Brewers: 3 Rule 5 Prospects the Crew Could Select, 3 They Could Have Taken from Them
By Matt Carroll
Here are three players the Brewers could select in the 2022 MLB Rule 5 Draft.
1. LHP Jose Lopez
The Brewers have a few team needs they could choose to address in the Rule 5 Draft, one of which being left-handed relievers. One of the top ones available during this draft is Jose Lopez out of the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Lopez has been pitching in the Rays minor leagues since the 2017 season and has generally acquitted himself well, putting up a 23-19 record over 107 appearances with a 3.26 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, and a .210 batting average against.
Only once has Lopez had an ERA above 3.08 for a season and last year he brought his K/9 up to a whopping 14.4. The Brewers have just one lefty reliever on the 40-man in Hoby Milner (unless you also count swingman Aaron Ashby) and Lopez would be a great complement to him in the bullpen.
2. LHP Erik Miller
Speaking of left-handed relievers, the Brewers have another option on the board in Erik Miller. Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 4th round of the 2019 draft out of Stanford, he is currently the No. 7 prospect in their system according to MLB Pipeline.
Miller started off as a starting pitcher in the Phillies system, but after losing nearly all of his 2021 season due to injury, he was shifted to largely relief duties. In doing so, he moved his way up to a brief stint at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He struggled a bit there, but finished the season with a 3.54 ERA and 1.448 WHIP.
MLB Pipeline gives him 55 grades on his fastball, changeup, and slider and with that mix, Miller could stay in the bullpen or go back to starting depending on what direction a team goes with him. With Milwaukee having that lefty bullpen need, they could always give him a chance to continue working things out as a reliever at the major league level.
3. 1B/3B Malcom Nunez
The Brewers can also use offense, though outside of their crop of talented, young outfielders, they'll likely be looking to more established veterans for it. In the event they want to give a bench spot to a young player with potential though, one Rule 5 candidate could be Malcom Nunez.
Nunez originally came up through the St. Louis Cardinals organization before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Jose Quintana trade during last season's trade deadline. He now sits as the No. 12 prospect in Pittsburgh's organization.
Nunez had an outstanding year in 2022, hitting .262 with an .833 OPS while launching 23 bombs and batting in 88. Though the infield might seem relatively set for the Brewers, corner infield has always been a position where the organization has lacked depth. It might be a longshot, but if the Brewers see something they like, maybe they'll take a flier from a division foe.