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Digging into draft tendencies




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With the MLB draft about a month away, I thought I would take a bit of time and examine some of the Brewers tendencies to predict what we can expect when the draft kicks off July 17.

Catch a falling star         

The Brewers have no problem stopping the fall of players many didn’t expect to be there.

Garrett Mitchell, of course, was the classic example of this, but Sal Frelick was routinely being mocked above the Brewers’ pick as well.

They also have had no problem grabbing guys who were expected to go much higher one year out, be it in the first round (Turang) or later (Hayden Cantrelle)

Walking wounded

While there are rumors the Brewers aren’t interested in any of the injured pitchers in the first this year, they have shown a willingness to grab guys coming off injuries early.

Drew Rasmussen is perhaps the most noteworthy pitcher, but on the hitting side they’ve taken chances on David Hamilton, Gabe Holt and Freddy Zamora in the first 10 rounds.

We’re going to call him a catcher

This is the one I wish they would stop. At some point, it just begins to reek of hubris.

Every year it seems, going back to K.J. Harrison in 2017, the Brewers take a player who isn’t a catcher or, in Harrison’s case, almost everyone agrees shouldn’t be a catcher. They followed with David Fry in 2018, Thomas Dillard in 2019, Zavier Warren in 2020 and Wes Clarke in 2021. Fry was the only one who lasted more than a season behind the plate, and last time I checked, he wasn’t catching in the Cleveland organization.

If you think the guy is worth the pick regardless of if he sticks behind the plate, then fine, but paying any sort of premium for the ability to kind of look like a catcher if you squint might not be the best idea based on past precedent.

Scouring the JUCOs

Between 2017 and 2021, there were 36 JUCO pitchers drafted in the first 10 rounds. The Brewers accounted for five, or almost 1/7 of the picks, an average of one per draft.

The Brewers have also had a fair amount of success mining JUCO staffs. Ashby and Bowden Francis give them two of the six who have made their major league debut from over that time period. And then you have Antoine Kelly looking promising in Wisconsin and Carlos Rodriguez developing into the ace of the Carolina staff.

Whatever the Brewers have been doing as far as devoting scouting resources to this level, it seems to be working.

On the other hand …

Too often when discussing drafts, fans lean back on “rules” as to who the team would or, more often than not, wouldn’t draft.

There are no rules when it comes to drafts, only tendencies.

Even in the far more predictable NFL draft, you can see it. The Packers athletic “requirements” for offensive linemen make them so predictable that if you had told me after the first round of the draft this year that the Packers were going to take two offensive linemen before the end of Round 4, I would have needed three guesses, max, to get both picks. Despite this, however, you will still see the occasional Caleb Schlauderaff or Jamon Meredith who bucks the trend.

So while, given past history, all of the things I mentioned earlier are more likely to happen than on average, perhaps the safest bet is that the Brewers will buck their tendencies, either not doing something mentioned here or taking a high schooler early. It’s draft time. Always expect at least some unexpected.

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Very good article and well said.  I like the term tendency and I suspect the main driver is identifying an under-appreciated asset more than anything.   Whether it’s a Juco, or in Hawaii, or a player with value who is sliding, or a certain skill set, you might see the Brewers hiding in the shadows, waiting to pounce.  

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Great post! The MLB draft is almost always a bit of a toss up after the first couple of picks, it seems. It will be interesting to see though. I feel as if the Brewers have made a play towards an outfielder and a south paw pitcher in addition to the catcher you spoke about. I don't really follow the draft much, but definitely should start!

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