MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers went the pitching route with their first-round pick Thursday, selecting prep left-hander Kodi Medeiros at No. 12 overall in the First-Year Player Draft.
Medeiros worked out for the Brewers at Miller Park last Thursday, where he pitched to four batters. The Hilo, Hawaii native said he struck out two batters and induced two soft groundouts during the workout. His catcher and a batter he faced overheard a scout saying he hit 97 mph with one of his fastballs.
"I think my workout went really well because I could see some of the expressions on the faces after I threw several of my pitches, especially my slider," Medeiros said. "My velocity was really good at that event, I overheard from a scout."
Brewers director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid called Medeiros’ workout in Milwaukee "the exclamation point" in their decision to draft the left-hander.
"Like the other kids we bring here, we put him through the physical and check certain aspects of their make-up and have our doctors touch them, and this kid was a physically strong kid," Seid said. "That was really good to see. That in itself was impressive."
The left-hander went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings in his senior season for Waiakea High School. Despite how well the workout with the Brewers went last week, Medeiros wasn’t fully sold on Milwaukee selecting him.
He said he felt sincere interest from the Brewers, Diamondbacks, Royals, Indians and Red Sox, but didn’t have a "for sure" feeling from any team heading into Thursday night’s draft.
"It actually really surprised me," Medeiros said of getting picked by the Brewers. "I think my performance at that workout really made an impact on me getting selected at 12."
Baseball America called Medeiros’ slider as one of the best offspeed pitches in the draft. Medeiros throws from a low arm slot that is closer to sidearm, something the publication says "gives his fastball plus-plus life with heavy arm-side run and sink."
The different arm slot has raised questions as to if Medeiros projects as a starter or as a reliever but both Seid and Melvin feel he’s a starting pitcher moving forward.
"It’s just all different opinions," Medeiros, who listed Madison Bumgarner and Chris Sale as pitchers he models his game after, said. "Some scouts say they like my style, they think I’m a starter, and some people think I’m better off as a reliever. I like the slot I throw from. I’ve got good deception on the slot and my velo is still up there even when I throw from that slot. So that’s why I do it. I’m comfortable throwing from that slot."
Committed to Pepperdine, Medeiros said he also considered UCLA, Arizona, Mississippi State and North Carolina before signing with the Waves.
The assigned pick value to the No. 12 pick is $2,805,700, money that is hard to pass up. Medeiros was unsure Thursday night if he would honor his commitment to Pepperdine or sign with the Brewers.
"I have to talk to my advisor and my parents still," Medeiros said.
The first prep player from Hawaii to go in the first round since 2001, Brewers scout Josh Belovsky, crosschecker Corey Rodriguez and Seid came over to watch him pitch during this past season.
"It means a lot to Hawaii, to my family, to my friends that help me out as well as my advisor Alan Jaeger," Medeiros said. "All the time and effort they put into me, I took that and I just wanted to make everyone proud. I just want Hawaii to be on the map, and I want scouts to know that Hawaii has talent."