson (No. 18 overall), Josh Hader (No. 38), Luis Ortiz (No. 62) and Isan Diaz (No. 65), not to mention current Top 30 team prospects such as Mauricio Dubon, Brett Phillips, Phil Bickford and Jacob Nottingham. Overall, 13 of the club's new Top 30 prospects were trade acquisitions.

• Brewers' Top 30 Prospects list

While the Brewers' farm system is certainly top-heavy with impactful, high-ceiling prospects, they also have a crop of impressive young players scattered throughout the low Minors. Second-rounder Lucas Erceg looks like he could be one of the biggest steals of the 2016 Draft, projecting as an above-average big league third baseman who could move quickly, while right-hander Marcos Diplan quickly has developed into one of the better hurlers in the system.

Meanwhile, the Brewers remain bullish on many of their recent high-risk prep Draftees such as Kodi Medeiros, Devin Williams and Monte Harrison, and they have high hopes for a healthy Nathan Kirby after Tommy John surgery cost the left-hander all of 2016.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2016 preseason list to the 2017 preseason list.

Jump: Brandon Woodruff, RHP (2016: 29 | 2017: 8)
Fall: Tyrone Taylor, OF (2016: 12 | 2017: NR)

Top 30 Prospects lists
Division Release date
AL East BAL, BOS, NYYTB, TOR
NL East ATLMIA, NYM, PHI, WSH
AL Central CLE, CWSDET, KC, MIN
NL Central CHCCINMILPITSTL
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX
NL West ARICOLLADSDSF

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Corey Ray (55)
Power: Lewis Brinson (60)
Run: Lewis Brinson (60)
Arm: Brett Phillips (70)
Defense: Lewis Brinson (60)
Fastball: Josh Pennington (70)
Curveball: Jorge Lopez (60)
Slider: Josh Hader (60)
Changeup: Nathan Kirby (55)
Control: Phil Bickford (55)

How they were built
Draft: 16
International: 1
Trade: 13

Breakdown by ETA
2017: 6
2018: 11
2019: 10
2020: 3

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 1
2B: 0
3B: 2
SS: 3
OF: 8
RHP: 11
LHP: 3

Here's a look at the Brewers' preseason Top 10 prospects from each of the past seven years (click here to see a larger image):

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.