While there are still 53 games left in the Milwaukee Brewer’s 2016 season, last Monday’s trade deadline marked the end of the excitement for the season for many fans who are invested in the Brewer’s long term strategic rebuild. For those of us that signed (verbal) contracts to keep tabs on this team for the duration of the year, there are still many (a couple) interesting story lines that should provide the die hard fans with a peek of what future Brewers teams may look like.

The Brewers now own the number one ranked farm system in all of baseball.

The future may still be years away, but it has never been brighter for the rebuilding Brewers, and they’ve got the rankings to prove it. This past week, MLB Pipeline released their mid-season rankings of all 30 minor league systems, and the Brewers earned the top spot. This is a big deal. While it’s been tough to see the Brewers trade away many of their most talented players over the past year and one month, it’s paying dividends in the form of multiple highly ranked prospects currently spread throughout multiple levels of the Brewers system.

It took me about three weeks into the 2015 season to realize that if the Brewers truly wanted to compete at a championship level, they would have to begin the depressingly long process of blowing up their team and rebuilding from scratch. It was a process that I realistically thought (and still think) would take about four years. Given how many seasons we are going to patiently wait for these prospects to develop into major league ball players, it was a welcome surprise to see the Brewers ranked ahead of all of their peers on this mid-season list. You’ve gotta get excited about something, right?

Speaking of prospects, welcome to Milwaukee Orlando Arcia!

Brewers fans have waited a LONG time for the franchise’s top ranked prospect to make his major league debut. After years of slowly climbing the ranks, the 22-year old Venezuelan shortstop made his major league debut this week, immediately assuming a starting role in the middle of the infield. Word from the front office is that Arcia is here to stay, which will mean a shift to third base for Jonathan Villar for at least the remainder of the regular season.

Arcia’s debut has been as good as reasonably expected for someone in his situation. His high ranking as a prospect is due primarily to his defense- if the scouting reports on Arcia are accurate, he is a future gold glover at perhaps the most important defensive position on the baseball field. He’s got great range, and an even better arm; he will hopefully be a household name across Milwaukee by the time he signs his first non-rookie contract.

Offensively, Arcia is going to need some time to get used to the speed of the major league game. He hit just .267 at AAA Colorado Springs, who play half their games in the most hitter friendly ball park in the minor leagues. Still, there’s no better way to let him cut his teeth than to play through the last two months of a major league season, even if the games are pretty inconsequential. This week, Arcia saw his fair share of strike outs and pop flies, but he also recorded four hits, two of them for RBIs with two outs. While I’m not ready to buy my Orlando Arcia jersey just yet, keep an eye on this one… he’s got star power written all over him.

Some final thoughts for the week:

  • Ryan Braun posted the second 7 RBI game of his career as a Brewers, which is tied for the franchise record. As Braun continues to post numbers that put him among the MLB elite, I’m starting to get used to the idea of him as a Brewer for life.
  • The Brewers have committed 10 errors over the past six games. Woof. That’s one of the prices you pay when you’re back filling starting roles
  • What happened to Jimmy Nelson? He has taken an almost Wily Peralta-like step backwards in his development. At one point in time, I thought Nelson was on the fast tract to being the ace of the Brewers starting rotation. Now, I’m not so sure.
  • I stole a comment from a coworker in last week’s Sunday Cycle and did not give him proper credit. See the “SUUUUSac” comment from last week. Thanks, Scott- my bad!
  • Also regarding my article from last week: I’m finally at peace with the Jonathan Lucroy no-trade saga. If you haven’t already done so, read his comments on the situation. At the end of the day, Lucroy was trying to do what was best for his family and his career. Also, I officially hate watching him hit home runs for another team.