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Milwaukee Brewers 2017 MLB Draft Preview: High School Hitters

A look at potential Brewers prospects.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Our Milwaukee Brewers draft prospect preview finishes up with a look at high school bats. Out of all the positions, high school hitters will likely be the deepest option when the Brew Crew picks at #9 overall.

The Scouting Report

Royce Lewis SS/OF
#4 MLB Pipeline || #5 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Hit: 55 || Power: 45 || Run: 70 || Arm: 50 || Field: 50 || Overall: 55

Austin Beck OF
#9 MLB Pipeline || #9 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Hit: 50 || Power: 55 || Run: 60 || Arm: 60 || Field: 55 || Overall: 55

Jordon Adell OF
#22 MLB Pipeline || #8 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Hit: 45 || Power: 55 || Run: 65 || Arm: 60 || Field: 60 || Overall: 50

Nick Pratto 1B
#10 MLB Pipeline || #17 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tool Grades:
Hit: 60 || Power: 50 || Run: 45 || Arm: 55 || Field: 60 || Overall: 55

The Lowdown

Do you like toolsy outfielders? Well, if not, you probably don’t want the Brewers to use their pick on any of these high schoolers. Position aside, it’s a great group, and all have a chance to be elite MLB players.

Royce Lewis leads this class, and he’s one of the very few SS ranked to go in the first round by an outlet. However, I’ve seen most scouts rank his reactions too slow to stick at the six, particularly as he builds muscle. While his defense is plus, his bat is helping him gain attention atop draft boards. Lewis has a knack for making contact and, even if it’s not strong contact, his speed helps him get on base often. His swing needs some tweaks as it’s “long,” but his ability to make contact is a plus. Add that to the possibility that he could develop quite the power profile as he continues to mature. MLB Pipeline grades him at 45 for power, but Baseball America says it could get better thanks to his bat speed and room for growth.

After Lewis is a pair of outfielders with huge ceilings. First is Austin Beck, and it’s a 100% unfair comparison, but these articles are all about hype so... I’ve read Mike Trout comps. WAIT. Don’t get upset yet. The comps were due to a lack of weaknesses in Beck’s game like Trout more than the likelihood that he’s going to become a once in a generation player. It is still a ridiculous comparison for anyone to make of a high school player but it’s exciting none the less. The problem with Beck is that he tore his ACL and meniscus last year which kept him out of the summer circuit. That means teams aren’t sure how well Beck can hit when using a wood bat. Otherwise, he is a very well-rounded player.

Now, we introduce the player who many scouts have said has the highest ceiling in the draft: Jordon Adell. Adell is a problem to judge. In the spring he has just seven strikeouts to 21 home runs. That’s insane. However, when he’s faced better competition during showcases, he has struggled with strikeouts. Scouts say they have seen impressive changes in Adell’s mechanics and those improvements started showing better results towards the end of last summer when Adell was still facing tougher competition. Adell is a guy who could have plus to plus-plus tools across the board and be a superstar for years to come, but he also has a tremendously low floor.

Finally, we come to one of two popular first baseman in this year’s draft. Baseball America describes Nick Pratto as having “strike zone awareness and plate discipline well beyond his years.” For an 18-year-old that’s extremely high praise. It describes Pratto well, he already walks a ton, shows the ability to crush pitching mistakes and great in-game power. However, he’s a first baseman, and they don’t tend to be very popular in the draft, especially high schoolers.

How They Become Brewers

At some point, I have witnessed all of these players linked to the Brewers. Royce Lewis seems the most Brewers-esque player, high levels of athleticism, ability to play multiple positions and a little something to offer with each tool. However, Lewis is very unlikely to fall to them. If he does, I think the Brewers front office would quickly draft him.

After Lewis, the Brewers have been equally linked to Jordon Adell and Austin Beck. It sounds like Beck would be the cheaper sign, so if the Brewers want to have some extra money to spend come their comp pick in round one, they could take a slightly lower ceiling.

However, if they are as hyped on Adell on some of the writers are, it would be very hard to pass on him. The organization plays it safe, so I imagine the only way they draft him is if they agree that his mechanical adjustments have already paid dividends at the plate.

As for Nick Pratto, I don’t think he will end up a Brewer. He has an exciting offensive skillset, but it’s not the player profile you see the Brewers go for in these situations. Unless he’s there for the comp pick (which is a possibility), I can’t see Pratto coming to Milwaukee.