The 2018 draft order is set, and the Milwaukee Brewers hold the 21st overall pick.
It is quite the improvement from last season, which landed the Milwaukee Brewers with the ninth overall selection. Not that getting Keston Hiura is bad by any means. But Baseball America released a way too early 2018 mock draft that can be found here.
The earliest prediction brings Will Banfield to the Crew, a 6’0″ 200 pound catcher out of Brookwood High School in Georgia. It is not often to see such a young backstop taken in the first round. The last time it happened was in 2015, when the Cincinnati Reds took Tyler Stephenson 11th overall. So far, he is a career .261 hitter without surpassing A ball.
To put it more into perspective, the last high school catcher taken in the first round to make it to the MLB is C.J. Cron, who was the Angels 17th overall pick in 2011. Blake Swihart also was selected out of high school by the Red Sox that year 26th overall.
So, even with the talent and potential of Banfield it could be a few years before he is in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. But, with a solid farm system there is time for that to happen.
Baseball America does a great job with information about the high schooler. According to them, he is the 10th best high school draft prospect. Not too bad a ranking. They also provide a way to get to know Banfield via a Q&A.
But the question remains, how does he play? There is a video provided that shows off his swing. What is clearly noticeable is how smooth his hands are through the zone, and how well he transfers his weight through the ball.
Banfield uses a modified leg kick, much like Jose Bautista, to time his weight transfer. Although Banfield’s is not quite as flashy. Overall it is a very good swing that will project very well throughout professional play.
There is one immediately noticeable hitch that isn’t detrimental, but can improve. Banfield doesn’t finish his swing the same way every time. By that I mean sometimes it is a two hand finish, sometimes one. There is no reasoning to each, but it brings of questions of repeatable mechanics.
His hands move a lot as well, but they are always in a great position when it is time to start his swing. So it is not the biggest deal, but he he gets lazy it could turn into something more harmful. For now though, it isn’t worrisome.
Granted, the video only shows batting practice. So both of these things could easily disappear against live pitching.
Overall, Banfield looks to be a solid pick. Things probably won’t shake out that way, but should he land with the Milwaukee Brewers it would be a great pickup. Defensively, he should be solid. He started catching at the age of 12.
There is still plenty of time until the draft, so who knows how it will all go. A bad season can move Banfield into the second round or less. But he remains an exceptional talent with a huge upside. He is one to keep an eye on come draft time.