On Monday night, the Milwaukee Brewers took to the first round and supplemental first round of Major League Baseball’s 2012 first-year player draft armed with three selections, where they paired a highly touted prep positional player with two already established collegiate outfielders.
Then, on Tuesday, the Brewers switched their attention to rounds to the later rounds of the Draft, where general manager Doug Melvin and amateur scouting director Bruce Seid tried to work their magic by picking up a number of sleeper prospects. Rounds 16-40 of the Draft are set to take place Wednesday.
What players did the Brewers draft and what capabilities do they bring to the table? Let’s find out by scouting every player from rounds one through 15.
*We will continue to update picks as they are made available.
Alec Dopp (@alecdopp) June 04, 2012
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 210
Overview: A physical specimen by any standards, Clint Coulter came into the first round of the Draft as one of the best pure high school hitters in the country.
The stocky yet surprisingly agile 6’3″, 210-pounder from Washington has tremendous raw power that he’s able to tap into on a consistent basis. He has a nice, short swing with little wasted movement that draws a lot of power.
Scouts like what they see in Coulter from behind the plate. Based off what I’ve seen, he has some quick feet and good reaction time as a catcher and has a nearly plus-average arm to compliment it. Coulter told reporters at the Draft how he compares his game to that of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann. I see absolutely no reason to disagree with that belief.
Hit: 55 (65)
Power: 60 (65)
Speed: 50 (50/55)
Defense: 55 (60)
Arm: 60 (65)
Intangibles: 60 (60/65)
Overall Grade: B+
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 225
Overview: A strong, athletic outfielder whose bat is probably closer to Major League-ready than just about any other positional player in this class, Victor Roache should be considered a steal for the Brewers at No. 28 overall. The Georgia Southern slugger has plus power, great plate discipline and versatility as a defender in the outfield.
As a sophomore for the Eagles, Roache belted 30 home runs to lead the nation and posted an absurd .452 ISO in 281 plate appearances. Though he’s missed a large chunk of this season, he’s still established himself as one of the top sluggers in this year’s class. Defensively, Roache has versatility. Though he doesn’t have barn-burning speed, I believe he does have the range, instincts and arm to play any outfield position.
Hit: 55 (65)
Power: 60 (65)
Speed: 50 (50)
Defense: 50 (50/55)
Arm: 55 (55)
Intangibles: 55 (55/60)
Overall Grade: B+
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 215
Overview: A stocky, lean and athletic outfielder who’s been on scouts’ radar since his freshman year at Cal Poly, Haniger staked his claim as one of the more intriuging prospects in this year’s class after putting up a .346/.438/.626 slash line in 259 plate appearances this season. However, his impressive statistical yield is by no means why the Brewers drafted him early on.
Haniger has a very good approach to hitting and is the complete package at the plate. He has plus-average bat speed that generates consistent line drive power to all fields. Moreover, Haniger has pretty good plate discipline and recognizes pitches well. Speed doesn’t really play much into his approach at the plate and it doesn’t in the field, either. He does have a strong arm that could fit well in center field or right field depending on the need.
Hit: 60 (65)
Power: 60 (65)
Speed: 50 (50)
Defense: 50 (50/55)
Arm: 55 (60)
Intangibles: 60 (60)
Overall Grade: A-
photo credit: mnginteractive.com
Height/Weight: 6’0″, 185
Overview: The Brewers got an up-close-and-personal look at Taylor during the 2011 Area Code Baseball games, where he suited up for Milwaukee and put on an impressive showing in all facets of his game. The Cal Poly commit proved that he’s a very capable hitter with some pop to his bat and that he has a serious need for speed.
Easily his best tool, Taylor uses his agile abilities both on the bases and in the field. He gets out of the box extremely quick to try and extend hits and probably has the potential to steal around 30-35 bases a year in the bigs. He covers a lot of ground in center field, as well, with many scouts seeing him as a plus-defender at that position. Good value pick here.
Hit: 50 (55)
Power: 50 (55)
Speed: 65 (70)
Defense: 55 (65)
Arm: 50 (55)
Intangibles: 50 (50/55)
Overall Grade: B
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 180
Overview: The first pitcher taken by the Brewers comes as a prepster from the Nevada ranks, though clearly not as highly touted as many other high school righties in this year’s class. There is, however, some things to like about what he brings to the table.
While he doesn’t have the ideal length you look for from a young high school starter right now, there probably is some room to growth, which definitely works to Quintana’s benefit. Using a very smooth, effortless motion, he’s able to run his fastball into the low 90s, topping out at 94 on rare occasion. The best part about his heater is that it has very good movement and should develop into a strikeout pitch in the future. His second-best offering is his curveball that has some nice, hard-breaking 11-5 dive to it.
