The 2021 MLB Draft is around the corner. The Brewers might have some needs at the corner infield spots in their organization. But will they draft one in the first round? No, they will not.
The MLB Draft is unlike any other professional sports draft. In a more popular draft like the NFL’s, there’s a heavier focus on “team needs” and that influences a team’s draft board. Most of the time, the selected player addresses a weak area of the roster.
In baseball’s Draft, it’s a little different.
Because each draft pick is, at the very least, two or three years away from the big leagues generally, it’s impossible to fully know what your team needs will be when that player is ready. Plus, there’s no guarantee any drafted player will make the big league level.
Despite the big league need at corner infield spots, the Brewers will not address corner infield in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Frankly, it’s not just a need at the big league level at third base and first base. It’s an issue throughout the organization. They have basically no prospects that are expected to be big league starters at either position.
So this is a need to address within the organization. One could argue that the Brewers could simply draft up the middle players and move them to the corners if need be later on. That’s what the Brewers have done for the most part under David Stearns.
While up the middle players can usually handle the corners defensively, they generally lack the power profile that teams would like to see from the corner spots. Keston Hiura was drafted as a second baseman and was moved to first base, but he’s one of the rare few middle IFs that could hit for enough power to play well at a corner.
Also, Keston Hiura was a first round pick, the 9th overall selection in 2017.
If you’re expecting the Brewers to take a first baseman or third baseman in the first round this year, you’re going to be disappointed. It won’t happen, not just because of a stubborn organizational philosophy or because of how long it’ll take to get them to the big leagues, it’s also because: There simply aren’t any corner infielders worth taking in the first round this year.
This is not a great year for college bats at the top of the draft, and there is no Spencer Torkelson or Andrew Vaughn type corner infield bat in this class. Of all the players considered possible first round picks, none are corner infielders.
Third base and first base are positions that the Brewers should address, but you’ll more likely see that starting in the 2nd or 3rd round and beyond.
Not selecting a corner infielder with their first round pick isn’t necessarily a reflection of a lack of interest or focus in addressing the position, but rather a reflection of the draft board this year and getting the most talent possible into the organization. There’s no reason to reach for a corner INF at 15 overall.
While corner infield is a big need, it’s not the only organizational need to fill in this draft. If there’s any semblance of “drafting for need” in the MLB Draft, it’s projections on the team’s needs three or four years down the road.