The 1 Pitcher Worth Taking For The Brewers In The First Round Of The 2023 MLB Draft

The Brewers have shied away from first round pitchers in recent years. Is this the year to change that?

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

We've seen the Milwaukee Brewers select position players in the first round in seven of the last eight drafts. Historically, pitching is a volatile demographic in the first round and the Brewers have ended up on the short end of the stick more often than not.

Since the turn of the century, the Brewers have selected nine pitchers in the first round of the MLB Draft. Mike Jones, Mark Rogers, Jeremy Jeffress, Eric Arnett, Dylan Covey (didn't sign), Taylor Jungmann, Jed Bradley, Kodi Medeiros, and Ethan Small. Every single one of them turned out to be a bust. They got some production out of Jeffress after a trade and a very roundabout way of getting him back in the organization, but that's it. It may be too early to declare Ethan Small a bust, but he's certainly trending that way.

The volatility and lack of success with the pitching demographic in the first round in recent years has led the Brewers to select hitters in the first round a lot more often. The success rate with position players is much higher.

However, there is one pitcher that could be on the board for the Brewers at 18 overall in the 2023 MLB Draft that is worth selecting, Florida's Hurston Waldrep.

Hurston Waldrep had an up and down 2023 season for the Florida Gators, but when it came time for the NCAA Tournament, Waldrep was pitching his best. He threw 7 IP of one run ball with 12 Ks in the regionals, then 8 shutout innings with 13 Ks in the Super Regionals, followed by 6 IP and 1 ER with 12 Ks against Oral Roberts in the College World Series.

Waldrep has the big stuff that the Brewers like to work with, a mid-upper 90s fastball and a powerful three pitch mix. While he has some control issues, the ingredients are here to work with.

If Waldrep is in the right situation and gets the right development, he could be a true ace at the big league level. The Milwaukee Brewers, with their pitching lab and track record of developing players with these skills, would be an excellent fit for Waldrep.

There are other pitchers that are likely to be available on the board when the Brewers are picking, but it's tough to envision the Brewers using their first round pick on them. Sure Paul Skenes and Rhett Lowder would make for excellent picks, but they aren't going to be on the board. Waldrep is going to be the only college pitcher on the board that would make sense for the Brewers and worthy of being a first round pick.

The Brewers aren't going to be looking too much at the high school pitching options, that's a demographic they've stayed away from largely since the disaster that was the Kodi Medeiros selection in 2014. Their last Day 1 high school pitcher was in 2017 with Caden Lemons, who never made it above Low-A.

Waldrep's postseason dominance may have even pushed him higher in the draft where he may not be available for Milwaukee. If he's there however, he's worth strong consideration for a selection. It'll be tough for the Brewers to pass up any of the top college hitters if they're also on the board. But if there's a run on college bats that pushes a pitcher like Waldrep down the board and none of the college bats they like remain, Waldrep makes sense as a fallback.

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