Holding the 18th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers sat back and watched one of the better college bats fall into their lap and selected Wake Forest third baseman Brock Wilken. Here are my instant takeaways:
- This marks the fourth consecutive year the Brewers have selected a college position player in the first round. Wilken joins Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Eric Brown and he's the first corner infielder of the group. MLB Pipeline ranked Wilken 25th on their big board.
- Wilken's standout tool is his power. It's true plus power grades, with the potential to hit 40 home runs at the big league level. He also has a cannon for a throwing arm, making him an ideal fit at third base in the long term.
- Brock Wilken broke the Brewers model. Typically, Milwaukee has targeted up the middle players with hit over power profiles, but Wilken is a true corner profile with a power over hit approach at the plate.
- This year for Wake Forest, Wilken put up absurd numbers. He hit .345/.506/.807 with 15 doubles and an astounding 31 homers in 66 games. He drew 69 walks and struck out 58 times.
- Wilken has prototypical size and looks the part of a middle of the order power bat. He's a 6'4", 225 pound right handed hitter.
- Wilken won the Cape Cod League MVP award back in 2021. The Brewers love themselves guys who performed well on the Cape.
- Defensively, he's a third baseman with his rocket throwing arm. His range is just okay, leaving first base as a potential fallback. He's not very fast, but he doesn't need to be when he hits homers like he does.
- The main question about Wilken's game is if he will be able to hit enough at the next level to tap into his massive raw power. He showed some improvement in that area this spring, which led the Brewers to have enough confidence he would hit that they selected him 18th overall.
- One of the biggest needs for the Brewers in this draft is to stock up on corner infielders and power bats. They don't have many in their system after targeting hit over power players the past few years, but Wilken is going to change that. He gives the Brewers a potential third baseman or even first baseman of the future, but for sure a middle of the order bat that will make Bernie Brewer go down the slide quite a bit.
- The Brewers watched all of the up the middle players in the second tier of college bats get drafted right ahead of them. That likely played a factor in the Brewers opting to go with a corner player like Wilken.
The next selection for the Brewers is at 33 overall in Competitive Balance Round A.