Major League Baseball teams are lucky to get just two or three average big leaguers out of each draft class. That doesn’t stop anyone from getting to know and dreaming on their favorite team’s top picks. The Milwaukee Brewers seemed to go the risk-reward route with their top-five draft picks, selecting three high schoolers and a recently-injured college bat.
Although Brewers fans are years away from knowing whether these picks worked out, it is worth taking a look at who the Brewers used their first five picks on.
2B/LF Keston Hiura, Round 1, Pick 9
Hiura is a college junior from UC Irvine, ranked #14 by BaseballAmerica. He grew up in Valencia California. He turns twenty-one at the beginning of August.
Hiura was a top-ten pick due largely to his bat. He set the UCI batting average record at .442 this season. His batting average improved in each season at UCI. He doubled his walk total from the 2016 season to the 2017 season, going from 25 to 50. Hiura displayed modest power in his time at Irvine, but relied mostly on high double numbers and solid contact.
Hiura doesn’t have a set position. He has spent time in centerfield and at second base. He spent most of this spring at designated hitter due to an elbow injury, which left some experts concerned about the lingering effects of the injury. In Hiura, the Brewers got an established college hitter, who they likely wouldn’t have taken if they had any concerns over his injury.
Tristen Lutz, CBA, Pick 34
Lutz is still just 18 years old, he turns 19 in August. He is an outfielder from Arlington Texas, ranked 35th overall by BaseballAmerica. He is a big kid. He has a 6-foot-3, 210 pound frame and uses all of it to hit for big power. He played centerfield in high school but because of his lack of speed is expected to make the move to a corner spot.
Lutz has a long time to develop before he is anywhere close to the big leagues, but on tools and potential alone he has one of the brightest outlooks in this years draft.
Caden Lemons, Round 2, Pick 46
Lemons is a tall, right-handed pitcher high school pitcher from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. BaseballAmerican ranked Lemons 57th. He showed up this Spring with a velocity bump, hitting as high as 97 MPH on occasions. He is also just 18-years-old, and doesn’t turn 19 until December, leaving him plenty of time to grow into his 6-foot-6-inch frame and possibly add a couple miles per hour to his fastball.
Lutz is a long-term project, but if everything goes right he has the body and the fastball to be a major league contributor one day.
KJ Harrison, Round 3, Pick 84, ranked 68th by Baseball America
Harrison is a soon-to-be twenty-one-year-old college junior from Hawaii, who played his college ball at Oregon State University.
He is listed as a catcher but did not spend much time behind the plate his junior year. He was drafted for his offensive skills, not his ability to hold his own in the gear. He spent most of the year at first base. Some scouts believe he can make his way back behind the plate, according to MLB.com.
The Brewers seem to be betting on his catching abilities. If he can develop his defensive skills behind the plate the Brewers might have just found a steal of an offensive catcher in KJ Harrison.
Brendan Murphy, Round 4, pick 114
Murphy is a high school senior from Mundelein, Illinois. He’s regarded as the top prospect from Illinois in this year’s draft, and BaseballAmerica ranked him 119th. He’s a left handed pitcher with a three pitch mix. He doesn’t turn 19 until January first, he still has plenty of time to grow and mature as a pitcher. His fastball sits in the low 90s. He uses a changeup to complement his fastball along with a slow breaking-ball.
Murphy is as polished as a high school arm will get. Like many of the Brewers earlier picks, there is a lot of time to develop for this teenager but he has a solid head start as far as pitch arsenal goes.