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Milwaukee Brewers 2018 MLB Draft Preview: High School Pitchers

A look at potential Brewers prospects.

David Weathers #49

The draft is almost here and we’re only at our second of four draft previews! Today we’re taking a look at the high school prep arms that could be available when the Brewers are up at 21.

High school arms are one of the strongest parts of the 2018 top 30, with plenty of high-profile players to choose from. Teams tend to be hesitant about selecting prep hurlers as they have the most risk when it comes to development. But when prep pitchers go right, the reward can be huge. Let’s dig right into some of this year’s top high school pitchers.

The Scouting Report

Kumar Rocker RHP
#23 MLB Pipeline || #13 Baseball America

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

Cole Winn RHP
#9 MLB Pipeline || #11 Baseball America

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

Mason Denaburg RHP
#24 MLB Pipeline || #22 Baseball America

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

Ryan Weathers LHP
#13 MLB Pipeline || #18 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tools Grades:
Fastball: 55 || Curveball: 55 || Changeup: 55 || Control: 55 || Overall: 55

Grayson Rodriguez RHP
#22 MLB Pipeline || #24 Baseball America

MLB Pipeline Tools Grades:
Fastball: 65 || Curveball: 50 || Slider: 55 || Changeup: 50 || Control: 50 || Overall: 50

The Lowdown

This is as many prospects as I’m willing to put down on a list out of necessity. As I mentioned, the high school pitching class is LOADED with talent. There are a few more that could go on here, but they would likely be gone by the time the Brewers made it onto the clock. As we’ve seen in the past, some signing demands can push players down the draft, and as I mentioned in the collegiate arms article, the Brewers might be willing to fork out some dough this year.

Our scouting starts with the 80-grade name Kumar Rocker. Rocker has a killer fastball and plus breaking pitch. He already has what it takes to be a solid reliever and could eventually get his control and changeup to the point where he’s a valuable member of the rotation. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and that’s where it should stay, as the 6’5” 235 lbs. Rocker doesn’t have much more room for physical projection.

Next up is my favorite of the group, Cole Winn. Winn could have a bevy of plus pitches when his development’s done accompanied by above-average control. Along with clean, repeatable delivery that gives him average control with a good fastball, Winn could be the whole package. He’s just not as big as his peers on this list at “only” 6’2”.

Mason Denaburg is another intriguing prep arm given that he’s a two-way athlete who was a kicker in football. Denaburg is very athletic, which helps him repeat his low-effort mechanics. His third pitch isn’t that developed but there’s some who believe that turning his focus to a single sport help take all of his pitches to a new level. His fastball tops out at 97 and will hit 94 on the backend of his starts. His curve is a killer to opposing hitters but he has some tendency to leave it up in the zone.

Ryan Weathers has a little more going for him that the rest of the pitchers in this class: lineage. His dad is former Brewer David Weathers. Scouts already like Ryan’s profile more than his dad’s as he does a little of everything well. He has three pitches that show plus, great mechanics and could be a serviceable lefty. His fastball doesn’t blow hitters away like the righties on this list but he might have the highest floor of the bunch.

Finally, Grayson Rodriguez is a 6’5” 230 lbs. righty who already hits the upper-90s with his fastball and has one hell of a curve to compliment it. His performance this spring is rocketing him up boards, although, if he can’t further develop his changeup, he might be relegated to a role out of the bullpen.

How They Become Brewers

There’s one answer for the top half of the list and another for the bottom half. For Rocker, Winn, Denaburg and even Weathers, other teams just need to pass and there’s a large possibility that happens. Teams like to save in the first round and spend on big risk, high ceiling players later on in the draft. These high ceiling players could easily fall into the Brewers lap as teams aim for more signable college players.

The bottom half of the list have to show enough to make the Brewers very interested. I believe the Crew would rather sit and wait for a similar arm at a lower cost in the second than draft a fringe first rounder. If Rodriguez or Vasil really peaks the front office’s interests, then they could be future Brewers.

Honestly, I don’t think the Brewers will take a prep pitcher. The organization has been focused on offense early and pitching later in the draft. Even if the team is spending more with their first pick than in recent years, there’s still something to be said for picking a player who’s more likely to develop into something special than taking one of the most high-risk prospects.