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Milwaukee Brewers 2020 MLB Draft Preview: High School Bats

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The prep bats are packed with excitement

Baseball: PDP League - Team Larkin vs Team Howard Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is a week away. ONE WEEK. Let’s keep walking down draft preview lane with our next group of prospects: high school hitters. In terms of first round talent, this group is actually a little weak. That doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty to be excited about.

The Scouting Report

Austin Hendrick, OF
#9 Baseball America | #13 MLB Pipeline

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

Robert Hassell, OF
#16 Baseball America | #16 MLB Pipeline

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

Peter Crow-Armstrong, OF
#17 Baseball America | #20 MLB Pipeline

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

Ed Howard, SS
#20 Baseball America | #15 MLB Pipeline

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

Tyler Soderstrom, C
#18 Baseball America | # 19 MLB Pipeline

MLB Pipeline Tools:
Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 40 | Overall: 50

Jordan Walker, 3B
#34 Baseball America | #33 MLB Pipeline

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

Drew Romo, C
#39 Baseball America | #35 MLB Pipeline

MLB Pipeline Tools:
Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50

The Lowdown

Austin Hendrick is a phenomenal hitter for his age. Although he hasn’t faced the best competition out of his high school, he’s shown the ability to hit tougher pitchers in the show case circuit. He has plus or plus-plus power depending on when you watch him and does everything else well enough. There’s strikeout risk in the profile, but he’s definitely an exciting profile who may be the best power hitter of the high school bats.

While Hendrick has the power, Robert Hassell might be the best pure hitter. He also possesses average to slightly above average power to accompany an advanced approach for a high schooler. He likely can stay in center field as he ages, but would handle a corner well if forced to move.

Crow-Armstrong rounds out the top-heavy outfield portion of the prep hitters. Crow-Armstrong is the wild card for evaluators. He’s very strong, but will he hit for power? He makes good contact when he puts the bat on the ball, but he also swings and misses. He’s very fast and will stick in center field as the best defensive outfielder in the class. Also, his mom was the mom in Little Big League.

Now, we move to the infielders. Ed Howard is a slick-fielding shortstop with a bat that excited. Scouts think he’s a well-rounded hitter who could add power to his profile. It’s a pretty straight forward summation of the kid. Evaluators also like his “Baseball IQ.”

Solderstrom is the first of two prep catchers on this list. He’s a strong hitter with great power potential and a polished left-hand swing. If scouts believe he can stick at catcher, he’ll be a great addition, but a lot of scouts don’t love his defense. He works stiff behind the plate and will need definite refining if he were to stick at catcher. Otherwise, move him to first or the corner outfield.

Jordan Walker is a big, 6’5” third baseman with plus raw power and room to add more strength as he goes. There’s concern that he won’t hit enough to make much use of that power, but if he does, watch out. His defense is strong enough to stick at third base, although any mass that slows him down could change that.

Finally, there’s the defensive specialist at backstop, Drew Romo. Teams love Romo’s defense and find an easy Major League projection on him. The switch hitter offers solid pop from both sides of the plate but leaves questions when it comes to hitting in general. He could be your traditional hit some, catch well backstop, or he could be a budding superstar.

How They Become Brewers

None of these players are out of the Brewers sights right now. Hendrick ranks highly, but he’s 19 and we’ve seen highly touted 19-year-olds slide down boards in the past. Milwaukee has trended more towards players who are younger than their peers, but a huge evaluation on Hendrick could make them break that habit.

Meanwhile, projections that we’ve seen make it easy to imagine the Brewers snagging one of the other top outfielders in the class not named Zac Veen. Signability will play a huge role in this one, as high school players will likely have a ton of negotiating power when contract talks start.

Ed Howard seems to fit the Brewers’ system well. He’s an up-the-middle defender, no questions about his defense and good bat projection. He and the catchers might be hardest to get as those are assets teams try to eat up as quickly as possible.

Jordan Walker seems like a major risk Milwaukee hasn’t really taken in the Tom Flanagan era. With all the questions about position and bat, that’s a lot of issues for the Crew to resolve. If the power’s real and they see it, it’s worth a bite even if there’s hard work to be put it.

Solderstrom is an interesting candidate to me. Although he’s a catcher, teams could let him slide and not draft based off his bat. The Brewers have taken risks on non-traditional catchers as of late, drafting KJ Harrison as a catcher when most saw him as a first baseman and doing the same to Tim Dillard. With the Brewers seeming less inclined to worry about defense, robo strike zones a few years away (in all likelihood), Solderstrom’s defense might not matter at all, making him a potentially super valuable bat at a position short on offense.

His counterpart, Romo, is a fine high school prospect who could be one of the rare fast-ascending catchers. It would add to Milwaukee’s depth in the farm and help them continue developing an asset not a lot of other teams have.