The 2021 MLB Draft is just under two months away, which means it’s time to begin preparing for the next generation of Milwaukee Brewers players.
There will be 20 rounds in this year’s MLB Draft, up from the miniscule 5 round draft last year but down from the usual 40 round draft in years prior.
As the college and high school baseball seasons have been heating up, we’ve been starting to get a clearer picture of who might go where in the first round.
The Milwaukee Brewers have the 15th overall selection in the 2021 MLB Draft. Who do the experts have them selecting?
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Ole Miss
This would be a somewhat risky move for the Brewers, but with potentially high upside. Prospects Live, in their Mock Draft 4.0, has the Brewers selecting Gunnar Hoglund out of Ole Miss. Recently, it was announced that Hoglund had suffered an elbow injury and underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s out until the middle of next season.
Prior to that injury, Hoglund was a consensus Top-10 talent, and getting him at 15th overall would present good value.
Hoglund has a very high floor with his strong command and solid pitch mix. He will be a starter going forward, but will the drop to 15th be good enough value for a guy who just underwent TJS? The Brewers will have to balance making safe choices to improve their farm system and taking some risks to get a chance at a top talent.
Baseball Prospect Journal
(15) Adrian Del Castillo, C, Miami
A catching prospect with a big bat but questionable defensive skills? Sign Milwaukee up! Del Castillo has shown the ability to hit for a high average in college, and was in early consideration for a top 5 selection in this draft, even getting some nods for the 1st overall pick.
But that has slowed down and he’s dropped down a bit due to his power not showing up so far this season and Baseball Prospect Journal has Del Castillo falling to 15th overall in their Mock Draft 3.0.
The Brewers have loved this kind of profile before. Omar Narvaez was a great hitter, but poor defender. They brought him in and turned around his defense, and now his offense is improving. Mario Feliciano, Thomas Dillard, and Zavier Warren were all seen as offense-first catchers with improvement needed defensively. The Brewers believe in their catching development and have invested heavily.
They’re likely to invest again if an opportunity to add Del Castillo presents itself.
(33) Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
Baseball Prospect Journal has a slightly expanded mock draft, which included Competitive Balance Round A, of which the Brewers have a pick, the 33rd overall pick in the draft. With this pick, they have the Brewers taking another college bat in the form of Arkansas outfielder Christian Franklin.
Franklin is a gifted defender in the outfield and has a coveted power/speed combination on offense. The question will be whether he hits enough to make use of that power and speed, but he’d be good value at 33 overall.
Benny Montgomery, OF, Red Land HS (PA)
Baseball America has the Brewers taking a prep outfielder in their most recent update. Benny Montgomery also has a power/speed combination with questions about whether he’ll hit enough to make use of his power and speed.
As a high school hitter with concerns about his hit tool, Montgomery will likely take some time to develop. With the Brewers likely hoping for their farm system to produce some big league help quickly, Montgomery won’t be the best choice if that’s their desire. If the bat comes together, Montgomery could be a 5-tool player, however.
Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest HS (NC)
This is a great draft class for high school shortstops. There could be as many as four or five prep shortstops taken in the first round this year, and Watson has some of the best speed of any of them. The others are seen as better overall hitters, which is why Watson is likely to fall into the middle of the first round in MLB Pipeline’s latest mock.
Watson has good raw power and a quick left-handed bat, and can stick at shortstop. There’s a strong chance he doesn’t make it to the 15th pick.
Matt McLain, SS, UCLA
Everyone liked the last UCLA player the Brewers took in the first round, Garrett Mitchell, so why not go back to UCLA and take his teammate Matt McLain? That’s what Bleacher Report’s first 2021 Mock has.
McLain is the consensus top college shortstop in this draft. The Brewers love up-the-middle players and they love guys with strong hit tools, and McLain fits both of those criteria. With a plus bat and plus speed, McLain profiles well as a top of the order hitter that can show some power, but home runs won’t be the major part of his game.
He can get on base, and he can steal bases, and plays a strong defensive shortstop. McLain suffered a broken finger recently that will keep him out of game action for a few weeks, and that could be enough to keep him on the board long enough for the Brewers to get him at 15 overall.
Obviously, things are still early in the draft process, and a lot can change between now and July 11th when the Draft begins. It’s a deep class this year, and with a mid-first round pick and a Comp A selection to boot, the Brewers are in a prime position to strengthen this farm system.