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Milwaukee Brewers select Ethan Small in first round of MLB Draft

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A soft-tossing lefty with a dominant changeup

San Diego Padres vs Milwaukee Brewers - June 8, 2006 Photo by S. Levin/Getty Images

With the 28th selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers have selected Ethan Small. Small is a left-handed pitcher out of Mississippi State who’s already undergone a Tommy John Surgery in his career.

#56 MLB Pipeline | #45 Baseball America

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

Thanks to a dominant 2019 season, Small was named the 2019 SEC Pitcher of the Year. In 96 innings, Small had a 1.88 ERA, struck out 160 and limited hitters to just 27 walks.

Small is most known for his fastball, which sits in the high 80s and low 90s. Despite the low velocity, he has dominated hitters with it because of a deceptive delivery, great movement and the timing change he uses when coming to the plate.

The next-best pitch in his arsenal is his changeup. It sits in the mid-70s and comes out looking nearly identical to his fastball. His curveball still needs some work, but scouts believe it can be at least average as he continues his development.

As mentioned above, Small did undergo Tommy John Surgery while in college. While most players see an uptick in velocity after the procedure, Small actually lost a tick or two; however, he came back from the surgery as a better pitcher, with an advanced approach on the mound and improved location.

With the combination of pitching acumen, a deceptive fastball and solid changeup, Small projects as a high-floor player. Most evaluators see him as a future fourth starter in the majors. He can also be a quick riser through the system thanks to his already advanced approach.

The lefty is the first pitcher selected with the Brewers’ number one pick in the David Stearns-era. Milwaukee last took a pitcher with their first pick in 2014, drafting high school left Kodi Medeiros.

Baseball America ranked Small 45th in the top 500 draft prospect and MLB Pipeline had him at 56. Those rankings suggest that Small is a potential under-slot signing. The slot for the 28th pick is at $2.49 million, but Milwaukee could certainly use the draft savings. They have just $5,148,200 to sign all of their draft picks, the second lowest bonus pool in baseball.