MLB Draft Preview: Brew Crew’s 5 Options at 5



All Brewers fans, today is the day. Tonight is the start of the 2016 MLB Draft! This is a big night for the Brew Crew as an organization, and for all of us, the Brewers fanbase. Picks made over the next three days could find their way to Milwaukee in the near future to help bring a championship to Milwaukee! (Fingers crossed)

Now, before we get into who the Brewers may go after Thursday, it’s important to understand some of the complexities of the MLB Draft.

First off, the MLB Draft has 40 rounds…40! Compare this to the NFL’s seven rounds and the NBA’s two, and that makes for a slightly long weekend. This year, a total of 1,216 selections will be made. The second thing to know is that the first ten rounds of the draft are critical. In short, the first ten picks that each team possesses already has a value associated with the pick before the draft starts. The value of these picks are combined to make what is called each team’s “draft pool allotment.” Draft pool allotment is the amount of money that a team can spend on those same first ten picks they make. In this draft, the Brewers have the 8th largest draft pool allotment at $4,382,200.

Now with that out of the way, it is time to get to the focal point of tonight, as well as the next three days: who will become the next Milwaukee Brewers draft picks?

This year, the Brewers select 5th in the first round. This slot is the highest pick for the team since 2005, when they selected some guy named Ryan Braun, also at #5 (wonder what ever happened to that guy.) In addition to the 5th pick, the Brewers next four picks are at 46, 75, 82 and 111, giving the Brewers four picks in the first 90 and five in the top 120.

Looking at the Brewers roster at Milwaukee, one could argue that depth at the corners of the infield as well as the outfield are issues to be addressed. However, the draft is not for addressing needs on the Major League roster, it is for filling potential holes in the minor league system and finding future stars.

MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospects for the Brewers consists of:

  • 15 Pitchers (12 RHP, 3 LHP)
  • 6 Infielders/Catchers
  • 9 Outfielders

Looking at this, quality minor league depth in the outfield and on the mound does not seem to be much of an issue. However, the Brewers’ situation is unique in a couple of ways. For one, they are entering their first draft under new GM David Stearns. Also, they are (likely) a few season away from contending, giving them opportunities to take who they believe to be the best player available at #5. For now, I will be looking at 5 options at 5 (see what I did there?)

Option #1: Corey Ray, OF, Louisville

Key Stats: 5’11” 185 lbs, 21 years old, Throws/Bats: Left

Previously Drafted: 33rd Round (2013) by Seattle

In 2016: .319, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 44 Steals

Ray is one of the most promising position players in this year’s class, ranked 6th by MLB Pipeline and 7th by Baseball America. On tape, Ray has a nice, one-handed follow through swing that makes solid contact. In addition to being fast (4th in the nation in steals), he is also smart on the basepaths, not being caught once. Ray became increasingly patient over the course of his time with Louisville, walking 35 times in 62 games. And while he was prone to strikeouts and whiffs early on in his career, he brought his BB/K ratio to nearly equal in 2016, striking out 39 times. This increased discipline at the plate fits right in to the model that the current Brewers squad is showcasing. Ray could help make up a solid outfield trio (along with Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana) for years to come if he becomes a Brewer.

Option #2: Jason Groome, LHP, Barnaget High School, NJ

In 2016: Not Found

Previously Drafted: Never

MLB Pipeline Rank: 1 Baseball America Rank: 1

This draft has been described as one which does not contain a Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper type slam dunk #1. This idea may be shown no better than through Jason Groome. Ranked as the #1 prospect by multiple outlets going into the draft, some have the Phillies going in another direction, often in the form of Florida lefty A.J. Puk. If this were to happen, it could be to the benefit of the next few teams beyond Philadelphia, including the Brewers. Groome is only 17 years old, yet stands at 6’6” and 220 pounds, according to Groome has clean mechanics and his fastball, which typically sits between 91-93 mph (top: 96 mph), jumps off the tape. Also throws solid curveball with break that makes hitters miss and a rarely-used, but effective, changeup. Overall, Groome appears to be a high-ceiling prospect who should only get better with age.

Option #3: Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee

Key Stats: 6’1” 205 lbs, 20 years old, Throws/Bats: Right

Previously Drafted: Never

Pipeline: 7 BA: 2

Senzel is the first of two options for the Brewers at third base that I will profile. Of the two, Senzel is widely seen as the more promising player. His line in 2016 (.352/.456/.595) in addition to 59 RBI and 25 steals, is extremely impressive, especially in the SEC. However, what jumps off the page in particular is Senzel’s 40-21 BB/K ratio. In fact, during his career, Senzel walked more times than he struck out overall (93 BB, 82 K.) On tape, Senzel shows good footwork in the field and a solid swing with a strong follow through, resulting in good contact.

Option #4: Josh Lowe, 3B, Pope High School (GA)

Key Stats: 6’4” 190 lbs, 18 years old, Throws: Right Bats: Left

Previously Drafted: Never

Pipeline: 17 BA: 11

That (somewhat) mystery second player mentioned in the last section? That is Josh Lowe, described by MLB Pipeline as the “most talented two-way player in the 2016 draft.” Lowe is seen as having high potential as both a pitcher and a position player. However, for the purpose of this article, I will be looking at Lowe from a position player perspective. Lowe’s size makes him an immediately desireable prospect, and it shows in his swing. Lowe’s long lower body provides raw power to his swing, follow-through, and game as a whole. His swing, whether resulting in contact or power hits, is smooth and consistent.

Lowe also could allow the Brewers to employ the so-called “draft a worse guy to spend less money” strategy (not sure that name will stick.) This means that in the event that Lowe commands less bonus money than someone like Senzel or Groome, the Brewers could save some of their pool money for one of their other picks in the first 10.

Option #5: Delvin Perez, SS, Professional Educational HS (Puerto Rico)

Key Stats: 6’3” 165 lbs, 17 years old, Throws/Bats: Right

Previously Drafted: Never

Pipeline: 9 BA: 5

Perez is considered one of the best raw talents in the draft, and one of the best overall prospects out of Puerto Rico in a number of years. Extremely young (turns 18 in November), his age makes him attractive at the top of the draft on top of his undeniable talent, as is seen on tape. Quick on his feet, he shows the potential of an elite defender and base-stealer at either middle infield position. While his swing is solid, Perez’s skill-set likely yields him to being more of a contact hitter. The question is whether teams in the top 10 will take a chance on Perez’s talent despite reports of a positive pre-draft drug test.

While the Brewers could go in a number of directions with the number 5 pick tonight, the five mentioned are some who I think could both be available and be great additions to one of the best farm systems in baseball. You can tune in tonight at 7 p.m on either or the MLB Network.


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