It’s no secret that the Brewers’ draft ideology under the late Bruce Seid was focused heavily on drafting high-floor, lower-ceiling college pitchers.
The former Brewers scouting director was integral to the selections of college arms like Eric Arnett, Kyle Heckathorn, Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, and Jed Bradley.
These pitchers were selected not as likely future aces, but more as reliable, back-end pitchers who were expected to fulfill their projections and work their way quickly to the Majors.
But as several of these “safe” picks failed or spent much more time than expected in the minors, Seid fell under increased scrutiny.
Perhaps taking these struggles to heart, Seid’s final draft left the Brewers on a high note, with the Crew selecting high school pitcher Kodi Medeiros in the first round, as well as high-ceiling hitters in Jake Gatewood and Monte Harrison.
Seid’s untimely death was a shock to the Brewers’ system, and it is incredibly unfortunate that he wasn’t able to see his final draftees achieve early success, after he committed so much of his life to the organization.
In my opinion, Medeiros had one of the best years for a pitcher in the Brewers’ system in 2015, despite a high ERA (his FIP was 2.96). Among Timber Rattlers, only Devin Williams held opposing hitters to a lower batting average. Opponents slashed just .228/.322/.274 against Medeiros, even with a .311 BABIP working against him.
The prospect’s low arm slot helped him dominate his fellow lefties, who posted just a .521 OPS against him as a whole.
And all of this was while Medeiros was an 18 and 19 year old in Low-A ball. According to Baseball Reference, of the 400 plate appearances compiled against Medeiros in 2015, just two featured a hitter younger than himself.
The teenager’s repertoire features a fastball with excellent run and sink, a slider with absurd lateral movement, and a developing changeup, that many scouts feel will be at least an average pitch. Medeiros had previously chatted with us at Reviewing the Brew, almost exactly a year before this interview.
All parentheticals were added after the interview for clarity’s sake.
Last year at this time you told (former RtB editor) Kyle that the aspects of your game that you most wanted to improve were your command and your changeup. How do you feel you did at improving in those areas in 2015?
I feel my command improved from my 2014 season. I cut down on my walks this past 2015 season. I still want to continue to improve on my overall command. I also feel my changeup command improved a lot since my 2014 season. I used it a lot more and had a lot more confidence throwing it. My feel for my changeup has developed a lot more.
Do you have new or different goals for the 2016 season?
My goals for the 2016 season are that I want to lower my walk to inning ratio and just better my overall command of my three pitch mix. I want to work on my pick off move a lot more this year so that I develop a good pick off move to first. I also want to have a healthy 2016 season.
You had excellent peripherals in 2015, but some rotten luck with runners on base (.325 BABIP). Did you feel like you were getting tough breaks throughout the year? If so, how did you respond?
Yes I agree. My main thing I needed to focus on with runners on base was “damage control.” I feel as though I didn’t do as well of a job as I could have done in my 2015 season. When I have runners on base or in scoring position I need to do a better job of executing my pitches to get myself out of it.
You were one of just five minor league pitchers in 2015 to pitch at least 90 innings and give up zero home runs. Why do you think this is? Did you have any close calls?
I think I did a good job keeping the ball low in the zone. As well as when it was a fastball count, I think I just managed to keep the ball down in the zone when (the opposing hitter) knew what was coming. Most of the time my fastball has downward and arm side run to it. I don’t remember if I had any close calls last year.
You pitched in 25 games with 16 starts. Was this a part of an innings limit? Is there a similar plan in place for 2016?
Yes. At the second half of the season my innings were limited. The first half I threw 60 innings, and then in the second half I threw 33 innings. As of now I’m not sure what the plan for 2016 is.
One last question: Were there any challenges pitching in the Wisconsin weather versus your career in Hawaii and Arizona? Do you think pitching in Florida will be more comfortable?
Yes, it was difficult at times at the beginning of the season. I just had to adjust and pitch because everyone else was playing in the same conditions. If I make the Florida team this year, I will feel more comfortable pitching because I don’t have to worry about the cold. It will be a lot like Hawaii. Florida actually gets hotter than Hawaii.
Thanks so much for your time, Kodi. Best of luck this season. Hopefully we can catch up again this time next year.
Thank you, I appreciate it. Yes for sure.