With their second pick of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Brewers selected Joe Gray, a high school outfielder from Hattiesburg, MS. Gray is your typical “athletic”, “toolsy” prep player that has high-risk/high-reward written all over him. Let’s take a look at the specifics and find out what he adds to the Brewers’ farm system:
Name: Joe Gray Jr.
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195 lbs.
At this time last year, Gray was viewed as a potential top-10 pick. One of the challenges that comes with being hyped so early in the draft process is that it can lead to a player dropping for no reason other than he is under a microscope and every apparent weakness is magnified many times over. Thus, Gray falling to the Brewers in the second round could ultimately be a blessing. Players with his skill profile and potential are in high demand and typically go much higher in the draft. That’s not to say Gray is a perfect prospect, but he is about as solid a pick as we could have hoped for in the second round.
Gray is noted as being especially strong in multiple areas. He possesses above-average power potential, and some believe that he could one day anchor the middle of a lineup at the MLB level. In addition, he is a very good runner. This will make him a weapon in the outfield, and along with his power could make him a 20/20 threat. To top it off, he has a cannon for an arm – he was ranked as having one of the best throwing arms in the draft. He reached 98 mph at a showcase last summer according to MLB Pipeline, so he should be a great fit in either right field or centerfield.
Gray’s largest weakness is his hit tool. He has been noted as having some swing and miss issues, especially against high quality competition. A comparison of toolsets that comes to mind right away is a player like Keon Broxton or Monte Harrison (or Lewis Brinson for that matter) – all have elite tools but contact issues hold them back (or could in the case of Gray). Another weakness noted is Gray’s throwing accuracy, but this should not be too big of a concern as the moment as he has plenty of time to fix this simple issue in the minor leagues.
Assuming Gray signs, he will almost certainly start his career in the Rookie-Level Arizona League. That’s where he likely will spend his entire season, which is what the Brewers usually do with their high school draft picks. He probably will start out in centerfield, but as he fills out his frame over the next couple years he may transition to right field. It will be a while before we could eventually see him in Milwaukee, but if all goes according to plan, he could be a special one.