2013 MLB Draft: Milwaukee Brewers second-round prospect big board

Mike Stobe

Which college and prep players might the Brewers target with the No. 54 overall pick in June's draft?

When Major League Baseball's 2013 first-year player draft kicks off June 6, the Milwaukee Brewers will be in a position they haven't found themselves since 1990. For the first time in 23 years, the club will not own a first-round draft pick, forfeiting its rights to the 17th overall selection with the signing of free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse back in March.

For an organization that has thrived off its first-round selections since the turn of the millennium, drafting players such as Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Brett Lawrie (among others), this is a bit of an awkward situation. After two years of owning multiple first-round selections, general manager Doug Melvin and director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid will no longer have the luxury of drafting early and often. Instead, they must direct their efforts toward the second round, where the team holds its first selection this year with the No. 54 overall slot.

Consequently, Milwaukee's scouting brass must be absolutely sold on the 'signability' (the willingness of a potential draft pick to sign with the team) and projectability (how well a potential draft pick projects to the professional level) of the selections. Hitting-and-missing with first-round prospects is no longer an option.

So the question now becomes: Who might the Brewers be interested in drafting with their first pick? With roughly two weeks remaining until the draft kicks off, their 'big board' of potential picks is nearly complete. With that said, let's take a look at what that board might look like by profiling 10 players who I think best fit the Brewers' needs and could realistically be taken with the 54th overall pick.

Likely to be Gone

--Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma

--Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford

--Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga.

--Trey Ball, LHP/OF, New Castle (Ind.) HS

--Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, San Diego

--Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State

--Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas

--DJ Peterson, 3B/OF, New Mexico

--Reese McGuire, C/3B, Kentwood (Wash.) HS

--Dominic Smith, 1B/LHP/OF, Serra HS (Calif.)

--Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville

--Marco Gonzalez, LHP, Gonzaga

Second-Round Big Board

1. Michael Wagner, RHP, San Diego

Measurables: 6'4", 185 pounds

2013 Stats: 11 GS (76.1 IP), 4.11 ERA (4.24 FIP), 76 K/23 BB, 1.36 WHIP, .260 BAA

Signability Risk: Very low

Background: Wagner spent the first two years of his college career as a closer and performed well, posting an ERA of 2.73, while notching 19 saves in 29 relief appearances his sophomore season. This season, he's made 11 starts as part of San Diego's rotation, in addition to keeping his relief role, and has struggled some, allowing nearly a home run per nine innings pitched a season after not allowing one long ball over 59.1 innings as a sophomore. His struggles this season can be traced to his already major-league average control; each of his offerings can often catch too much of the plate. Essentially, he's too much around the plate for his own good.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: Wagner has three credible pitches at his disposal and doesn't rely on any one to get batters out. His two-seam fastball sits in the 91-93 MPH range and has good sink to it and regularly produces ground-ball outs, and his slider has good sweeping action and projects to be a major league average pitch. His changeup is what sold me, however; the offering has proved to be devastating against lefties and is a true swing-and-miss pitch. Couple those with a good frame and refined mechanics, and he could be a solid addition to the bullpen down the road.

2. Trey Masek, RHP, Texas Tech (@treymasek)

Measurables: 6'1", 185 pounds

2013 Stats: 10 GS (71 IP), 1.52 ERA (3.20 FIP), 63 K/19 BB, 0.97 WHIP, .204 BAA

Signability Risk: Low

Background: A starter and reliever who struggled with his control and didn't strikeout many, Masek took major steps toward improvement his sophomore year at Texas Tech and has built off that success this season for the Red Raiders. Over 10 starts, the Austin, Texas native has yet to relinquish a home run, has held batters to a .275 batting average on balls in play and is considered the best starter the Big 12 has to offer in this draft class. A solid showing in last summer's Cape Cod League may have a big reason for that success.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: With a Tyler Thornburg-like build to him, many believe Masek best projects to the bullpen, potentially thriving in a setup role. With a three-pitch mix that includes a mid-90s fastball and curveball that are just about big league ready and a changeup that could develop into an average offering, Masek certainly has the arsenal necessary to be a late-inning reliever. But just like his contemporaries, he could use some refinement with respect to his command; his clean mechanics suggest that shouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

