MILWAUKEE — The talent of the first three players picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in last week’s First-Year Player Draft was never doubted. Whether the club could sign all three of them was the question that kept popping up among draft experts.
Though it had appeared the Brewers were working toward deals over the past few days, Milwaukee made the signings of first-round pick Kodi Medeiros, competitive balance round A selection Jacob Gatewood and second-round pick Monte Harrison official.
According to a source close to the negotiations, Medeiros will receive a $2.5 million signing bonus from the Brewers plus an additional $240,000 for school. The slot value for the No. 12 overall pick was $2,805,700.
All three players were introduced at Miller Park prior to Saturday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, with Gatewood and Harrison taking batting practice on the field prior to the game and Medeiros observing Kyle Lohse’s bullpen session.
"We’re real excited about having these three young men join the Brewers organization," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "I hope this is a good start for them to know what it is like to play in the big leagues in giving them this opportunity to meet alumni (Friday) and the current players (Saturday)."
Medeiros opted to sign with the Brewers over a scholarship offer from Pepperdine University, as the left-hander is the highest-drafted prep player out of Hawaii.
"It’s just an unbelievable experience," Medeiros said of his time in Milwaukee this weekend. "Just coming out of my high school season and coming straight to here, coming from Hawaii and getting to meet these players is really awesome."
A native of Clovis, Calif., Gatewood hit .389 with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI in his senior year of high school. The shortstop was committed to the University of Southern California. Known for his raw power, Gatewood won the junior portion of Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby at last year’s All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Sandy Guerrero, hitting coach for Milwaukee’s Double-A affiliate in Huntsville, threw to Gatewood during the Home Run Derby, as he was in town to throw to Prince Fielder.
"I was a little nervous going into it, but I got ahold of the first pitch," Gatewood said of his experience at the All-Star Game. "After that, I wasn’t too nervous. The nerves were running at first, but after I hit the first one I got to enjoy it.
"It’s always fun to go up there and try and hit it as far as you can, too."
Gatewood and Harrison both showed some obvious nerves during their rounds of batting practice Saturday but eventually settled in and hit a couple out of the ballpark.
"I actually felt a little more nervous this time than the All-Star Game," Gatewood said. "You want to impress your future teammates hopefully, but my dad has always told me that pressure is a privilege. It was fun. I didn’t hit as well as I would have liked to, but I just really enjoyed it."
Considered the toughest sign of the three, Harrison chose to begin his professional baseball career with the Brewers over playing football and baseball at the University of Nebraska. Harrison was ranked by Scout.com as a three-star wide receiver recruit and was set to play for the Cornhuskers.
"It was definitely not that hard," Harrison said of his decision to give up football. "I’m a baseball player. I step on the diamond the same as everybody else, I just step on another (field), too, to play a different sport.
"People thought of me going to play football at Nebraska and everyone thought I wasn’t signable, but at the same time, I talked to (the Brewers) and they knew what I wanted to do. I really wasn’t worried about it at all."
The Brewers have now signed 22 of their 41 draft picks, including each of their first eight selections. Other top-10 round picks who have signed include: right-hander Cy Sneed (third round), outfielder Troy Stokes (fourth round), third baseman Dustin DeMuth (fifth round), right-hander David Burkhalter (sixth round), outfielder Mitchell Meyer (seventh round) and catcher Greg McCall (ninth round).
Medeiros, Gatewood and Harrison will begin their professional careers with Milwaukee’s rookie team in Arizona. Gatewood will start out at shortstop, while Harrison will play center field.
"At this point, there’s no need to worry about changing it," Brewers director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid said. "If they grow out of the positions physically, then they grow out of it physically. At this point, their skills and talents definitely puts them up the middle."