Brewers Select Towering LHP Russell Smith In 2nd Round Of MLB Draft

MARYVALE, - MARCH 12: A fan walks past a Milwaukee Brewers sign at American Family Fields stadium following Major League Baseball's decision to suspend all spring training games on March 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The decision was made due to concerns of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
MARYVALE, - MARCH 12: A fan walks past a Milwaukee Brewers sign at American Family Fields stadium following Major League Baseball's decision to suspend all spring training games on March 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The decision was made due to concerns of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers needed to add some pitching to their system, and after going with college bats with their first two picks, they add a college pitcher in the second round.

In recent years, the Brewers have focused their pitching development on lefties, and they grabbed themselves another southpaw with the 51st selection.

With the 51st overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers drafted Russell Smith, LHP, TCU.

This wasn’t the college arm most were thinking about this early. MLB Pipeline had Smith ranked as their 102nd best prospect in this draft, while Baseball America had him 110th.

Standing at a towering 6’9″ and 235 pounds, Smith is an imposing presence on the mound, to say the least. He has plus command, which is something the Brewers love in their pitching prospects.

In 15 starts for TCU this year, Smith posted a 3.83 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 82.1 IP. He walked just 20 batters. A 5:1 K:BB ratio is pretty good, especially in Power 5 conference play.

Although he doesn’t have overpowering velocity at the moment, the Brewers have shown a knack for tapping into a little more velocity and developing some pitches. He currently has just three pitches in his arsenal, a fastball, changeup, and slider. His fastball and changeup are above average but his slider lags behind.

He does have some reliever risk, especially if they can’t develop his secondary offerings more.

Smith doesn’t seem to have a very high ceiling, although he needs one to fit into a room standing at 6’9″. His velocity isn’t what you would expect from someone his size, typically sitting in the low-90s.

With his strong command and solid fastball-changeup combo, he could be quick to the big leagues in the bullpen.

Smith will get a lot of ground balls and his command-over-stuff profile leads one to believe he’s more of a pitchability lefty.

Perhaps the Brewers can develop the stuff a little more to help him reach his potential in the rotation, but there’s a lot of reliever risk, which makes it a little tough to see him as the top arm in the Brewers draft class. Milwaukee has taken college arms with reliever risk before and turned them into quality starters, so they’re trusting their development system.

There’s a lot of likable traits and things for the Brewers staff to work with and a few trips to the pitching lab and he could come out looking fantastic.

Next. Grades Of Day 1 Draft Selections. dark

The 3rd round will follow.

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