Fastball: 50 (60)
Curveball: 50 (60)
Mechanics: 55 (60)
Command: 50 (55)
Control: 50 (55)
Overall Grade: C+
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195
Overview: A three-year pitcher for the Utes, Wagner was strictly used relief situations and performed modestly throughout. In 99 career innings of work out of the bullpen, the Las Vegas, Nevada native posted a 2.72 ERA while striking out just under a batter per inning. The only trouble was, he struggled to command his pitches. And those struggles manifested themselves throughout his junior season.
The prototype right-hander walked nearly six batter per nine innings pitched and conceded over ten hits in as many innings. I’m not too sure what Melvin likes about Wagner having drafted him with a relatively high pick. No matter the reason, Wagner will need to work on refining his pitches in the minors from the get-go if he’s destined for the bigs.
Fastball: 50 (55)
Slider: 50 (60)
Mechanics: 50 (55)
Command: 50 (55)
Control: 45 (55)
Overall Grade: C
Height/Weight: 6’1″, 195
Overview: One of Oklahoma’s primary relievers as well as a fill-in starter this season, there’s really nothing too fancy about what Magnifico brings to the table. The 6’1″, 195-pound Texas native has a Tyler Thornburg-like build to him and a fastball that rivals that of Thornburg’s. Magnifico can run his four-seamer up to triple digits when needed but the pitch is incredibly flat and lacks movement. He can also throw a slider but it’s a well below-average offering.
There’s a bit of a medical risk here, as well. I’ve been told that Magnifico had screws inserted in his elbow during his days in junior college. It should be interesting to see how he copes with that in the near future.
Still only 21 years old, Magnifico should have enough time to develop his secondary pitches in the minors. You can’t teach velocity like Magnifico’s, so he should have a chance at a relief opportunity at the big league level. I like this pick.
Fastball: 50 (65)
Slider: 40 (50)
Mechanics: 50 (50/55)
Command: 45 (50/55)
Control: 40 (50)
Overall Grade: B-
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 160
Overview: An Alabama State commit, Ortega came into the 2012 Draft having been one of the more underrated international prep infielders, though I’m not too sure why. He has tremendous natural range defensively and should already be considered a plus-defender at this juncture.
Ortega has a ways to come as a hitter, especially with respect to his power. However, his youthfulness portends that he could still bulk up a bit and tap into his power potential. Either way, this is a good pick as Brewers were extremely thin on shortstops down on the farm.
Hit: 50 (55)
Power: 40 (45/50)
Speed: 55 (65)
Defense: 60 (65)
Arm: 55 (60)
Intangibles: 50 (55)
Overall Grade: C
7.245: David Otterman, LHP, British Columbia University – The Brewers have had much success in drafting players north of the boarder, and Otterman could be another steal. His 6’3″, 215 pound frame portends he could be a power-type lefty out of the bullpen.
8.275: Edgardo Rivera, CF, Adolfina Irizarry De Puig HS – Though still very raw and a bit undersized, Rivera has deadly speed that he applies on the bases and in the field. Once he develops his hitting, his ceiling will be tremendously high.
9.305: Alejandro Lavandero, RHP, Belen Jesuit High School – The 6’3″, 180-pound Miami native has a prototype build to him that scouts like. His delivery will need some cleaning up and refinement of his pitches will be key.
10.335: Anthony Banda, LHP, San Jacinto College North (Tx.) – The young southpaw has grown into his current 6’3″, 175 pound frame noticeably in each of the past two years. If he continues, who knows how high his ceiling could be.
11.365: James Gainey, RHP, United States Naval Academy (Md.) – Gainey works over the top through a very smooth delivery on the bump. Doesn’t throw enough of his body into his pitches yet, so I think there’s some projectability to his fastball.
12.395: Eric Semmelhack, RHP, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – A Wisconsin native, Semmelhack has a very nice pitcher’s build at 6’5″, 230 comparable to current Brewers prospect Jimmy Nelson.
13.425: Alan Sharkey, 1B, Coral Springs HS (Fl.) – The slightly undersized first baseman managed a .435/.562/.710 slash line as a high school senior in the highly competitive Florida prep ranks.
14.455: Ryan Gibbard, RHP, Lynn University (Fl.) – A power-pitcher’s body at 6’2″, 205, Gibbard works slowly and uses an almost effortless motion on the mound. His fastball has some projection, currently topping out in the low 90s.
15.485: Buck Farmer, RHP, Georgia Tech – The 6’4″, 220-pounder has done a magnificent job for the Yellowjackets this season and was at one point projected to be a second round pick. An absolute steal for Melvin and company.
16.515: Adam Giacalone, 1B, Neosho County CC (Ks.)
17.545: Alfredo Rodriguez, SS, Maryland – A four-year starter for the Terps, Rodriguez has blazing speed that undoubtedly grades out as plus right now. He doesn’t have much power, but he’s shown to be a gap-type power to all fields. A nice pickup here in the late goings of the draft.
