Recent Waiakea graduate and left-handed pitcher Kodi Medeiros will have a familiar name as friendly competition when he climbs the Milwaukee Brewers minor league ladder.
The first-round pick in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft will be joined in the organization by Jordan Yamamoto, a recent Saint Louis graduate and 12th-round selection, who signed on Friday for a $420,000 package, including a $330,000 signing bonus.
The first 10 rounds of the MLB draft are assigned slot signing bonuses, and there’s a cap limit for each team. The 12th round bonus is in the neighborhood of $100,000, according to agent Dave Matranga.
Matranga, from psisports.com, was an advisor for Medeiros and Yamamoto. He’s also the agent for several local players, including Kolten and Kean Wong, Iolana Akau, Branden Kaupe and Lenny Linsky.
If compared to Milwaukee’s eighth-round pick Villanova junior pitcher J.B. Cole, who signed for slot value $159,100, Matranga scored a major coup for Yamamoto and himself, displaying value on both ends (Yamamoto’s perceived worth and pro potential, and Matranga’s ability to get maximum value).
Also, recent Hilo graduate and the Cleveland Indians’ 24th-round pick Jodd Carter signed for $75,000, plus a college package.
Yamamoto, a 5-foot-11 right-hander, outdueled Medeiros 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament in May on Oahu.
Both pitchers turned down full-ride scholarships to college — Medeiros to Pepperdine and Yamamoto to Arizona.
One reason Medeiros, a 6-2 southpaw, went higher was because of his pure stuff: a 97-mph fastball and a slider that grades as plus pitch by MLB scouts. Yamamoto was regarded for his pitchability (commanding the strike zone), and was clocked at 92 mph at states.
Yamamoto is currently in Arizona and will likely join the rookie league AZL (Arizona League) Brewers with Medeiros, who’s still in Hilo after he signed for $2.5 million last week. He’ll leave Sunday for Arizona.
“It’s great that Jordan signed with the Brewers,” Medeiros said. “He’s another talent from Hawaii to play with. We’ll be roommates.”
According to Baseball America, Milwaukee’s next two prep picks signed for over slot value: 41st overall pick and shortstop Jacob Gatewood, $1,830,000 ($1,384,900), and 50th overall selection and outfielder Monte Harrison, $1.8 million ($1,100,3000).
On Wednesday, mlb.com’s Jonathan Mayo called Milwaukee’s draft the best in the Class of 2014 with Medeiros, Gatewood and Harrison highlighting the first-day selections.
“The Brewers really liked Medeiros. He blew them away at a workout, he was good all spring, and they knew he wouldn’t be around by the time they got to pick again at No. 41,” Mayo wrote. “Oh, and Medeiros has some nasty stuff, as filthy as there was among the available pitchers. So maybe it comes from a slightly unorthodox arm slot. It’s not like that hasn’t been happened before.
“Most felt shortstop Jacob Gatewood and outfielder Monte Harrison, both high schoolers, would go somewhere in the first round. Sure, there were questions about Gatewood’s swing-and-miss tendencies, but his raw power would be too good to pass up. So would Harrison’s tremendous athleticism.
“As a result, both will be on the roster of the Brewers’ affiliate in the Rookie-level Arizona League and will get a ton of experience there and then in the instructional league heading into the offseason. Add in Medeiros and that AZL squad will be a fun one to watch. Maybe it’s a high-risk proposition, but because the rewards from Medeiros, Gatewood and Harrison could be so high, the gamble was more than worth it.”
While the annual MLB draft is seen as an opportunity to find cost-effective value with each pick through 40 rounds, its main design is to add competition to the farm system.
Despite Kolten Wong holding down the second-base job for the Cardinals, the organization still drafted three collegiate second basemen, including Darren Seferina from Miami Dade junior college in the fifth round.
Likewise, the Tampa Bay Rays added competition to eventually challenge Kean Wong, who’s at Single-A ball, in Jace Conrad from Louisiana-Lafayette in the 13th round, and Grant Kay from Louisville in the 27th round.