In less than 24 hours the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft will commence. The MLB Draft doesn’t elicit the same fanfare generated by the other two major sports, but it is an extremely important event that has the potential to change the future of an organization for decades.
The Milwaukee Brewers have had great success in the draft previously, as it was responsible for their playoff appearance in 2008 – their first trip to the postseason in 26 years.
But after that season they lost scouting director Jack Zduriencik to the Seattle Mariners, who became their new general manager.
Bruce Seid was hired to fill the void left by Zduriencik, and unfortunately didn’t live up to the expectations that were set. Year-after-year the Brewers continued to strike out on many of their draft choices.
Since Seid’s first draft as the scouting director in 2009, they have not had a single one of their first round picks reach the big leagues. While some of that has to do with luck, they passed on numerous players who have had success in the big leagues already or are highly regarded prospects.
Now with Ray Montgomery in charge of the draft, after the surprising and tragic death of Seid last year, it will be interesting to see what path the Brewers take in regards to their first round pick this year.
In Montgomery’s four years as the scouting director of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he hit the mark selecting the best player available, all who possessed a great deal of potential.
The Brewers have been linked to college arms since the spring, and if Missouri State right-hander Jon Harris is on the board, don’t be surprised if they selected the 6-foot-4, 190-pound hurler.
Harris has an outstanding four-pitch mix featuring an above average fastball that consistently sits at 92-94 mph with sink. His fastball velocity has the potential to increase, especially once he adds more muscle to his frame.
Since mid-spring, Harris has been regarded as one of the top pitchers in the draft class. If he is able to slide all the way down to the Brewers at pick No. 15, don’t be surprised if they snatch him up because he has a high ceiling and is a safer pick than other college arms.
Talented prep left-hander Kolby Allard, prep outfielder Garrett Whitley, who the Brewers brought in for a private workout this past week, and University of Louisville’s Kyle Funkhouser, who the Brewers have scouted heavily and Montgomery has witnessed first-hand, are other players to keep your eyes on when it comes to the Brewers and their 15th overall selection.
Also, don’t rule out last year’s No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken. The left-hander didn’t sign with the Astros after the contract fell apart due to concerns about his elbow. He then underwent Tommy John surgery in early spring this year.
If it wasn’t for the concerns about his elbow, he would be a top 10 pick due to the fact that he possesses the most potential out of any player in this draft. However, those concerns could cause him to slide into the mid to late first round.
It is hard to know what organizations think about Aiken, but don’t rule him out completely for the Brewers. In the end, a team who selects Aiken will have to be comfortable with his elbow and feel like he is worth the risk to select him.
With the Brewers selecting in the middle of the first round, it is hard to give a definitive answer on who they will pick since the draft could play out in numerous ways on draft night. The Brewers have been linked to collegiate hurlers, and don’t be surprised if they travel down that path.