Initial Thoughts: Brewers ’13 Draft Class | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The 2013 MLB Draft has ended, and the Milwaukee Brewers selected 40 amateur players to join the organization (depending on the signing process). They drafted 23 pitchers and 17 position players, highlighted by their first selection, right-hander Devin Williams.

Here’s the breakdown:

High School 4-yr College Junior College
Pos. Players 10 4 3
Pitchers 2 19 2
Total 12 23 5

As you can see, the Brewers leaned heavily on collegiate pitching and also grabbed some position talent from the high school ranks. Many of those high-school players, however, were drafted after Round 20 and may not be signable. In more practical terms, the Brewers selected back-to-back high school players to begin the draft and subsequently focused on collegiate players in the top 10-14 rounds.

Though draft classes cannot truly be evaluated for several years, we can make some general observations based on the information at hand.

Relievers-R-Us

After the second round, the Brewers seemed to key in on guys with good fastballs with hopes of developing secondary pitches. In the end, it seems the organization ended up with a slew of collegiate pitchers who are nothing more than potential relievers at the professional level.

Barrett Astin (3) saw his stuff play down in the starting role last year with Arkansas. Taylor Williams (4) has size/delivery concerns, though his stuff appears to be starting quality. Josh Uhen (5) is essentially a one-pitch guy with a huge fastball and little else. Andy Hillis (11) is another guy with a upper-90s fastball and questionable offspeed offerings. Trevor Seidenberger (12) and Hobbs Johnson (14) are more pitchability lefties who profile best as relievers. Tyler Linehan (9) is interesting, but both Baseball America and ESPN say he best fits in the bullpen.

Even more, the Brewers didn’t attack the prep pitching ranks, so they don’t have a lot to develop in this class outside of Devin Williams.

Obviously, it’s much to early to stick guys in a box and unequivocally say they cannot start, but the Brewers don’t appear to have drafted too many arms with potential starting stuff. Perhaps they can develop more consistency in the pro ranks, or perhaps the organization can develop a couple offspeed pitches with one or two of the pitchers. But when multiple scouting reports from draft experts are already saying these collegiate arms — who generally have less development remaining — are nothing but relievers, that’s concerning.

Most-Exciting Pick:  RHP Devin Williams (Hazelwood West HS, Mo.)

I love this pick because not only do I prefer athletic prep pitching with raw stuff early in the draft, but I also believe the Brewers received significant value in the second round. Baseball America ranked Williams as the 43rd-best draft prospect, while ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him at #20. The Brewers drafted Williams with the 54th-overall selection in the draft.

He’s 6-foot-3 with room to add muscle to his frame. He currently throws 88-92 mph with his fastball, but according to Baseball America, he can jump up to 95 mph. With that frame, though, one can only imagine that his velocity will jump a couple ticks in the coming years. He also throws a slider/curveball and has a feel for his changeup. He potentially has three big-league pitches, which is absolutely wonderful from a high school pitcher.

Of course, not everything is sunshine and roses with Williams. He’s not consistent with his mechanics, which causes his stuff to be hit-or-miss at times. We shouldn’t expect an 18-year-old pitcher to be perfect, but it’s certainly something he needs to develop to be a quality professional pitcher. He’s very much a boom-or-bust type arm. He could flame out in A-ball if his mechanics and command don’t take a step forward the next few years, or he could easily become the organization’s best prospect and a potential front-line starter.

And if Williams doesn’t pan out, that doesn’t make this a bad pick. That risk is always present — even with college pitchers. The Brewers need potential impact talent, and Devin Williams fits the bill. He’s not a sure thing, but he has all the tools to be a quality big leaguer. That’s all the organization can ask for.

Least-Exciting Pick:  RHP Barrett Astin (University of Arkansas)

This isn’t trying to argue Barrett Astin isn’t a talented pitcher or doesn’t have a big-league future. However, when drafting in the third round, it would be nice to draft a collegiate pitcher who possesses a good chance to stick in the starting rotation.

Astin experienced a ton of success in the Razorbacks’ bullpen a year ago, but saw his stuff become much more vanilla in the starting rotation. He only throws 89-92 mph as a starter and reportedly doesn’t have much of a changeup. Baseball America says most see him as a fast-moving reliever. Chris Crawford of ESPN says he doesn’t see Astin as anything more than a long-reliever in the majors.

The Brewers don’t usually stick collegiate guys in the bullpen right away, so he’ll likely get every chance to stick as a starter before being moved to the ‘pen. Still, according to draft experts, he profiles much better as a reliever. And in the third round, that’s not overly exciting.

Sleeper Pick:  1B David Denson (South Hills HS, Cal.)

Signability is a huge concern, but the Brewers have a chance to land a premium power bat much later in the draft than expected. Denson grabbed scouts’ attention when he launched a 515-foot home run in a Power Showcase this winter at Marlins Park. Check it out:

He has some holes in his swing and projects to strike out a ton, but premium raw power at first base is coveted. If the Brewers can sign him away from the University of Hawaii, they’ll essentially have another pick valued as a top-ten selection.

Who’s Signed?

All of this is unconfirmed, but here are some of the players who have reportedly signed contracts (or agreed to a contract):

(2) RHP Devin Williams: [source]
(2s) SS/3B Tucker Neuhaus: [source]
(5) RHP Josh Uhen: [source]
(6) 1B Garrett Cooper: [source]
(7) OF Omar Garcia: [source]
(9) LHP Tyler Linehan: [source]
(11) RHP Andy Hillis: [source]
(24) RHP Chris Razo: [source]

Who Won’t Sign?

Again, none of these will be final until the signing deadline passes, but here are the players who will reportedly pass up an opportunity to play professional baseball with the Brewers:

(29) RHP Nick Eicholtz: [source]

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Bryce Harper says: June 10, 2013

    515 feet with Aluminum? Not even BBCOR? Clown distance, bro.

    • J.P. Breen says: June 10, 2013

      It may be with aluminum, but his 515-foot home run also set a Power Showcase record.

      • Luke says: June 10, 2013

        Yea I know it’s huge even with aluminum, reminds me of playing Home Run Derby in “Ken Griffey Jr. Presents: Major League Baseball”. Always select my man, Nick Noheart.

  2. Jeff says: June 10, 2013

    I really hope they sign that 1b/Denson! I like his makeup from the video….plus I want to see if he can put one on Hwy 41 in Appleton! :)

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