Major League Baseball's owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn't mean we're letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation.
That journey finds us today focusing on the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system.
Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
1. Aaron Ashby, LHP
We highlighted Ashby last fall as a rookie who could put himself on the map with a strong postseason. He didn't; instead, he gave up five hits and two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Oh well. Ashby figures to get a chance to start again next season, and he would seem to have a decent shot at making it work. He has a legitimate out pitch, in his slider, as well as a mid-to-upper-90s sinker and two other secondary pitches to keep batters honest. Ashby has already proved he can miss bats and turn over a lineup once; it's not out of the question that he becomes a mid-rotation type, and soon. The worst-case scenario has him returning to the bullpen as a multi-inning buzzsaw.
2. Sal Frelick, OF
The Brewers drafted Frelick with the 15th pick, which was on the low end of where he was expected to go. He subsequently hit .329/.414/.466 with nearly as many walks as strikeouts (21 versus 25) in 169 plate appearances across three levels, including a 15-game stint in High-A. Frelick has a good feel for contact and he can run well; the main concerns with his game are durability and whether or not he'll be able to lift the ball frequently enough to provide any pop. If the answer is "no," Frelick might find himself on the wrong end of the Sam Fuld-Brett Gardner spectrum.
3. Joey Wiemer, OF
Wiemer, a fourth-round pick in 2020 by way of Cincinnati, lifted his stock in a hurry with a fantastic introduction to pro ball. He hit .295/.403/.556 with 27 home runs across two levels during the regular season, then tore up the Arizona Fall League to the tune of a .467/.568/.667 mark in nine games. He possesses a lot of the innate attributes that tend to be present in middle-of-the-order hitters, including size, strength, and a feel for hard contact; and, as an added, he's more mobile than his large frame indicates. The one concern here is that Wiemer's bat ends up playing light due to his swing-and-miss tendencies. We'll find out.