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11/07/08 9:00 AM EST

Milwaukee still boasts deep talent pool

Despite trades, Brewers maintain organizational depth

Before the 2008 season began, MLB.com took an in-depth look at every big-league team's Minor League system. Now it's time to recap and analyze all 30 organizations, from top prospects to the recent draft class.

The Brewers traded some seriously high-profile talent for C.C. Sabathia back in July, and the funny part is, it didn't deplete the farm system. Far from it, actually.

Milwaukee's system remains one of the deepest in the game, thanks in part to Jack Zduriencik, the club's former amateur scouting director who took over as Seattle's general manager last month. Zduriencik, a master builder, put together such a stocked system that losing Matt LaPorta and Co. won't hurt the Brewers nearly as it would some other teams.

The trick now is to not let what Zduriencik did go to waste. Milwaukee's system remains loaded, and if the Brewers can keep up with Zduriencik's track record, they'll continue to have one of the deepest and most entertaining crop of youngsters in the game.

Zduriencik didn't do it alone; no one is suggesting that. But he had a knack for picking the right player, and gambling when the situation required. He'll be missed in Milwaukee, but Brewers' fans will be able to thank him every time they see the likes of Mat Gamel, Caleb Gindl and Taylor Green reaching the big leagues over the next few seasons.

Organizational Players of the Year

MLB.com Preseason Picks

Matt LaPorta, 1B: Our preseason selection for Player of the Year was former first-rounder Matt LaPorta. After the half-season he played at Huntsville of the Double-A Southern League, it certainly seemed he would make us look like a bunch of geniuses. But alas, he was traded to Cleveland in the C.C. Sabathia deal.
Interview with Matt LaPorta

Rob Bryson, RHP: At least we're consistent. Our preseason pick for Pitcher of the Year, Bryson shared the plane ride to Cleveland with LaPorta as part of the Sabathia deal.
Interview with Rob Bryson

MLB.com Postseason Selections

Mat Gamel, 3B: Gamel formed half of the rock 'em, sock 'em team with LaPorta at Huntsville before the Sabathia deal, and spent most of the second half in the Southern League before getting bumped up to Nashville for five games. He also got a two-game taste with Milwaukee. The third baseman hit .329 in Huntsville with 19 homers and 96 RBIs, scoring 96 runs with a .395 OBP. Gamel slumped in July and August, partly because he lost LaPorta as protection in the lineup and partly because he was playing with tendinitis in his right elbow, a fact he kept hidden from the club until September.
Gamel smacks MiLB-leading 100th hit

•  Monday, Oct. 6: Washington Nationals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 7: Seattle Mariners
•  Wednesday, Oct. 8: San Diego Padres
•  Thursday, Oct. 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
•  Friday, Oct. 10: Baltimore Orioles
•  Monday, Oct. 13: Atlanta Braves
•  Tuesday, Oct. 14: San Francisco Giants
•  Wednesday, Oct. 15: Cincinnati Reds
•  Thursday, Oct. 16: Colorado Rockies
•  Friday, Oct. 17: Detroit Tigers
•  Monday, Oct. 20: Kansas City Royals
•  Tuesday, Oct. 21: Oakland Athletics
•  Wednesday, Oct. 22: Texas Rangers
•  Thursday, Oct. 23: Cleveland Indians
•  Friday, Oct. 24: Arizona Diamondbacks
•  Monday, Oct. 27: Florida Marlins
•  Tuesday, Oct. 28: Toronto Blue Jays
•  Wednesday, Oct. 29: St. Louis Cardinals
•  Thursday, Oct. 30: Houston Astros
•  Friday, Oct. 31: Minnesota Twins
•  Monday, Nov. 3: New York Yankees
•  Tuesday, Nov. 4: New York Mets
•  Wednesday, Nov. 5: Los Angeles Angels
•  Thursday, Nov. 6: Chicago White Sox
•  Friday, Nov. 7: Milwaukee Brewers
•  Monday, Nov. 10: Chicago Cubs
•  Tuesday, Nov. 11: Boston Red Sox
•  Wednesday, Nov. 12: LA Dodgers
•  Thursday, Nov. 13: Tampa Bay Rays
•  Friday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Phillies

