3 Junior College pitchers that Brewers could target in the 2024 MLB Draft

The Brewers love themselves a JuCo pitcher
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There are few guarantees in the MLB Draft. One of them, however, is that the Brewers are going to pick a Junior College pitcher at some point. Since 2017, the Brewers have selected a JuCo arm in every Draft with the exception of 2020 when it was shortened to just five rounds.

Bowden Francis, Aaron Ashby, Antoine Kelly, Logan Henderson, Carlos F. Rodriguez, Jacob Misiorowski, Tyler Woessner, and Ryan Birchard are all Brewers draftees out of junior colleges in the last few years. Francis and Ashby have already been big league arms, Misiorowski, Rodriguez, and Henderson are arguably the Brewers three best pitching prospects right now, while Woessner and Birchard could be there soon.

While junior colleges don't catch the national media attention that NCAA Division I schools get and their players aren't as well known, that doesn't mean the Brewers aren't paying attention.

It's not a matter of if the Brewers take a JuCo arm, it's a matter of when and who. These are some of the top junior college pitchers in the 2024 Draft that could entice the Brewers in the early rounds.

1. Brandon Clarke, LHP, State College of Florida

The top JuCo arm on MLB Pipeline's big board, coming in ranked 177th, Brandon Clarke could be an early Day 2 pick for the Brewers.

Clarke is a 6'4" lefty with a mid-upper 90s fastball, a power curve, and a changeup. That kind of velocity in a lefty is hard to find and while his arsenal is far from a finished product, the Brewers pitching lab is more than capable of polishing up those secondary pitches. They could turn Clarke into a reliable pitcher with that kind of arm talent.

While there's reliever risk here with some poor control, most pitchers at this point in the Draft are going to have that kind of risk. The Brewers have not shied away from that risk before and they always seem to find a way to keep developing these kinds of arms as starters.

Clarke was also one of the top strikeout pitchers in the JuCo ranks this year. He struck out 107 batters for the State College of Florida in 74.1 IP. His 4.36 ERA isn't great but the ability to miss bats does stand out.

2. Conner Ware, RHP, Pearl River JC

MLB's Draft Combine doesn't get the fanfare that the NFL Draft Combine does, but that doesn't mean it's not an important place to get information. The Brewers had a group of personnel at last month's combine to watch players in workouts, interview them, and get complete medical information on them.

One of the standouts at this year's combine was Conner Ware from Pearl River JC in Texas. When it comes to the Brewers and pitching prospects, spin rate is a metric that the organization pays a lot of attention to. Conner Ware had one of the best spin rates at the Combine. His 12-to-6 curveball was measured with a 3,124 RPM spin rate.

A 3,100 RPM curveball that's a true 12-6 would give the Brewers an excellent foundation to work with.

The issue with Ware is his injury history. He's pitched just 32 innings the last two years combined. The results when he's on the mound have been great, but the track record is limited. That's going to push Ware's draft stock down to perhaps later on Day 2 but he could be a money saving option too.

3. Kevin Mannell, RHP, Cloud County CC

One of the best performers in the JC ranks this year, Kevin Mannell has put himself on the Draft radar. Mannell had a 1.91 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 75.1 IP for Cloud County this year. He has a starter's build at 6'4" and 210 pounds with some room still to grow.

Mannell has a good arsenal to go along with his results this year. His fastball is in the mid-90s with good movement, his high-spin slider is his best secondary, plus he has a quality changeup. His command is already solid as well, walking just 20 batters all season this year.

The Brewers also like pitchers with deceptive deliveries to keep hitters off balance and Mannell fits that bill.

A three pitch mix, deception, and big strikeout numbers are three ingredients the Brewers have loved in their JuCo pitching targets and Mannell has all three.

Mannell may end up as a reliever, but he threw well at the Draft Combine and has the stuff to be sent out as a starter. Mannell is committed to Mississippi State if he doesn't sign in the Draft, but if he's a Day 2 selection, he's essentially a guarantee to turn professional.

The Brewers love JuCo arms and one of these three pitchers could very well be the next Brewers success story from those ranks.