2011 MLB Draft: 10 First-Round Prospects the Milwaukee Brewers Might Target

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Young and restless: Identifying 10 first-round prospects theMilwaukee Brewers may be sizing up

The 2011 MLB draft is but a couple weeks away, and rest assured, the Milwaukee Brewers will have their sights set on top-tier talent.

Let the records show that GM Doug Melvin has a comparable track record in the draft over the past few years, selecting notable starters Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo and Rickie Weeks.

What will this year’s draft generate?  Here’s an in-depth look at 10 prospects the Milwaukee Brewers might target in the first round.

Austin Hedges, Catcher, JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 195 pounds

Scout’s take (via MLB Draft Guide):

“Hedges is generally viewed as the top defensive catcher, high school or college, eligible for the 2011 draft. His sound fundamentals and solid athleticism make a rare combination for a catcher still in high school.”

Why he’s a good fit:

Both Jonathon Lucroy, 24, and Wil Nieves, 31, are solid catchers capable of handling Milwaukee’s revamped rotation for the next few seasons. However, there are some question marks.

Lucroy has yet to hit his prime, and lagging injuries could put him back a few years in terms of productivity. Likewise, Nieves is neither the short- nor long-term answer for Ron Roenicke’s ballclub.

If given a few seasons’ time in the minor leagues, Hedges would put yet another formidable bat in an already lethal Milwaukee lineup for many years to come.

Is this the second coming of Buster Posey?

Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 203 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“Barnes is a raw, young, high-ceiling guy whose performance on the Cape didn’t measure up to his stuff or his expectations coming in. Barnes’ fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range, he spots it really well working both sides of the plate.”

Why he’s a good fit:

With the 12th & 15th overall selections in the first round, the Brewers have to be licking their chops when it comes to potential pitching talent. And with a plethora of prospects to go around, now seems like the right time to snatch up a future difference maker.

In adding Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the offseason, the Brewers all but diminished their pitching talent for the future. With UConn’s Matt Barnes, however, that sobering fact would take a turn for the better.

Possessing all the capabilities you could hope in a big-league starter, Barnes seems to be a surefire target for GM Doug Melvin to zero-in on.


George Springer, OF, UConn

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 200 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“His bat head stays in the hitting zone. He produced good bat speed and has natural lift in his swing. He has a high center of gravity and can lift the ball with authority.  His power projects to be above average.”

Why he’s a good fit:

As it stands, both Carlos Gomez and Ryan Boggs both occupy Ron Roenicke’s defensive depth chart in center field. Once the 2011 draft is over, however, that very depth chart may be subject to change heading into 2012.

Power bats with great defensive range are scarce nowadays, but UConn’s gifted center-fielder George Springer is an exception to the norm.

Should Prince Fielder leave either from in-season trade or during free agency, the Brewers won’t be missing a beat when it comes to the long ball should Springer go 10th overall to Milwaukee.

Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 200 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Beginnings):

“Long, lean and lanky. Smooth and easy delivery through mid ¾ slot, good balance and extension and landings. Fastball 89-93, comfortable 91-92, mostly with sink. Changeup 78-82 mostly with sink, occasional fade. Slider 82-85, adequate.”

Why he’s a good fit:

Solid left-handers are hard to come by these days, but Danny Hultzen’s lean frame should allow him to become a reliable arm at the back end of Milwaukee’s rotation for years to come.

Moreover, a starting rotation traditionally comprised of right-handed pitching could use another steadfast hurler like Hultzen in Milwaukee.


Travis Harrison, 3B/OF, Tustin HS (Calif.)

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 216 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“Travis Harrison looks like a big leaguer, athletic, can really run, can flat out hit, very good bat speed, strength in swing, has power and projects even more, outstanding hitter, maybe the best in the class.”

Why he’s a good fit:

Believe it or not, Prince Fielder’s potential exit spells concern for number of defensive positions on the diamond. Is Mat Gamel a viable asset to play first base for the Brewers should Fielder depart? Will Rickie Weeks move to center field? These are just a few questions concerning Milwaukee as the draft draws nearer.

