Milwaukee takes Virginia pitcher Kirby at 40
Lefty had 2.28 ERA in 10 starts before being slowed by lat strain
MILWAUKEE -- Like many front-office executives in baseball, Brewers director of amateur scouting Ray Montgomery is a big fan of left-handed pitching. Montgomery and the Brewers were able to land exactly that with the 40th overall pick in Monday's Draft, selecting Nathan Kirby from the University of Virginia.
"Nathan's a tremendous competitor," said Brewers area scout Dan Nellum. "He's a mature kid. He picks things up quickly and goes out and competes."
Nellum has known Kirby since the 21-year-old was in the 10th grade. He spent a lot of time with him in and out of the clubhouse while Kirby was with the East Coast Pro Showcase team and at Virginia.
Kirby pitched out of the bullpen in 2013 before becoming the Cavaliers' No. 1 starter in '14. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder entered the 2015 season as the top college lefty in the class, but a drop in velocity, command issues and an April lat strain clouded his Draft status.
Kirby is back to throwing bullpen sessions after the injury, and his availability is uncertain as the Cavaliers embark on a chance to play for the College World Series.
"It's out of our control," Montgomery said about Kirby pitching anymore for Virginia. "Obviously the University of Virginia handles those types of things. Hopefully they'll proceed with caution like they do with their guys normally.
"I'm sure the competitor inside of him thinks that the best thing for him to do is to help his team to win the College World Series."
Kirby has a 5-2 record in 10 starts as a junior this season, posting a 2.28 ERA. He struck out 75 batters in 59 1/3 innings, walking 30.
"[The injury] shortened his season this year," Montgomery said, "but he's had a good career with them."
While his fastball touched 94 mph in the past, Kirby was sitting around 89-91 this spring. He also throws a slider -- a plus-pitch -- and a solid changeup.
"He's a left-handed starter with an above-average fastball and above-average breaking ball," Montgomery said.
Trent Clark was the first of three Brewers selections on Day 1 of the Draft. Milwaukee also chose right-hander Cody Ponce in the second round with the 55th overall selection.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.