3. Jordan Paroubeck, OF, Serra HS Calif. (@MochaJayy)

Measurables: 6'2", 190 pounds

2013 Stats: N/A

Signability Risk: Moderate

Background: There aren't too many high schoolers out there who have the luxury of being personally coached by a potentially Hall of Fame-bound player, but that's exactly what Paroubeck has going for him. For each of the past few seasons, he's received hitting guidance from Barry Bonds, a longtime friend of his father. Paroubeck was a standout at the 2012 Area Code games, where he was first recognized by scouts for his versatile game.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: The Brewers have sworn by athletic, toolsy and versatile players since Seid first joined the organization as an amateur scout back in 1997, so if he's interested in Paroubeck it should come as no surprise. Though he doesn't have one standout aspect of his game, Paroubeck's hit and power tool project to be at least major league average thanks to a short and quick stroke from both sides of the plate. His major league average speed would be ideal for Ron Roenicke's style of base-running and his arm is strong enough to profile well in both center and right field. A Fresno State commit, signability may become an issue if he slips this far into the second round.

4. Andrew Thurman, RHP, UC Irvine

Measurables: 6'3", 200 pounds

2013 Stats: 13 GS (91.3 IP), 3.15 ERA (3.21 FIP), 80 K/19 BB, 1.06 WHIP, .236 BAA

Signability Risk: Low

Background: After spending his freshman year at UC Irvine as a middle-inning reliever and performing well, Thurman made the full transition to starter in 2012, where over 15 starts he posted an impressive WHIP of 0.93. His junior 2013 season has yielded similar results. With respect to his walk ratio, Thurman has lowered it to a paltry 1.9 per nine innings while averaging seven innings pitched from start to start.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: Thurman doesn't have a particularly high ceiling, but he's as surefire a pitcher as you'll find in this draft class. With a mid-90s fastball that he commands exceptionally, a curveball and slider that each show good over-the-top break and a changeup that scouts deem pro-ready, he has four credible offerings that he has confidence throwing in just about any situation. His 6-foot-3, 200 pound build suggests he could be a future innings eater and his polished mechanics leaves little left to be desired. The only question is if he's available to be selected at No. 54 overall; scouts seem to think he won't slip past the early second round.

5. Jason Hursh, RHP, Oklahoma State (@Jason_Hursh)

Measurables: 6'3", 195 pounds

2013 Stats: 14 GS (97 IP), 2.78 ERA (3.64 FIP), 79 K/23 BB, 1.21 WHIP, .260 BAA

Signability Risk: Low

Background: After seeing minimal playing time his freshman year at Oklahoma State, Hursh underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2011, though that hasn't deterred his post-surgery production. In 14 starts this season as a redshirt sophomore, he's proven to command the ball well to both sides of the plate and limit the long ball, walking a shade over two batters per nine innings while allowing just three home runs over 97 total innings.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: If there's one thing the Brewers need, it's a polished hurler capable of hastening through the system in an effort to add depth to the bullpen and, potentially, starting rotation. Hursh offers just that with a projectable frame and three-pitch mix that includes a ground-ball inducing, mid-90s fastball along with a tight slider and progressing changeup. Add all these things together, and Hursh could be in the big leagues in the relatively near future.

6. Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B, St. Thomas HS, Houston (@doinitBIGio23)

Measurables: 6'2", 180 pounds

2013 Stats: N/A

Signability Risk: Moderate

Background: A commit to the University of Virginia, Biggio has been coached by his father, Craig, his entire life and has in turn been on scouts' radar for a while, but it was his impressive performance during the 2012 Area Code Games that really turned heads. Heading into the draft, Biggio figures to land somewhere in the early to middle second round area, where if that holds true, the Brewers would be in perfect position to grab him.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: Rickie Weeks' struggles of the past few seasons have fans wondering about the future of second base in Milwaukee. Scooter Gennett is producing in the upper minors but his lack of power may keep him there for a while, and after him there are no true standout second basemen in the system. Drafting Biggio, then, would make sense; his power, unlike Gennett, looks to grow into major league average and his hit tool could be above major league average. He's an average runner and slightly better defender, but his baseball IQ and instincts make him a realistic target for Milwaukee's second round pick