18.575: Hunter Adkins, RHP, Middle Tennessee State – The 6’3″, 175 pounder has struggled to command his pitches during his collegiate stay. He has the frame to succeed at the big league level but has a long ways to go with respect to his pitches.
19.605: Carlos Garmendia, 3B, Monsignor Edward Pace HS (Fl.) – Athletic and strong at 6’2″, 195, Garmendia has a pretty well rounded approach at the plate. He has strong hands and a swing with little wasted movement. Will need some time to refine his defensive mechanics but a solid pick here overall.
20.635: Michael Garza, SS, Georgetown – Garza, a two-year contributor for the Hoyas, put up an impressive .393/.433/.616 line in 53 games this season. Has some speed to his game, average power at the moment with room to grow in that area.
21.665: Austin Blaski, RHP, Marietta College (Oh.) –
22.695: Taylor Wall, LHP, Rice – Working primarly as a reliever for Rice this season, Wall posted a 3.02 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP in 28 appearances. He won’t strike out a lot of guys but he knows how to work around batters with plus control of his pitches.
23.725: Paul Eshleman, C, Cal State San Bernadino –
24.755: Michael Turay, C, Cal State Stanislaus –
25.785: Lance Roenicke, LF, UC Santa Barbara – Most of Roenicke’s playing time in college came this season, and he didn’t disappoint. Harboring a .822 OPS and extra-base hit rate of 35.4% in 210 at-bats, his power grades out as average right now but there’s room for growth without question.
26.815: Mark McCoy, LHP, Barnegat HS (NJ)
27.845: Tyler Duffie, RHP, TCU
28.875: Martin Viramontes, RHP, USC – A five-year college pitcher, the 6’5″, 225-pound Viramontes doens’t possess any eye-opening tool. He knows how to strike guys out but by that same token also struggles with walks. Tough to distinguish how the Brewers plan to move him through the system.
29.905: Bryan Saucedo, 1B, Malvern Collegiate Institute
30.935: Jonathan Armold, RHP, Flagler College (Fl.)
31.965: Brent Suter, LHP, Harvard – A power-type frame at 6’4″, 200 pounds, Suter was used as a starter in college, and he performed well. He’s shown to command his pitches and that he has the stuff to strikeout a few batters. However, he leaves the ball over the plate too much and consequently gives up the long ball on a far too often basis.
32.995: Nick Anderson, RHP, Mayville State University
33.325: Austin Hall, RHP, Brigham Young – It’s interesting that he’s listed as a pitcher, as he’s logged just one innings of college ball during his stay at BYU while performing pretty well as a left-side infielder. His best tool right now is clearly his speed.
34.1055: Tommy Burns, RHP, Don Bosco Prep HS (NJ)
35.1085: Jose Sermo, SS, Bethany College (Ks.)
36.1145: Taylor Smith-Brennan, SS, Edmonds CC (Wa.)
37.1115: Alex Mangano, C, Southwest Miami HS, (Fl.)
38.1175: Christopher Shaw, C, Holy Trinity Academy – Another round, another catcher for the Brewers. Shaw has an average arm from behind the plate and has a pretty good bat to complement it. Extremely quick hands and a nice level swing at the plate to all fields.
39.1205: Derek Jones, CF, St. Marguerite D’Youville SS
40.1235: Carles Vazquez, C, American Senior HS (Fl.)
The highly-anticipated commencement of Major League Baseball’s 2012 first-year player draft is finally over, with the first round and supplemental first round of action set to take place tonight at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
One of the biggest storyline surrounding this year’s Draft has been the clear lack of positional talent from collegiate-level prospects and the profuse abundance of high school positional players. This year’s class boasts a myriad of talented prepster that teams are likely to jump on in the early goings of the first round. Leading that crop is 18-year-old outfielder Byron Buxton—quite possibly the draft’s most intriguing prospect.
Hailing from Appling County High School (Ga.), Buxton has long been credited for having the most helium of any prospect of this year’s class — and for good reason. The 6’2″, 190-pound Georgia University commit has all the tools in the toolbox necessary to become a smash-hit at the big league level. He’s shown the capacity to hit for average and power, use his tremendous speed and athleticism whenever needed and flash a strong arm from the outfield when necessary. Buxton’s makeup has drawn comparisons to Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton.
But when it comes to drafting toolsy high schoolers, there’s always a great deal of risk involved — especially when the player is projected to be a surefire top-five pick. Many former prepsters have failed to pan out and reach their potential on the diamond, whether it be because they’re pushed through a system too fast or professional pitching simply overwhelms them from the get-go.
Regardless, Buxton clearly looks like a lock to go in the top-three. The question many are now asking is how his career could pan out. Here’s a shortened look at how the career of the 2012 draft’s most intriguing player might look like.
Ability to hit for power, average
Easily the most noticeable characteristic to Buxton’s game is his bat, which has a chance to be a lethal weapon at the big league level.
