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Milwaukee Brewers 2020 MLB Draft Preview: High School Pitchers

Observing some prep hurlers that could intrigue the Brewers at #20

2019 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

On June 10th, the Milwaukee Brewers will gear up to make their first pick of the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team will only be drafting five players. This situation makes it that much more important to get a good talent when they pick at 20.

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to review key players who could fall to Milwaukee, or who the Brewers might reach for. We’re starting our look at probably the least likely pool of players for the front office to go after: prep pitchers.

With it becoming more and more likely that there will be no minor league season, there’s a belief that high schoolers will be hurt by a lack of development. On top of that, high schoolers have by far the most leverage of the draftees; teams can offer only deferred bonuses to their top picks to try and lure players to the professional ranks, and just $20K maximum bonuses for undrafted players. If the top prep players don’t find the deals they’d like, they can simply head to college — whether that be a four-year school or a JUCO. And perhaps most importantly, the high school hurler pool is just pathetic at the top tier compared to years’ past.

Despite all of that, whenever we expect Milwaukee to zig, they run in a straight line dropping the zag all together. To be prepped for anything, we’re diving into these preps.

The Scouting Reports

Mick Abel, RHP
#11 Baseball America | #11 MLB Pipeline

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

Jared Kelley, RHP
#12 Baseball America | #12 MLB Pipeline

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

Nick Bitsko, RHP
#19 Baseball America | #14 MLB Pipeline

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

Carson Montgomery, RHP
#36 Baseball America | #34 MLB Pipeline

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

The Lowdown

Abel is a 6’5” and 198 lb string bean who’s touched 97 MPH in past sessions. Combine that with a slider some scouts dub the best breaking ball in the prep class. He adds a useful changeup to have a solid three-pitch mix and true front-of-the-rotation potential. Not to mention, scouts love his character and makeup along with the already appealing tools.

Right behind Abel is Jared Kelley. At 6’3” 215 lbs, there’s a little less room for growth than Abel, but he’s already sitting 93-96 and can reach 98 with his plus fastball. His exceptional changeup helps him dominate hitters and is a weapon he’ll throw in any count. The curveball is lacking compared to the other two, but when it develops, he can shape up to be a force on the mound.

While Abel and Kelley lead the class, Nick Bitsko still offers interesting upside against his peers. The issue with Bitsko is that he’s coming out a year early to enroll in Virginia. Now, a 17-year-old potential stud is sitting there with teams missing the chance to look at him this summer. In what he know, Bitsko can bring the heat with an upper-90s spin which Baseball America says has 2,100-2,500 rpm (read: very good spin). Meanwhile, his curveball is dominant and he’ll already throw all three of his pitches for a strike.

Finally, Carson Montgomery is another young prepster with a rock solid fastball. His 6’2”, 195 lb frame also leaves room for growth on his fastball that can already touch 96. The slider looks like a pitch that could be dominant, but he has a bit to go to control the changeup.

How They Become Brewers

The first step, the Brewers need to actually want to draft a high school pitcher, something the organization hasn’t done since 2014 with Kodi Medeiros. As far as Abel and Kelley go, they need to fall due to teams being concerned since there was no additional opportunity to scout them this season. The two could be top 10 players if it weren’t for that issue and might slide because of the uncertainty and risk. If that happens, the team could have one of two very intriguing prospects to sign.

Bitsko seems more the Brewers speed. He’s a player some scouts will be uncomfortable with because he’s coming out early. The kid’s also younger than most prepsters, making a lost year that much more bearable. Milwaukee likes to draft young, high ceiling players. There’s some concern about his signability, which is sufficient given that I’m sure the Brewers want to maximize their five picks.

Finally, Montgomery is an interest situation. Will he sign for less with a potential second round/compensation round grade? Do the Brewers see a lot of upside in his pitches? If so, it would make sense for the Brewers to add a high schooler who’s still young, still boasts a lot of talent and would save them some cap room. With Montgomery’s leverage and a two-year college commitment, that could still be very difficult.