Yesterday, Baseball America came out with the first of many mock drafts, which can only signal one thing: It is officially draft season. Now, the MLB Draft still sits on the horizon a few months away in June, but the match has been lit and is being walked toward the stove in terms of speculation. With the Brewers holding the No. 5 pick, hypothesizing who they may select can be a little exhilarating with the number of routes they can take, but it is also one of the most tantalizing times in a rebuild mode.
Leading up to June’s draft, we will be publishing a number of articles dissecting players mock drafts have Milwaukee selecting. Feeling out the prospect’s abilities and weaknesses, how he would fit in with the Brewers, elementary get-to-know basis knowledge such as that.
With all that being said, the folks over at Baseball America slated the Brewers to select Delvin Perez, a shortstop out of the International Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico:
Milwaukee has not shied away from the high school demographic in recent years, taking prep players with its first pick in each of the last four drafts. Brewers scouting director Ray Montgomery previously served in the same position for Arizona, and notably used the Diamondbacks’ first six picks of 2014 on high school players. Perez’s massive upside could be too much to pass up on here. — Baseball America
Seeing that he is only 17-years-old, Perez mirrors the mindset David Stearns has established in his short tenure in Milwaukee: stocking up on young, talented assets. Remember, he traded Adam Lind to Seattle back in December in exchange for Carlos Herrera, Freddy Peralta and Daniel Missaki; all of which are 19-years-old or younger. Do not think Perez’s young age will steer Stearns away, especially since the Brewers remain two to three years away from contention.
In terms of talent, Perez boasts one of the flashiest gloves in the draft. His slick fielding puts him on the top shelf of defensive abilities, utilizing a combination of speed and sharp instincts in analyzing the ball of the bat. He brings a wide range of coverage to the table, including a capability to chase down grounders that gravitate towards the hole. A strong arm makes it painless for him to throw runners out from all areas of the diamond.
The main worry regarding Perez’s fielding is his occasional tendency to try and accomplish too much. He has been known to exhibit an overflow of flash at times, resulting in errors and misjudgments. Sometimes players with a solid fielding artistry can tend to rush plays that should be considered routine and disrupt proper mechanics in making the play, especially at Perez’s age. Once he develops with maturity and mixes in some characteristics of simplicity, his defense may gravitate towards Gold Glove potential.
In comparison to his extraordinary dexterity in the field, Perez’s bat tends to slightly lag behind, resulting in mixed interpretations from scouts. Many believe his defense finds itself where it needs to be and has the chance to go above and beyond, leaving the only doubts concerning his approach at the plate.
Early counts favor Perez, as he has shown habits of being eager right out of the gate and jumping on fastballs. The only downfall to that is he seems to grow uncomfortable as the count grows, which lowers his pitch judgment and recognition. By finding stability and forcing pitchers to throw to him more, Perez will expose himself to new territory in advancing his offensive skills. Many scouts believe that he could hone in on more power as he continues to evolve.
Now, you may be thinking, why would the Brewers draft a shortstop when they have Orlando Arcia ready to take over the reigns? That is definitely true, and if the Brewers do decide to roll the dice with Perez, the best-case scenario is that Arcia is in fact the shortstop. However, we have to recognize the scarcity of premium middle-infielders in today’s game and how rare they can be to find. With his young raw talent, Perez may be able to put forth levels of versatility for the Brewers. His youth could signal the prospects of a position change, possibly opening the door to either second or third base. If there is an area in the infield that holds an ability to make a positional change, it commonly tends to be shortstops, mainly due to the amount of action they receive. Perez’s proficient ingenuity in the dirt already favors him in regards of possible fluctuation.
In times like this, it is also important to remember that the process of drafting does not always translate into taking a positional need in the organization (corner infielder for the Brewers). Prospects are an extreme hit-or-miss, with flukes popping up like a classic game of Minesweeper. Thus, the mentality of drafting the best available player has intermittently been interpreted as a safer bet. Even if the Brewers do not address a the need of a corner infielder, we should remember that there is no real need to rush things – by stocking up on talented assets, it paves the road to acquire a third baseman when the Brewers are finally in contention (The Astros viewpoint of last season’s Gomez trade with Milwaukee is a great example of this). Stearns has frequently addressed the importance of stocking up on pieces, then striking when the iron is hot by dealing from an overabundance of intriguing prospects.
With that being said, Perez could find himself in a beguiling setting from within the Brewers farm system, creating multiple paths the Brewers could set foot on if they do in fact select him. As I said earlier, the multiple options the Brewers can take is one of the experiences that makes the rebuild process fun.This is why we sat through a 94-loss season. This is why we became content to being out of contention in the first few weeks of last year. We embraced and accepted the fate of a rebuild. This Draft will be the first one under the wing of Slingin’ Dave Stearns as GM and has the potential to write a major chapter in the triumphant story of a successful rebuild. Strap yourselves in, folks. The rebuild train is kicking into high gear.