Hyping and Analyzing the Brewers' Day 1 Draft Picks

Rich Schultz

Read on for an introduction to the next Surhoff, Yount, Krynzel, Sveum, Plesac, Braun, or D'Amico.

Yesterday the Brewers drafted three key future cogs in the wheel of the organization. Three young iron teeth eager to fold in with the tenured to keep the wheel rolling through decades of winning baseball. Cogs so full of potential, when they burst into the league, you'll bellow WHO LET THE COGS OUT? I don't know where I'm going with this. I just want to talk about the cogs, is all. Here they are:

LHP Kodi Medeiros

Age: 18
Height: Somewhere between 5'4" and 7'2" depending on the source.
Weight: 195
School: Waiakea High School (Hawaii)
Stats: 7-1, 0.97 ERA, 129,390 K's in 43 IP
Other 12th overall picks: Aaron Akin, Jered Weaver, Jeff Juden, Billy Wagner, Matt Morris

A young Hawaiianite, Medeiros' claim to fame is his slider, a true terror for left-handed hitters. He is, like all others, a generator of armchair scout cliches: he sits in the lower 90s but can reach back for upper 90s; he has a developing changeup; expected to fill out his frame; nothing coming out of his hand is straight; some think his future is in the bullpen.

Medeiros apparently impressed the Brewers with a recent workout at Miller Park in which he hit 97 on the radar gun. There is no footage of this tryout because that isn't typical, and even if there was, these kinds of things are best left to linger into the realm of mythology as time moves on and he continues to ascend the minor league ranks.

Medeiros has a 1.593 OPS in 50 PA for his high school team this season. The last major league hitter to hit for a 1.593 OPS in at least that many PA? You guessed it. None. And they drafted him to pitch. That's how good he is.

The Brewers will need to make sure they have a catcher capable of catching Medeiros' pitches. Look at this poor kid trying to handle the fastball (source):

Medeirosfast_medium

If that wasn't tough enough, here he is hopelessly stabbing at the vaunted Medeiros slider:

Medeirosslide_medium

Know who else have had great sliders? Chris Sale. Randy Johnson. Bob Gibson. Here's a list of other left-handed pitchers in his height range who have pitched in the major leagues:

  1. Fernando Valenzuela
  2. Steve Carlton
  3. Rick Ankiel
  4. Mike Hampton
  5. Sandy Koufax
  6. Randy Wolf
  7. Daniel Herrera

As you can see, Medeiros could be a Hall of Famer or not. Time will tell.

SS Jacob Gatewood

Age: 18
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 190
School: Clovis High School (California)
Stats: .349/.451/.627 with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7 BB in 51 PA
Other 41st overall picks: Dan Plesac, Fred Lynn, Mark Lukasiewicz, Ryan Flaherty, Chris Owings

History was made yesterday in the amateur draft: the Brewers, for the first time ever, made the 41st overall pick. Unprecedented. The lucky draftee? Jacob Gatewood, a gigantic shortstop most easily identified in public by his vertical giganticism.

Last summer Gatewood won two different notable Home Run Derbies in the span of a month: first, at the junior portion of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby in Citi Field, and later at the Under Armour All-America Game Home Run Derby at Wrigley. Other notable Home Run Derby winners include Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Khris Davis won the 2010 Midwest League Home Run Derby, and also hit a go-ahead home run last night at Target Field. All good signs for Gatewood.

Gatewood's range at SS is superb, as he could fall in either direction and thunk his head on a base. If he can put on 15-20 pounds, he will fall faster, thereby reaching those sharp grounders more quickly.

Here is some video of Gatewood in the batter's box (source):

Gatewoodswing_medium

We can conclude a few things:

  1. We have visual confirmation that Jacob Gatewood has indeed played baseball
  2. We know he can take a pitch - literally, a pitch
  3. He wears #7, like former Brewers All-Star shortstop JJ Hardy
  4. He tastefully color coordinates his various bands and sleeves
  5. If you only glance at the name on the back of the jersey, you may misread his name as "Lakewood," a rural town in northeastern Wisconsin

The only wart I can find is in this troubling footage of Gatewood fielding a ground ball:

Gatewoodnothrow_medium

He ranges to his left and makes contact with the ball, but errs in one important way: the shortstop is then meant to pick up the ball and throw it to first to secure the out. I don't know how they play ball out there on the west coast, but in the major leagues, it isn't enough to merely stop the ball from rolling and gracefully pirouette. Hopefully this is something the Brewers address very early and clarify before they mistakenly sign half of a shortstop.

If Gatewood can grow into his frame and maintain the athleticism necessary to stick as a shortstop, perhaps the Brewers will finally have their franchise first baseman.

WR Monte Harrison

Age: 18
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200
School: Lee's Summit West High School (Missouri)
Stats: 60 rec, 1007 yds, 13 TD; 32 car, 198 yds, 12 TD
Other 50th overall picks: Isaiah Pead, Mohamed Massaquoi, Devery Henderson, Dominic Raiola, Winston Moss

The departure of Quincy Enunwa, drafted by the New York Jets in the 6th round of this year's NFL draft, means there is new opportunity for split ends in the Husker's high-octane offensive attack. Jordan Westerkamp figures to play a larger role as a receiver, but he is a better fit in the slot as an underneath option. As a senior with a solid track record, Jamal Turner may get a significant look if he can stay on the field, but probable first-stringer Tommy Armstrong Jr. could make use of a big, physical target in freshman Monte Harrison.

Harrison is a physical specimen, already nearly filling out his 6'3" frame at 200 pounds at the age of 18. The Huskers expect Harrison to add 5-10 more pounds of muscle to make him a true threat on the edge, where he has shown tremendous body control and balance - signs of a potentially elite ball-catcher.

Harrison has exceptional soft hands to complement his physicality, as exemplified by the following plucking on a short crossing route (source):

Harrisontips_medium

Summit West used him often as a runner, which is no surprise given his escapability and knack for slipping defenders and finding the pylon:

Harrisonelus_medium

The Huskers could use a dynamic threat as they shift into a new era offensively. A 99-yard TD reception from Quincy Enunwa was the deciding factor in Nebraska's 24-19 victory over Georgia in the Gator Bowl, but Armstrong no longer has that weapon at his disposal. He will need a playmaker like Monte Harrison if the Huskers plan on making a run at a conference title in 2014.

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