As we approach the 2021 MLB Draft, Reviewing the Brew will profile several of the top draft prospects that could find themselves selected by the Milwaukee Brewers. Let’s take a look at Ole Miss righty Gunnar Hoglund.
The Brewers could look to stock up on pitching in this year’s MLB Draft after going with all college hitters in the 2020 Draft. We recently profiled Kansas State lefty Jordan Wicks and now we’ll look at Hoglund.
Hoglund was a consensus Top 10 pick heading into Draft season as the ace of the Ole Miss Rebels staff. With the Brewers picking 15th, the odds of them selecting Hoglund seemed non-existent. However, a few weeks ago, Hoglund had to undergo Tommy John surgery (TJS).
A tough setback, to be sure.
However, according to most draft experts, this is not expected to completely tank his draft stock and he’s still expected to go in the first round, but his window starts in the mid-teens instead of the top 10. Sure enough, that puts him in a spot where he’s likely to be on the board for Milwaukee.
Should the Brewers take a risk on selecting Gunnar Hoglund in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft?
Tommy John surgery does not come with the career-altering question marks that it once did. Most pitchers come back as good as they were before, and in some cases they’re even better. But it’s still a long recovery process that Hoglund is still in the early stages of. He likely won’t pitch in his next game until the middle of next season.
So if the Brewers are confident that Hoglund will return to the type of pitcher he was before, they will be getting a top 10 talent with the 15th pick. That’s pretty good value.
Hoglund is 6’4″ and 220 pounds, a great prototypical size for a starting pitcher. He has a low-effort delivery and a four-pitch repertoire, which should give the Brewers every confidence that he has the ability to stick as a starting pitcher going forward in his career. His pitch mix includes an above average slider and changeup with a decent curveball to go along with his mid-90s fastball.
Hoglund also limits walks with his above-average command.
His fastball has jumped up to the mid-90s and there’s perhaps some room for added velocity as he develops and returns from TJS. If he does, there’s top of the rotation upside with Hoglund.
The Brewers have shown an improved ability to develop pitchers in recent years, and their success with Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Adrian Houser speaks for itself. With the Crew’s strong confidence in their pitching development program, adding a talented arm like Hoglund to the mix makes a lot of sense.
There is immense upside with Hoglund and the Brewers can likely tap into it. Should he return from TJS healthy and the Brewers have him in their farm system, this could end up being the steal of the draft.
Outside of the trio of Ethan Small, Aaron Ashby, and Antoine Kelly, the Brewers don’t have many other exciting pitching prospects. Stocking back up on pitching in the lower levels might be a wise strategy.