The 2021 MLB Draft is just a few days away. The Brewers could use some third base prospects. Which ones should fans get to know as potential Brewers draftees?
Drafting for need isn’t really a thing in the MLB Draft, especially at the top, however teams are cognizant of what they need in their organization and can make it a focus to draft certain types of players.
The Brewers are one of the teams going to a more position-less style of baseball, with a high level of shifting and less of a rigid idea of what position a player plays and where he plays it. In recent years, the focus has not been on the corner infield, either first base or third base.
In 2016, the Brewers drafted a third baseman with their second pick in Lucas Erceg. He hasn’t panned out as hoped and there was no emphasis on adding another third baseman in the years since, so the cupboards are bare for the most part at this position.
What third base prospects could the Milwaukee Brewers select early in the 2021 MLB Draft?
1. Alex Binelas, 3B/1B, Louisville
The Oak Creek, WI native entered the season as a likely Top 15 selection in this year’s draft. However, he had a rough start to his 2021 campaign at Louisville and has dropped to becoming a likely second or third round pick.
The power is certainly there in his swing. Standing at 6’3″, 225 pounds, the left-handed hitting Binelas swatted 19 home runs this year, but hit just .256 with a 26% strikeout rate. Generally those numbers don’t bode well for a player’s hit tool at the next level.
At the inaugural MLB Draft Combine, Binelas reportedly showed very well and boosted his draft stock a little. He showed he could handle third base defensively, which improves his value in the Draft.
He’s more of a streaky hitter, with hot stretches and slumps throughout the season. Finding that consistency at the plate is difficult, but if the Brewers feel they can improve his bat a little, he could have a future at the hot corner in Milwaukee. The Brewers are short on power bats in their system and Binelas provides one, and being a local player doesn’t hurt either.
2. Izaac Pacheco, 3B, Friendswood (TX) HS
Another big left-handed hitter, the 6’4″, 225 pound Izaac Pacheco brings big power with the bat and a cannon for an arm.
Similar to Binelas and most other power-hitting prospects, the overall hit tool is a work in progress. The Brewers or whoever drafts Pacheco will need to help him make some adjustments in his approach so he doesn’t get too home run focused and can focus on just hitting the ball.
There’s some swing and miss in his game, but his bat speed is phenomenal. MLB Pipeline has Pacheco listed as their 30th overall draft prospect. He would be an option in Competitive Balance Round A, where the Brewers hold the 33rd overall selection.
At the very least, Pacheco should be a very good defensive third baseman that can provide a bunch of power, but may not hit for the highest average, similar to a Travis Shaw. For some, that comparison may be comforting and for others it’s concerning.
And no, this isn’t a comp to what a slumping Travis Shaw is, but rather what a good Travis Shaw is. Someone that’ll hit around .240ish with about 30 homers is likely what Pacheco could be.
With either the 33rd overall pick or even their 2nd round pick, Pacheco would be a solid selection at good value.
3. Trey Sweeney, 3B/2B, Eastern Illinois
One of the best college performers this year, Trey Sweeney was hitting over .400 for most of the season, but finished the year hitting .382/.522/.712 with 14 homers, 58 RBIs, 46 walks, and just 24 strikeouts.
Pipeline’s No. 55 prospect just missed out on winning the Triple Crown in the Ohio Valley Conference this year. Sweeney has a plus hit tool and good raw power as well.
Sweeney has an advanced approach at the plate, which makes him different from the other two third basemen in this article. He’s more of a hit-over-power guy right now, but there’s a bunch of raw power in there that could be tapped into perhaps with a swing adjustment or an approach adjustment.
Sweeney has a strong enough arm for third base and the Brewers could be enticed by his strong hit tool and solid defense at a position where they lack that in their organization.
In Fangraphs most recent mock draft, they mentioned Sweeney as a possibility for the Brewers at 15 overall if they look to cut an under-slot deal to save money to go after a high school player later on. However, that’s only likely if the rest of their board gets blown up by a run on college players in the 14 picks before their selection.
If that doesn’t happen, there’s a decent chance Sweeney will be available at 33 overall and possibly even 51 overall, their second round pick.
These three players are some of the top third basemen in this year’s draft class. If the Brewers are going to address the position this year, these options might be the best this draft has to offer.