Though the opening salvo in the MLB Draft is not fired until June, it is never too early to look forward to it. The Milwaukee Brewers might be looking to fill some spots in the organization.
In a way this is my second installment of too early predictions. A while back Baseball America predicted Will Banfield to the Milwaukee Brewers. My reaction to that can be found here.
The MLB Draft is different than most, in that these picks are not seen for a few years. Guys who are taken need time to grow into their best self, which they can only hope is good enough to make it to the big stage.
It is improtant to look at top pick history to see any trends, and what it lacking. In the last five years, the teams top picks have been mostly hitters. Last season it was 2B Keston Hiura. The two years prior to that were both outfielders, Corey Ray(2016) and Trent Grisham(2015). In 2014 a lefty pitcher, Kodi Medeiros, took the honor. And there was no first round selection in 2013.
First round picks are not always safe bets. That is something proven by the 2012 draft class. The Milwaukee Brewers had two first rounders and neither has become anything yet. So smart picks are important.
Positions To Watch
If I were in the GM chair, I would not pay close attention to top outfielders in this class. Quite frankly there is enough talent in the organization at the postion to focus elsewhere early on. Later in the draft is the ideal time to look for one.
Pitching is what the main focus should be. As the saying goes, teams can never have enough pitching. Hitting is great, but the future of the Brewers right now is painted with hitting talent at most positions. Not that all will pan out, but this draft would be good to bring in some arms to balance out.
With the 21st pick the Milwaukee Brewers Select…
If the prospects are taken in the order MLB Pipeline ranks them, the team will get a right handed pitcher named Cole Wilcox. However, we are all smart enough to know these picks will not be in this order.
My top five candidates for first round pick, in order, go as follows.
1) RHP Carter Stewart, Eau Galle HS
Right now, Stewart is the 24th ranked draft prospect on MLB Pipeline. He will be taken out of high school in the first round this season barring injury. If he chooses not to go pro, he is committed to Mississippi State.
There is a lot to like about Stewart too. He possess a great frame to throw from, standing at 6’6″ tall. His fastball right now sits in the upper 80’s at its slowest. But he can reach back to hit as high as 93 MPH. His curve, however, is his money pitch so far. Which is a good sign.
The Milwaukee Brewers, along with any organization, would love what they are getting with Stewart. If he is there 21st overall, and he maintains his status throughout the soming season, he should be available for the Crew.
2) RHP Logan Gilbert, Stetson
For those who recognize Stetson, it is the same school that brought us Corey Kluber and Jacob de Grom. The way things look, Gilbert would have to fall in the draft due to a bad year to be available for the Milwaukee Brewers. But if he is, look out.
The 20 year old is entering his junior year at Stetson, and lighting up radar guns. His fastball can ramp up to 97 MPH. He presents another solid frame, standing at 6’5″. MLB Pipeline says he shows a repeatable delivery, which will help command.
It is entirely possible he will slide down in the draft. While his fastball is electric, the offpseed stuff is just a little bit behind the mark. If those pitches become an issue, whether they are just hittable or the control isn’t there, it could lead to a performance that drops his draft stock.
3) C Will Banfield, Brookwood HS
Even though Banfield is the 20th ranked prospect, he still could end up with the Milwaukee Brewers. It is not crazy to think a catcher of his potential will be passed up in any way, shape, or form.
His swing shows nice flow. And with him being a prospect out of high school, the organization will have the chance to mold him. Barring an injury, this would be an excellent addition outside of the pitcher spot.
4) LHP Tim Cate UConn
Cate is a very interesting draft prospect. He ranks 33rd on the overall list, so it might be considered a reach to get him. But that means nothing in terms of what he is capable of. It looks like he could have a fairly high ceiling.
Though he is used heavily as a reliever through this point in his career, the prediction is for him to start games. The part of Cate’s game that catches my eye is that MLB Pipeline considers his curveball in the conversation as the best in the class. That is truly something.
A good year a UConn could cause his stock to rise. But it is not a bad move to get a talented lefty like this. Because he can already through a good curve and have a low 90’s fastball to match, this southpaw proves as a solid candidate for a first round pick.
5) 1B Seth Beer, Clemson
Beer is ranked 27th overall in the class. He is a very talented hitter, for sure. However, he mirrors Hiura in that he proves as a defensive liability. But the bat looks to be more than worth the defensive questions, just as with the 2017 first rounder.
The Clemson product is a wonderful combination of patience and power. He drew 126 walks while striking out only 62 times in his college career. That kind of player can turn into a staple in any lineup. If he can improve on defense throughout his seasoning in the minors he can anchor first base.
It would not be a bad pick to take Beer. Although the defensive uncertainty could prove as an issue. That being said, the Milwaukee Brewers might ignore it like they did with Hiura.
The way things stand, this is the best I can guess. Pitching should be a top priority. A solid pitcher pick could be ready for the rotation right at the end of this rebuild, which would only make things better for the Crew.