The Milwaukee Brewers hold the 20th overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft. How has that spot worked out for recent teams that selected there?
It’s no secret that the MLB Draft is extremely hit-or-miss, even among first round selections. There’s no guarantee that a given first round pick will become an All-Star or even reach the big leagues. Generally, the earlier in the draft you are, the more likely you are to find a stud player. But sometimes the best players from a draft come from the latter part of the first round.
Take Christian Yelich for example. He was the 23rd overall selection in the 2010 Draft but has provided top 5 production numbers and has arguably been the best player from that class. So you can find star players later in the first round.
The Brewers have the 20th selection this year, so let’s take a look at the last 10 selections from that spot in the Draft to get a sense of the kinds of players the Brewers could find from that spot.
2019 – George Kirby, RHP, Mariners
George Kirby was a college right hander out of Elon University who signed with the Mariners. He is currently ranked as the 5th best prospect in the Mariners system and has already made it up to High-A.
He projects as a mid-rotation starter who can rise quickly through the minor leagues.
2018 – Trevor Larnach, OF, Twins
One spot ahead of the Brewers selection of Brice Turang that year, Trevor Larnach was a power-hitting outfielder from Oregon State. MLB Pipeline currently has Larnach as the 3rd best prospect in the Twins system.
Larnach is up to Double-A and is hitting over .300 so far in his minor league career.
2017 – David Peterson, LHP, Mets
He’s made his way to Double-A and could end up being a solid rotation piece for the Mets rather soon.
2016 – Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers
The pride of Kenosha, Wisconsin! Gavin Lux went 20th overall to the Dodgers and he’s proven to be worth a lot more than that. He made his major league debut last season and is pushing for playing time on a deep Dodgers roster.
He’s currently the Dodgers top rated prospect and is also MLB Pipeline’s 2nd best prospect in all of baseball.
2015 – Richie Martin, SS, Athletics
Richie Martin was blocked in Oakland and in December 2018, he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles and entered the 2019 season as their starting shortstop. In his lone big league season so far, Martin hit .208 with six home runs and a .581 OPS in 283 at-bats
He’ll have more opportunities to prove himself as a member of the Orioles and establish himself as a big leaguer.
2014 – Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Rays
Casey Gillaspie was a power hitting first base prospect from Wichita State that did not pan out. Despite having some high reviews initially, Gillaspie could not crack the big leagues, spending 2016-2018 in Triple-A. He was released after the 2018 season and spent 2019 in independent ball.
Gillaspie was a three true outcome kind of hitter, coming up during a time where that kind of player is valued less and less every year. If he came around 10 years earlier, he might’ve been more successful.
2013 – Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Tigers
A college right hander out of the University of Florida, Jonathan Crawford had a couple of really good seasons for the Tigers minor league affiliates in 2013 and 2014. Then the Tigers traded Crawford and Eugenio Suarez to the Reds for Alfredo Simon. Suarez has obviously worked out for Cincinnati but Crawford did not.
After going to the Reds, Crawford struggled to three consecutive seasons with a 5.00+ ERA. He suffered through numerous injuries during that time as well and has not pitched professionally since the 2017 season.
2012 – Chris Stratton, RHP, Giants
The Giants drafted Chris Stratton out of Mississippi State and he provided some good value to them. He made his big league debut in 2016, and posted a 3.60 ERA in his first seven appearances. He joined the rotation in 2017 and had a 3.68 ERA in 10 starts. In 2018, Stratton made 26 starts but struggled to a 5.09 ERA.
Since then he has bounced around to the Angels and now the Pirates, trying to prove himself worthy of a rotation spot on a rebuilding Pirates club.
2011 – Tyler Anderson, LHP, Rockies
A college lefty out of the University of Oregon, Tyler Anderson emerged as a key rotation piece for the Rockies over the past few years. Obviously, pitching in Colorado is a tough environment but he got off to a great start.
Anderson made his debut in 2016 and pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts. He struggled a little bit in 2017 and missed some time, but bounced back in 2018 to make 32 starts with a 4.55 ERA.
He also pitched against the Brewers in that 2018 NLDS, starting Game 2, giving up just one run over six innings in a game the Brewers won 4-0.
2010 – Kolbrin Vitek, 3B, Red Sox
A third baseman from Ball State, Kolbrin Vitek was never able to gain traction in pro ball. He made it all the way to Double-A in 2012, but stalled out, did not have any in-game power, and dealt with injuries.
Vitek announced his retirement from baseball in 2014.
What This Tells Us
Overall, half of the players from the 20th selection were college pitchers. Two of them have gone on to have big league careers. Of the hitters, Gavin Lux appears primed to be the most successful, although Trevor Larnach also has a bright future.
Nine of these 10 draft picks were selected out of college. The only non-college selection is Lux, and he could end up being the best of all of them.
What this tells us about the Brewers potential paths for the 20th pick is that this is a more likely spot for a college player instead of a prep player and a pitcher is a very popular path. With the shortened draft this year, college prospects are likely to be more in demand and high school players will be pushed down the board.
Every draft is different, and the Brewers will not be influenced by how previous teams drafted from this spot, but it’s an interesting point of reference to look at for what fans can expect from a player taken from this draft spot.
The 2020 MLB Draft begins on June 10th and the Brewers will have five selections.