2017 MLB Draft Grades: Milwaukee Brewers
Best Pure Hitter: 2B Keston Hiura (1) has a long track record for hitting. He stays inside the ball, has a short, repeatable swing and controls the strike zone. That helped him lead Division I in batting (.442) and on-base percentage (.567). He destroyed pro pitching in his debut as well, batting .371.
Best Power: OF Tristen Lutz (1.5) had some of the best raw power in the draft class, thanks to his bat speed, present strength and leverage in his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame. He then raked in his debut between two Rookie-level stops with nine home runs in 161 at-bats. Hiura doesn’t hit them as far, but he hits them often, with power to right-center field.
Fastest Runner: 3B Nick Egnatuk (5) gets the edge over Lutz here, as both are above-average runners. Lutz can play center field now but may outgrow the position and move to a corner.
Best Defensive Player: SS Devin Hairston (6) isn’t twitchy, but he has excellent body control and hands to stick in the middle infield. His quick release mitigates his fringy arm strength, but he still may have to slide to second base long term if he’s a regular.
Best Athlete: Lutz is explosive, with tools across the board. He has a muscular frame that evokes a young Matt Holliday, runs and throws well, and has a chance to be average or better in all five tools.
Best Fastball: RHP Caden Lemons (2) started to grown into his lanky 6-foot-6, 175-pound frame this spring, leaping up draft boards as his fastball reached 96 mph. He’s raw but has 100 mph potential.
Best Secondary Pitch: Another projectable, tall prep pick, LHP Karlos Morales (25) will need to add power but has the shape and spin on his curveball that could make it a weapon.
Best Pro Debut: Hiura hit .371/.422/.611 overall in 167 at-bats, including hitting safely in 19 of his first 20 games at low Class A Wisconsin.
Org Of Year: Ahead Of Schedule
The Brewers eschewed tanking three years ago when they first embarked on their rebuild. In 2018 they advanced to within one game of the World Series.
Most Intriguing Background: OF L.G. Castillo (17) was a three-sport athlete in high school, helping Lancaster (N.Y.) High to its first state football title since 1999. OF Je’Von Carrier-Ward (12) is the nephew of Mark Carrier, a three-time Pro Bowl NFL safety.
Closest To The Majors: Hiura has to find a defensive home and is trying second base after an elbow injury relegated him to DH all spring and most of the summer. His bat will be big league ready soon.
Best Late-Round Pick: The Brewers signed Carrier-Ward and RHP Max Lazar (11) for $475,000 apiece, with high hopes for both. While raw, Castillo will challenge both.