Prospect Rankings: First Basemen

Brad Nelson tasted the majors for the first time in September, while several other good players are working their way up the ladder. It could get interesting should Milwaukee pull off a blockbuster trade involving Prince Fielder. Here is BrewerUpdate.com's current ranking of the top first base prospects in the system.

This is arguably the least publicized and nondescript position in the system, largely because of Prince Fielder's huge presence and production since being the team's No. 1 selection in the 2002 draft.

However, the situation could change drastically if scuttlebutt concerning a possible Fielder trade becomes reality as the team seeks starting pitching.

Still, several of Milwaukee's first-base prospects have produced impressive numbers during the past couple of seasons, so it will be interesting to see if they continue to make progress should the big-league club come calling.

The team didn't draft any first sackers in 2008, but there are several other possibilities should the organization make any trades or move a couple of prospects to different positions.

1. Brad Nelson

The big guy from little-town Iowa resurrected his floundering career last summer, leading a poor Nashville team with 132 games, 475 at-bats, 78 runs, 136 hits, 36 doubles, 78 RBI and 228 total bases and finishing second with 18 homers while ending up at .286.

Although he made eight miscues, the left-handed hitting Nelson earned his first trip to Milwaukee in September and made the most of it, contributing a 2-for-7 effort (both doubles) and made the team's postseason roster for the NLCS.

The fourth-round choice from 2001 had struggled mightily since being the organization's positional player of the year in '02 after combining for 20 homers and 116 RBI at Beloit and High Desert.

He was continuing to work in the Dominican Winter League, where he was hitting .319 with eight homers, 23 RBI, six doubles, a .390 on-base percentage, .783 slugging percentage and 1.172 OPS in 20 games through Nov. 12.

Steffan Wilson

2. Steffan Wilson

He bounced around the infield in 2008, contributing to his 12 errors. But that didn't affect his hitting prowess as he topped Milwaukee's farm system with 100 RBI for West Virginia. The 28th-round 2007 selection from Harvard also led the playoff-bound Power with 19 homers and finished with a .289 average, 27 doubles, 234 total bases and .350 OBP.

He actually hit better against righties (.292) than lefties (.279). Wilson also finished strongly, batting .315 after the All-Star break with 61 of his RBI to help West Virginia to the second-half divisional title. He continued that hot streak by batting .308 in the playoffs (8 for 26) with a double, triple and three RBI in six contests while scoring six times.

He and many of the former West Virginia players will move up to Brevard County and a few should see action at Huntsville.

Chris Errecart

3. Chris Errecart

Drafted in the fifth round from the University of California in 2006, he was a Cape Cod League All-Star the year before. He earned the same honor at Helena after clubbing 13 homers and leading the league with 61 RBI. In 2007, he hit 10 more homers in 116 games at Brevard County.

He suffered a broken wrist while playing in the Hawaiian Winter League in 2007 and spent time on the disabled list in '08 with wrist troubles.

Errecart spent the entire season at Huntsville, finishing third with 15 homers. However, he struck out 109 times in 360 at-bats and walked only 33 times, leading to a .324 OBP. He also committed 11 errors.

He made the midseason All-Star team, hitting .291 before the contest with 13 of his long balls and 33 of his 46 RBI as he batted only .137 after the break to finish at .247.

Curt Rindal

4. Curt Rindal

He hit .324 in 49 games at Helena after being a 35th-round pick in 2007. He spent all of 2008 at West Virginia, where he batted .262 overall with 24 doubles, nine homers, 58 RBI and a .327 OBP while striking out 77 times in 393 at-bats.

However, he ended on a high note, hitting .290 after the All-Star break with five homers and 37 RBI.

The University of Washington grad hit .318 (7 for 22) with four RBI in the playoffs and should move up to the Florida State League this year.

5. Brock Kjeldgaard

The Edmonton native is an intriguing prospect after being a 34th-round selection in 2005 out of Indian Hills CC in Iowa. He spent 2006-07 as a pitcher in Helena, which is where he went back to being an infielder this past summer.

So, it's understandable that he struggled somewhat in the field (nine errors) and at the plate (113 strikeouts). But the right-hander led the Brewers with 27 doubles, 14 homers, 65 RBI and 154 total bases.

On the radar

Stephen Chapman: This sixth-round pick from 2004 out of high school in Florida spent most of 2005-06 in Helena and then jumped onto the scene at West Virginia in '07, tying for fourth in the SAL with 24 homers and leading the team with 89 RBI. He then batted .292 in Hawaiian winter ball.

However, he struck out 137 times in 126 contests with the Power, and that trend continued at Brevard County in '08 as he hit 12 long balls but whiffed 112 times in 312 at-bats and hit only .202.


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