While he hasn’t flashed his power-potential in the form of home runs that much this spring, his power has revealed itself consistently at recent showcases around the country. Buxton finished second only to fellow prep outfielder Lewis Brinson in last year at Wrigley field at the Under Armour All America Game.
From a mechanical standpoint, Buxton has an advanced approach at the plate. He has some of the quickest, strongest hands of any hitter featured in this year’s class and absolutely crushes fastballs to all fields on a consistent basis. That said, he still has some room for improvement with offspeed pitches. Connor Glassey of Baseball America says that Buxton will “have to adjust to quality pitching, especially breaking balls. But as an amateur, he’s shown the ability to sit back on offspeed pitches and hit them with authority the other way.”
Given his already advanced approach at the plate and ability to make hard contact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he develops into a 20-25 home run each year type of hitter at the next level. More realistically, I’d say he’s got what it takes to hit 15-20 home runs on a yearly basis in the bigs.
Defense, Arm Strength
For as much attention as Buxton’s bat will receive as his career gets started, it’s his defensive aptitude that should get equal if more attention.
With quite possibly the Draft’s quickest feet, Buxton covers a ton of ground in the outfield. The bulk of his experience during his high school career has come as a center fielder, though if the team that drafts him has a cornerstone centerfielder already in place, it wouldn’t be surprising if they groom him to play a outfield corner position.
Aside from his ability to cover, as one scout described it, “acres of ground” in center field, Buxton also boasts one of the strongest and most accurate arms of any player in the Draft. He shown to have great accuracy as an outfield arm and, as B/R’s Mike Rosenbaum cites, “has been clocked regularly in the low-90s with plenty of carry.”
Considering his tremendous range and arm strength from the outfield, I’d say he has the makeup to be one of the best defenders in baseball — essentially a highlight-reel waiting to happen.
Arguably the most athletically gifted player featured in this year’s class, Buxton consequently possesses deadly speed that he utilizes both in center field and on the bases.
Scouts have raved over Buxton’s speed since his freshman year in high school. Baseball America’s scouts had this to say about Buxton’s elite agility:
“Buxton’s speed plays more presently, as he steals bases easily and covers acres of ground in center field. Some scouts have given him top-of-the-scale grades for both his speed (others call it well above-average) and at times for his throwing arm.”
It should be interesting to see how Buxton’s quickness and subsequent success on the bases translates to professional ball, where catchers will much more advanced compared to those he faced in high school. However, seldom do scouts describe a player’s ability to steal bases as “easy”. With some time in the minors, I’d say Buxton will have enough haste to tally 35-40 stolen bases per season in the bigs.
In a rather shallow Draft class devoid of any real transcendent talent, Buxton has separated himself from the pack in that he clearly has the most big-league potential.
His quick, strong hands provide consistent power with a lot of room to grow. Throw in the fact that his unparalleled speed allows him to cover a ton of ground in the outfield as well as steal bases, and Buxton has the makings of a legitimate five-tool prospect.
For the second straight year, the Milwaukee Brewers have the luxury of owning two first-round picks in this June’s MLB first-year player draft. The first (No. 27 overall) comes courtesy of the Detroit Tigers, who gave up their rights to their first-round pick when they signed type-A free-agent Prince Fielder last January. The second (No. 28 overall) comes by virtue of the Brewers tying for MLB’s third-best regular season record last season.
While significant improvements toward replenishing the farm system were made at last summer’s draft, general manager Doug Melvin, director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid and assistant GM Gord Ash realize fully that progress has yet to be made. Restoring a farm system that was widely ranked at or near the bottom of all organizational rankings prior to the start of the season is priority number one for the Brewers when the draft gets under way next Monday
With the draft just about here, it’s time to take one final look at a few prospects who should be available for Milwaukee to take with their late first-round picks. To view our first look, click here.
*All stats through May 28, 2012
Height/Weight: 6’5″, 220
College Commitment: Mississippi University
Signability Risk: Low
Overview: Continuing to be overlooked in a draft class that’s chock-full of high-ceiling right handed prepster, Ty Hensley is finally moving up boards as the draft draws nearer.
With the body of a power-pitcher at 6’5″, 220, the Oklahoma native relies on an impressive three-pitch combo to get batters out. The first is his fastball that sits anywhere from 92-95 MPH with spurts of 97 MPH. The second and most noticeable is his curveball, which has great 12-6 breaking action. He throws this pitch with above-average command and induces a lot of swings-and-misses. Finally, Hensley also has an average changeup that he hasn’t been forced to use a whole lot, though it does have projectability.
Will he be available?: Hensley is slated to be one of the first right-handed high schoolers off the board next Monday, most likely ending up in the No. 18-24 overall range. Right now, it’s a toss up as to whether he’s available for the Brewers to take.
