The MLB Draft is rapidly approaching and our position preview series for this draft will conclude with right handed pitchers. We’ve previewed first base, shortstop, outfield, and southpaws so far along with a general primer. Now we turn our attention to the right handed pitchers at the top of the draft that could attract the attention of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com recently wrote about the Brewers’ approach heading into this draft and is well worth a read. Basically McCalvy writes that not much has changed rumor-wise surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers draft plans. There are still 10-12 players under serious consideration for the ninth pick in the draft.
One has to think there are at least some right-handed pitchers in that 12-player mix. Scouting Director Tod Johnson admitted that a bunch of players under consideration won’t last until the Brewers selection. The team will still be prepared in case they fall into their laps.
There’s a couple of righties at the top of the draft in Hunter Greene and Kyle Wright, but they will not be available by the time the Brewers are on the clock. So what are the next best options for right handed pitchers? There’s three that could conceivably all be available at the ninth selection, based on MLB.com’s prospect rankings and current mock drafts.
J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina
Not long ago, it seemed like Bukauskas was a lock to be drafted by Oakland at six overall. But now, his stock has taken a bit of a hit after a poor outing in the NCAA Regionals. His overall season has still been great, pitching to a 2.53 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 37 walks in 92 2/3 IP.
Bukauskas has incredible upside with his two plus-plus pitches in his fastball and slider. He possesses a mid-90s fastball with movement and pairs it with a mid-80s slider that embarrasses hitters. His changeup is coming along and should be at least average at the next level.
Scouts can’t decide on whether he stays in the rotation or moves to the bullpen. He uses a lot of effort in his delivery and could lead to issues if he stays in a rotation. If he does move to the bullpen, Bukauskas has the arsenal and potential to be a closer.
Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
According to a recent mock draft by Jonathan Mayo, Faedo is one of those 10-12 players in the mix for the Milwaukee Brewers. Florida’s Friday night starter has had an excellent season, pitching to a 2.70 ERA in 16 starts. He has struck out 123 hitters and issued 34 walks. His walk rate has increased slightly compared to last year, but most of his numbers are consistent.
Faedo’s fastball sits in the 90-94 MPH range and his slider is devastating. He also has a good feel for his changeup and it should be a solid pitch for him in the future. At 6’5″ and 225 lbs, Faedo has the build to be a Major League starter.
Faedo has a high floor and he could eventually reach his ceiling as a #2 starter in the Major Leagues. But he will be able to contribute as a middle of the rotation arm at worst. The Milwaukee Brewers passed on a University of Florida pitcher last year when A.J. Puk fell into their laps after potentially going first overall, and went with Corey Ray instead. But this year, Faedo may be too much to pass up when the ninth pick rolls around.
Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran HS (TX)
Baz may have the best arsenal of any high school pitcher in this class. His fastball sits in the 92-96 range, but reaches 98 MPH with a ton of movement. Also, he throws a cutter, slider, curveball, and changeup that could all turn into above average pitches.
Baz can consistently throw strikes and has great stuff. Scouts love his maturity and physicality and he should go in the top half of the first round. He has the upside of a frontline, top-of-the-rotation starter in the Major Leagues and that should entice teams to draft him early.
One issue in drafting Baz is signability. Jonathan Mayo reports that Baz could fall due his commitment to TCU. Every year there are some players who could go early but fall completely out of the first two days of the draft due to signability concerns. But the Brewers have pried a big armed Texas High School pitcher away from a TCU commitment before. That pitcher was Yovani Gallardo, and he turned out to be pretty good.
If the Milwaukee Brewers do decide to draft Baz, they must feel fairly confident they can sign him away from that commitment. He will likely command an above slot deal. The Brewers may not want to do that and could choose one of the other college arms instead who don’t have any signability concerns.
As previously stated, there are plenty of options for the Milwaukee Brewers’ ninth selection but there haven’t been any new rumors. The Brewers like to keep things close to the chest when it comes to the draft. Be on the lookout for a final, complete draft preview before things get underway on Monday night.