With the Rule 5 Draft occurring earlier today, plenty of teams were buckled up to lose some players in the system but also possibly add players to the system. For the Brewers, they lost a player that had a decent amount of expectations back when he was drafted in 2018 in Joe Gray Jr.
Coming out of college, Joe Gray Jr was looked at as one of the better outfielders in his class as he plays the field well with his good reaction time and awareness, fantastic arm strength, and generates great bat speed and power at the plate.
All of that did not transition well in his time playing in the minor leagues. Gray Jr started in the Arizona League in 2018 but struggled at the plate with a slash line of .182/.347/.325 in 98 plate appearances. He got things going in 2021 when he played with the Carolina Mudcats (Low-A East) and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (High-A Central). With those two teams in 110 games, he had a slash line of .252/.355/.499 along with 20 HRs, 90 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases.
After flourishing in 2021, things for Joe Gray Jr didn't go well as he had an underwhelming 2022 season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. That season he hit .193/.279/.353 along with 15 HRs and 54 RBI's in 462 at-bats. The Brewers gave him one more go in 2023 with the Biloxi Shuckers and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers but nothing reflected his best season back in 2021. Gray Jr was once looked at as a top-15 prospect in the Brewers system.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and he was picked up by the Kansas City Royals in the Triple-A phase earlier today. Gray was the first player off the board in the first round of the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Gray will not go on the Royals 40 man roster and will instead finish out his minor league contract in their organization.
Gray needed a change of scenery and had been passed up by several other Brewers outfield prospects and he didn't have a path to the big leagues in Milwaukee. He'll have a fresh opportunity to earn his way to the big leagues in Kansas City where he won't be blocked.
The Brewers did not make any additions to the organization via the Rule 5 Draft in either the major league or minor league phase.