Best Outfielders the Brewers drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft
Best Brewers First Round Draft Pick At Left Field: Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun was the Brewers first round pick in the historic 2005 Draft, selected fifth overall. He was a shortstop in college, the Brewers drafted him as a third baseman and had him play there through his rookie season in the big leagues.
After watching him play third base up close, they decided to move him to the outfield and they never looked back.
Ryan Braun became one of the most prolific hitters in Brewers franchise history and signed two big contract extensions to stay in Milwaukee for his entire career. He owns a number of team records now and brought about a new Golden Age in Brewers baseball. The all-time Brewers first round team isn’t complete without Braun.
Braun was a Rookie of the Year, a six time All Star, five time Silver Slugger, and the NL MVP in 2011. He has the fifth-highest career batting average as a Brewer with a .296 average.
Best Brewers First Round Draft Pick At Center Field: Gorman Thomas
The first draft pick in franchise history also makes this list. Gorman Thomas was selected with the 21st overall pick in 1969 by the then-Seattle Pilots, but didn’t make his debut until 1973 after Seattle moved to become the Milwaukee Brewers.
Stormin’ Gorman spent several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the Brewers starting centerfielder, earning an All Star nod and a couple of Top 10 MVP finishes.
Thomas led the league in home runs in 1979 with 45 and led the league again in homers in 1982 with 39 long balls.
Thomas does not fit the typical mold of a centerfielder that we have come to expect today. Most today are smaller and faster, placing an emphasis on defense and speed, and at the plate they hit for average more than power. Thomas meanwhile, was a pure, typical power hitter, playing an up the middle position.
Thomas hit 208 home runs in his Brewers career with a .230 batting average and a 119 OPS+.
Best Brewers First Round Draft Pick At Right Field: Geoff Jenkins
This may be a bit of a cop out as Geoff Jenkins primarily played left field with the Brewers but spent a few years in right field when Carlos Lee was here. However, Jenkins is the best option to fill out this outfield.
In recent years, the Brewers have invested a lot in outfielders in the draft and at the big league level, but throughout the history of the franchise, outfield really hasn’t been a position they’ve drafted a lot in the first round. Plus, the last two outfielders mentioned above were both drafted as infielders.
Still, Geoff Jenkins is a worthy candidate. Jenkins is 6th in franchise history in total hits, slugging percentage, and OPS. He’s also fourth in home runs with 212, behind Braun, Yount, and Fielder.
Geoff Jenkins was consistent, solid, and productive in his career, spent almost entirely with the Brewers. He wasn’t here in 2008 when they finally broke the playoff drought, but was on the Phillies, who eliminated the Brewers and went on to win the World Series that year.
Overall, this is a pretty strong lineup of first round picks, especially considering the reputation the Brewers have had in the first round. It includes a pair of Hall of Famers and several extremely good players. Hopefully some of the recent first round picks can unseat some of those players in the future.