This position couldn't be stronger at the top, as in the organization's top-rated prospect in Alcides Escobar. But things drop off precipitously after that, although No. 2 positional player Brent Brewer features unlimited potential if he can make major strides in the strikeout department.
The franchise no doubt is on the lookout for more bodies for the future should injuries play a factor.
1. Alcides Escobar
He finished third behind Angel Salome and Mat Gamel with a .328 average among regulars in the powerful Huntsville lineup, leading the team in hits with 179 and stolen bases with 34. He was second in runs with 95, had 24 doubles and 76 RBI but struck out 82 times against 31 walks in 546 official at-bats.
Regarded as a defensive wizard, he still committed 20 errors, although many were on throws he would have been better off hanging onto.
He saw more action than most of Milwaukee's young September call-ups, usually as a pinch runner. He scored twice and had two hits in four at-bats.
He'll be 22 on Dec. 16 after signing as a non-drafted free agent in July 2003. Escobar was an All-Star with West Virginia in 2005 and spent all of '06 in Brevard County, where he hit .325 in the first half of 2007 before his promotion to Huntsville, where he batted .283.
Escobar was hitting .220 in 27 games in the Venezuelan Winter League but had batted .300 during his last 10 outings through Nov. 29.
2. Brent Brewer
Milwaukee's second-round pick in 2006 turns 21 on Dec. 19 and is regarded as the best athlete in the organization and has speed to burn, as evidenced by his 42 stolen bases at West Virginia in 2007, when he batted .251 with 25 doubles and 11 homers. However, he struck out an amazing 170 times in 518 at-bats.
Brewer also must improve drastically in the field, where he committed 24 errors in rookie ball and 48 with the Power.
He added 20 more miscues in 76 contests at Brevard County this past summer, where he finished at .251 with 15 steals in 20 attempts.
Brewer filled in as an injury replacement in the Arizona Fall League, batting .300 (9 for 30) in nine games with seven runs, three homers (all solo shots) and a .344 OBP. He struck out nine times and walked twice.
3. Matt Cline
The 22nd-round pick out of Cal State-Long Beach in 2007—he hit .301 at Helena--started at Brevard County this past season, hitting .266 in 32 games before going down to West Virginia, where he finished with the same average in 82 contests with 14 doubles and a good 42-38 strikeout-to-walk ratio for a .365 OBP.
Cline batted .296 in June and .316 during July but plummeted to .185 in August. He finished at .308 against lefties and .253 versus right-handers.
But like Brewer, Cline struggled defensively, combining for 36 errors at his two stops.
This 22-year-old started in Arizona, where he batted .333 in 11 outings after being a 32nd-round pick out of Seminole Community College in 2007. This past season he hit .299 with 11 extra-base hits and 17 RBI in 30 games before his promotion to Helena, where he hit .183 with a homer and four RBI in 19 games. He combined for a .346 OBP and stole 11 bases in 12 attempts.