Hairston, Crew a fit in more ways than one

Sixth-rounder could be reunited with college teammate

June 14th, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- The congratulatory text was written mostly in emoji, but Devin Hairston got the message. His former college teammate was happy to be reunited in the Brewers' Minor League system.

That sender was Corey Ray, the center fielder drafted fifth overall by the Brewers last year out of the University of Louisville. While eyeing Ray, area scout Jeff Simpson and other Milwaukee officials got multiple looks at Hairston, a junior infielder who went to the Brewers in the sixth round on Tuesday.

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"It was just excitement," Hairston said of getting the call. "Just to get the opportunity to play ball at the next level is enough. But being teammates with Corey, and maybe getting the chance to be that again, that was also an exciting feeling."

Judging from his text, Ray was just as excited.

"We were roommates whenever we would travel last season, so we're real informal whenever we talk to each other," Hairston said. "So he didn't have to say much for me to get the message."

Scouts were mixed on Hairston, according to his scouting report, because of his 5-foot-7 frame and the fact he had surgery to relieve nerve pain in his elbow last fall. But he was the ACC defensive player of the year while consistently putting the bat on the baseball this season, hitting .306. Hairston ranked second on the team with 76 hits, just shy of D-backs second-round pick Drew Ellis' 81.

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"He's not a big guy, necessarily, but he does play good defense. He's not tall, but he's fairly strong," said Brewers scouting director Tod Johnson. "He moves real well. He can really pick it at shortstop. We're real excited about the defensive tools.

"It's not going to be a huge power impact bat, necessarily, although I personally saw him hit two of the three home runs he hit this year. We think he's going to have some line drive power and he runs real well, so he'll provide his offense that way."

Hairston will have to play catchup to become teammates again with Ray. Despite suffering a left knee injury in October that required surgery and delayed Ray's 2017 debut, he is playing with the Brewers' advanced Class A Carolina club. In his first 47 games, Ray had 20 extra-base hits including 14 doubles, and a .743 OPS.