Michael Busch, 1B/OF, North Carolina
As odd as it may be drafting a guy named Busch to play in Miller Park, by the time he would get here, it won’t be called Miller Park anymore. Salt in an open wound? I’ll move on.
No matter what his name is, Michael Busch is someone that’s going to hit baseballs and hit them hard. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the 28th overall prospect on their Top 100, which is conveniently the exact location of the Brewers first round pick, so there’s a good chance he’s still on the board for their first selection.
His scouting grades paint a favorable picture of his bat. He has above average grades for both his hit tool and his power tool, and being a left handed hitter, he should see those tools play up in Milwaukee.
Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about Busch’s bat:
"Busch makes it look easy at the plate. He has a smooth left-handed swing with plenty of bat speed and a patient, balanced approach that allows him to hammer balls to all fields. He should hit for average and power while drawing plenty of walks, and few college players in this Draft have a higher offensive ceiling or floor."
This sounds like the kind of hitter any team would want in their system. However, there are flaws in his game. Busch has below average speed, and lacks an obvious long term defensive home. He’s played some left field, some first base, although undersized for the position, and some second base in the Cape Cod League.
That’s driven down Busch’s value to a later first round pick, but if the Brewers believe in his bat enough, they could take him at 28 overall. There were questions about Keston Hiura‘s defensive future back in 2017 but they believed in the bat enough to select him then.
This season for North Carolina, Busch is hitting .277/.444/.523 with a .967 OPS, 12 home runs, 50 RBIs, 54 walks(!), and 35 strikeouts. He’s patient at the plate, doesn’t seem to chase much, and will draw his walks.
Busch has some defensive versatility, but will be nothing more than an average defender no matter where he plays. It’s his combination of hitting for average and power that will get scouts excited about his future.