It’s that time of year, with the 2022 MLB Draft rapidly approaching, there are a number of prospects for the Milwaukee Brewers to consider selecting. They’ll have 21 selections to make to add to their farm system.
Whenever it comes to drafts, be it baseball or football or basketball, it’s always a cool story to see a team draft a hometown kid. Seeing a prospect who grew up rooting for a certain team getting drafted by that team and having their childhood dreams come true. Last year, the Brewers did that by selecting Oak Creek’s Alex Binelas in the 3rd round (although he was unfortunately traded a few months later).
The state of Wisconsin has been a sneaky hotbed for baseball talent in recent years, and there are a number of Wisconsin prospects that the Brewers should consider selecting.
Brewers Wisconsin Draft Prospect #1: Alabama LHP Connor Prielipp
Yes, I know he attends the University of Alabama, but Connor Prielipp is a native of Tomah, WI and he’s projected to be a first round pick this year.
Prielipp underwent Tommy John Surgery last year and is just about ready for game action again. He threw a bullpen for scouts a few weeks ago to showcase his progress in his recovery. He has a plus fastball but the big pitch that has scouts excited is his wipeout slider that sits in the mid-upper 80s.
Many thought of Prielipp as a potential #1 overall pick for this year prior to his elbow surgery, but he’s fallen down a bit and it could be far enough for the Brewers to take the Wisconsin-grown talent. MLB Pipeline has Prielipp ranked 25th in this year’s class and he has the upside of a frontline starter.
The risks are that he has very few collegiate innings under his belt due to injury. He blew out his elbow in his first start of the 2021 season and missed the rest of that year and this year. Still, he can get the innings of experience he needs in the minor leagues in order to reach his full potential. It just means it may be a slower progression up the minor league system than some other college arms.
If he’s on the board, Prielipp would be a solid pick for the Brewers and their pitching development program should do wonders for him.
Brewers Wisconsin Draft Prospect #2: Gavin Kilen, SS, Milton HS
The Division 1 State champion Milton Red Hawks were led this season by shortstop Gavin Kilen, who MLB Pipeline ranks as the 100th best prospect in this year’s class.
Kilen’s calling card is his hit tool, which the Brewers have targeted in recent years. He makes consistent contact and doesn’t strike out very often, which sounds exactly like the type of guy the Brewers need.
While Kilen doesn’t have big home run power at the moment, he could add some muscle as he matures and end up with a little bit more. He may or may not be able to stick at shortstop long-term, but has second base as a good fallback position.
This isn’t a first round possibility like Prielipp is. Kilen would be more likely to come off the board in the second round or in the Comp B round at the very earliest, or sometime early on Day 2. However, as a high school prospect, if his signing bonus asks are too high for teams, they could simply pass on him and he could follow through on his commitment to the University of Louisville.
Brewers Wisconsin Draft Prospect #3: C Will Vierling, Homestead HS
Pipeline’s 216th ranked prospect is Homestead Highlanders’ star catcher Will Vierling. Like Kilen, Vierling’s calling card is his hit tool.
He has an advanced approach at the plate and can draw his share of walks, while doing damage on the baseball when it’s in the zone. Vierling has great bat speed, which will help him continue to hit the ball well as he faces more advanced pitching and velocity at higher levels.
The Brewers have stocked up on catching in recent years and haven’t shied away from high school catchers either. There are some questions about his ability to stick behind the plate going forward, but catching instructor Charlie Greene is one of, if not the best in the business and the Brewers have been confident in their ability to improve catchers defensively.
There could be some good value here, especially if that hit tool sticks and his power continues to develop. Vierling is more likely a Day 2 selection and, like Kilen, if he doesn’t receive an offer to his liking he could follow his college commitment to the University of Louisville. Yes, both Vierling and Kilen are committed to Louisville.
These are the top Wisconsin prospects in this draft and any of them could be the next Brewers prospect. We’ll find out as the Draft kicks off on Sunday night.