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Milwaukee Brewers 2017 MLB Draft Preview: College Pitchers

A look at potential Brewers prospects.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

You voted, and decided that today’s pre-draft subject is the college pitching class. We’re focusing on the top 3 or 4 college pitchers who could be selected by the Brewers. This means McKay — who we covered last week — is out of the running since he is almost definitely pick one or two.

This year’s college pitching crop is not as high-impact as in years’ past. Although the pitchers towards the top of the draft were expected to be highly sought after, rough seasons have taken away some of that steam. So, here’s what the Crew could be working with come pick 9.

The Scouting Report

Kyle Wright RHP
# 3 MLB Pipeline || #3 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 60 || Curveball: 55 || Slider: 55 || Changeup: 50 || Control: 50 || Overall: 55

J.B. Bukauskas RHP
#7 MLB Pipeline || #6 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 70 || Slider: 60 || Changeup: 50 || Control: 50 || Overall: 55

Alex Faedo RHP
#11 MLB Pipeline || #10 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 60 || Slider: 60 || Changeup: 50 || Control: 55 || Overall: 55

David Peterson LHP
#31 MLB Pipeline || #16 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 60 || Slider: 55 || Changeup: 50 || Curveball : 40 || Control: 55 || Overall: 50

The Lowdown

First, let me start with this: the Brewers aren’t drafting Kyle Wright. Scouts love that he looks like a pitcher (6’4”, 220 lbs.) and has elite velocity. Mix that in with two solid breaking pitches and there’s a lot for teams to be excited about. I just put him in the list for comparison sake.

Honestly, even with the Wright excitement, there isn’t that much difference between the MLB Draft’s second tier of college pitchers (the first tier being McKay on an island). Bukauskus is one that excites me. Baseball America says scouts have graded his slider as high as an 80 but more consistently around a 70. Meanwhile, his fastball sits in the mid-90s with sink to make him even more devastating. In the last year or so, he has a 12+ K/9 due to his elite out pitch, and his changeup is manageable. Although all his pitches are beauts, he comes with the classic “short guy” concern. Bukauskus measures at 6’0”, 6’1” if you’re being generous. Many scouts believe that size locks him into a reliever role. Others compare him to Houston’s Lance McCullers. If the option is a potential ace or elite bullpen pitcher, I like my odds with Bukauskus. Everything I’ve seen and read has me higher on him than Wright. Most of the lower rankings are a result of size.

Alex Faedo started the college season with a lot of “helium” but has lost most of it due to an up and down season. Faedo generally comes in at the mid-90s with his fastball but was sitting closer to 90 to start the year. Most of that velocity decrease has been attributed to minor surgery on both knees in the offseason. Faedo’s breaking pitches have graded out at plus in the past, and his fastball can move. He has the look scouts want at 6’5” 220 lbs. but has some slight mechanical concerns.

Finally, there’s David Peterson. I’m sure you noticed how low he ranks on MLB’s list versus Baseball America’s. I chose to put him next on the list, even though there a couple of pitchers I could have picked instead, based on the recent round of mock drafts which have him going mid-teens. This is representative of teams getting excited over a prospect who didn’t have much hype going into the season. A lot of that is due to this 20 strikeout performance in April after a 17 strikeout performance a few weeks earlier. He’s also the only left-hander on this list. Add in a low-90s fastball with plus breaking pitches, and you have an exciting prospect. Oh, did I mention he has a 117-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio?

How They Become Brewers

I already told you, Wright isn’t becoming a Brewer with their first pick. He’s either staying where he is in the first 5 or so selections or, if an injury were to develop, falling into the late first round.

Bukauskus and Faedo, however, each could be Brewers. The way that happens involves the Crew going for a fast-rising college pitcher. Bukauskus would obviously be ideal, but most expect him to go around pick six. Faedo is more likely but he needs to close out the season with a strong performance to strengthen his rankings. Otherwise, I could see him falling into the mid-teens.

Peterson is the one most likely to be a Brewer in my opinion. We know Stearns and Ray Montgomery like to save on slot on their first pick. With another pick in the first compensatory round, Peterson could be that high-rising prospect who also helps the Brewers save money. It’s always dangerous to select a player based on exceptional performance in one season, but Peterson does have a track record. In fact, he was a top 100 prospect coming out of high school. That, the opportunity to save money and his recent success could tempt the Brewers to pull the trigger on the lefty.