Widely viewed as one of the best pure hitters of this year’s class, Travis Harrison also possesses fielding skills that translate to a plethora of defensive positions and would be a subliminal prospect to fill the shoes of Casey McGehee at third base just a few years down the road.


Matt Purke, LHP, TCU

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 175 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“He throws both a slider and curve; the curve has good depth, while the slider has occasional tilt but can flatten out as he gets around the side of the ball. A late release point gives him some deception and reduces the hitter’s reaction time.”

Why he’s a good fit:

At the 2009 MLB amateur draft, the Texas Rangers took TCU’s prototypical left-hander with the 14th overall selection.  Fortunately for the Brewers, the Rangers failed to sign Purke, prompting a return to the Horned Frogs.

Last season, Purke went an unprecedented 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA, vaulting him up this year’s draft boards and mock drafts.

Purke is undoubtedly the most feared lefty at the college level, and the Brewers would ideally trade up for his services.


Daniel Norris, LHP, Tennessee HS

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 180 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“With a fastball  registering in the 92-94 mph range and a deceptive breaking ball, many analysts and checkers rate Norris as the top prep arm in the 2011 MLB draft class. Shows a little recoil and his consistency is up and down.”

Why he’s a good fit:

This gifted southpaw is a bit raw talent wise and would become a prized possession for the Brewers to develop in the minor leagues for 3-4 season.

A Clemson commit, Daniel Norris went 8-0 with a 1.96 ERA with his high school ballclub last year, and looks to prolong that success for any team willing to snatch him up early in the first round.

For the Brewers, who could use a power lefty such as down on the farm, now is the time to pull the trigger on Norris’ talents to ensure young talent in the future.


Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky

Height: 6’9″

Weight: 220 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“A 6’9″, 220-pound right-hander who possesses electric stuff, including a  high-velocity fastball and an excellent curveball, with his changeup and  two-seam fastball developing.  Added 15 pounds of muscle and an inch in height to his projectable frame and working on his degree in summer classes.”

Why he’s a good fit:

Should the Brewers choose to pursue big-name talent prior to the 2011 trade deadline, they’ll be forced to depreciate their talent on the farm.

With that being said, the Brewers do have the 12th and 15th overall selections, and that selection will more than likely be used to replenish a dwindled farm system.

Alex Meyer, one of the top high school recruits from a few years back, would fit the Brewers’ scheme with pitching coach Rick Kranitz.


Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 180 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“Rendon has one of the best swings on a college hitter, with excellent hip rotation and strong, quick hands. His plate coverage is good, and he can shorten his swing to square up a ball up in the zone. He’s a solid defender at third with an above-average arm and good reads.”

Why he’s a good fit:

I suppose a better question would be, “Why isn’t he a good fit?”

Although not physically intimidating, Anthony Rendon is as pure of a major-league prospect as any in this year’s class and would be the ideal first-round selection to start off Milwaukee’s 2011 draft.

With Casey McGehee’s contract due to expire at the end of the season, the thought is that the Brewers will re-sign him to a three- to four-year deal. Should Prince Fielder leave at the end of his 2011 season, McGehee may take over the reigns of second base, leaving an opportunity for Rendon to work his way up into Ron Roenicke’s starting lineup as soon as 2012.


Gerrit  Cole, RHP, UCLA

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 220 pounds

Scout’s take (via Baseball Rumor Mill):

“Tall righty whose fastball sits around 94-95 mph and tops out at 96. Also mixes in an above average low 80s slider and a 80 mph changeup. Smooth, effortless  delivery. Aggressive with the strike zone.”

Why he’s a good fit

Last but certainly not least, Gerrit Cole may already be atop GM Doug Melvin’s pre-draft wish list.

Not only does he have the structure to become an effective starter for many years to come, but Cole also boasts one of the most complete packages of any pitcher of this year’s class.

During his 2010 campaign with UCLA, Cole dominated Pac-10 lineups to the tune of an 11-4 record, 3.37 ERA and, most importantly, 153 strikeouts in just 123.0 innings of work.

Given two solid seasons of work in the minor leagues, and Cole would be more than ready to play a role in Milwaukee’s starting rotation.

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #12 of the UCLA Bruins pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 1 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Gameco

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