As we continue our review of how the Brewers’ top prospects faired in either their first season of professional baseball or how they bounced back after taking a season off due to the cancellation of Minor League Baseball, we take a look at a guy that the Brewers’ drafted in MLB’s shortened draft back in 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLB shortened the Amateur draft to only five rounds where Hayden Cantrelle was taken by the Brewers 151st overall in the fifth round
Here is our review of the 2021 season for one of the Brewers’ top prospects, Hayden Cantrelle.
Brewers Prospects Review: SS Hayden Cantrelle
The 5’11”, 175-pound shortstop was originally taken in the 40th round by the Yankees in 2017 out of high school. However, Cantrelle knew he was better than that as he took to college where he took his talents to the next level. In his time at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, he became an immediate starter and became just one of six NCAA Division I players, to total as many as 25-extra base hits and 25 steals during the 2019 season, according to his profile on MLB.com.
Due to a slump during the start of the 2020 season, the Brewers’ were lucky enough for him to fall to them in the fifth round of the 2020 draft, where he signed for a cool $300,000 bonus.
Referring back to his profile, some of the Brewers coaches have mentioned that he, “sparked some comparisons to Scooter Gennett, with less power than Gennett at the moment and better defensive skills, with a similar ability to square up the baseball foul line to foul line.”
Taking a look at his scouting grades from Pipeline where he posts a 45 for Hit, 35 for power, 60 for run, 55 for arm, and a 50 for his fielding, I’d say the Brewers got a hidden gem. With his fielding “above average” for being a middle infielder, and his ability to make contact mixed in with speed, he’s projected to be a top third of the lineup hitter.
Cantrelle began his professional baseball career in High-A with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. In the 77 games that he had appeared in for the Timber Rattlers, had more walks (77) than he had hits (44). He also showed a little pop to his bat as he smashed seven home runs while driving in 32. He was also was a problem for opposing pitchers and catchers as he had a knack for stealing bases as he racked up 28 stolen bases while only getting caught eight times.
Not only was his speed a threat on the offensive side, but it also helped him tremendously on the defensive side of the ball as he played 67 of his 77 games at second base where he only committed eight errors, finishing his time in High-A with a .967 fielding percentage. He also tested the waters at the shortstop position where he appeared there in seven games, totaling four errors and finishing with a .947 fielding percentage at the position.
Despite his low hitting numbers, Cantrelle was called up to the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers where it appeared that he split his time with the second baseman, Cam Devanney. In the 13 games that Cantrelle appeared in, he accumulated 35 at-bats. He struggled quite a bit only getting on base via the hit five times, and only forcing five walks.
On the defensive side of things, he played second base for the Shuckers for 10 games while only committing one error. During his end of the season stint with the Shuckers, he made his first and only professional career start at third base.
Due to Cantrelle getting drafted out of college, his upper level of experience helped him start as high as he did to begin his professional career. Cantrelle looks to bounce back in the hitting department in his second season of professional ball. He’s likely to start the 2022 season back in Double-A.
He’s projected to be big league ready in 2023. With the Brewers finally having a solid consistent middle infield, it’s hard to picture where Cantrelle will fit in unless there’s a big injury that happens. He would serve as the ideal bat off the bench in cases where all we need is a hit or a perfect candidate for a pinch-runner in the events we need someone speeding to swipe bags.
As the talks to end the MLB lockout are up in the air, stay tuned to hear more about how the Brewers’ top prospects fared in either their first season of professional ball or how they bounced back due to having a season off.