On June 3rd, the MLB Draft took place in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Milwaukee Brewers had the 28th pick in the first round and used it to select a walk-on from Mississippi State. Ethan Small is a 6’3” 214 pound left-handed starting pitcher who was the first college pitcher the Brewers selected in the first round since Taylor Jungmann in 2011. The 20-year-old had an incredible year in the SEC which is the toughest conference in college baseball. He started 18 games (1st in SEC) and had an ERA of 1.88 in 96 innings. Small allowed 3 or fewer runs in 15 of his 18 starts. He also added 160 strikeouts (2nd in SEC) and only 27 walks. This past season he joined only 22 other pitchers in Mississippi State history to record 100+ strikeouts in a season. Also, opposing hitters only hit .160 against the lefty. These numbers allowed Ethan Small to win the 2019 SEC Pitcher of the Year and got him ranked 56th on MLB Pipeline.
Small does not have great velocity on his pitches, he throws it somewhere between 88-92 mph but it has great movement. Also, he throws a fantastic changeup that sits in the mid-70s that looks identical to his fastball out of his hand. Finally, he throws a curveball that isn’t dominating but passable. Small has a high swing and miss rate on his pitches due to his changing of speeds, location, and deceptive delivery. When it comes to the delivery, think Clayton Kershaw with a little bit of Chris Sale. The best player comparison for Small is former 10-year veteran and World Series champion, Jaime Garcia.
The only red flag, the reason why Ethan Small was not picked earlier, was because he had Tommy John surgery in his sophomore season. However, Brewer fans should not be worried about this because he came back a better pitcher after the surgery. Plus, the Brewer medical team looked extensively through his medical records.
Milwaukee sees Small as a future piece in their rotation. Expert scouts predict him becoming a solid 3 or 4 option in the rotation. Due to his college experience and high pitching IQ, expect a quick accession for Ethan Small throughout the Minor League system. Brewer fans can expect to see him as soon as 2021.