7. Carlos Salazar, RHP, Kerman HS (Calif.)

Measurables: 6'0", 200 pounds

2013 Stats: N/A

Signability Risk: High

Background: Though Salazar signed his letter of intent to Fresno State University last fall, you can bet the decision of whether or not to go pro this June is weighing on the 19-year-old. One of the top prep arms in this year's draft, his senior season has made him possibly the best high school pitcher in California, and that's saying a lot considering the talent that will be drafted from that state next month. He hasn't seen much time on the showcase circuit, which is why he's flown relatively under the radar thus far. Milwaukee may be thankful for that fact when the draft is all said and done, because they could certainly use his pitching prowess.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: Rumored to have touched triple digits with his fastball a time or two as a high schooler, Salazar sits comfortably in the mid-90s and has a two breaking pitches (curveball and slider) that have nice bite to them. Stocky and athletic, scouts say he has a nice feel for his changeup, which is something the Brewers put a lot of stock into when evaluating prospects. All of his offerings have projection on them so he'll be a bit of a project, so there's no questioning he maintains a high ceiling. The only concern is the strength of his commitment to Fresno State

8. Robert Tyler, RHP, Crisp County HS Ga. (@RobertTyler2013)

Measurables: 6'3", 196 pounds

2013 Stats: N/A

Signability Risk: Moderate

Background: In a draft class that's deep in prep talent from Georgia, Tyler stands out from the rest . And thanks to impressive showings at the 2012 Area Code games, Under Armour All-American showcase and Perfect Games, he's proved that the big stage doesn't phase him and that he can be a solid addition to any minor league farm system should he forgo his commitment to the University of Georgia.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: The Brewers have drafted and successfully signed just two prep pitchers in the second round of the draft since the turn of the millennium, so it's somewhat unlikely they go that route this year based of recent history. However, they'd be mistaken to do anything but take a serious look at Tyler, who is one of the most projectable young arms in this draft. At a lanky 6-foot-3, 196 pounds, Tyler has some room to pack on muscle and in turn add some velocity to his already low to mid-90s fastball. Add in the fact that he has a good feel for a changeup and throws a decent slider and better curveball, and Tyler has obvious potential as a professional, possibly a mid-rotation starter down the road.

9. Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal State Fullerton (@Lorenzen55)

Measurables: 6'3", 195 pounds

2013 Stats: .330/.405/.533, 22 XBH (7 HR), 16 BB/34 K, 10 SB, .414 wOBA (53 G)

Signability Risk: Low

Background: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, Lorenzen chose school over professional ball and there's little doubt he doesn't regret doing so. His first two seasons with Cal State Fullerton yielded a .317 batting average and he excelled on the mound, too, posting a 1.23 ERA over 20 relief appearances his sophomore season. However, it's Lorenzen's projectable all-around game that has scouts salivating with the draft mere days away.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: Even with last year's offense-heavy first round draft haul, the Brewers are noticeably void of positional talent on the farm; Gennett may be the best hitting prospect in the system, and that's not saying much. With that said, taking Lorenzen makes sense. His plus arm and average range would profile nicely in right field down the road, and as he subjects himself to better competition, his currently below-average hit tool should progress into at least major league average. Athletic and lean, Lorenzen has enough raw power right now but has more yet to tap into. As if that's not enough, he's an efficient base-stealer to boot.

10. Dylan Covey, RHP, San Diego (@covesmagoves)

Measurables: 6'2", 205 pounds

2013 Stats: 14 GS (63 IP), 5.29 ERA (3.54 FIP), 58 K/37 BB, 1.83 WHIP, .295 BAA

Signability Risk: Low

Background: Milwaukee's first-round draft pick back in 2010, Covey opted to play college ball instead of starting his professional career. He may be regretting that decision in hindsight, because after two lackluster seasons filled with control issues and currently in the midst of a third one, his draft stock has slipped as a result. Scouts aren't sure where Covey will land this time around (Baseball America rates the right-hander as their No. 122 prospect heading into the draft and MLB.com ranks him at No. 40 overall), but all indications are that he should be available when the Brewers go on the clock at No. 54 overall.

Why Milwaukee should draft him: While Covey's control issues have plagued him once more this season (5.29 BB/9), his swing-and-miss stuff is almost second to none among college righties in this year's class. His heavy-sinking, low-90s fastball produces a nice amount of ground outs, and he also employs an over-the-top curveball and changeup that grade out as big league average offerings right now. He's got the stuff and the build of a mid-rotation starter; it's his control that's held him back from being a top-15 pick once more. Familiarity with both parties here could be enough to put Covey in Milwaukee's system.

Statistics acquired from CollegeSplits.com

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