Why the Brewers need him: Hensley has a very good feel for the game and has the stuff to be a back-end starter in the bigs. If that doesn’t work out, he could end up as a hard-throwing reliever out of the bullpen for Milwaukee.
Addison Russell, SS/3B, Pace (Fla.) High School
Height/Weight: 6’1″, 210
College Commitment: Auburn University
Signability Risk: High
Overview: One of the top shortstops featured in this year’s class, there are plenty of things to like about what Addison Russell brings to the table. None, however, are more appealing than his highly productive bat. The 18-year-old prepster has a very seasoned approach at the plate, integrating his quick hands to produce a lot of power — particularly to his pull side. It’s often difficult to find a high schooler with this type of power.
Predominantly a shortstop, Russell also has qualification to play third base. He has very smooth hands and feet in the field and boasts a strong arm to boot. However, questions were raised after he put on a few pounds prior to his senior season, leaving many scouts to believe he’s more suited as a future third-baseman.
There are a number of prep and collegiate shortstops featured in this year’s class that should be taken before Russell, leaving open a good possibility that he’s available for Milwaukee toward the end of the first round.
Why the Brewers need him: The Brewers need a shortstop for the future. Yadiel Rivera and Orlando Arcia have potential, but neither boast the tools that Russell owns. He’ll need some time in the minors, but Russell could turn out to be Milwaukee’s next longtime shortstop.
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 225
College: Georgia Southern University
2012 Stats: 17 AB, .412/.600/.765, 2 XBH, 1 SO/7 BB (6 GP)
Overview: A strong, athletic outfielder who’s bat is probably closer to Major League-ready than just about any other positional player in this class, Victor Roache should be at or near the top of Melvin’s draft board on day one next week. The Georgia Southern slugger has plus power, great plate discipline and versatility as a defender in the outfield.
As a sophomore for the Eagles, Roache belted 30 home runs to lead the nation and posted an absurd .452 ISO in 281 plate appearances. Though he’s missed a large chunk of this season, he’s still established himself as one of the top sluggers in this year’s class. Defensively, Roache has versatility. Though he doesn’t have barn-burning speed, he does have the range, instincts and arm to play any outfield position.
Will he be available?: Many of the most recent mock drafts I’ve read believe that Roache could be Milwaukee’s pick at No. 27 overall. All indications are that he won’t fall past the first round, so if anything, he’ll go shortly before the Brewers pick.
Why the Brewers need him: The Brewers have a surplus of outfield talent down on the farm, but none come even close to what Roache has to offer from a raw talent standpoint. He has the bat to profile in either corner outfield position, but since both are occupied by Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, he could (and should) be groomed to take the center field spot for Milwaukee.
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 180
College: Missouri State University
2012 Stats: 12 GS, 83.7 IP, 2.58 ERA, 2.31 FIP, 100 K/25 BB, .237 BAA
Overview: One of the better collegiate arms featured in this year’s class, Pierce Johnson deserves a long look from Melvin on day one of the draft. At 6’3″, 180 pounds, the Missouri State ace has the build of a middle to back-line starter at the big league level and the credible three-pitch combo to go with it.
Johnson throws a low 90s fastball that can jump up to 96 MPH when needed. He’s toyed with a cutter in the past but does have a ways to go before he can throw it with any confidence. The 20 year-old also boasts a hard-breaking curveball that misses bats frequently and a changeup that has some projectability.
Will he be available?: Though in the midst of a very productive season with the Bears, I’ve yet to see a mock draft where he’s taken before No. 30 overall. He should be available when Milwaukee is on the clock.
Why the Brewers need him: There’s no such thing as having too much young pitching, and given the Brewers’ situation on the farm, they should be keen to pick up another youngster in the first round this year. I like what Johnson has to offer and see him at the very worst as a productive reliever.
Height/Weight: 6’5″, 225
College: Jacksonville University
2012 Stats: 210 AB, .343/.426/.581, 26 XBH, 19 SB, 47 K/29 BB (56 G)
Overview: Big, physical and aggressive are all adjectives that thoroughly describe Adam Brett Walker’s approach at the plate. At 6’5″, 225, the Milwaukee native has crushed opposing pitching to the tune of a .216 ISO and .434 wOBA this season for Jacksonville University. He’s struggled with strikeouts in the past but has cleaned up his act this season, garnering a strikeout rate just north of 18 percent with a walk rate of 12.8 percent. If he keeps that up, he has a chance to be the total package as a hitter at the big league level.
Though athletic by nature — he’s a son of a former NFL running back — Walker’s athleticism doesn’t fully translate to the field. He has average range and arm strength in the outfield and has experience at first base, though doesn’t show a ton of defensive range at any position. First base should be where he eventually ends up.
Will he be available?: Walker is in the midst of a very nice all-around season and his draft stock should continue to rise as a consequence. However, I have yet to see a mock draft where he’s cracked the top 15, so there’s a pretty good chance he’s available toward the end of the first round.
