Milwaukee Brewers: Revisiting the Crew’s 2013 Draft Class

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 07: Devin Williams #38 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 07, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 4-2 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 07: Devin Williams #38 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 07, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 4-2 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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It’s already been almost a decade since the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2013 draft, which hardly seems possible. Though it may be hard to truly determine the success of a draft class until several years down the road, this one probably safely reached that mark.

The five-year mark is often a good point to look back on a draft class and in 2018, you started to see sites release updates on the Brewers 2013 draft class, including here. Still, by that point, some hadn’t even reached the majors yet or shown their true potential. After all, not every player is a Bryce Harper and gets brought up to the Major League level almost immediately.

The Brewers have found success recently in their draft and develop strategy, which is almost required with a small market team. The team’s solid starting rotation is made up of mostly home-grown talent or pitchers who were traded in the minors and developed to the major league level. So, did 2013 include any of them?

Let’s take a look at the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers draft class.

Unfortunately, the Brewers gave up their 17th overall pick in the first round when they signed starting pitcher Kyle Lohse to a three-year, $33MM deal. The Chicago White Sox would end up with that pick. Their selection, shortstop Tim Anderson. As it turns out, he’s a become a pretty good baseball player.

Other notable players in the first round of that draft were Kris Bryant, Austin Meadows and Aaron Judge. Players like Dominic Smith, J.P. Crawford, Colin Moran, Clint Frazier, Christian Arroyo and Hunter Dozier were also first-round picks, and each spent (or are currently spending) a number of years in the majors.

Also picked in that first round were former Brewers Billy McKinney and Corey Knebel, the latter being a competitive balance pick. Newly acquired Milwaukee outfielder Hunter Renfroe was also picked in the first round in 2013 at pick number 13 by the San Diego Padres.

Brewers Hit Big In the Second Round

Even though they didn’t get a pick in the first round, they struck gold in the second. They drafted the owner of the “Airbender” himself, Devin Williams at pick 54. He wouldn’t make his debut until August of 2019 before really breaking out in the 2020 season.

Since then, he has won NL Rookie of the Year, also won NL Reliever of the Year, and posted a career ERA of 2.09 with a record of 12-3 and 154 strikeouts. He is a key piece of the Brewers bullpen and could someday become the team’s official closer.

Sadly, Williams has also missed the playoffs two years in a row now. Both were by injury with one happening by losing a fight with a wall. Still, the Brewers have control of Williams until the 2026 season, and his arbitration years won’t even start until the 2023 season. There is a lot of time for Devin to get even better and become one of the best relievers in the game.

Picks 2-4 End Up With Mixed Results

In 2013, the Brewers also drafted infielder Tucker Neuhaus in the second round. The injury bug was a problem for Neuhaus. After four injuries, he was released in 2019 and ended with a .243 average over almost 400 games in the minors

In the third round, Milwaukee selected pitcher Barrett Astin. He was traded in September of 2014 to the Cincinnati Reds along with Kevin Shackelford for pitcher Jonathan Broxton. After less than stellar pitching for the Crew, Broxton was traded to the Cardinals in mid-2015. Astin would go on to pitch for the Reds in the majors and appear in six games.

Taylor Williams should still be a familiar name to Brewers fans. The fourth-rounder made his debut as a reliever in September of 2017, pitching just under five innings with an ERA of 1.93. Over 56 games in 2018, he would post a 4.25 ERA. In 2019, he would only appear in 10 games and end with an ERA of 9.82. He would be DFA’d before the 2020 season, finishing his Milwaukee career with a 5.23 ERA over 71 games.

Two Later Picks Find Success Elsewhere

Out of the 31 original players signed, only two other picks are household or recognizable names, though a few have gone on to play international ball.

Infielder Garrett Cooper was a sixth-round pick for Milwaukee. After rising the ranks in the minor league systems, Cooper was traded in July 2017 to the New York Yankees for lefty pitcher Tyler Webb. Webb would make a couple major league appearances for the Brewers but would later be DFA’d. Cooper was promoted to Yankees roster the very next day.

Cooper would be traded to the Miami Marlins in late November the next offseason and has been with them ever since. In 2021, he hit .284 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs over 71 games. He suffered a left elbow injury in late July and required season-ending surgery. The 31-year-old will be in his second year of arbitration in 2022.

The other big name to come from the Brewers in the 2013 draft is pitcher Ryan Yarbrough. However, the 20th-round pick would opt not to sign and eventually end up getting drafted again the following year, this time by the Mariners in the 4th round.

Yarbrough is now a part of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation where he helped compete for a World Series. On June 3rd of last season, he threw the team’s first complete game since 2016 and beat the New York Yankees 9-2. It was Yarbrough’s first win as a starter along with his first complete game. The Texas native has a career record of 37-23, an ERA of 4.30, and 406 career strikeouts.

Having five (technically four who signed) players emerge from the 2013 draft isn’t bad for Milwaukee, though, only one is on the active roster. But having Devin Williams emerge from that draft is a definite win. And in a roundabout way, the team got their first-round pick by acquiring Hunter Renfroe before the lockout started.

Next. No NL Central Repeat for Brewers According to ZiPS. dark

It wasn’t the biggest draft haul for the team but grabbing a key player in a draft is nothing to complain about, especially a player who could be a Brewer for a very long time.

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