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Milwaukee Brewers 2019 MLB Draft Preview: High School Pitchers

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The draft is fast approaching, let’s look at some of the players who could be joining the Crew

MLB First Year Player Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The MLB first-year player draft is just a week away. As we prepare for one of the most exciting days of the calendar year for prospect nerds like myself, let’s preview some of the players that could potentially go to the Brewers.

The first group of potential draftees we’re previewing is the high school pitchers. High school pitchers are probably the least likely draft candidates for the Brewers. They tend to be the most unpredictable of the draftees, with most coming in with rough mechanics, bad tendencies, injury risk and general volatility. While it’s unlikely a high school player is the selection at 28, I still wouldn’t put anything past the front office group responsible for drafting.

The Scouting Report

Daniel Espino, RHP
#23 MLB Pipeline | #26 Baseball America

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

Jack Leiter, RHP
#33 MLB Pipeline | #22 Baseball America

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

JJ Goss, RHP
#24 MLB Pipeline | #34 Baseball America

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

Hunter Barco, LHP
#34 MLB Pipeline | #33 Baseball America

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

Josh Wolf, LHP
#36 MLB Pipeline | #56 Baseball America

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

The Lowdown

Leading off this list is Daniel Espino. Espino is the high-risk, insane reward draftee for 2019. Already showing a plus-plus fastball in high school, Espino could have four average or better pitches once he develops. His velocity will likely be in the triple digits at maturity. All of that sounds thrilling, but of course Espino has plenty of yellow flags. His mechanics are at times wild and hard to repeat. An untraditional arm slot makes some clubs afraid to take the risk on him. Add in recent struggles of top, hard-throwing prep arms like Riley Pint and Jacob Groome, Espino seems like a hard bet to place.

Jack Leiter is the polar opposite of Espino. Leiter is the son of Al Leiter and has been around baseball all of his life. It’s easy to wager that that exposure has led to the prep righty’s exceptional command and clean mechanics. His money pitch is his curveball, which has an all-star level 2700 RPM spin rate. Meanwhile, his fastball is in the low-90s peaking around 95. He’s considered a tough sign and is committed to Vanderbilt.

Goss is one of two Cypress Ranch High Schoolers that could get picked on the first day of the draft. He has excellent command for a prep pitcher and an easy delivery. His low-90s fastball shows some projection with Goss’ light frame and he has an excellent slider to pair with it.

The first lefty on our list is Hunter Barco. Barco has been a fast riser on draft board due to an improved delivery and more muscle than ever before this year. He can touch the mid-90s with his fastball and his slider and changeup look like above average pitches. The recent developments in his delivery might move him even further up the draft board as it shows he’s coachable and improved ability.

Wolf has been pushing up draft boards with his recent dominant performances. His curveball looks pro ready and his fastball is touching 97. He’s still growing and can build a lot more muscle, which leads to big projection dreams. The prepster is committed to Texas A&M and could be a hard sign.

How They Become Brewers

All five of the players listed are legitimate candidates to be drafted by Milwaukee should they want to add a prep hurler. The big issue comes down to signing bonus. Generally, high school hurlers committed to big schools demand big paydays. With the second smallest bonus pool in the draft, Milwaukee needs to be extremely considerate of how they spend their money. The first strategy is to either draft big early, which would mean a risk like Espino, or to play things a little safer to take advantage of players who slide in the draft in later rounds.