June 24, 2024

The Brewers boast considerable positional talent in their minor league system, with 20 of their top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline’s rankings being hitters. Beyond these notable prospects, there are several others worth keeping an eye on. Let’s highlight three hitters who may not grab headlines like some of the bigger names but have demonstrated promising early performances and possess notable tools.

Gregory Barrios, signed in the same international class as Jackson Chourio, secured the second-highest bonus ($1 million) in that group. Initially recognized for his defensive prowess, Barrios has begun to showcase offensive potential in the 2024 season.

Tigres de Aragua suma una pieza joven de cara al futuro - Líder en deportes

While he struggled in his first season in the Dominican Summer League, he improved in 2022, posting league-average hitting stats in the Arizona Complex League. Despite a challenging 2023 season in Low-A Carolina, where he posted a 69 wRC+, Barrios displayed glimpses of promising tools for a young hitter. Despite a low walk rate, he exhibited solid plate discipline and a sound approach at the plate. Remarkably, he maintained a low strikeout rate of only 13.5% and stole 32 bases. These attributes prompted the Brewers to promote him aggressively to High-A in 2024, despite his lackluster performance in the previous season.

At just 20 years old, Barrios has validated the Brewers’ decision with a strong start to the 2024 season. In his first 13 games, he boasts an impressive OPS of 1.027 and a wRC+ of 184 while maintaining a strikeout rate of 17%. He has shown signs of increased power, already tallying 8 doubles, a significant improvement over his 2023 output. Barrios has demonstrated a refined ability to handle outside pitches, evident in his improved line drive rate and reduced fly ball rate. Although his power may develop further with physical maturity, his profile remains contact-oriented, complemented by his defensive prowess. He has the potential to become an everyday shortstop if he continues to refine his plate coverage and consistently drive the ball.

Barrios recently earned recognition as the Midwest League’s Player of the Week, underscoring his early-season success. Video footage provided by the Brewers Player Development account showcases his diverse skill set, including his ability to handle inside pitches and adapt his approach based on pitch location.

Tayden Hall, drafted by the Brewers in the ninth round of the 2022 draft from State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, comes from a baseball pedigree as the son of former MLB catcher Toby Hall. Initially drafted as a catcher, Hall has transitioned into a regular role at first base in the professional ranks.

Known for his exceptional plate discipline, Hall demonstrates excellent pitch selection and above-average contact abilities. With an impressive 24% walk rate in 2024, he displays rare restraint at the plate, rarely chasing pitches outside the strike zone. However, he can sometimes be overly patient, leading to two-strike counts by taking hittable pitches. Nonetheless, he excels in these situations, evident in his low strikeout rates of 18% in 2023 and 14.8% in 2024.

Hall’s batting stance has evolved since his draft, shifting from an unconventional setup to a more conventional stance. This adjustment potentially aids his ability to generate power, an aspect currently lacking in his offensive game. Although he has yet to hit a home run in professional baseball, he displayed power overseas with five homers in Australia last winter. The 2024 season has shown signs of improvement, with three doubles and a triple already recorded. Hall’s physique suggests the potential for increased power, especially considering his ability to make solid contact and a high hard-hit rate.

Despite his power development, Hall exhibits versatility at the plate, demonstrating an ability to hit to all fields. While he is currently pulling the ball more, which could aid in tapping into his power, he maintains a strong opposite-field hitting percentage of 30%. Additionally, he consistently hits line drives, the type of contact most likely to result in hits.

Defensively, Hall excels at first base, leveraging his catching background to showcase strong hands and decent athleticism. He possesses the versatility to handle a corner outfield position if necessary.

Ultimately, Hall’s ability to drive the ball will determine his offensive impact. Despite the absence of home runs, his high hard-hit rate and solid plate approach provide a stable foundation. As he continues to develop, power potential will be critical in realizing his full potential.

Nicasia might not be as recognizable as some of his counterparts on this list. Drafted by the Brewers in the 16th round of the 2021 draft, his name may not ring a bell for many. However, if the early part of the 2024 season is any indication, he’s someone you’ll want to become familiar with.

As a switch-hitter, Nicasia possesses an explosive and fluid swing from the left side, though his right-handed swing appears to lack the same power. It remains to be seen whether the Brewers will eventually have him stick to hitting from the left side exclusively.

Despite his visual prowess, Nicasia’s performance in 2023 didn’t fully reflect his abilities. While his strikeout rate was relatively high at 30%, his .212 batting average and 97 wRC+ didn’t fully capture his nightly displays. Notably, his strong pitch recognition skills translated to a commendable 13.7% walk rate. In 2024, his strikeout rate has improved to a more manageable 23.6%, suggesting continued growth in plate discipline.

Standing at 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds, Nicasia appears to carry his weight effectively and displays more strength than his listed measurements suggest. Although he hit only six home runs in 2023, he’s demonstrated power potential, particularly from the left side, already hitting three home runs in April. His hitting ability is closer to average than elite, but he showcases an adeptness at using the entire field and driving the ball.

Originally drafted as a shortstop, Nicasia has transitioned into a reliable outfielder with an above-average arm. While he briefly played at second base this season, his primary position seems to be locked in the outfield. His speed enhances his defensive capabilities and contributes to his baserunning prowess, evident in his success rate of 27 out of 34 stolen bases in 2023 and a perfect four out of four in 2024.

Kaylan Nicasia Stats & Scouting Report — College Baseball, MLB Draft,  Prospects - Baseball America

At 22 years old, Nicasia presents an intriguing prospect for the Brewers, potentially warranting a promotion to High-A to assess his progress. While not yet a surefire success, continued months of solid production could attract attention, given his existing skill set.

Although the Brewers’ top prospects have faced setbacks due to injuries, lesser-known players like Nicasia have shown promising starts to the season. Alongside his counterparts, Nicasia exemplifies the depth of talent within the Brewers’ minor league system.

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