Why the Brewers need him: Desperate for a cornerstone first-baseman, I believe Walker should be at the top of Doug Melvin’s board come draft day. He has some of the best raw power of any player in this draft. The fact that he is a Milwaukee native only further convinces me that he should be at or near the top of Melvin’s board come draft day.
Height/Weight: 6’4″, 195
College: Clemson University
2012 Stats: 212 AB, .344/.470/.590, 30 XBH, 7 SB, 47 K/51 BB (56 G)
Overview: In a draft class that isn’t terribly deep in power bats, Richie Shaffer has emerged as one of 2012′s best collegiate sluggers. Currently in the midst of a scintillating season at Clemson, the slender 21-year-old boasts an eye-opening .249 ISO and .459 wOBA in 254 plate appearances this season. He covers the plate well and drives the ball to all fields and has showed to have decent discipline at the plate. Scouts are excited to see how his power translates to the next level.
Schaffer has spend most of his time at the corner infield positions. He fields the ball effectively at third base though there are some questions about his range at the position, leading many to believe he projects to be more of a first-baseman.
Will he be available?: Based off what I’ve read, scouts seem unsettled about where he could end up on draft day. I’ve seen him projected as a mid first-round pick on a few occasions but have also read that he could slip to the compensation round or maybe even the second round. If I had to take my best guess, I’d say he’s still on the board when the Brewers are on the clock.
Why the Brewers need him: The Brewers have labored to replace Prince Fielder this season and will continue to do so unless something is done. I have absolutely no idea what Mat Gamel’s future holds in store and hardly any prospects ready to challenge for the position in the near future, I think Shaffer would be a tremendous pickup with a very high ceiling.
Height/Weight: 6’5″, 205
College Commitment: Louisiana State University
Signability Risk: Moderate
Overview: A physically gifted hitter with long arms and a strong frame, Gallo is probably the best power-hitter among all high school prepsters featured in this year’s class. Naturally aggressive at the plate, he is able to power the ball to all fields with consistency and moreover doesn’t draw a whole lot of walks. Gallo has solid, fluid mechanics at the plate, however, his swing does tend to get a bit long and he can over-swing on a regular basis. Still, the ball really jumps off his bat unlike any other player of this year’s class.
Gallo has spent most of his high school time at third base but also has experience at first base. But while he plays the hot corner well and has more than enough arm strength to stick at the position, it looks as though first-base should be his primary position in the bigs. He has good natural instincts at the position and his length makes him a perfect fit there.
Will he be available?: Gallo is a verbal commit to LSU, so it will probably take a early-to-middle round pick to make him forgo his collegiate career. That said, I’ve seen a number of mock drafts suggesting that he could still be available for Milwaukee to take at No. 27 or No. 28 overall.
Why the Brewers need him: With the Brewers desperate for a long-term solution at first-base, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Melvin persuade him into signing with Milwaukee.
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 220
College: Georgia Southern University
2012 Stats: 14 GS, 95 IP, 3.79 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 107 K/26BB, .286 BAA
Overview: Now in his third season with Georgia Southern, Chris Beck has garnered a reputation for being one of the biggest strikeout artists in college baseball. As a sophomore last season, Beck punched out over nine hitters per nine innings pitched. He’s improved that thus far in 2012, currently striking out over 10 batters every nine innings pitched.
Beck has the perfect frame to be a mid rotation guy at the next level and three solid pitches in a mid to low 90s fastball, 12-6 bending curveball and average changeup. He does tend to rely on his fastball in order to set up his other pitches, though, so he has his work cut out for him with respect to his secondary pitches at the next level.
The biggest level of concern for Beck at this juncture seems to be his command. While he does bear great strikeout abilities, he does tend to leave the ball over the plate. Consequently, he’s held batters to just a .286 BA with a disconcerting .375 BABIP this season.
Will he be available?: I have yet to find a mock draft where Beck is taken higher than No. 25 overall, so there’s a good shot he’s available for Milwaukee to take at the end of round one.
Why the Brewers need him: The Brewers took two collegiate starters at last summer’s draft, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe they won’t look to add at least one more this year. If that’s the case, Beck looks the part of an end of the rotation starter or maybe a very effective bullpen arm. Beck has a pretty high ceiling as an overall pitcher, and hopefully Melvin realizes that on draft day.
Height/Weight: 6’6″, 200
College Commitment: University of Miami
Signability Risk: Moderate
Overview: Tall, lanky and full of potential, Walker Weickel comes into the 2012 draft as one of the nation’s most touted high school right-handers. His size, mound presence and three-pitch repertoire should make him one of the first prepsters to be taken in this year’s draft.
