Brewers drawn to upside of draft picks Gatewood, Harrison
JUN 06, 2014 12:55a ET
MILWAUKEE -- After taking a pitcher with their first pick of the night, the Milwaukee Brewers went with a pair of high-ceiling position players with their final two selections Thursday.
The Brewers picked California prep shortstop Jacob Gatewood at No. 41 overall in the Competitive Balance Round A and then selected Missouri prep outfielder Monte Harrison in the second round at No. 50 overall.
With left-hander Kodi Medeiros as their first round pick, the Brewers took three players considered to have a very-high level of upside, all of which were ranked in the top 30 prospects by MLB.com.
"The idea is always to try to hit home runs," Brewers director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid said. "I don't know if we ever went safe. We've made some picks before that have been pretty good, and some that have missed. But it's like anything else -- we're trying to bring in some serious talent, and we feel these three guys fit that bill.
"When we saw the possibility of them getting to us, the wheels started turning. We figured this is an opportunity, and you know what happens when you let opportunity pass you by. So that was a good thing for us."
Ranked as the No. 15 overall prospect by ESPN.com, No. 21 by Baseball America and No. 22 by MLB.com, Gatewood's best tool is his raw power. He participated in the junior portion of the home run derby at last year's MLB All-Star Game, winning the competition with 13 home runs using a metal bat.
"We were treated like All-Stars, basically, down there," Gatewood said of the experience. "It was just great. USA Baseball is awesome and MLB for putting that on. I was just glad to have the opportunity to be out there and it worked out pretty good. I mean, I had an awesome time."
The 18-year-old Gatewood is 6-foot-5, which would make him the tallest regular shortstop in big-league history if he were to make it to the majors. Gatewood will likely begin at shortstop but said he's willing to make a move if need be.
"I wouldn't put it past him if he stayed at short, but he can handle third or second if need be," Seid said. "The bat has a chance to be a really good bat. It's a ways to go, but all of the ingredients are there.
MLB.com rates Gatewood's power at 65 on a 20-80 scouting scale, but the site says concerns over his hit tool impacted his draft stock in recent months. Gatewood, who is committed to the University of Southern California, admitted he needs to improve his all-around offensive game in order to make his way to the big leagues.
"I feel like I need to try to become more of an overall better hitter, hit for average as well as for power," Gatewood said. "I know my power's there and the more consistent I make contact the better my power's going to play in the game.
"Obviously, if I get a chance to play shortstop, I need to work as hard as I can to stay there. I know it's not going to be easy being my height, but I know it's possible since there's guys that have done it before. That's all I need to know, that it's possible."
Gatewood was non-committal when asked if he expected to sign instead of attending USC, but he did say he looked forward to playing in the Brewers organization.
Ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect by MLB.com and the third-best outfielder in the draft class by Baseball America, Harrison is committed to play football and baseball at Nebraska. The deadline for teams to sign their draft picks is July 18.
Thought of as one of the best athletes in the draft, Harrison was a three-sport standout for Lee's Summitt West High School in Missouri. Baseball America compared Harrison to Royals 2011 first round pick Bubba Starling but said several scouts in the Midwest considered Harrison a better overall prospect.
"We know it's going to be probably a tougher sign, but at the same time, you have to take opportunities like this," Seid said. "If we can make it work, we'll make it work."
Harrison hit .429 with two home runs, 33 RBI and 24 stolen bases in his senior season of high school and was clocked throwing 97 mph from the outfield at the Perfect Game national showcase.
"The expectations on him are really good," Seid said. "I don't ever want to put names to a player, but All-Star comparisons have come up on him. He has a chance to play center field. He has good instincts out there, his strides are outstanding.
"He has a plus arm, plus raw power and his speed is above average. It's just like anything, it's about playing the game, getting enough at-bats and being patient in watching him develop."
Multiple draft analysts quickly began praising Milwaukee's first three picks, as the Brewers took a trio of players who aren't considered the safest of bets but could all have big futures in the organization.
The First-Year Player Draft will continue with rounds 3-10 on Friday with the draft concluding Saturday with rounds 11-40.
"These aren't guys that are going to be at Miller Park next year," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But we like our young players that are coming right now out of our system. We've got some pitching that's coming along right now if you follow our Nashville and Huntsville clubs. So it's an opportunity to get a couple positional players, high-school guys that are upside, and then Bruce and his staff will get some more pitching later on in the draft.
"But to go out and get two high-school guys with upside, if you don't take them early you're not going to get them. They're just going to go to school."
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