Early Look: Milwaukee Brewers Draft Big Board


Mandatory Credit : Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the first week of the MLB season almost under our belts, let us just take a second to appreciate the fact that baseball is officially back. Opening Day at Miller Park was great, as always. A packed parking lot full of Brewers fans, music, barbecue grills, and the smell of port-a-potties and beer all mixed together into the aroma we know as Milwaukee Brewers baseball.

This season, nine of the players on the 25-man roster were drafted/signed internationally by the Brewers. (Ryan Braun in 2005, Jonathan Lucroy in 2007, Khris Davis in 2009, Scooter Gennett in 2009, Rickie Weeks in 2003, Logan Schafer in 2008, Yovani Gallardo in 2004, Wily Peralta in 2005 as an amateur free agent, and Tyler Thornburg in 2010). That being said, believe it or not we are just two months away from the June First-Year Player Draft where we will hopefully add a few names that will live up to the Ryan Brauns and the Yovani Gallardos of the team. To give you an idea of who the Brewers could select in the first few rounds, here are some players that are likely on the Brewers Big Board radar.

Round 1, Pick 12:


Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford

Sean is a south paw flamethrower that has turned many heads leading up to this year’s draft. During his Perfect Game workouts, he was topping his fastball at 97 MPH. That’s incredible velocity not only for a pitcher his age, but for a lefty, as well. Sean set a school record of 92 strikeouts over 72 innings last season. He has a decent four-pitch arsenal. As mentioned above, his fastball tops out at 97 but regularly sits between 90 and 94. He also has a slider that sits in the mid-80s. He’s currently working on improving his curveball and changeup. The Brewers have longed for a lefty of his caliber in their farm system. He’d be an outstanding pick at 12 overall. MLB comparison: LHP Chris Sale

Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood H.S. (Fla.)

Sean is probably the most consistent pitcher in this draft with the highest ceiling outside of Carlos Rodon, Tyler Beede, and Jeff Hoffman. Much like Newcomb, Foley has four pitches he can throw for strikes. He showed great stuff during his Perfect Game outing at Petco Field. He has a low to mid-90s fastball and tops out at 95 MPH. He has good break on his slider. He also mixes in a curveball and a sinking changeup. He projects to be a solid No. 3 stater in the big leagues. He went 7-4 with a 0.86 ERA last season and had 137 strikeouts over 81 innings. Finally, hitters only mounted to a .120 batting average against him last season. MLB comparison: RHP Zack Greinke

Nick Burdi, RHP, Louisville

Burdi is an interesting guy. He can top 100 MPH regularly with the fastball, but only projects as a closer in the big leagues. Receiving comparisons such as the right handed Chapman and the next Kimbrel, he has to be on the radar. One major concern is that once Nick focuses on his control more, he’ll lose a lot of velocity. Regardless, with the velocity he possesses, he has a good chance at overpowering hitters at the big league level. MLB comparison: RHP Craig Kimbrel

Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 41:

Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove H.S. (Ca.)

Hill is probably one of the most athletically sound players in this draft class. One scout even said, “He does it all.” He ran a 6.4 60 yard dash at the Perfect Game National event. He “glides” in center field and has a plus arm that is the most advanced compared to the other outfielders in this draft class. He’s described as one of the best pure defenders in this class. With the combination of his fast feet, bat speed, and ability to hit line drives, he has what it takes to be a great hitter at the major league level. As his body matures, he will add muscle to his body for some extra power. MLB comparison: OF Carlos Gomez

J.D. Davis, 1B/RHP, Cal State Fullerton

Davis is a power hitter who was drafted by the Rays three years ago out of high school but didn’t sign and attended Cal State Fullerton instead. Davis is one of the better combination players in the draft as he projects to be a first baseman as well as a pitcher. As a first baseman, he possesses raw power and an average glove with little speed to him who owns the plate enough to potentially hit for average. As a relief pitcher, his fastball sits in the low to mid-90s while his slider in the low 80s. The Brewers need to keep the pipeline full of first basemen as the ones they’ve previously drafted haven’t panned out exactly. MLB comparison: 1B Nick Swisher

Jakson Reetz, C, Norris H.S. (Neb.)

This is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. Jakson is a Top 50 player who has a chance to be there when the Brewers pick at 41. One scout says Jakson is “elegant behind the plate.” He is projected as a catcher and doesn’t really have a secondary position but likely could play first base.  He doesn’t have the power to be a cleanup hitter, but would fit nicely in a lineup either as a number two hitter or somewhere in the middle. Reetz has above average speed for a catcher, which is somewhat rare for that position. Also, here’s a Day in the Life of Jakson Reetz. MLB Comparison: C Yan Gomes (with speed)

Round 2, Pick 51:

Keaton McKinney, RHP Ankeny H.S. (Iowa)

Keaton is a first base/pitcher combo but projects to be a pitcher when he turns pro. He has one of the more impressive fastballs in the draft. Not only does it have decent speed (sits between 90-93), but it also has great sink and run on batters. Keaton also possesses the best changeup of all the prospects in this draft. He throws his changeup with the exact same arm speed as his fastball and has a beautiful fade to it. If he can develop his curveball and slider a bit, he has a chance to be a very good starting pitching prospect. If not, he’ll be a relief pitcher in the big leagues. MLB Comparison: RHP Rich Harden

Alex Verdugo, LHP/OF, Sahuaro H.S. (Ariz.)

Alex is an all around great baseball player. Out of all of the dual-athletes, Alex is probably the one that is closest to being a split player where scouts don’t know what teams will draft him as. He projects to either be a everyday right fielder or a No. 3 starter in a rotation. He hit 20 dingers last season with a .285 batting average. As a pitcher, he has a fastball that sits around 92 MPH and a decent curve and changeup. Scouts believe if he focuses on pitching, he can increase his velocity on his fastball. MLB comparisons: OF Jayson Werth or LHP Alex Wood

Jeren Kendall, OF, Holman H.S. (Wis.)

Yup, a Sconnie prospect. He shows a great bat for only being in high school. He is an above average defender in the outfield with a very strong arm. He isn’t projected to hit for much power but if he can build his frame up a bit he will be a very good line drive hitter with decent pop. His father is Jeremey Kendall, who reached Double-A ball in the Phillies organization, so Jeren has had a great teacher his whole life. He is one of the fastest prospects in this draft class. MLB comparison: OF Scott Podsednik

Michael Kopech, RHP, Mt. Pleasant H.S. (Texas)

Michael simply has one of the best breaking balls in this draft. It is described to have slider velocity and curveball break. He is a lanky 6′ 4″ and will fill out his frame as he ages. His fastball is his other above average pitch that sits up near 94 MPH. If his changeup and control keep on improving, he’ll be a middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues. MLB comparison: RHP Tim Lincecum

The Brewers have four picks that fall in the Top 100 of this year’s draft (12, 41, 51, and 86). That will definitely make up for not having a first round pick last year when we gave it up to sign Kyle Lohse. As a small market team, the Brewers need to do a better job at respecting the importance of draft picks. This year was a great improvement when we signed Matt Garza without forfeiting a pick. Hopefully a trend has started.