More than 1/3 of the MLB season is now behind us, the All-Star Game is just about a month away (vote Brewers) and with the NBA Finals having come to an end, it is officially baseball’s time to shine. That began Monday, which brought with it the first day of the 2017 MLB Draft. The second draft for Brewers GM David Stearns began with a heavily offensive minded first day.
Round 1 (9th overall): Keston Hiura, 2B, University of California-Irvine
Slot Value: $4,570,000
Physical Tools: 6’0”, 180 pounds
Pre-Draft Rankings: #22 by MLB.com, #20 by Baseball America, #15 by Minor League Ball
Grade Tools (All by MLBPipeline; based on 20-80 scale): Hit 60 Power 50 Run 50 Arm 45 Field 45 Overall 50
Last Season Stats: .442/.567/.693, 199 AB, 88 H, 24 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 9 SB
Strengths: Contact Hitting, Great discipline at the plate (38 K to 50 BB), Quick/compact swing that finds the ball easily with underrated power
Weaknesses: Fielding/Arm Strength (both 45 graded), possible durability issues (elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery)
Analysis: After watching film on Hiura, I was very impressed by his swing and hitting ability. Some scouts have rated his hitting as high as 70 on the 20-80 scale and say that his bat is close to Major League ready. The concerns with his elbow may have turned some off to him in the draft, but David Stearns seemingly feels that Hiura can be a strong asset for the Brewers in the future, if not just as a potentially great bat.
Competitive Balance Round A (34th overall): Tristen Lutz, OF, Martin High School (TX)
Slot Value: $1,983,600
Physical Tools: 6’3”, 210 pounds
Pre-Draft Rankings: #34 by MLB.com, #62 by Baseball America, #42 by Minor League Ball
Tool Grades: Hit 50 Power 55 Run 50 Arm 60 Field 55
Stats not found as of writing
Strengths: Good body/physical tools, great arm, versatility (played multiple outfield positions in high school)
Weaknesses: Less of a power hitter than contact hitter, not the best runner for the outfield position
Analysis: A prospect with varying rankings prior to the draft, Lutz will bring a raw power bat and a strong arm to the Brewers system. In a system that is loaded with outfielders, he may need to wait longer than he may like to reach the Major League level, his tool grades provide a reason to believe he can be very successful. A great baseball body along with being just 18 years old out of high school (19 in August), look for Tristen Lutz to potentially make a quick rise up the Brewers minor league ranks.
Round 2 (46th overall): Caden Lemons, RHP, Vestavia Hills High School (AL)
Slot Value: $1,493,500
Physical Tools: 6’6”, 175 pounds
Pre-Draft Rankings: #77 by MLB.com, #57 by Baseball America, #70 by Minor League Ball
Tool Grades: Fastball 65 Slider 50 Curveball 45 Changeup 50 Control 45 Overall 45
Stats not found as of writing
Strengths: Tall at 6’6”, plus fastball which can top out at 97 MPH, great potential if fulfilled
Weaknesses: Lanky frame, inconsistent form, sometimes weak command due to form, average-to-above-average second pitches
Analysis: Lemons’ lanky frame and solid pitch arsenal bring similar comparisons to recent Brewers call-up Josh Hader. If he is able to put some more muscle on his frame and gain a solid amount of weight, he may be able to reach triple digits and make his fastball even more of an asset for him. However, like Hader, he is going to need to improve his command if he is going to be successful. Will he be successful? Well, we can only hope he follows in the footsteps of last year’s #46 pick, Lucas Erceg in that department.