We’re just about one week away from the 2017 MLB Draft and the Milwaukee Brewers own the ninth, 34th, and 46th picks on the first night. We’ve already previewed the first base position and now we move to shortstops. Which shortstop prospect could be joining the Brewers? Here are three names that Milwaukee could call on draft night.
Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns has made a point of adding talent up the middle of the field. Even with the emergence of former top prospect Orlando Arcia, organizational depth at the shortstop position is strong. So why add more to a position that’s already strong? Shortstops can be turned into second basemen, third basemen, or outfielders. They can be converted into almost any position. Stearns is aiming to add as much talent as he can, regardless of where they played in college or high school.
No one outside of the Milwaukee Brewers’ war room really knows what prospects Stearns and Scouting Director Tod Johnson want. Based on MLBPipeline’s rankings of the top draft prospects, there are a couple guys you would think they’d like. Starting with…
Royce Lewis, SS/OF, JSerra Catholic (Calif.) HS
If Lewis is still on the board at the ninth overall pick, the Brewers should be running to the podium to draft him. I wouldn’t expect him to be there at nine, but you never know with the MLB Draft. Lewis is ranked as the fifth-best draft prospect and could go as early as the third overall pick.
The speedy UC-Irvine commit doesn’t have much power, but he barrels the ball well and hits the gaps. His arm strength is fringy, leading some scouts to believe a move to the outfield could be in his future. Lewis is one of the top high school bats in this draft and will hit for a high average.
Lewis’ plus athleticism will boost his potential on both offense and defense. It could also allow him to stay at the shortstop position. Lewis has all the tools the Stearns wants and would make a great fit in the organization, but he is unlikely to fall to the Brewers.
Logan Warmoth, SS, North Carolina
When it comes to Warmoth’s tools, he’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none-type player. There’s no tool that really stands out as great, but there isn’t one that he’s bad at either. Warmoth is ranked as the 27th draft prospect and should be the first college middle infielder taken.
Warmoth won’t go at ninth overall, but if he falls to the 34th pick, don’t be surprised if he’s selected by the Brewers. He went to the same high school as former Brewers first round pick Rickie Weeks and current Brewer Nick Franklin.
This year, Warmoth has hit .342/.409/.567 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs. He has walked 27 times and has 45 strikeouts. He’s stolen 18 bases and has only been caught three times. Warmoth controls the zone hits the ball to all fields and is an overall solid hitter to have in the lineup. He should hit 12-15 long balls a year at the Major League level.
He has good instincts for the position, but his range and arm strength could move him to second base.
Jeter Downs, SS, Monseignor Pace (Fla.) HS
The draft prospect literally named after one of the greatest shortstops to play the game is, unsurprisingly, a shortstop. Downs is a good defensive shortstop with an above-average arm and good range.
The draft’s 37th best prospect is projected to go in the CBA Round or early Round 2, which is exactly where the Milwaukee Brewers will be picking. Downs is committed to the University of Miami.
Downs is a five-tool player that can basically do it all. He consistently barrels balls and his power should increase as he develops. He’ll be able to steal extra bases due to his speed, instincts and aggressive nature.
The Milwaukee Brewers have been said to like a lot of high school players in this draft and that makes Downs a highly possible selection if he’s available. Of all three of these players, Downs is most likely to become a Brewer. Lewis and Warmoth need to have a considerable fall in the draft to join the Crew, but Downs fits right in the sweet spot.
There are several quality high school players in this draft, but not very many college guys at the top of the draft. Which could lead to the Brewers going with a lot of prep players early on. In 2014, the Brewers went with three high upside prep players to start the draft and I could see the same here in 2017.