Yesterday afternoon and evening, Major League Baseball went through 14 rounds (and one supplemental round) of the rule 4 amateur draft.The Milwaukee Brewers were allotted fourteen selections within that span, with which they selected fourteen baseball players who may or may not have something to contribute to the major league squad in the future.
Without further ado, here are those fourteen men who might have those contributions:
2.92 - Tyrone Taylor, CF, Torrance HS, California
3.122 - Zachary Quintana, RHP, Arbor View HS, Nevada
4.155 - Tyler Wagner, RHP, Utah, Utah
5.185 - Damien Magnifico, RHP, Oklahoma, Oklahoma
6.215 - Angel Ortega, SS, Colegio Hector Urdaneta, Puerto Rico
7.245 - David Otterman, LHP, University of British Columbia, Canada
8.275 - Edgardo Rivera, CF, Adolfina Irizarry De Puig HS, Puerto Rico
9.305 - Alejandro Lavandero, RHP, Belen Jesuit Prep School, Florida
10.335 - Anthony Banda, LHP, San Jacinto College North, Texas
11.365 - James Gainey, RHP, United States Naval Academy, Maryland
12.395 - Eric Semmelhack, RHP, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin
13.425 - Alan Sharkey, 1B, Coral Springs HS, Florida
14.455 - Ryan Gibbard, RHP, Lynn U, Florida
15.485 - Buck Farmer, RHP, Georgia Tech, Georgia
My thoughts on the draft and notes and things on the players drafted, following the jump.
Before we go any further, let's do some straight shooting: Nobody knows anything about these players. We can look at the scouting reports and college or high school stats and think that we might have some idea about these guys, but we don't. I still don't believe that the scouts involved in the process know that much about most of these players. They know more than us. They actually have seen these players once or twice, probably. At least, they've probably seen the players selected in the earlier rounds. There are going to be thousands of players selected in this draft. Some are much more known quantities than others.
But really, almost nobody except a few scouts and some devoted fans who actually follow high school and college baseball closely enough to find a way to watch the games have ever seen any of these guys play. So the best we can do for now is watch a quick one minute long "scouting video" on MLB.com and pretend like we are learning something from it. We're not. There's nowhere near enough information there to tell us anything. We can look at these players stats and, sure, we can maybe realize that certain players had a good on base percentage in college or something. But we have no idea how that will actually play out when they start playing rookie ball against the best of the best of their previous level. Or when they make the big jump to Double-A, if they even make it that far.
After a couple of seasons in the minors, we can start seeing some patterns and start to formulate some idea of who these players are. They'll have some experience against comparable competition, then. Especially the high schoolers. Congratulations on playing well against some kids who joined the team because their friend said it might be fun. Or maybe if they get a hit that one girl, you know, the really cute one will start to notice them. Those kids never had a sniff of being scouted. So the high schoolers being drafted, they're being drafted not on any results. They can't be. They're being based on their athleticism and what some people think they might be able to do. That's crazy to me. Pinning your hopes on players who are not competing against any comparable competition.
Basically, I guess this whole little monologue thing I have going ends up in this: Trust the people who are being paid to actually have seen these players. We don't have the knowledge or capabilities of acquiring the knowledge to truly judge these players. Not for a while, anyway. At least for major league players, and most minor leaguers, we have better means of judging them. We can't really do that with the draftees. I'm going to trust Doug Melvin, Bruce Seid, and all the Brewers scouts until we're given reason to believe a player won't be very good. Most of these players won't. The vast majority of them won't ever make a major league roster, probably. Such is the way of the MLB and their ways of drafting thousands of players every year.
The first name that might stand out to you is Damien Magnifico. That's because his name is magnificent. Like, literally. And to top it off, the guy throws a 103 MPH fastball. Aroldis Chapman does that, and he's now one of the best relievers in the league and is making $30.25 million. Of course, that's not to say that Magnifico is the next Chapman. If he were, he would probably have gone higher than the fifth round. Magnifico also, by all accounts, only has one pitch, with that pitch being a very straight, very flat fastball, yet very fast fastball. Basically, what this all adds up to, is that Magnifico is a reliever. He'll need work on getting some movement on his fastball and hopefully developing another pitch or two, but he's a college pitcher and could move quickly through the system. Right now, he hasn't been a big strikeout guy despite the big fastball. That's because he has no movement, making that pitch more hittable then it should be. If the Brewers work with him and can make some improvements, he could be an excellent reliever in the future.
