The 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft is still four months away, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead at the freshest crop of talent. Who are the players the Milwaukee Brewers could take?
Baseball America recently released their top 200 MLB draft prospects, giving baseball fans an initial look into the top players available to teams in June. After signing Lorenzo Cain, the Milwaukee Brewers no longer have a third-round pick. However, that still leaves plenty of opportunity to acquire future stars. Who are some players the Brewers could target in the draft?
MLB Draft: First-Round Targets
Due to the surprising success last season, the Brewers have the 21st pick in the 2018 draft. If things go exactly according to BA’s rankings, Milwaukee would wind up with college outfielder Tristan Pompey. He currently attends the University of Kentucky, but he’s originally from Toronto.
Sound familiar? That’s because he’s the brother of Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey. Tristan is pretty similar to his brother, too. The college junior’s biggest asset is his speed, aiding him on the base paths and in the outfield. His bat is developing nicely as well, as he batted .361 with 10 home runs last year. He would make a nice addition to a Brewers’ system that just traded away most of its outfield depth.
That said, the Brewers have plenty of outfield depth. The team also drafted good college bats the past two years, so perhaps it’s time for a change. There are a couple of high school pitchers who could be around at pick 21. First, there’s southpaw Ryan Weathers from Tennessee. He’s a big boy at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, and it shows in his velocity. He already routinely sits in the mid-90s with his fastball. Weathers currently has a commitment to attend Vanderbilt in the fall, but a first-round draft pick would likely persuade him to go pro.
On the other side of the bump, we have right-hander Carter Stewart from Florida. He stands at a towering 6-foot-6, but has a 200-poind frame to accompany it. His fastball isn’t as good as Weathers’, but Stewart possesses a top-notch curveball. Considering he already has a good three-pitch arsenal, Stewart would also make for an intriguing pick.
Finally, one other name to remember is outfielder Jarred Kelenic. Although he’s currently projected to be a top-10 draft pick, he’s especially noteworthy because he’s from Waukesha, Wisconsin. If he happens to slide down to the Brewers’ pick, that fact alone would make him an outstanding option. Just imagine having a Waukesha native get to play for his hometown team…now that’s newsworthy!
MLB Draft: Second-Round Targets
Without a Competitive Balance A pick, Milwaukee’s next selection will come 61st overall. If the draft goes exactly to Baseball America’s rankings, the Brewers would end up with Texas prep right-hander Adam Kloffenstein. He broke out at the most recent Area Code Games, sporting a three-pitch arsenal highlighted by a highly-controlled curveball. His 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame also bodes well for his durability as a starter.
He’s far from the only pitcher available at that point. In fact, BA has six pitchers ranked directly ahead of him and three directly behind him. Needless to say, the Brewers will likely have a fair shot at getting an arm at this point in the draft.
One other notable player in this stage is third baseman Jonathan India. India currently attends the University of Florida. He has a fairly small build (especially for a third baseman), but he still batted .274 and led the team with 15 doubles last season. Oddly enough, the Brewers actually drafted him out of high school in the 26th round of the 2015 draft. Naturally, he took the Division I offer over a later MLB selection, but it’s clear the Brewers have looked at India for a while.
MLB Draft: Competitive Balance B Targets
The Milwaukee Brewers get another pick relatively quickly, as the Competitive Balance B round pegs the team with the 74th selection. Collegiate outfielder Carlos Cortes is the 74th ranked player according to BA, which would make for a solid fit if the Brewers opted for pitchers in the first two rounds. Cortes plays for the University of South Carolina and is relatively small in stature, but he has sneaky power as his 12 homers last season would suggest. He also added five steals and a perfect fielding record.
There are a lot of other outfielders and pitchers around this area of the rankings, so maybe we’ll round things out with a middle infielder to spice things up. Baseball America has Stanford shortstop Nico Hoerner ranked just ahead of Cortes at 70th overall.
Hoerner isn’t quite six feet tall, but he has nice doubles power and a knack for making good contact. He led the team with 77 hits last season to go with 20 multi-hit games. Scouts think he could switch to second base as a pro, but a seasoned college infielder like Hoerner should move quickly through the system regardless of where he plays.
There are plenty of other players the Milwaukee Brewers could look at, but these players offer a nice mix of upside and experience. Although the draft is still four months out, Milwaukee has a lot to think about until then.