Weickel features a mid to low 90s fastball that he throws with good command to both sides of the plate and a big, slow-bending curveball that has some projectability. He repeats his delivery pretty well and fools hitters regularly with his changeup as a consequence. Overall, his easy arm action right now portends that he could add some velocity down the road.
Will he be available?: Many mock drafts that I’ve read over the past few days lead me to believe he will definitely be available for Milwaukee toward the end of the first round.
Why the Brewers need him: As the draft inches closer by the day, the more I’m convinced Melvin will look to pair a high school pitcher with a college bat. The Brewers loaded up on college hurlers last summer, so this year seems like the perfect one to nab a prepster with a high ceiling. If they do, I believe Weickel should be their guy.
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195
College: Stanford University
2012 Stats: 209 AB, .335/.425/.488, 19 XBH, 4 SB, 17 K/27 BB (51 G)
Overview: Currently a two-way player at Stanford both as a reliever and an everyday third baseman, many believe Stephen Piscotty’s future in the big leagues lies with his bat — its easy to see why. Now in his third season with the Cardinal, the prototype infielder boasts a solid .157 ISO and .407 wOBA in 207 at-bats. His smooth swing generates good bat speed and is able to drive the ball to all fields. One of the biggest qualities to his game is that his plate discipline is well beyond his years. He sees the ball very well and maintains great pitch-recognition.
Though primarily a third baseman, Piscotty has the ability and experience playing first base and in the outfield. He has the strong arm necessary to make all the throws from the hot corner and could probably even play right field if needed.
Will he be available?: Piscotty has been tearing up the competition this year, and is draft stock has only continued to rise. His quality bat is one of the best in this class, so barring some unforeseen circumstance, he’ll probably be off the board when the Brewers go on the clock.
Why the Brewers need him: Even with Aramis Ramirez holding down the fort for the next few seasons, Milwaukee needs a line-drive hitting third baseman of the future. Piscotty would be able to develop in enough time for Milwaukee to promote him at the end of Ramirez’s contract, so this could turn out to be the ideal situation for the Brewers.
Major League Baseball’s 2012 first-year player draft is, believe it or not, just over three weeks away, with the first round of action set to kick off on Monday, June 4 and the 50th and final round set to wrap up on Wednesday, June 6.
But if you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, however, odds are you’ve been anticipating the commencement of the 2012 draft for some time now.
This year, the Brewers have the luxury of owning two first-round picks (No. 27 and No. 28 overall) for the second straight year. Last summer, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash annexed collegiate phenom starters Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley with their two top-15 picks, both of whom are expected to race through the system in the coming years.
Who are the Brewers planning to target at this June’s draft? Jim Callis, executive director of Baseball America, wrote earlier last week that Milwaukee has set its first-round sights on two positional prep players in shortstop Addison Russell and third-baseman Joey Gallo.
Who are these two youngsters and what do they have to offer? Let’s go in-depth and try to answer those very questions.
Height: 6’1″, 210 pounds
“After including Alcides Escobar in the Zack Greinke trade, Milwaukee needs a shortstop, and Florida prepster Addison Russell has a better chance to stick at the position after dropping 20 pounds since last summer. With his plus speed, he could develop along the lines of J.J. Hardy—the last Brewers shortstop to reach the All-Star Game. The Brewers get back-to-back picks, with this one coming from the Tigers as compensation for signing Prince Fielder.”
“Callis makes a great point — the Brewers are and will be in desperate need for a young shortstop for the future. Alex Gonzalez was an okay pickup in free-agency, though I didn’t expect anyone to remain content with his aging glove directing the infield. The Brewers are dry on the farm with respect to shortstops, additionally. Yadiel Rivera has improved his game minimally in his first few years in the system and he really struggles to hit for power or average. I agree that drafting Russell would be a very smart move.”
Video Breakdown and Mini-Scouting Report
Hitting: I haven’t had a chance to see him play in person, but based off what I’ve seen in a number of short clips, he looks like the real deal at the plate. Very quick hands, able to drive the ball to all corners of the field. Plus power for a middle infielder coming right out of high school; some of that stems from his pre-load, the rest stems from his hand and wrist speed.
The snapshots below break down Russell’s swing. He starts out in an athletic stance, feet spread out slightly wider than his shoulders. He keeps his hands in tight to his body and doesn’t have much wasted movement. Keeping his hands in on an apparent inside pitch, he gets his bat in a downward angle to induce good bottom-spin. Russell keeps his head down on the ball after he makes contact, which shows he’s either had good coaching or he’s a natural at the plate (probably a combination of both). The biggest takeaway of this snapshots, for me, is his great balance. He keeps his back straight throughout the swing.
Defense: Though primarily a shortstop, Russell can also play third base and second base. Very smooth from his hands to his feet, he obviously knows the importance of having quick hands as an infielder. I’ve read that he has very good speed, so if you couple that with his natural abilities as a utility infielder, I think he has a chance to excel defensively at the next level.
