Prior to the draft, I wrote an article profiling five directions in which the Brewers could go with their #5 pick on the first day of the MLB Draft. The Brew Crew ended up selecting one of those options, Corey Ray out of Louisville. In my profile of Ray, I talked a lot about the aesthetics of his game, such as his swing. I also looked at his impressive 2016 stats, including a .319 average and 44 stolen bases. This time around, I will be taking a look at his overall career stats and Ray’s development as a player during his time in Louisville.

G AB H AVG SLG% OBP HR RBI SB BB K

2014: 43 77 25 .325  .481   .416    1     17    4   12  23

2015: 65 265 86 .325 .543 .389  11    56  34  24  60

2016: 62 260 83 .319 .562 .396  15   60  44  35  39

With the way that his stats have progressed, it is easy to see how Ray ended up in the position in the draft that he did. Ray posted career highs in five statistics in 2016, and increased every season in all of those same stats.

Ray was highly thought of by nearly all major sports outlets, projected as high as #2 overall. For the most part, however, he settled anywhere between #3 to Atlanta and the Brewers at #5. ESPN Baseball Insider Keith Law also stated in his latest mock draft that Ray is his favorite overall player in the draft. MLB Pipeline rated him as the 3rd best position player in the draft behind #1 pick Mickey Moniak and #11 pick Kyle Lewis.

On the standard 20-80 rating scale used by major league scouts, Ray rates as follows:

Hit: 55 (Above Average) Power: 55 (Above Average) Run: 60 (Plus) Arm: 50 (Average) Field: 55 (Above Average)

Overall, the question seemed to be whether Ray would last until #5, and the Brewers are definitely happy he did.

Brewers fans then had to wait a little while for them to come up again, as they did not pick until #46. The Crew used that selection to take 3B Lucas Erceg. Erceg, listed at 6’3” and 200 pounds, has an interesting career story. He played his first two years at Cal, showing himself to be a solid power bat, hitting 11 balls out of the park his sophomore season. He then traveled to NAIA school Menlo College in California for his junior season, where he nearly doubled his home run total from the previous year, hitting 20 dingers. The scouting video provided by MLB.com says that while the drop to NAIA made it more difficult to analyze his performance, he did still show solid skills at both levels. Those skills proved to be enough for the Brewers to take him in the second. Erceg is projected to remain at the hot corner.

The Brewers also possessed the third to last pick of the day at #75, a lottery B selection. With the pick, GM David Stearns decided to load up on another bat, this time 17 year-old catcher Mario Feliciano out of Puerto Rico. Feliciano, who doesn’t turn 18 until late November, comes by way of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Feliciano is listed at a fairly stocky 6’1” and 200 pounds, and is the first righty selected by the Brewers in the draft. While MLB.com said that Feliciano has “over-the-fence potential”, they stressed his solid approach and running ability for his position. Questions remain, however, whether Feliciano will remain a catcher if he reaches the Major League level.

That wrapped up Day One of the draft for the Crew. There were, all things considered, not many more highlights from the last two days, save for one. The Brewers snagged what many were calling the steal of the draft at the time in the fourth round in Corbin Burnes, a junior pitcher from St. Mary’s. Ranked 45th among all prospects by Baseball America and 39th by MLB.com, Burnes managed to drop down to #112 to the Crew.

Since the draft, as of this writing, the Brewers have signed 21 of their 41 selections, including Erceg, Feliciano and Burnes.

Other News

In other Brewers news, Matt Garza made his season debut in last Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to San Francisco after several rehab starts at Single-A Wisconsin (Appleton). Garza put in a decent outing, allowing one run in a limited four innings of work. While the return of Garza may not have been well-received by some Brewers fans, a player like Garza is important to have in a fairly young Milwaukee rotation. Garza would also throw six innings of shutout work with five hits and 2 Ks before being removed prior to the seventh in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Dodgers.

The other main piece of news surrounding the Brewers over the past seven days is the rumors surrounding Ryan Braun. Early last week, rumors surfaced that the Brewers and Giants were in preliminary talks about a deal for the 9th year outfield slugger. This rumor surfaced at an interesting time, as the Brewers were just about to start a 3-game series with San Francisco (in which they would end up swept.) Only time will tell, however, what Braun’s fate with the Brewers holds.

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