The Milwaukee Brewers 2017 draft class put a lot of different talent on display this year. The hitters showed out well, however the pitchers found their share of struggles.
Recently, I dove into draft picks that are showing promising early returns. That being said, there are a pair of Milwaukee Brewers pitching draftees who still have the best to come. Both Caden Lemons and Brendan Murphy were drafted out of high school, but have the potential to dazzle once they adjust.
That leaves the question of how good can these young guys be?
There are two main reasons Lemons did not make the list of top performing draft picks. One reason is that he only played three games totaling 2.2 innings. The other reason is his 6.75 ERA. On the side of fairness, that translates to giving up two runs.
According to MLB Pipeline the Milwaukee Brewers second round pick is their 20th ranked prospect. What is perhaps most intriguing about Lemons is his size. Officially listed at 6’6″, he has a lot of potential based purely on that. In addition to his 175 pound weigh in shows room for the 18 year old to fill out the frame.
The same profile describes his arm slot as a low three quarters. This creates sink on a fastball that can reach 97 MPH. The knock for him is that he has trouble repeating that arm slot. That means there is an inconsistent delivery, and it will effect his offspeed pitches. Lemons will feature a curveball and slider along with a changeup. The curve grades out as his best secondary pitch.
As it stands, Lemons grades out as a middle to back end starter. Frankly, if he add weight he will exceed that. It is hard to grade out an 18 year old who is still filling out a large frame. The inconsistent arm slot is just a lanky, hard to control, build. Once filled out it will create a more controlled delivery. There is no saying how good that can make him. It could even raise his velocity.
Lemons is a very intriguing draft pick. He wouldn’t be a second round pick if he didn’t project well. And with his size, power, and arm slot, he can be a very tough nut to crack. There is just a learning curve. Though his appearances are limited, he seems to potential successful closer.
Two rounds later the Milwaukee Brewers grabbed another big pitcher in Murphy. Except this selection throws from the left side. Adding a whole new dynamic and value to the fourth rounder. After being the top recruit from the state of Illinois, he found himself with a 6.19 ERA through 16 innings.
While Murphy is not as tall as Lemons, he is still 6’4″ and more filled out already at 200 pounds. He sits ranked as the 27th prospect in the Brewer organization. The good thing, though, is that both of these pitchers overalls grade out to be the same. Both are projected at 45 on the 20-80 scale. This means neither project as even an average MLB pitcher, which would be 50.
Again, it is hard to project an 18 year old. Murphy too can blossom into much better than this grade. He is a great build from the left side. That gives him the natural arm side run on the fastball, which tops at 93. But he adds in a solid changeup with great arm action and a developing breaking pitch.
He projects more as a starter than Lemons if he can develop that breaking pitch. Big lefties are valuable. Murphy just needs to figure out how to be successful at this level. Coming from high school makes the transition just a little bit harder.