Overall Assessment: Unlike last year, this year’s class isn’t a very deep one. High school prep players significantly outnumber the elite college talent available. Thus, the Brewers will have to be absolutely sold on who they choose with their back-to-back picks. Still, the need for a shortstop may be the most pressing issue for Melvin and Ash at this year’s draft. After breaking down Russell’s game, I’m convinced that, if still on the board at No. 27, they should pull the trigger. He has a seasoned, lethal bat for his age and can develop into a versatile glove in the infield.
Height/Weight: 6’5″, 205 pounds
“Milwaukee struck it rich with a big-bodied high school slugger in Prince Fielder in 2002’s first round, and could hope for a repeat with another in Nevada prep third baseman Joey Gallo. He has as much raw power as anyone in this draft, and offers a fallback option as a pitcher with a fastball that has been clocked up to 98 mph.”
“While I won’t go as far as to say that Gallo compares to Fielder as an all-around baseball player, I can’t argue with what the youngster has to offer as far as power. The 6’5″, 205-pounder has unambiguous power when he pulls the ball, though he can also go to the opposite field and strut his slugging capacity. The Brewers are dangerously low with respect to positional prospects, and selecting Gallo — one of the most touted offensive forces of this year’s class — seems like the ideal pickup.”
Video Breakdown and Mini-Scouting Report
Hitting: As with Addison Russell, I haven’t gotten any chance to see Gallo play in person, so my personal opinions are based off what I see in various online clips and what professional scouts have to say. However, you don’t have to watch him in person to realize he’s got some real pop to his bat — when he really gets around and into a pitch, the ball absolutely flies off his bat.
The multiple snapshots below are an attempt to break down Gallo’s notoriously power-packed swing. Pre-pitch, Gallo is in a very balanced, athletic stance, with his hands high and very close to his helmet — the ideal starting point for any hitter coming out of the high school ranks. On a pitch that looks like it could very well be right in the center of the plate, he is able to get great extension and drive the ball with authority. He keeps his head down on the ball after making initial contact, a sign of a very seasoned young hitter. His back finishes a bit arched but that’s more a product of his tremendous bat speed — plenty of players do this and succeed at the big league level.
Defense: While Gallo is obviously a physically strong hitter, he is also a fairly good athlete in the field given his long frame. He looks like he has the potential to play either corner infield positions, though I’ve been told he has much more experience playing the hot corner up to this point. I like what he has to offer at first base, however. He looks like he has very good instincts at that position and his long frame would be perfect at the big league level.
Overall Assessment: Gallo is clearly one of the most well-rounded players of this year’s class. He has tremendous hitting capabilities at the plate (most notably his tremendous power), high school accolades and defensive prowess that teams would love to watch develop in their system. After loading up on pitchers at last summer’s draft, selecting a guy like Gallo would be the optimal pick. He’s a commitment to Louisiana State, though, so it remains to be seen if he’ll sign-on with Milwaukee at No. 28.
On Tuesday, the fate of former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder was essentially sealed, when news broke over his reported nine-year, $214 Million contract with the Detroit Tigers. The total value of Fielder’s new deal — that will make him a Tiger through 2020 — is said to be the fourth-highest in MLB free-agent history, finishing just behind Albert Pujols’ 10-year, $240 Million offseason deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
While it’s clear that Fielder’s decision not to return to Milwaukee will prove detrimental to the Brewers’ offensive firepower for the prospective future, it should be noted that since Fielder turned down GM Doug Melvin’s arbitration offer last month, the Brewers will receive Detroit’s first-round pick (27th overall) in next June’s draft, as well as compensatory pick sandwiched between the first-round and the second-round.
MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweeted earlier today:
Milwaukee had already maintained the 28th overall selection in next summer’s draft, and with Detroit’s pick, they’ll have the unique opportunity to have back-to-back draft picks — an opportunity that should and will not be wasted.
Last June, the Brewers utilized their two first-round selections to pick up Texas RHP Taylor Jungmann at twelfth overall and Georgia Tech LHP Jed Bradley at fifteenth overall, adding much-need young pitching talent to what was arguably Major League Baseball’s worst farm system. Both are highly touted prospects who are expected to skip rookie-ball as well as low-A ball to start their first professional seasons in high-A Brevard County.
So while Fielder’s exit may sting for a while, it shouldn’t take long for Brewers fans to look into the future with great anticipation. Seldom to opportunities to have two first-round draft picks come along, and even fewer chances are there at having back-to-back first-round selections.
Granted, the Brewers do have a ways to go in terms of getting their farm system back on track. However, it’s conceivable that the addition of three more young, reputable pitchers to their system this summer will put the Brewers right back to where they were before selling the farm for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum last winter.
Only time will tell how management decides to use their back-to-back selections. Stay tuned to Brewers Rumors in the coming days for potential draft picks this June.