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Milwaukee Brewers 2017 MLB Draft Preview: High School Pitchers

A look at potential Brewers prospects.

MLB: General Managers Meetings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

High school pitching is one of the deepest areas of this year’s draft and something we definitely could see the Brewers dip into with one of the first two picks. High school pitching also might be the most volatile position to draft. There are some great examples of high schoolers who became aces, like Clayton Kershaw, but for everyone ace in the first round, there are 200 busts.

With that cheery note, let’s take a look at this year’s top high school pitchers.

The Scouting Report

Mackenzie Gore LHP
#5 MLB Pipeline || #4 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 65 || Curveball: 60 || Slider: 55 || Changeup: 55 || Control: 55 || Overall: 55

Shane Baez RHP
#12 MLB Pipeline || #12 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 65 || Cutter: 60 || Curveball: 55 || Slider: 55 || Changeup: 50 || Control: 50 || Overall: 55

D.L. Hall LHP
#13 MLB Pipeline || #14 Baseball America

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

Sam Carlson
#15 MLB Pipeline || #15 Baseball America

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

Trevor Rogers LHP
#23 MLB Pipeline || #28 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Fastball: 60 || Slider: 50 || Changeup: 45 || Control: 50 || Overall: 50

The Lowdown

This year’s crop is led by Hunter Greene. We already reviewed Greene’s ability in our first draft preview. After him is Mackenzie Gore. Gore has been cruising up draft boards, mostly because he’s a lefty, but there’s more than just that to like. He features a mid-90’s fastball that he can sink or cut and two good breaking pitches. The curve comes out in the 70s and projects to be a plus offering, while the slider sits in the low 80s and should be at least above average. He has some odd mechanics, but reports come back that his control is phenomenal for a high school pitcher.

Shane Baez is the biggest wildcard of the bunch. Some scouts say he could be better than Greene when everything’s said and done. Right now, his arsenal is lead by a high 80s cutter that he uses to set up a mid-90s fastball to strike batters out. The fastball has been clocked as high as 98 MPH and could add more consistent high velocity as he grows. Baez also rocks two solid breaking pitches. Add those factors into his tall, athletic frame, and he’s something to be excited over.

Before play started back up, D.L. Hall was a top three high school arm. Since then, he has fallen off a smidge. He’s still the second best lefty out of the high school pitchers and has perhaps the highest ceiling of the entire group. Hall’s top two pitches are his fastball and curve. Baseball America says some scouts grade his curve as a future 70. His fastball sits in the low-90s and has been clocked as high as 96. With high schoolers, it’s never too much to expect that to increase. According to MLB, his changeup isn’t great but continues to improve as he uses it.

Sam Carlson is yet another interesting name. While his secondary pitches aren’t as impressive as the other pitchers in this class, it’s his fastball that gets scouts excited. Carlson went from sitting high-80s and low-90s last year to peaking at 97 this year. It has a running action, and he spots it well even with the uptick in velocity. His changeup could be the best secondary option, and his curveball should be above average.

Finally on our list is Trevor Rogers. If you look at either of the top prospect lists we have linked to, you’ll notice that there are a few high school pitchers in between Rogers and Carlson. I chose to include Rogers because a few mocks have linked him to the Brewers. Rogers has shown a mid-90s fastball on the showcase circuit but sits high-80s/low-90s in his starts. MLB says it plays much faster due to his deception, location and long arms. His slider is an out pitch that gets “loopy,” a quality that isn’t uncommon for high school pitchers. MLB grades his changeup low, but Baseball America says it can be effective.

How They Become Brewers

This is an interesting group to see becoming future Milwaukee Brewers. The current scouting group has already passed on some elite pitching talent that fell to them in other drafts. Jacob Groome, James Kaprielian, and Touki Toussaint are a few that come to mind.

I imagine Gore would be hard to pass on if he fell. A lefty with plus control and ace potential is always attractive. It’s hard to see him falling to the Brewers at 9, although I have seen legitimate mocks that have him as low as 11. Those mocks come with a decent perspective on who teams are looking at selecting. Others have him going in the top 5, and that’s where I assume he will go.

Jim Callis of MLB mentioned that the Brewer are interested in one of Hall or Rogers. Both pitchers could help them save on slot — Rogers much more than Hall — and leave some wiggle room for spending later on. This is a similar approach they went through with Kodi Medeiros. I believe Hall would carry more value out of the gate than Medeiros did and has #2 upside.

There’s an off chance Carlson could slide down draft boards and be available with the compensatory pick. I don’t think Stearns or Ray Montgomery want to pick a right-handed pitcher with their first pick, so Carlson and Baez seem like long shots.