Chris Cody, LHP: Cody, whom the Brewers acquired from Detroit in the middle of 2007, split the season between the South Atlantic and Florida State Leagues and was equally effective in both venues. He was 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five games (four starts) at West Virginia, where he struck out 31 and walked three in 31 innings. Cody didn't join the Power until the end of May, though, because he was in extended Spring Training rehabbing an elbow problem that flared up at the end of the 2007 season. But he dominated in the Sally League and made a seamless transition to Brevard County, where he went 4-5 in 14 appearances (13 starts). He posted a 1.83 ERA, striking out 62 in 83 2/3 innings. The Brewers now have him playing Hawaii Winter Baseball.
Cody fans his seventh

Climbed the Ladder

Alcides Escobar, SS: Escobar made the most of a full season at Double-A Huntsville, hitting .328 with eight homers and 76 RBIs. He was one of three Stars atop the league batting leaders, trailing only catcher Angel Salome and Gamel. He also had two hits in four at-bats in nine games with the Brewers. Escobar stole 34 bases and had a .363 OBP, despite drawing only 31 walks in 546 at-bats. Patience will come with time, and that time will likely be spent between Triple-A Nashville and Milwaukee next season.
All-Star Game single for Escobar

Mat Gamel, 3B: Gamel couldn't have done much more. Next year, when healthy, he'll be a likely candidate for Player of the Year again if he doesn't spend too much time in Milwaukee. The elbow issues forced him to withdraw from the Arizona Fall League.

Angel Salome, C: Salome was coming off a suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. While we're not in favor of that, it's difficult to argue with the numbers he put up this season at Huntsville. Salome led the organization with a .360 average in 98 games, while connecting for 13 homers with 83 RBIs and a .415 OBP. The kid can flat out hit -- he's done so everywhere he's been. If he can stay clear of dicey situations, he'll likely be starting in Milwaukee sometime during the second half of the 2009 season.
Salome drives in six runs

Jonathan Lucroy, C: Just in case Salome doesn't continue to grow, the Brewers always have Lucroy, the 2007 third-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette University. Lucroy split this season between the South Atlantic and Florida State Leagues, and combined to hit .301 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs. He even stole nine bases. He threw out a combined 45 percent of runners attempting to steal, and will take the arm and the bat to Double-A next season.
RBI single for Lucroy

Caleb Gindl, OF: Gindl, a fifth-round pick, demonstrated that what he did in 2007 at Helena was no fluke. He was in the South Atlantic League this season and hit .307 with 13 homers and 81 RBIs. While some others overshadowed those numbers -- Michael Stanton, Darin Holcomb and Jesus Montero come to mind -- Gindl had a brilliant season. He had 38 doubles and a .388 OBP. He did strike out 144 times, however. That's once every 3.5 at-bats, up from once in every 5.4 at-bats last year in the Pioneer League.
Interview with Caleb Gindl

Taylor Green, 3B: Don't look now, but here comes another third baseman through the Milwaukee system. A 25th-round pick in 2005, Green hit .289 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs at Brevard County. He also walked 61 times while striking out only 59 times, contributing to a very nice .382 OBP.
Green blasts two-run shot

Kept Their Footing

Cole Gillespie, OF: Gillespie had to deal with a broken toe on his right foot for much of the year. He had surgery after the season was over to correct the problem, but still had a solid year in Huntsville. While many of his teammates claimed the lion's share of attention, he quietly hit .281 with 14 homers, 79 RBIs and 17 steals.
RBI double for Gillespie

Jeremy Jeffress, RHP: Jeffress remains one of the more talented pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball. Certainly he's among the hardest throwers, regularly topping 100 mph on the gun. But he's had some off-the-field issues -- he was serving a suspension at the beginning of the season for a failed drug test -- and eventually split the year between Brevard County and Huntsville, going 6-7 with a 4.31 ERA. There's a world of talent there, but whether it will be squandered remains an issue. Jeffress was also sidelined in October during the Arizona Fall League season with shoulder fatigue.
Jeffress picks up fourth strikeout

