Kodi Medeiros was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft on Thursday, making history for the second time.
The recent Waiakea graduate and left-handed pitcher, who went 12th overall, became the first player from the Big Island to be drafted in the first round out of high school.
“It’s a dream come true to see all the support from my family and hard work pay off,” Medeiros said on MLB Network from Secaucus, N.J., after he went higher than any Hawaii high school player has before.
Kolten Wong, a 2008 Kamehameha graduate, was drafted in the first round in 2011 by the St. Louis Cardinals out of the University of Hawaii. In 2008, the Minnesota Twins selected him in the 16th round.
Medeiros also made history as a sophomore in 2012 when the Warriors beat Baldwin 5-2 for the Division I state championship, winning the school’s first title. He and Quintin Torres-Costa also put their names in the record books with a combined no-hitter in the finale.
The Brewers had the 12th overall pick, with an assigned value of $2,805,700, and the 41st overall selection, with an assigned value of $1,384,900. They also owned the 50th overall pick of the second round, with an assigned value of $1,100,300.
Milwaukee could have played a game of patience, took a more polished college player at 12th overall, and gambled that Medeiros would have been available later for a discount price.
But it’s no surprise that the Brewers tagged him early. Last week at their workout at Miller Park, Medeiros’ fastball was clocked at 97 mph. Also he measured in at 6 feet, 2 inches and weighed 196 pounds.
Not even the MLB.com sites, like so many mock drafts, got his measurements correct. MLB.com had him at 6-2 and 180. MLB Network had him at 6-1 and 195. MLB.com described him as having a “small stature.”
MLB Network analyst John Hart, the former general manager of the Texas Rangers, somewhat matched the analysis of USA Perfect Game scouting supervisor Todd Gold, who said Medeiros has the “best raw stuff in the draft.”
“He can’t throw a fastball straight. It dives, runs and jumps,” said Hart, who didn’t mention Medeiros’ slider, which grades out as a MLB-quality plus pitch by scouts.
“Where Milwaukee was picking you couldn’t see more upside talent. Kodi is the kind of player who’s tough to acquire,” said Gold, who writes at perfectgame.org. “You have to take a risk to get that kind of upside and talent. The risk is being in high school. Obviously, that’s the most risky demographic from the standpoint of age, and it’ll take a longer time to develop and there’s more injury risk.
“Because of his low three-quarter arm slot, he doesn’t fit the profile of the typical starter. He’s been seen a lot less than kids on the mainland, and there’s consideration for that.”
Basically, the safety net for MLB organizations concerning college pitchers, like Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede (14th overall to San Francisco), is that they’ve proven their durability.
Their tires have been kicked. Most have pitched three years, and logged close to 100 innings per season. Medeiros’ track record is much shorter; he finished with 43 1/3 innings as a senior.
Perfect Game start
It really wasn’t until last summer that Medeiros went from something of an unknown to a first-round prospect. His star went through the roof at the Perfect Game National showcase in Minnesota a year ago.
“Last summer he pitched in front of nearly every scouting director and hundreds of scouts at different events, and fared very well,” Gold said. “He showed the slider that he’s known for, and his fastball had a lot of movement. He really established himself as a legit prospect to be taken seriously, even if it meant flying halfway across the ocean.”
Medeiros has a full-ride scholarship to Pepperdine as leverage. However, Gold expects no curveball thrown into the negotiations, and like those in the baseball circle he knows the tale of Matt Harrington.
Harrington, a right-handed prep pitcher from West Valley, Calif., was drafted in the first round by the Colorado Rockies in 2000, and turned down a signing bonus of more than $4 million. He was drafted four more times, but never signed.
“Kodi’s got potential and upside,” Gold said. “If a player like Kodi goes to college and has three great years we could possibly be talking about him being the first overall pick. You can’t get that type of upside in the middle of the first round. You have to be willing to take a high school kid with more risk. But you’d have to lose a lot of games to have that opportunity.”
Woe on farm
The Cardinals have built a reputation as the best developmental system for high-caliber arms. There’s Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller in the rotation and Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez in the bullpen. That’s the goal of every organization — draft, develop and churn out homegrown young talent.
The Brewers aren’t in the same neighborhood. John Sickels, from minorleagueball.com, rated Milwaukee’s farm system as 29th or second-to-last. Only the Los Angeles Angels were worst.
“The Brewers have shown the ability to pick up some sleepers in the draft, but as currently configured the system offers a lot of mediocrity and little to get excited about,” Sickels wrote.
Maybe, Medeiros, with the “best raw stuff in the draft,” changes that perception. And hopefully when the Milwaukee Brewers release their next top prospects list, they’ll get his measurements right.
Ronny Torres of Student Sports, a high school sports events and media company in Los Angeles, profiled Medeiros a few months ago, filming a couple of days of his life in Hawaii.
Torres turned it into a “Day in the Life” feature, showcasing some of the nation’s top high school MLB draft prospects.
To view the video visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoNTv90yMhs&index=6&list=TL7jhfOpxmqPrDC...
Torres may be reached at 310 791 1142 ext. 4430 or studentsports.com.