Last year at this time the Milwaukee (and nationwide) fan-base was yet to see the full effect of Josh Hader. In addition those who were not MLB fans did not know too much about reigning MVP Christian Yelich. To Brewer fans now these are household names that get brought up in nearly every Brewers conversation. As a young team it is difficult for the casual working fan to be cognizant of the ever-changing landscape where young prospects are thrown onto the field to show what they have. This year there are 4 players that the casual Brewer fan will know by the end of 2019:
Hiura is 22 years old and was the Brewers 1st round pick in 2017 taken 9th overall out of UC Irvine. So far the young second baseman has not disappointed. This season between A+ and AA, he slashed .293/.357/.464 with 13 home runs in 535 plate appearances. Following a solid year he proceeded to dominate Arizona Fall League, where many of the top prospects in baseball play following the regular season, with a .323/.371/.563 slash, 5 home runs and 33 RBIs all in 96 at bats. He won the Arizona Fall League MVP where he excelled against the best competition the Minor Leagues has to offer. While scouts have him as possessing plus power, his defense has much to be desired from. He has a hard but smooth swing with a slight uppercut. His raw power could transition into true game power with an elevated swing.
There was a chance that you could of heard of this kid last season already. He was having a fantastic season at SS/2B in AAA last season while Arcia was struggling but unfortunately tore his ACL in May resulting in the end of his season. The young shortstop was acquired from Boston in the Tyler Thornburg trade from 2 years ago. Travis Shaw was also in that trade. I would give the Red Sox a hard time about this trade but they just won the World Series so they likely do not care at all if they lost this trade. Anyway, Dubon was slashing .343/.348/.574 and 4 home runs in his first 114 plate appearances of the season. He barely walks, but has great contact. While the scouting report puts him at a 40 FV raw power, he was starting to show an adjustment last season. In addition, if he can add some muscle to his 6’0” 160 lb frame that would help with the power numbers. He has 55 (slightly above average) speed and 50 (about average) fielding. He would not be as great of a defender as Arcia is for Milwaukee but there were rumblings in the organization that Dubon might eventually be the starting SS.
Acquired by the Brewers just today (12/13/2018) Claudio will be a name that fans will get to know in 2019. He will likely join the back end of the bullpen where Josh Hader, Cory Knebel, and Jeremy Jeffress already lurk. Claudio is a 26 year old LHP who had been in and out of the closer role for Texas in the past couple years. The Brewers gave Texas their 2019 competitive balance pick (probably around 40 overall) in return. Over the past two years Claudio has pitched 82.2 and 68.1 innings respectively while posting a 2.50 ERA in 2017 but struggled with a 4.48 ERA this past season. He is a ground ball pitcher who generally gets over 60% of batters to hit ground balls. He is not by any means a strikeout pitcher. With his sidearm delivery his fastball only reaches high 80s. His three pitch mix of fastball/sinker, change-up, and slider, when used appropriately, can be well utilized with his delivery for deception. To read more about Claudio there will be another article on him in a few days. To see what the Brewers are hoping to receive from Claudio copy and paste the following URL.
With the amount of young talent the Brewers saw last season, there is even more to come. One of the biggest questions as of now is who plays 2B after the Brewers decided to part ways with Schoop? Dubon and Hiura look to be possible fits. The Brewers will continue to feed off of a deep talented farm system for talent and with a few more moves this off-season will likely continue to see success in 2019.