The MLB Draft begins on Sunday, and the Milwaukee Brewers have 21 selections to make and some needs to fill in their organization.
One of the things that make the MLB Draft so much different from other drafts such as the NFL Draft or NBA Draft, is that immediate team need is not a consideration when making selections.
For example, although right now the Brewers need centerfield help, that doesn’t mean they need to draft a centerfielder with their first round pick, although that is entirely possible. Milwaukee has drafted centerfielders each of the last two years, so it’s not like they’re short on talent there within the organization.
Still, there are some needs to address when it comes to the draft. These needs are based more on projecting the big league needs in a few years and keeping a pipeline of talent at every position that the team can draw from.
So what are the Brewers team needs to address in the 2022 MLB Draft?
Brewers Draft Team Need #1: Starting Pitching
For all the talk about the Brewers pitching development system and how great the big league staff is, the minor league system is somewhat light on high end pitching prospects. With Aaron Ashby‘s graduation, the only legit high end pitching prospects in the organization are Ethan Small and Antoine Kelly.
Small made his MLB debut this season and should be a solid starter going forward while Kelly has enjoyed a strong season in High-A but still could potentially end up in the bullpen long-term. Outside of those two, all the other starting pitcher prospects have limited upside and could maybe at most be a back-end starter.
The Brewers could use some more pitchers with mid-rotation or higher level of upside. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are slated to reach free agency after the 2024 season if they don’t sign contract extensions before then. If they depart, this Brewers rotation goes from a strength to a weakness real fast. They’ll need to ensure they have pitchers internally ready to take over if they do leave.
Milwaukee has gone hitter heavy each of the last two years. They will need to stock up on pitching next.
Brewers Draft Team Need #2: Corner Infield
Do you know how many corner infielders are on the Brewers top 30 prospects list?
That would be Zavier Warren, a 3rd round pick in 2020. He was drafted as a catcher originally, but the Brewers seem to have abandoned that experiment this year.
Under the David Stearns Era especially, the Brewers have prioritized up-the-middle players in the Draft, which has left the corner infield cupboards bare. While the organization isn’t likely to shift from this philosophy, corner players are important parts of the lineup as well and should be invested in.
Corner players typically are the big power bats in a lineup. Milwaukee doesn’t have too many power hitting prospects in their farm system currently. Joey Wiemer is obviously the top one, but after him, there’s probably Hedbert Perez and maybe Joe Gray Jr and that’s about it.
Notice something else about those three power hitting prospects? They’re all outfielders. Some power hitting infield prospects would be nice to have, and they are found on the corners.
Milwaukee drafted one last year in Alex Binelas, but promptly traded him away for Hunter Renfroe, a power bat that could help the big league club right now
Brewers Draft Team Need #3: Take some risks on high upside talent
In recent years, the Brewers have been somewhat safe when it comes to the draft. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. They’ve targeted players with high floors and some good upside in the first round and have been heavy on college prospects, which have a higher success rate than high school players.
Still, the Brewers farm system has some solid players but is lacking much in the way of true, high upside talent that could make a major impact on the big league roster. Jackson Chourio is now the team’s top prospect and he has that kind of upside. Joey Wiemer could have that kind of upside as well, but who else?
This organization could use some more prospects that have incredibly high upside to dream on. That also means they may have to take some risks. They’re selecting in the back half of each round and their competitive balance round pick is in Round B this year. They won’t pick early enough for the top, top talents, but there will be some there that have some risk that will push them down the board.
A guy like Kumar Rocker, if he’s available, would be an example of a risky prospect based on his injury history but he has Top 10 upside. Dream on some upside this year. Take some risk and trust the development staff in place to get that upside out of them.
The players from this draft class, in all likelihood, are not going to be big league ready in time to help the club during the competitive window with this core anyway, so why not take some chances? This year’s picks could be a part of that next competitive window and that next core.
This upcoming draft is an important one for the Brewers, as every draft always is. They will add 21 new prospects to the organization, and will need to hit on some to keep the big league success going.