For the first time since 1990, the Milwaukee Brewers this past summer did not hold a first-round selection in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft. But that didn't stop some of their selections from obtaining impressive pro debuts in the eyes of many scouts.
Baseball America's John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) released his draft report card for Milwaukee's crop of selections this past summer Monday morning. Delving into his evaluation of the class, he identified players he believes offer the best tools, who might become the best late-round pick as well as who could reach the majors in the quickest fashion.
The Brewers didn't have a first-round pick, but Devin Williams has first-round talent, and (Tucker) Neuhaus got first-round grades prior to a string of spring injuries. Milwaukee also loaded up on college pitchers with upside.
Right-handed pitcher Devin Williams, Milwaukee's first overall selection dominated the pitching aspect of the article. Manuel cited Williams for wielding the draft class's best fastball along with fourth-round selection Taylor Williams and 11th-round pickup Andy Hillis.
Manuel said Devin consistently touches the mid-90s with his heater and has "athleticism and feel" for the position, giving him an opportunity to throw a plus changeup down the road along with his slider. Taylor tops out more in the low-90s at this point, according to Manuel, and Hillis' "behemoth" 6-foot-7 has enabled him to touch 99 MPH on several occasions, though he may be restricted to a relief role.
Baseball Prospectus' Jason Cole has video on Williams in the rookie Arizona League this past July.
Continuing, Manuel offers his judgment on the Brewers' position-player haul from this past summer, citing 10th-round pick Michael Ratterree for having the best pro debut of any selection to go with the "best pure hitter" designation. Posting a .314/.391/.585 line over 65 Pioneer League games this summer, Ratterree is tabbed for having "good bat speed and strength, showing opposite field-pop."
Fifteenth-round pick David Denson, 17, is believed to be the best power hitter of the crop, earning what Manuel said to be "Ryan Howard comparisons." Second-round pick Tucker Neuhaus took home "best defensive player" honors for his versatile work at shortstop and third base. Johnny Davis, a 22nd-round pick, took home honors for fastest runner and best athlete, while lively-fastballer Hobbs Johnson is believed to be closest to the majors at this point.
Milwaukee used $3.88 million on bonus spending to sign their selections this summer, according to the article.
You can view our entire Brewers 2013 draft thread by clicking here.
To see Alec's midseason top prospect rankings, click here. He will post his updated top 25 organization prospect rankings on the site shortly after the new year.