Lorenzo Cain, OF: Cain continued his steady ascent through the system, playing at three levels this season (Florida State, Southern and Pacific Coast Leagues). He combined to hit .279 with 11 homers, 60 RBIs and 25 steals. He's a typical Zduriencik player, a steady 17th-rounder whom many clubs passed up because he didn't begin playing baseball until later in high school. He's still a little rough around the edges, but should see significant time at Triple-A next year and might even get a late taste of life in Milwaukee.
Cain drives home two runs

R.J. Seidel, RHP: Speaking of lower-drafted quality players, Seidel certainly fits that mold. He was a 16th-rounder in 2006, had a nice rookie year in 2007 at Helena. He improved upon that this year at West Virginia, where he went 9-5 with a 4.51 ERA in 26 games (25 starts). He finished up strong, allowing one earned run or fewer in his last five appearances.
Seidel notches fifth K

Eric Farris, 2B: Farris spent his first full season of pro ball with Seidel at West Virginia and had a splendid year. He hit .293 with three homers and 54 RBIs while stealing 32 bases. He swiped 21 bags in 63 games last year at Helena. Farris came on big in the second half this year with the Power, hitting .328 after the All-Star break.
Four-RBI game for Farris

Slipped a Rung

Zach Braddock, LHP: Braddock reached the Florida State League before turning 20, so there is something to be said about that. His performance once he got there, however, wasn't all that special. It didn't help that he missed half of last season due to a shoulder strain after dominating in the South Atlantic League. The Brewers had him on a short leash this year, and he pitched only 11 2/3 relief innings in August after a stint on the disabled list in July.

Mark Rogers, RHP: Rogers, the 2004 first-rounder who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, made 19 starts in 2007 between the Florida State and Arizona Leagues. He was 1-2 with a 5.07 ERA in 16 outings for Brevard County.

On the Radar

David Welch, LHP: Welch, an Australia native, was 11-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 27 starts for Huntsville. He tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in June and is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Welch completes no-hitter

Eric Fryer, OF: Fryer jumped onto the radar screen after finishing second in the organization with a .335 batting average at West Virginia. He hit 10 homers, drove in 63 runs and had a .407 OBP.
Fryer hits for cycle

Bobby Bramhall, LHP: Bramhall, an 18th-rounder out of Rice in 2007, was 5-4 in 34 appearances (nine starts) at Brevard County, posting a 2.51 ERA, which was second in the organization. He also fanned 106 in 111 1/3 innings while walking 32. Bramhall was 4-1 with a 1.81 ERA in his nine starts, eight of which came in July and August.
Eight strikeouts for Bramhall

2008 Draft Recap

1. Brett Lawrie, C: Lawrie signed his first pro contract then promptly jetted off to China to play for the Canadian Olympic team. He went 0-for-10 and drove in a pair of runs. He also participated in Milwaukee's instructional league program in Arizona.

2. Jacob Odorizzi, RHP: Odorizzi was 1-2 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 Arizona League appearances (four starts). He struck out 19 over 20 2/3 innings.

3. Evan Frederickson, LHP: Frederickson was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA while splitting time between the Pioneer and Sally Leagues. He appeared in 12 games, started seven of them and pitched a total of 32 innings, striking out 34 and walking 31.
Frederickson fans his second

Others of note: RHP Seth Lintz (53rd overall selection) was 0-3 with a 6.87 ERA in nine games (six starts), striking out 26 over 18 1/3 innings. ... OF Cutter Dykstra (54th selection), son of former Major League Lenny Dykstra, hit .271 while splitting 48 games between the Arizona League and Helena of the Pioneer League. He had five homers, 17 RBIs and four steals while dealing with a minor groin issue. ... RHP Trey Watten (218th selection) was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA over 15 games (10 starts) for Helena. He had a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings of relief. ... RHP Robert Wooten (398th selection) was 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 14 games split between Helena and West Virginia. He struck out 44 and walked six in 31 2/3 innings.

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.