Milwaukee is loaded with homegrown talent (Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Bill Hall,
Ben Sheets and Rickie Weeks came through the system). Who will be next in line? Some prospects took positive steps during the 2008 season. Here’s a look back.
Regular Season: 59-81
Statistical Leaders: 1B Brad Nelson (.286, 18 homers, 78 RBIs), OF Laynce Nix (.284, 23 homers, 60 RBIs), LHP Lindsay Gulin (7-7, 3.54 ERA, 120 Ks)
Lowdown: The Sounds finished in last place in the Pacific Coast League. In fact, it’s the worst record in the franchise’s 31-year history. Nelson, Nix and Gulin, all veteran Minor Leaguers, somewhat helped their careers, but another step needs to be made to challenge for big-league playing time. The Sounds were hurt by the amount of talent developing in Double A for most of the season, which brings us to …
Regular Season: 73-67 (41-29 first half, 32-38 second half)
Statistical Leaders: 3B Mat Gamel (pictured, .329, 19 homers, 96 RBIs), LHP Brae Wright (6-10, 3.59 ERA, 120 Ks), LHP David Welch (11-4, 3.90 ERA, 95 Ks)
Lowdown: The Stars posted the best record of any team that missed the playoffs in the Southern League, if that’s any consolation. The hitters need no comforting, they were solid. The Stars hit a league-leading .285, 16 points higher than the second-best team. The top three individual hitters in the league? All Stars: C Angel Salome (.360), Gamel and SS Alcides Escobar (.328), all of whom were September callups. Then there’s OF Matt LaPorta, who led the team with 20 homers despite getting traded to Cleveland in the CC Sabathia deal.
Class A Brevard County
Regular Season: 66-72 (35-34 first half, 31-38 second half)
Statistical Leaders: 3B Taylor Green (.289, 15 homers, 73 RBIs), RHP Alexandre Periard (9-6, 3.51 ERA, 76 Ks), LHP Bobby Bramhall (5-4, 2.51 ERA, 106 Ks)
Lowdown: The club lost a lot of pitching talent to promotion, which explains the win/loss dropoff in the second half. RHP Jeremy Jeffress earned club Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors after missing the first the first 40 games because of a suspension in August 2007 for testing positive for marijuana. Jeffress was Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2006 and went 4-6 with a 4.08 ERA in Brevard County before moving up to Huntsville.
Class A West Virginia
Regular Season: 77-62 (32-37 first half, 45-25 second half)
Postseason: South Atlantic League runners up (first round: 2-1 over Lake County; championship: 0-3 to Augusta)
Statistical Leaders: 1B Steffan Wilson (.289, 19 homers, 100 RBIs), RHP Evan Anundsen (12-8, 4.28 ERA, 102 Ks)
Lowdown: Second best team in the Sally League for the second straight year, but look at the difference between the first and second halves. Something got into the Power. They ended up leading the league in batting average and runs scored for the season.
— Nick Zaccardi