MLB: Kodi Medeiros primed to make Big Island draft history
A week ago at Miller Park, the home ballpark of the Milwaukee Brewers, recent Waiakea graduate Kodi Medeiros had his last official pitching workout, and it instantly became a profitable day for the 18-year-old.
The left-hander faced four batters, and recorded two strikeouts and two ground outs. One of his fastballs was clocked at 97 mph, his top velocity. That tags him as one of the hardest throwers in the Major League Baseball draft, which runs Thursday to Saturday.
Equally important was his physical. Medeiros measured in at 6 feet, 2 inches and weighed 196 pounds, debunking all the mock drafts that describe him having a “small frame.” San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the comparison model for Medeiros, is 6 feet 5.
Medeiros is in New York with his parents, Robert and Kori, and brother, Korin, and will attend the draft at MLB.com’s studio in Secaucus, N.J. He is one of seven top draft prospects invited to the draft.
He met with the Kansas City Royals on Monday and the Arizona Diamondbacks last Wednesday. He didn’t throw for either team. The Brewers have the 12th overall pick, the Diamondbacks the 16th, and the Royals the 17th overall of the first round.
“It was really great to see other potential draft picks at Milwaukee,” Medeiros said. “One scout said I touched 97 mph. I’m happy about that. Miller Park is a pretty cool stadium to pitch in as well. In Arizona, I met with the scouting director (Ray Montgomery), and he gave me a tour of the spring training complex for the minors and majors. It’s pretty incredible.
“I met with the Royals and it was pretty much with their scouting director (Lonnie Goldberg), several other scouts and the general manager (Dayton Moore). We talked story, and they asked how my spring went, and how the whole draft process is going. That ballpark (Kauffman Stadium) is really nice, with the big crown in center field, and the waterfall is really great.”
As expected, MLB teams have asked about Medeiros’ signing price. The family has stuck to a blanket statement — to wait until everything falls into place and not commit to any number. (For the first 10 rounds, there are MLB assigned draft pick values.)
MLB is giving Medeiros and his family the royal treatment. On Thursday, they’ll tour Times Square, Citi Field (home of the New York Mets) and meet Hall of Famers before the draft.
Medeiros is projected to go in the first round, which would make him the first from the Big Island out of high school.
To what team is anybody’s guess.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “I’ve done all I could. I’ll wait and see what happens.”
In his senior season, Medeiros went 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA in 43 1/3 innings. He allowed only 14 hits and 15 walks, and struck out 83.
The MLB draft is different than the NFL or NBA drafts. The latter two drafts don’t allow players to return to college, knee-capping the financial leverage of prospects.
That’s not the case with the MLB draft, where the best commodity is being a high school top prospect with a scholarship in hand. Medeiros has a full-ride to Pepperdine, a great bargaining tool.
Milwaukee’s No. 12 overall spot has a value of $2,805,700. It’s a $2 million signing bonus until the Cleveland Indians’ 21st overall selection.
“It’s not super clear where Kodi will go. But he has a great chance to go in the first round, the top 10 to 30 picks,” an MLB scout said. “It’s really hush-hush, especially with signability for everyone. Not even MLB knows where everyone is going to go. Everyone is still guessing.
“Depending on who you talk to, he’s one of the top five to 15 arms in the country. But as far as pure pitching stuff, there isn’t anybody better with pure stuff. There may be some as good or do a few things better because they’re older and in college.”
The scout said that organizations stopped sending scouts to Hawaii because Medeiros won’t likely last past the first round.
“With his power stuff, it’s so hard to find left-handers who can throw 95, 96, 97 mph as an 18-year-old. There are only a handful on the planet who can do that.”