The second name that jumps out is Buck Farmer because how perfect is that for someone who might play sports in Wisconsin? Unfortunately, Farmer fell a long ways due to signability concerns. If the Brewers can pony up the money (it seems like they chose many players earlier who are very signable and could go under-slot), then they might be getting a steal.
Tyrone Taylor was the Brewers top pick of the second day. He's viewed as a very athletic, and very good defensive, center fielder out of high school. He also played football, where he rushed for over 1200 yards in nine games as a running back. Knowing what I know about football, that means he's fast and strong. That's good. Scouts will say his 6'1", 180 pound frame has a lot of projectability. That's good, if unhelpful. I like that he's regarded as a strong defensive player. Many new draftees, especially out of high school, will not have worked on that part of their game as much. If he can stick in center field, that will make any possible value from his bat that much stronger. Basically, Taylor is raw, just like most athletic high schoolers. He has some strange batting mechanics and has had shoulder injuries in the past, though I would assume the Brewers feel comfortable that he is healthy. Something interesting is that Taylor played for the Brewers in the 2011 Area Code Games. I have no idea what the Area Code Games really are, so either the Brewers have liked him for a while now or what a coincidence!
Zachary Quintana isn't Magnifico. Quintana is a high schooler who stands at an unimpressive six feet and 180 pounds. Quintana tops out at 91 MPH and normally throws in the high 80s. That goes away from what the Brewers generally prefer: Big, hard throwers. So it's interesting to see the team go with someone whose best asset is probably his control. He supposedly has a nice curveball and changeup. He also played the infield some, though I assume he will be a pitcher with the Brewers if he signs. He doesn't seem like the prototypical high school pick. It sounds like he is much more polished, but could benefit from a few small mechanical adjustments in the minors. It's possible he could move through the system quicker than the usual high schooler.
Tyler Wagner was a closer at Utah, so he will almost certainly be seen as a bullpen arm through and through. That should mean that he can move quickly through the Brewers system and possibly help in the bullpen sooner or later. It surprises me a bit that the Brewers selected to probable bullpen arms so early, but at least that means they will hopefully avoid overspending on the bullpen via trades or free agency. Wagner has an excellent slider and a fastball in the low to mid 90s. As is the Brewers way, they will probably try to teach him a changeup as well. Wagner put up very good stats in college, which shouldn't be a surprise. He has struggled slightly with his control, but a bigger frame can give his pitches a little extra oomph.
Angel Ortega reminds me a lot of Yadiel Rivera with how people talk about him. Coming out of Puerto Rico, he has a good if not great glove and a developing bat. He'll join Rivera and Orlando Arcia as shortstops in the lower rungs of the Brewers system with those exact same specifics. All three players probably can stick at the position if they reach the majors, so long as they keep working at it. If all three continue to develop well, my money is on Arcia being the best hitter and the more likely to start at the major league level. All are a long way off and there's no guarantee any can even make it to Double-A at this point. Still, it's never a bad thing to have a lot of good defensive shortstops who might be able to hit.
Otterman is a raw, big, left-handed body that doesn't throw extremely hard. Despite being a junior, he'll need some work to become anything close to a top prospect. That means that we might see people say that he is "old for his level". Don't worry about that. If he can be a successful pitcher, he can take all the time he needs to put towards that. Otterman is eager to get started, and says that he will forgo the last two years of college and sign with the Brewers as soon as possible.
I'm not sure how interesting the rest of the picks were. The pitchers are all projectable. The Batters are iffy. That's what you get as you go further in the draft. Regardless, thus far it seems like the Brewers have a solid draft going. I don't think it would be considered a great draft by any means, but could see several of these players developing into major league players of various success levels. I appreciate the team mixing up high potential guys with possible quick moving, safer options.
The Brewers have thus far drafted four outfielders in this draft, and 10 pitchers. They also have 1 shortstop, 1 catcher, and 1 first baseman. It's pretty clear where there focus has been.