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Elite LHP Ashby headlines Draft Day 2 for Crew

Southpaw's college coach: Brewers 'getting one of the highest-character kids around'
Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Day 2 of the Brewers' 2018 MLB Draft started a round later than most teams, due to the loss of their third-round selection after signing outfielder Lorenzo Cain over the offseason.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Brewers Draft pick

MILWAUKEE -- Day 2 of the Brewers' 2018 MLB Draft started a round later than most teams, due to the loss of their third-round selection after signing outfielder Lorenzo Cain over the offseason.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Brewers Draft pick

But when it did get going with the 125th overall pick in the fourth round, Milwaukee selected one of the top junior college arms in the country: a strikeout machine named Aaron Ashby.

Ashby, a left-hander out of Crowder College, led all Division I JUCO pitchers in strikeouts (156) and strikeouts per nine innings (18.8) last year, as well as featuring a fastball that has maxed out at 95 mph. Scouts also cite a plus curveball, sharp slider and a changeup -- although he doesn't use the change too often.

Ashby's college coach, Travis Lallemand, echoed his ability to use four pitches, and he sees Ashby settling into a starter's role in the Brewers' organization.

Video: Draft Report: Aaron Ashby, College pitcher

"He has a fourth pitch with the changeup that can turn him into a starter, and he's not necessarily just a two-pitch guy," Lallemand said. "He got punchouts all year with all three [pitches] at this level, and things will have to be polished in professional baseball, but he's still growing and getting better."

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

But, according to Lallemand, who coached Ashby for two seasons at Crowder, it's the person the Brewers are getting that should have the organization and fans excited.

"[The Brewers are] getting one of the highest-character kids around. I have a three-year-old son, and Aaron treated him like his own," Lallemand said. "One of those guys who didn't have too many bad days."

And Tuesday was definitely not one of those bad days for Ashby.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

Round 5 (155th overall): RHP Justin Jarvis, Lake Norman HS
Sneaking just into MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects, Jarvis, who was ranked 199, threw an 18-strikeout perfect game to open his senior season in 2018. He stands at 6-foot-2 and 168 pounds.

He is currently committed to UNC Wilmington, but Jarvis is considered "fairly signable," according to his MLB.com scouting report. Jarvis' fastball sits in the mid 90s, and scouts cite a solid curveball and good command of pitches.

Video: Draft Report: Justin Jarvis, High School pitcher

Round 6 (185th overall): RHP Drew Rasmussen, Oregon State University
The 2018 Draft isn't Rasmussen's first rodeo -- he was drafted 31st overall by the Rays in 2017, but he didn't sign due to some discrepancies in his pre- and post-Draft medical exams. After having a second Tommy John surgery last fall, Rasmussen missed the entire 2018 season and fell into the Brewers' lap in the sixth round.

"It's a first-round arm, and we'll continue to work and look at the medical as we go through the signing process and see where he is," said Brewers scouting director Tod Johnson. "We have a lot of confidence in our medical staff in getting him back."

When healthy, Rasmussen was at the top of Oregon State's rotation, a team that perennially makes the NCAA Tournament and plays some of the country's top competition in the Pac-12. At 6-foot-1 and owner of a fastball that gets to 96 mph, scouts project that Rasmussen will be a bullpen guy -- and he can be a steal for Milwaukee if healthy.

Video: Draft Report: Drew Rasmussen, College pitcher

Johnson said Rasmussen plans on forgoing his final year of eligibility to sign with the Brewers.

"The injury was a factor in us being able to get him where we got him," Johnson said. "Having the opportunity to add an arm like that … it's a well-known risk factor we can take into account."

Round 7 (215th overall): C David Fry, Northwestern State University
The Brewers' first position-player selection on Day 2 came in the seventh round with the Northwestern State backstop.

"It's definitely something you dream about, and I didn't know if I would get drafted today or tomorrow [on Day 3]," Fry said. "But they contacted me early and said be ready for a call, and it just happened."

Fry was named the 2018 Southland Conference Baseball Player of the Year, hitting 12 home runs and driving in 55 RBIs -- both team-highs. He was one of the Southland Conference's top Draft prospects and set several Northwestern State records as a hitter.

"I'm coming in as a guy who is proven, and I've done that throughout the past four years," Fry said. "I want to be the older guy [in the rookie class] and show everyone how it's done."

Milwaukee is getting a good-hitting catcher, but also someone with a decent glove overall. Fry played first and second base early on in his four-year college career.

But Fry thinks he can excel as a professional catcher.

"I've gotten a whole lot better at catching," Fry said. "I probably got picked up as an offensive-type player, but I'm mature back there, and I think I can become a pretty good catcher."

Round 8 (245th overall): RHP Luis Gonzalez, PJ Education School (Puerto Rico)
The Brewers added another right-handed arm to their 2018 Draft class with Catalina, Puerto Rico native Gonzalez in the eighth round, who stands at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds.

Johnson said the Brewers invited Gonzalez in for a workout and got to see him throw off the mound at Miller Park.

"[Gonzalez is] relatively raw," Johnson said. "He's got a good arm -- fastball, breaking ball -- he's a developmental piece for us. He's a tomorrow-type guy."

Round 9 (275th overall): CF Arbert Cipion, Passaic County Technical Institute
According to Johnson, Milwaukee loves adding guys who play in the middle of the field -- second base, shortstop and center field -- because they give you flexibility and are typically the most athletic guys on the field.

Cipion fits that bill. He was the top outfield prospect in New Jersey, according to Prep Baseball Report, and his throws from the outfield top out at 89 mph. At 6-foot-2, Cipion has a short, aggressive swing and the physical attributes say he could be a five-tool player.

"Being from New Jersey, he's not heavily scouted, so he was a little off-the-radar probably," Johnson said. "We're really excited about up-the-middle athletic players, and he's another one who just turned 18 in May."

Cipion is currently committed to Division II Southern New Hampshire University.

Round 10 (305th overall): RHP J.T. Hintzen, Florida Southern College
Hintzen's college career started at The University in the South in Sewanee, Tenn., before he made the move to Florida Southern College for his final two years. It was a good move.

The senior went 14-0 with two saves last season. Hintzen struck out 114 batters and only walked 13 over 96 2/3 innings with a 1.96 ERA.

Drafted as a starting pitcher, it's a safe bet that Hintzen will move through the organization as a starter. Hintzen tossed eight shutout innings in late May as Florida Southern eliminated Texas A&M-Kingsville in the NCAA Division II Baseball National Tournament, and he finished the season by being named an All-American.

"He was very successful this year, and he'll have some interesting ingredients that he can hopefully develop," Johnson said. "He's a guy our scouts like, and to sign him for lesser dollars to manage our pool space was good news."

His strong performances aren't just limited to FSC, though. Hintzen pitched in 18 games with the Orleans Firebirds of the ultra-competitive Cape Cod Baseball League in 2017, finishing the regular season with a 1.95 ERA as a reliever against some of the country's top college competition.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers