With the 41st overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, the Brewers have gone young again with high school shortstop Jacob Gatewood.
Gatewood follows first rounder Kodi Medeiros as the second-consecutive prep player taken by Milwaukee. Gatewood is a near-perfect selection as he falls under both the 'best player available' category and fills a position of need. The Brewers are lacking on infield prospects in their farm system and Gatewood instantly makes that better.
A two-sport athlete for Clovis (CA) High School, Gatewood is athletic, flashing nice footwork and decent speed at shortstop. His height -- he stands at 6'5" -- would be unusual for shortstop. It sounds like his future is unlikely to remain at the position and that he may move elsewhere, perhaps to third base. He has a strong arm (he can also pitch) that would allow him to make cross-field throws.
Despite his height, he is listed as just 190 pounds, meaning he has room to grow. Which is crazy to think about, considering everyone is already raving about his ridiculous power potential. It sounds he has to work on his swing a bit, but what high school hitter doesn't? He's a toolsy player, but that's exactly what the Brewers need in their system right now. If everything goes right, he could be a multi-time All Star. However, it seems he also may flame out and not make it past A-ball. All in all, a good risk for Milwaukee.
Here's what Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball had to say about Gatewood's bat:
The bat is his biggest asset, especially his power. His hit tool is all projection at this point. He has a lot of movement in his swing. He twists his wrists and taps his toe prior to his swing. He takes a long stride transferring his weight and then he unleashes a powerful swing. It will make him vulnerable to pitches he doesn't recognize immediately. He looks like he swinging an eight-pound bat the way it goes through the zone and the ball flies off of it. The velocity that is created almost looks hard to stop as he finishes with the bat hitting his shoulder or flipping over it. The leverage he has is big due to his load and his long limbs. He launches balls to all fields but the most power is to the pull side. It will be the tool that makes the most impact if he becomes a star at the big league level.
Gatewood has hit .349/.451/.627 during this year's HS season, with four errors in 14 games. He has hit a pair of home runs.
Though the Brewers have Jean Segura as their long-term shortstop, that shouldn't hinder Gatewood from sticking at the position for now should he be able to prove he can handle it. As a high school player, he is years off from the majors. That gives the Brewers plenty of time to decide on their future. Of course, he'll only pose a threat to Segura should he prove his worth in the minors. It's obviously not a foregone conclusion that he will make it as a professional.
Still, it seems like a lot of people in the know really like Gatewood and it's hard not to drool over his potential. Here's hoping he'll sign and get off to a hot start in the minors!