After a season that saw the Milwaukee Brewers make the playoffs, the team will still get a draft pick in the top half of the first round.
2020 was an MLB season like no other, not just in terms of the play on the field, but also in other areas like the MLB draft. This year’s version decreased to just five rounds, making it even more crucial for teams like the Brewers to squeeze the best value possible out of each pick.
Milwaukee started off picking 20th and getting a steal in outfielder Garrett Mitchell in the first round. They continued to pick four more advanced college hitters to help replenish that area of their farm system to complete a draft class that was generally well-received, including by us.
This year, with the decision to base the draft order on the final 2020 season standings, the Brewers will officially be picking 15th in the 2021 MLB Draft. Here’s a look at how that pick has historically gone for Milwaukee as well as other teams in recent drafts.
Grisham leads trio of players drafted by Brewers at No. 15
The Brewers have picked in the No. 15 spot exactly three times in team history. In 1991, they took high schooler Tyrone Hill, a left-handed pitcher out of California. Hill rose as high as No. 10 in Baseball America’s top prospect rankings in 1993, but he never made it past High-A ball with the Brewers was out of minors after last pitching in the Angels’ organization in 1998.
20 years later, Milwaukee similarly took a lefty pitcher in Jed Bradley out of Georgia Tech. Bradley would make it farther up the ladder than Hill, but never quite put things together, compiling a 5.00+ ERA in every level of the minors. He would pitch a brief seven-inning stint for the Braves in 2016, giving up four earned runs, before retiring the following year.
The Brewers hit at No. 15 when they selected outfielder Trent Grisham in 2015. Grish exploded on to the scene in 2019, combining for a 1.010 OPS at Double-A and Triple-A and playing big innings after making his Brewer debut late that season. He would be traded with pitcher Zach Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer, serving as their primary center fielder in 2020.
Other recent No. 15 picks in MLB drafts
There are a few other picks that give optimism toward the talent that can be found with the 15th pick. Tyler Naquin was drafted there by the Indians back in 2012, making his debut for them in 2016. He is a career .274 hitter in the majors and started 39 games in right for Cleveland in 2020.
Lefty pitcher Sean Newcomb was selected 15th overall by the Angels in 2014, then traded to the Braves the next year. He had a career 3.87 ERA with 333 strikeouts in 332 1/3 innings from 2017-2019 for Atlanta before struggling in making just four starts this season.
One of the biggest recent success stories is outfielder Alex Kirilloff, drafted out of high school by the Twins in 2016. Not only is Kirilloff currently ranked as MLB Pipline’s 27th best prospect, after being added to Minnesota’s Wild Card roster, he became the first player in MLB history to record his first career start, and the only position player to record their first career hit, in the playoffs.
As one of the lowest-ranked minor league organizations in all of baseball by most publications, it will be important for the Brewers to have another solid draft in 2021. Recent history shows that the talent will be there for them.