The 2019 MLB draft is wrapped up and unlike the NBA or NFL draft, most of America probably didn’t realize the MLB draft happened. However, many die-hard Brewer fans are researching who the future Brewers will be. I will highlight some of the picks I like and some that I did not through the first 10 picks.
Ethan Small; LHP; Miss St.
Ranked as the 56th best prospect in the draft, the Brewers drafted him with the 28th overall pick. He took SEC Pitcher of the Year honors and ranked 2nd in strikeouts and WHIP in the SEC. His college numbers are impressive, there is no doubt about that. I see the logic in that they draft a pitcher who could rise quickly through the ranks and make an immediate impact in the next couple of years. Why am I down on him? It’s a matter of preference whether you want a safe guy who will come up an be a solid contributor or if you want a guy who is a bit rawer but has ace potential. I am in the latter group. In the 1st round, I want my team to draft a potential star. I am not saying Small won’t be, but considering the guys left on the board, he has less of a chance. He is a Kyle Hendricks style pitcher who will need to show exceptional command to have success. If the Brewers end up with a Hendricks quality pitcher, this is definitely a successful pick. If you’re drafting a pitcher in the first round I want a guy who has the best stuff and work to develop him into an ace. If drafting a pitcher, I would have gone with Brennan Malone or JJ Goss. Small profiles to be a #4 starter with a high floor. I like high floor guys, but I think at this time the Brewers could have gone for someone with a bit higher ceiling. I like Small and think he will be a solid player, but I was a bit disappointed with the pick. Until…
Antoine Kelly; LHP; Wabash Valley College:
Here is a pick I like. Still early in the draft, I like the risk. This 2nd pick actually makes me kind of like the 1st round pick more. This is a high-risk high reward player. At 19 years old, he has a 70-grade arm. While he has not yet developed a great second pitch and his control is not great, his arm is highly valuable. He projects more as a reliever which I can see. As we see every year at the trade deadline, stud relievers are highly valuable. This kid is risky and very well may not turn into anything special. However, the pick justifies the first round selection and therefore I look favorably on it.
Nick Kahle; C; Washington
Like it? I love it. Ranked by MLB.com as the 131st best prospect, Kahle is a heavy hitting catcher with below average defensive abilities. Drafted in the 3rd round, his bat is what he will be known for. A comparable mentioned by Jim Callis when he was picked is Kurt Suzuki. At this value, the Brewers would be thrilled to have that! He may not be the flashiest pick, but he should be able to hit for a good average at the MLB level.
David Hamilton; SS; Texas
Dan Zielinski mentioned it on our 3-2 Whats he Gonna Do podcast, and I will reiterate. This is a really good pick. At just 5’10” 185 pounds, Hamilton broke onto the scene last season at Texas hitting .291/.404/.445 with 5 home runs and 31 stolen bases. He shows plus speed and in 2017 was awarded the Spike Owen Defensive Player of the Year. He sat out all of 2019 recovering from Achilles surgery. If he had been able to play 2019, Hamilton would have gone way higher in the draft. Given the talent, the Brewers got a steal here in the 8th round.
Decent draft by the Brewers. The 1st round pick was disappointing at first but they took a high-risk guy in the 2nd round to make up for it. Small’s ceiling is Kyle Hendricks and it will be interesting to see how he rises through pro ball. He was the best pitcher in a very good SEC. Now we will see if he can keep it going.