Milwaukee Brewers 2018 MLB Draft Grades
BEST PURE HITTER: SS Brice Turang (1) has an advanced approach at the plate with above-average pitch recognition and terrific feel for the strike zone. He brings plus bat-to-ball skills to the table as well and has no issues going to the opposite field with pitches on the outer half. Turang was seen as one of the most polished hitters in the 2018 class and proved that by hitting .319/.421/.362 in the Arizona League before being promoted to the Pioneer League where he hit .268/.385/.348 in 29 games.
BEST POWER HITTER: C David Fry (7) was a senior sign out of Northwestern State who signed for just $10,000 but the Brewers love his aggressive swings in the box. After hitting 12 home runs during the spring in the Southland Conference, Fry hit .315/.406/.563 in 61 Pioneer League games, with 12 home runs and 15 doubles.
FASTEST RUNNER: SS Korry Howell (12) is a plus-plus runner who's occasionally turned in sub 4.0-second times from home-to-first. Drafted out of Kirkwood (Iowa) JC, Howell stole 83 bases in 99 tries (84 percent) over two years before joining the Arizona League where he swiped 12 bags in 16 attempts (75 percent). Currently a shortstop, Howell's speed would translate nicely to the outfield if he winds up moving there in the future.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Turang has smooth actions at shortstop with an innate, natural feel for the position, taking excellent routes to the ball and adjusting well on tough hops. He doesn't show it regularly, but Turang has plus arm strength that he'll use when necessary and projects to stick at the position long term. OF Joe Gray (2) flashed plus defensive tools this summer in center field, with plus arm strength that could easily support a move to right field in the future if his continued physical development necessitates it.
BEST FASTBALL: RHP Drew Rasmussen (6) could have the best fastball in this class if he comes back healthy—though that's a big if for a pitcher who is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. When healthy, Rasmussen was up to 98 mph. LHP Aaron Ashby (4) likely takes this category if Rasmussen doesn't ever return to form. With a fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range with good deception.
BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Ashby's curveball was his bread and butter at Crowder (Mo.) JC that fueled him to 156 strikeouts in just 74.2 innings this spring, but the Brewers actually prefer a power slider that has impressive depth and two-plane break. Both of his secondaries are above-average offerings. RHP Justin Jarvis (5) showed an above-average curveball in the Arizona League while LHP Clayton Andrews (17) has a changeup that hitters can't seem to connect with, that helped him strikeout 14.7 batters per nine between the Pioneer and Midwest Leagues.
BEST PRO DEBUT: Andrews struck out 41 percent of the batters he faced and pushed his way to low Class A Wisconsin after signing for $75,000 out of Long Beach State. He posted a 2.18 ERA across two levels and 33 innings, with 54 strikeouts and just seven walks, showing a true out-pitch in his changeup. It'll be difficult for him moving forward at just 5-foot-6, 160-pounds, but he's athletic and has impressed early. Turang looked solid on both sides of the ball and proved to handle the competition in the Arizona League with ease, while Ashby made it to the Midwest League, where he posted a 2.17 ERA with 47 strikeouts to nine walks.
BEST ATHLETE: The Brewers drafted plenty of athletes in their 2018 class. Gray has loads of raw athleticism and strength, but isn't a pure burner of a runner. OF Micah Bello (2s) is an above-average runner with good body control, who played football for the first time during his senior year and helped his Hilo (Hawaii) HS team win a state title. Howell is the best runner of the class, Turang has excellent body-control and quick-twitch actions and OF Arbert Cipion (9) is raw when it comes to baseball skills, but is long and lean with running ability and good defensive ability in the outfield.
MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Ashby's uncle, Andy Ashby pitched in the major leagues for 14 years, posting a career 4.12 ERA throughout the 90s and early 2000s with the Phillies, Rockies, Padres, Braves and Dodgers. Andy also played his college ball at Crowder, like Aaron, who arrived at Crowder as a lefty in the mid-80s before seeing his stuff blossom over the next two years.
CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: The Brewers 2018 class might be slow to develop with plenty of high school players selected early, as well as college players from smaller schools or with injury questions. Rasmussen could move quickly if he does return to health, while Ashby could also move quickly with some minor adjustments.
BEST LATE-ROUND PICK (11-40): RHP Reese Olson (13) threw a lot of strikes in the Atlanta-area this spring and developed a reputation of an advanced feel arm, but he impressed the Brewers with his pure stuff as well this summer, touching 94 mph with his fastball.
THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: OF Elijah Cabell (14) shares a lot of similar traits with Gray, and has huge power potential, but after not signing in the 14th round, will attend Florida State where he could earn early playing time in the outfield and hit in the middle of the order as a freshman.