Draft Review: Day 1

Posted by Steve

Some brief thoughts on the Brewers’ draft yesterday:

I was not happy when the Brewers made their first choice. Touki Toussaint, Casey Gillaspie and Grant Holmes were all available, so I was not happy with the pick of Kodi Medeiros, someone who was projected as a late first or even second round pick.

I should mention that I feel better about the Medeiros pick after researching it a bit more. This video makes it look like he could be a LOOGY right now, but of course, the Brewers hope he can stick as a starter. Goodness, that slider 52 seconds in. P.S., that guffaw belongs to none other than Eric Byrnes, he of the famous Throwfall.

But, last night, I was not happy–at first. My opinion changed once they made the next two picks, as it became clear what the Brewers were attempting to do: rather than take one expensive player, they drafted three high-ceiling players who will all be similar in price.

With the new CBA, teams are allowed a draft budget that is dictated by the amount and value of their picks. Each pick is assigned a slot value, which is MLB’s “suggestion” for that pick. Teams and players are free to negotiate that price, but the total amount spent on draft picks must come under a certain overall price. If a team spends more than just a small bit above that budget (small amounts over come with a tax), they end up forfeiting future first round draft picks. Not something teams are going to want to do, unless maybe you’re dealing with a Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper-type talent.

So. By taking Medeiros with pick 12, the Brewers likely knew ahead of time that he would be willing to sign for less than slot, which is $2.8 million at pick 12. Let’s say it’s more like $2 million, though that’s obviously just a guess. They probably told him, “You can take our offer of 2 mil at pick 12, or you can roll the dice and hope to get drafted in the top 21 (the last slot value of over 2 mil). Your choice.”

He may have been drafted in the top 20, but who knows? He also may have fallen to the second round. And maybe he can even negotiate up to 2.2 or 2.3 mil. Either way, this should leave the Brewers with an extra $500-800k to work with in their later picks.

This strategy became apparent, because the players they drafted at 41 and 50 are both serious talents who will surely require the Brewers to go over slot to sign.

I almost listed Jacob Gatewood as another option for the Brewers in the first round yesterday (I wish I would have). He’s a tall high school shortstop who has plus, plus power and is definitely a boom or bust type. It’s fair to say that I’m at least as excited about Gatewood as I am about Medeiros, and probably even more.

Monte Harrison is another high-ceiling high schooler. Profiling as a CF or RF, Harrison is a potential 5-tool player. He is committed to Nebraska both as a baseball player and wide receiver on the football team, which could obviously make it difficult to sign him.

Baseball America rated all three players in their top 32 overall. Medeiros was 32, Gatewood was 21, and Harrison was 20. So if you’re basing it on that, in a vacuum, you wouldn’t be happy about getting #32 with pick 12. But getting three in the top 32 with picks 12, 41, and 50? That’s a haul.

You can see why the Brewers will need to get creative with their money in order to sign all three. They are allotted $6.3 million for their first five picks. Slot value for 41 is $1.38 mil; slot for 50 is $1.1 mil. I think the Brewers will probably need to go 400-500k over slot for both Gatewood and Harrison in order to sign them. That means that not only will they take money away from Medeiros, but I would expect the Brewers to make some reach picks in the next few rounds who will sign below slot.

And I would be completely okay with that. If the Brewers managed to sign all three of these players, that would be extremely exciting. The Brewers have enough guys in their system who can be 4/5 starters, 6/7 hitters. The reason their farm system is rated so low is because they have guys who can make the majors, but they don’t have many who will excel in the Majors. These three players would all enter the Brewers’ top 10 prospects list immediately, and they all have a chance to be impact big leaguers. These are the anti-Jungmann/Bradley picks, which is exactly what I was looking for.

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