Like Kramer, Newman is a product of the 2015 draft, selected in the first round from the University of Arizona. He’s closely tracked Kramer’s progression through the minor leagues and was his teammate last year with Double-A Altoona and again this year at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Newman ranked 12th on the pre-season Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 prospects for 2018 list, one spot ahead of Kramer, with this comment:
12) Kevin Newman, SS, Grade C+: Age 24, first round pick in 2015 from University of Arizona; hit .267/.311/.363 with four homers, 11 steals, 29 walks, 62 strikeouts in 509 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; very reliable defender at shortstop, although arm and natural range are just average his instincts are excellent and he made just nine errors in 119 games; contact hitter with occasional gap power but unlikely to hit many homers; strikes me as the type of hitter who has an “unexpected” offensive surge in his late 20s; ETA 2018.
Newman hit .302/.350/.407 this year for Indianapolis with 30 doubles, four homers, 31 walks, 50 strikeouts and 28 stolen bases in 437 at-bats. He was promoted to the majors in August and is off to a slow start, just 4-for-35 (.114) so far, but more opportunities will come.
Newman is 25 years old, a right-handed hitter listed at 6-1, 180. Newman does not have Kramer’s power or quite as much overall offensive potential but he’s shown quality line drive contact-hitting skills in the minors. He’s faster than Kramer and more of a stolen base threat. Like Kramer, Newman is a reliable infielder who makes few mistakes but Newman is rangier and more likely to fit better at shortstop.
Overall I think Newman fits well as a Grade B- prospect who has little left to prove in the minors.