Monte Harrison figured to be the hardest of the Brewers’ three first-day picks to sign. It turns out he’s the first.
Jim Callis is reporting that the Brewers have signed Harrison to a $1.8 million signing bonus, about $700,000 over the estimated slot for the 50th pick in the draft. The Brewers have yet to confirm, but the news was passed along during Saturday’s broadcast on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
The 6’2″, 190-pound Harrison was considered the best pure athlete in this year’s draft, and for good reason. He was a four-star football recruit (as rated by ESPN) headed to Nebraska before being signed away by the Brewers. Had he spurned the Brewers’ offer, there’s a good chance he could have been a high pick in the NFL draft three years from now.
The threat of a big-time football scholarship may have scared some teams off, as Harrison was considered a first-round talent, ranking 17th on ESPN’s big board. His strong arm (he was clocked at 97 mph from the outfield) makes him an ideal candidate for right field, but there’s a chance with his speed that he could play centerfield someday.
As a multi-sport guy, it may take Harrison a bit longer to develop, but it’s hard not to be excited by his tools already. The Brewers’ system desperately needed more high-ceiling bats, and there aren’t many ceilings in this year’s class higher than Harrison’s.
The good news doesn’t end there for the Brewers: Callis is also reporting that supplemental first-rounder Jacob Gatewood has also signed. Gatewood gets a bonus of $1.83 million, nearly $500,000 above slot value for the 41st pick in the draft.
The 6’5″ Gatewood will likely be given every chance to stick at shortstop, but a move to third base somewhere down the line wouldn’t be all that surprising. Like Harrison, Gatewood has an extremely strong arm. The power potential is also great with Gatewood, although some significant work will need to be done to improve his contact hitting. The Brewers love guys with that kind of profile, though — just take a look at Khris Davis and Victor Roache.
Gatewood and Harrison instantly become two of the top hitting prospects in the Brewers’ system, along with players like Tyrone Taylor, Clint Coulter and Orlando Arcia. They also give the Brewers something they’ve been lacking: high-ceiling potential. There’s risk involved with both, but at least there’s a lot to dream on, too. It’s been a long time since the Brewers had guys with All-Star potential in the system.