The first night of the MLB Draft has concluded. The Milwaukee Brewers made three selections on the night and they were surprising to say the least. Let’s take a look at the picks.
Well, this was unexpected. No one saw this coming as there was not a single link of Hiura to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was gaining some steam as a potential selection at fifth or sixth overall as a below slot player. He wasn’t regarded as a top-10 player, but the team will use the savings on players later in the draft.
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The Milwaukee Brewers thought he was the best college bat in the draft, and they don’t seem to be alone in that assessment. He hits for a good average, but doesn’t have too much power. He also struggled with swing-and-miss issues this season.
There are a couple of red flags on Hiura. He’s had a recurring elbow injury since 2015 and it’s only gotten worse. Doctors believe Hiura will need Tommy John surgery. He’ll be out at least a year if he undergoes surgery. Because he was unable to throw a baseball this season, the Brewers weren’t able to see him play defensively and had to go back to game tape from high school to get a feeling of his defensive skills.
Because he’s been unable to throw, Hiura lacks a long-term defensive home. He plays some outfield and also plays second base a little, but it’s extremely confusing to see him as the selection. Hiura has major injury issues and there were plenty of other players that were healthy and available when the selection was made.
The Brewers take two outfielders out of their Minor League system and decide to add two more. Yes, more outfielders! The Brewers won’t stop until they have signed every single outfielder that has ever played the game of baseball!
That’s an exaggeration, but only slightly.
Lutz looks like an expensive sign since he is committed to the University of Texas. That explains what the team will do with the savings from the Hiura pick.
Lutz has potential 30-homer power, but also hits for a high average and plays well in the outfield. He projects to be a right fielder at the pro level due to his strong throwing arm. It’ll take some tweaks to his batting stance and swing to unlock his full potential. This high school bat may be a bit farther away from the Major League lineup than most fans would like. But he looks like a steal in the compensation round.
You know what they say…”When life gives you Lemons…make him your second round pick.” Well, it goes something like that. I’m sure Lemons is tired of hearing that joke, but we’ll make it anyway.
Lemons was not expected to go this early as MLBPipeline.com ranked him as the 77th best prospect overall. However, he went off the board at pick 46 by the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s committed to Mississippi and obviously the Brewers believe he’ll sign.
He’s 6’6″ and has a low three-quarters arm slot that he struggles to repeat. His fastball has topped out as high as 97 MPH, but his off-speed stuff is lacking. There’s certainly a lot of development left to happen with Lemons if he’s going to be a starter at the next level. They need to fix his mechanics and finish developing his off-speed pitches.
He seems destined for the bullpen given the issues with his secondary offerings. He may end up going to college regardless as it looked that way heading into the spring. The Brewers seem determined to not allow that to happen.
Both Lemons and Hiura are head-scratchers, honestly. It looks like the Brewers reached for both of them as there were other highly regarded players available at both spots. Lutz is a great value pick even though he is an outfielder. Brewers fans likely would have preferred a different position but he figures to have the most potential of any of these picks on day 1.
It’s impossible to fully grade this draft and these picks until a few years down the road, but a lot of it will be pinned on what happens to Keston Hiura.
The draft continues Tuesday at noon with rounds 3-10. The MLB Draft will finish up on Wednesday starting at 11 AM with rounds 11-40. The draft is only available on MLB.com as the Milwaukee Brewers finish up their 2017 draft class.