It’s not exactly a secret that the Milwaukee Brewers early draft picks in the first half of the 2010s did not work out very well. The power of hindsight shows who would’ve been smarter selections.
It would be nice to know going into a draft who is going to be successful in the big leagues and who isn’t. Unfortunately, no one can be 100% accurate in that and decision-makers simply go off projections and there is simply no guarantee that any draft pick will be successful.
The MLB Draft is more of a crapshoot than other pro sports drafts, and which makes having a re-draft several years down the road a little painful sometimes.
Bleacher Report just posted a re-draft of the 2011 MLB Draft and it’s very interesting. 2011 was the year the Brewers had two draft picks, at No. 12 and No. 15 overall, where they selected RHP Taylor Jungmann and LHP Jed Bradley, respectively. Obviously, given the chance to draft that class again, the Brewers would make different selections.
Here’s who Bleacher Report had coming to the Brewers in that draft.
No. 12: SS Marcus Semien
Marcus Semien is a little bit a late bloomer. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the White Sox and made it to the big leagues in 2013. Over the first six years of his big league career, he was a solid, if unspectacular starting shortstop for the White Sox and the Athletics. Semien is a good defender and had some pop, but continuously posted slightly below league-average OPS+ numbers, peaking at a 99 OPS+ in 2016.
But everything clicked for Semien in 2019, and he exploded for a career-high in nearly every statistical category. He finished with a .285/.369/.522 slash line with 43 doubles, 33 homers, 92 RBIs, and .892 OPS and 138 OPS+. Semien finished 3rd in AL MVP voting last year and posted an 8.9 WAR (Baseball-Reference).
If the Brewers had Semien at shortstop, they might not have been in the situation they’re in now with Orlando Arcia and lacking any offensive production from the shortstop position. Even though Semien didn’t break out until 2019, he at least was posting an OPS+ between 93 and 99 from 2014-2018. Arcia’s best season was in 2017 when he had an 89 OPS+. The last two years, he’s been at 55 and 64 for his OPS+.
There may be a little bit of recency bias in putting Semien up at the 12th overall pick since he’s coming off a Top 3 AL MVP finish, but even without it, a solid, consistent starting shortstop that can put up somewhere near league-average offensive production is a great first round pick.
Taylor Jungmann, the Brewers original pick here, had a very short big league career with the Brewers. The plan was to have him be a long-term piece of the starting rotation, but that clearly never materialized.
No. 15: RHP Tyler Glasnow
Originally selected by the division-rival Pirates with the 152nd overall pick, Tyler Glasnow was one of their top prospects before he was traded to the Rays in the Chris Archer deal. Since then, he has flourished with Tampa Bay.
Glasnow pitched to a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts last year as injuries cut his season short, but the big, tall right-hander has a bright future ahead of him and has all the makings of a potential ace.
If you put Glasnow along with Brandon Woodruff at the front of this rotation, all of a sudden this group that everyone is sleeping on looks a whole lot stronger.
For several years, the Brewers struggled to develop pitching prospects and most of their selections flamed out in the minor leagues, which contributed to the needs to add in free agency and the most recent rebuild process in general. The 2011 Draft was thought to change that trend with Jungmann and Bradley, but instead it only continued. If they had taken Glasnow, things would be far different.
Jed Bradley reached the majors with the Braves and pitched out of the bullpen for a whopping seven whole innings and is now out of affiliated ball. Anything else would’ve been a better use of that draft pick, and Tyler Glasnow would’ve been a great one.
It’s an interesting thought to look back at an old draft and re-do it based on what we know now. If you look back at most of the Brewers drafts from 2007-2016, there’s a pretty good chance you wish the Brewers would’ve picked someone different, more specifically, someone who made an impact for the Brewers at the big league level. For most of those picks, you can’t.
The 2011 MLB Draft might be the most frustrating one of all for Brewers fans. The Crew had two picks in the first 15 selections and they busted on both of them. That is a bad look for any organization.