Back in 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers had an incredible opportunity, and they completely missed it in the first round of the MLB Draft.
The Brewers held the 12th selection in the 2014 MLB Draft after a rough 2013 regular season. They had a big opportunity in front of them to stock up big time in their farm system and prepare for a brighter future.
With the 12th overall selection, the Brewers took a high school pitcher, Kodi Medeiros. Medeiros has struggled to a career 4.77 ERA in the minors with a high number of walks and still hasn’t gotten past Double-A. He was traded to the White Sox in 2018 for a rental reliever in Joakim Soria.
Who was selected 13th overall, one pick later? That would be NC State shortstop Trea Turner, now of the Nationals. Turner made his big league debut the next year after he was drafted, in 2015, and has been the starting shortstop for the Nationals ever since. In six seasons, Turner has a .296/.353/.480 slash line with a 115 OPS+.
Not drafting Trea Turner in the 2014 MLB Draft was one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ biggest draft misses in recent memory.
The Brewers were plagued by poor drafting throughout much of 2006-2015, and this miss might be the most egregious error made in that era.
Imagine Trea Turner coming up to this Brewers roster in 2015 and 2016, taking over the starting shortstop role, providing the exceptional offense that he’s shown to this point in his career, serving as the table-setter for the offense. In 2018, Turner led the league in stolen bases with 43, and played every single game. Turner has posted a league average OPS+ or higher in five of his six seasons, and the only one he didn’t was his rookie year in 2015 when he was 22 years old and only played 27 games.
With Turner, the Brewers would not only have great defense at shortstop, but great offense from that position as well. But since Turner wasn’t drafted by the Crew, top shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia came up in 2016 as the rebuild was in full swing. In his five seasons, Arcia has never posted a league-average or higher OPS+ and for most of the last three years, the position has been a black hole on offense.
If Turner is in the Brewers lineup in 2017, do they fall a game short of the playoffs? If Turner’s there in 2018, would the Brewers have fallen to the Dodgers in the NLCS? Could the Brewers have won the World Series if he was there? If Turner was on the Brewers instead of the Nationals in the Wild Card game in 2019, would the Nationals have still won?
We could go down what-if scenarios all day with the Brewers and their draft choices over the years. But when your pick turns out to be a bust and the guy selected one spot later turns out to be a star, it stings. Quite a bit.
The Brewers have re-done their scouting department in the years since, thankfully, and their more recent drafts appear to be stronger. It’s been mistakes like this that have kept the Crew from their first World Series victory and kept the farm system in a poor state.