So far we've looked back at the 2012 and 2013 draft classes for the Milwaukee Brewers. Continuing our coverage of this week's MLB Draft, today we'll review our local nine's 2014 selections.
After failing miserably in trying to make "safe" selections at the top of the draft throughout most of his tenure, Bruce Seid went for broke with what would be his final MLB Draft before his untimely death in September of 2014. The Brewers had two first round picks in the 2014 draft after having zero in 2013, and both were used on high-ceiling prep players. Milwaukee selected left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Hawaii with the 12th overall selection, expecting that he'd be signed for a below-slot value bonus. Their next two selections, prep infielder Jake Gatewood (41st overall) and prep OF Monte Harrison, (2nd round, 50th overall), were subsequently both able to be signed to well-above slot bonuses in order to woo them away of collegiate commitments. That serves as an example of some of the gamesmanship employed during the MLB Draft.
Thus far, just six of the 41 first round selections from the 2014 draft have made their debut in the MLB. Four of these players (Carlos Rodon, Kyle Schwarber, Aaron Nola, and Michael Conforto) were chosen before Milwaukee's first pick at 12th overall. The Brewers did however pass on current MLBers Trea Turner and Brandon Finnegan, as well as highly rated prospects like Tyler Beede, Touki Toussaint, Bradley Zimmer, Erick Fedde, and Luis Ortiz with their selection of Medeiros.
Four of the Brewers' top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline are players from Milwaukee's 2014 draft class. That includes the three prep talents from the top of the draft in Medeiros (#7), Harrison (#15), and Gatewood (#23), who have each dealt with ups and downs so far during their transition to the professional game but have yet to reach 21 years of age. The fourth member is 11th round pick RHP Brandon Woodruff, who began this year by dominating high-A as a 23 year old before getting promoted to AA Biloxi.
Milwaukee's 2014 class can aptly be described as boom-or-bust, and there is plenty of potential to dream on here. Medeiros needs to refine his control, but he's got an improving changeup to go along with with low-to-mid 90s fastball and potential plus-plus slider and could feature as a mid-rotation starter or high-leverage reliever. Harrison is potentially a five-tool player with a 70 grade arm in the outfield, but he has yet to actualize those tools on the field. Gatewood may have the most raw power in the system, but also has to the contact and approach issues one might expect to go along with that. Woodruff throws three average-or-better offerings and if he can continue making strides with his control, he's got the arsenal to be a starter in the big leagues.
Beyond those four, their are a significant number of interesting players that make up the under-the-radar guys and organizational depth from the 2014 class. Troy Stokes (4th round), Dustin DeMuth (5th round), David Burkhalter (6th round), Javi Salas (10th round), Jordan Yamamoto (12th round), Kaleb Earls (13th round), and Carlos Leal (34th round) have all had some success so far down on the farm and could have the potential to make an impact in the majors at some point.
Only one player from Milwaukee's 2014 class has been traded to this point: 3rd round RHP Cy Sneed. Slingin' David Stearns sent Sneed to the Astros early in the last offseason in exchange for shortstop Jonathan Villar, who has been nothing short of a revelation for the Brewers in 2016. Sneed was a personal favorite of mine to follow and he's having success in AA for Houston (3.29 ERA, 43:13 K/BB in 38.1 innings), but with Villar performing at All-Star levels that's a deal that I would make again 100 times over.
Bruce Seid got a bad rap during his tenure as Scouting Director for the Milwaukee Brewers. His aggressive final two drafts of 2013 and 2014, however, could go a long way towards reshaping his legacy if they wind up producing some contributors to Milwaukee's next playoff-caliber team.