Milwaukee was a quirky draft rule away from selecting the reigning AL MVP with the 25th pick of the 2009 MLB Draft
Brewers fans, can you imagine, just for a split-second, Mike Trout in a Brewers throwback pinstripe uniform patrolling centerfield at Miller Park? Just how good would that look? This seemingly far-fetched daydream was much closer to being reality than many people know.
In the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, the Angels selected a 19-year-old outfielder out of Millville (N.J.) High School by the name of Mike Trout with the 25th pick. However, the Angels didn’t always have this pick. It originally belonged to the Yankees.
“Whether he would have been the pick, I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good possibility.”
This is where it gets interesting. Before this pick was given to the Angels, it was actually given to Milwaukee. Early in the 2008 offseason, the Yankees signed Brewers pitcher C.C. Sabathia after his miraculous second half of the 2008 season where he carried Milwaukee into the playoffs for the first time since 1982. When the Yankees signed Sabathia, the Brewers received the 25th pick as compensation since the pitcher was classified as a Class A free agent.
The Brewers never got to use the pick, however.
Later that same offseason, the Yankees also signed Angels first baseman Mark Teixeira. Because Teixeira was a higher-ranked Class A free agent than Sabathia- actually the only one ranked higher than C.C. – the 25th pick was then awarded to the Angels instead of the Brewers.
Had the Brewers held onto the 25th pick, they likely would have drafted Trout. “Whether he would have been the pick, I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good possibility, ” said then-GM Doug Melvin. “I know he was on the board for us.”
What would the Brewers look like if they had drafted Trout in 2009?
With Mike Trout in the outfield, the Brewers certainly wouldn’t be in a rebuild stage right now. They would likely be perennial playoff contenders.
Trout is arguably the best player in Major League Baseball. In his first five full seasons in the MLB, Trout has finished first or second in AL MVP voting all five times, winning the award twice.
When Mike Trout made his debut for the Angels in 2011, the Brewers were still a contender. That year the Brewers won 96 games on their way to an NL Central division title and a trip to the NLCS.
Milwaukee’s roster in 2011 included names like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Even though Trout was called up at the end of the 2011 season for the Angels, he likely would’ve remained in the Brewers system until the start of the 2012 season. Trout would have fit in perfectly as the Brewers centerfielder in 2012, taking over for Nyjer Morgan.
An outfield of Braun, Trout, and Hart is one that would have had all Brewers fans salivating. Throw in Fielder, Lucroy, and Weeks to that lineup and you have a batting order that NL pitchers would have had nightmares about.
Milwaukee really fell off after their 96-win 2011 season. Their pitching got old and they were forced to trade away valuable offensive pieces. Their weakened farm system from adding the likes of Greinke and Shawn Marcum finally caught up to them.
The Brewers really fell off after their 96-win 2011 season.
However, adding a once-in-a-generation talent like Mike Trout to the mix would have really changed things. There’s good reason to believe that the Brewers would have never fallen off but would have been able to maintain their status as contenders by adding starting pitching pieces to complement their high-scoring offense.
Several NL Central first-place finishes between 2012 and now seem like a sure bet with Trout in centerfield. Maybe the Brewers would have even had the chance to win their first World Series title as a franchise.
All of this speculation and wishful thinking could have been reality had the Yankees not made the decision to open up their checkbooks and sign Mark Teixeira all the way back in the 2008 offseason.