Milwaukee Brewers: Top 10 Prospects

6. Jacob Gatewood 

The massive Gatewood would fall right in the middle of a terrifying to intriguing spectrum. He stands at a legitimate 6’5’’ 190 lbs., his bat speed is something special, but his statistical debut was just not there. The Brewers saw enough in him to draft him 41st overall in the ’14 draft and give him a $1.8 million bonus, and I believe their investment will ultimately pay off, despite the poor initial results.

Offensively, Gatewood has the potential to be a flat-out monster. His bat speed and height give him absurd raw power, and as his lean frame fills out, it should only get better. The 19-year-old took home two home run derby crowns before the draft, belting 13 out of Citi Field before the All Star Game, along with Wrigley’s Under Armour All-America Game home run title. With all that being said, his professional debut at the plate was less than stellar. His 222 PA only yielded a 56 wRC+. Gatewood’s plate discipline was a big issue. He struck out a jaw dropping 71 times, translating to a 32% strikeout rate. He only walked 13 times, resulting in a miniscule 5.9% BB%. The power didn’t really show up either. His ISO was excessively weak at .074, and only 21.4% of his hits went for extra bases (3 HR, 6 2B). For comparison sake, Giancarlo Stanton’s percentage of extra base hit came in at 44.5% in 2014. That may be a tough comparison, but it should give an idea of where power first players can come in at. However, as abundant as these issues seem to be, some of them may be correctable. Gatewood only collected 42 hits, but that could be in part because he only reached a .291 BABIP. Scouts also noticed a pronounced load on Gatewood, which can affect his timing, and ultimately his K%.

Defense was somewhat of a different story during Gatewood’s debut. The shortstop did commit 9 errors, but he also was a part of converting quite a few balls in play into outs, resulting in a solid 4.34 RF/G. With such a big frame, a lot of people are wondering if Gatewood will have to eventually move off shortstop when he fills out. Either way, his strongest defensive tool is clearly his arm strength, so a move to the hot corner shouldn’t slow down his development too drastically.

I was fortunate enough to see Gatewood play before the draft, and was flat-out impressed. His debut issues are of concern, but I would ultimately anticipate them being just a blip on the radar. Making the necessary adjustments may be the difference between the next Giancarlo Stanton and the next Ryan Howard. I’d anticipate a finished product of somewhere in the middle of those two, but whatever happens, Gatewood’s development should be fun to watch. Despite his troubles, he did get a good bit of at bats in the AZL last year, so a start in Helena might not be out of the question.

ETA: 2019

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