It’s that time of year, folks! The MLB Draft is a little more than a month away (June 12, 2017). With that comes the excitement of gushing over possible prospects that could land their way into Milwaukee’s already stacked farm system. Last year all of the waiting led up to Corey Ray, who has definitely produced with the Manatees last season and now the Mudcats. Who will be the Brewers’ next first round pick? Let’s take a look at some possible choices.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo recently published a mock draft, so we’ll base this article off the two players they have Milwaukee selecting with the No. 9 pick.
Alex Faedo, Junior, RHP, Florida
This is who Callis has the Crew selecting. Now, I’m not typically one to go for pitching with first round picks, but Callis sees this as a viable route David Stearns & Co. could end up taking. As Callis noted, Faedo was his preseason No. 1 overall pick. Unfortunately for Faedo, he’s been plagued with injuries in not one, but both knees and required arthroscopic surgery. However, in games this spring with the Gators, he’s shown that he’s regaining the balance necessary for put-out velocity and is finding his composure once again.
Faedo is a big, burly right-handed pitcher. He stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds and uses that to his advantage. Currently a junior, his sophomore year was simply off the charts. Here’s his stat line: 13-3 in 17 starts, a 3.18 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 104.2 innings of work. Those are definitely quite impressive numbers, but the statistic that stood out to me was that he issued only 21 walks. For the folks calculating at home, that’s a 1.81 walks per nine ratio.
This year, Faedo his continued his strong performances. He’s currently sitting with a 6-1 record and a 2.63 ERA in 72.0 innings hurled. He’s already surpassed his walk rate from last year, but I wouldn’t take that too seriously. He’s still demonstrating that he can hit the zone when needed.
Regarding his arsenal of pitches, MLB Pipeline rates his fastball and slider at the top, both of which received 60 grades. Coming into play this spring, he typically registered at the lower-end of the 90-94 MPH range with his four seam. But as the season progressed, he gained velocity and began to rise to the 95 MPH range with the addition of some sinking action. His slider continues to serve as a reliable put-out pitch, but the word amongst scouts is that he’s beginning to rely on it a bit too much, resulting in a tipping of pitches. That being said, he’s been working to merge a changeup into his game but it’s still a bit of work in progress.
Here’s some video of Faedo pitching:
Like any college pitcher, you can always take away a few negatives from the film. The main one I see (and I’m no scout, I just pitched in high school, so take my word as you may) is that at times, he seems like he’s jumbled out on the hill. What does jumbled mean in this context? Sort of a rocky and wobbly delivery. Occasionally, it doesn’t seem as if it’s one continuous motion like pitching coaches in the MiLB and MLB desire. With more fluency and consistency in his delivery, Faedo could turn into quite the reliable pitcher.
Remember — Florida has been strong in the pitching department in recent memory. Last year, the Gators had six hurlers represent the blue and orange in the first round of the draft: A.J. Puk, Dave Dunning, Kirby Snead and Logan Shore just to recollect on a few. However, despite the impressive pedigree and resume, something just irks me about selecting a pitcher with the No. 9 pick. I feel as if a hitter or position player is always the safer bet. Pitching can always be discovered in later rounds. But nonetheless, the best strategy is to draft the player with the most talented when your pick comes around. And who knows, maybe that player is Faedo at No. 9 for Milwaukee.
Pavin Smith, Junior, 1B, Virginia
Previously drafted in the 32nd round of the 2014 Draft by Colorado, Smith comes into this draft with much higher expectations (like, a top-10 pick expectation). His bat is the reason why he’s being so coveted this year, taking the contact that made him successful in the earlier part of his career and adding power to the mix.
With the added power, Smith is likely set to be primarily a first baseman. Currently a junior at Charlottesville, Smith is wasting no time polishing up his accolades and stat line. He currently boasts a slash of .355/.433/.585 and is putting forth an OPS of 1.018. Pretty good, eh?
Like I said, Smith is unique in the fact that he brings a high level of contact and power to the dish. MLB Pipeline currently grades those two attributes at both 55 apiece, which is definitely eye catching. So far this season, he’s slugged 10 dingers with 58 RBI. But it goes much deeper than just those two statistics. Typically with the big swinging power hitters, you see a habit of chasing pitches out of the zone and looking silly at times swinging the bat. But that’s not the case for Smith. His K/BB ratio sits at a tiny 0.25, as he’s tallied 28 walks on the year compared to just seven strikeouts. Remember, he’s only a junior. That can go two ways. It’s definitely impressive that he’s showing this kind of discipline as a college player, but how that’ll translate as he moves on to higher level pitching remains unknown. Nonetheless, this is still something to jot down.
Regarding his defense, don’t think that Smith was put at first because he can’t field the ball. His awareness and brick wall like mentality at the No. 3 position are actually one of the standouts in his scouting report. Most praise him as a reliable defender with a strong arm.
Even when the metal bat was taken out of his hands as he went to the Cape Cod league last summer, Smith still produced at a high level. There really aren’t many weaknesses to his game. Now, I haven’t done much research just yet, but right now, I’d say Pavin Smith is the guy I want the Brewers to jump on. However, he might just generate enough hype to move him up the boards and have him selected a few picks before Milwaukee at No. 9. But nonetheless, watch this video and tell me you aren’t at least somewhat thinking the same of wanting the Crew to take him if given the chance:
Launch that to the freakin’ Dew Deck, baby.
Keep your eyes peeled for more draft coverage coming from us in the upcoming weeks!