Written By: Tieran Alexander
Follow him on Twitter: @Tieran711
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The MLB Draft has finally come and gone with the Milwaukee Brewers adding some elite talent and some not so elite talent to their farm in the draft. The Brewers held five selections in the shortened draft this year with their first selection being at #20 overall. They held one pick in every round of the draft. In this article we will go over every player the Brewers selected and I’ll give my thoughts on all of the picks. This will not include the overall team or pick grades or say if these are good picks as I can not see the future, I’m just evaluating who the players they got are as prospects and what their upside might be.
1.20 CF Garrett Mitchell – UCLA
21 Years Old – Throws: R – Bats: L – 6’3″ – 204 lbs – ETA: 2022
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Garrett Mitchell wasn’t expected to be on the board when the Brewers made their first pick of the draft but after an unexpected tumble due to his type one diabetes, arguably the highest-ceiling position player in the draft was greedily snatched up by the Milwaukee Brewers at #20, stopping his free fall immediately. Garrett Mitchell has the potential to have plus tools all across the board although the likelihood of achieving that with his health issues is unknown.
His hit tool is maybe a plus but I’m only comfortable putting an above-average grade on it. The natural skills are there but with his current swing mechanics, he is not in a good position to consistently make optimal contact. His hands are extremely powerful and he has a quick bat that he’ll get in the zone early and often. His swing is short and easy to repeat when he is on his game and he supposedly has a very tight distribution of his launch angles. His swing is flat and his launch angles are low but the bat control and bat to ball skills when he is at his best are great. He has a tendency to put too much internal rotation into his hips and leaves his pelvis open far too early as he’ll have already completed his rotation before the barrel is even in the strike zone. This can cause his barrel to drag, lacking any impactful force which also leads to some swing and miss issues. His pitch recognition is somewhat suspect as well but the intangibles are there for him to be a plus hitter.
The raw power is tremendous but it plays down due to his currently gap power oriented swing that will almost certainly change now that he’s in pro ball. He starts his swing with his back foot rotated inwards slightly that causes his hips to over-rotate as he lacks the body control to stop his hip rotation with his current positioning. He is a big dude with tremendous physicality and he’ll coil and unleash his load with significant force. He just has to learn to stop with his hips so he can control his power and focus to his pull side. The swing is flat and he needs to learn to elevate but that is one of the easier things to fix in the modern-day MLB. If he can only stop consistently than with his raw physicality and contact skills then you could have one of the best bats in all of baseball with the potential to hit 30+ homers while hitting like .280ish. The raw talent is there for the bat to be elite but he has numerous issues to fix in order to get there. That being said, none of those are all that difficult things to fix.
Garrett Mitchell is also a 70+ grade runner who uses that raw speed to be above average in center field with a good arm to boot. He has the elite long speed to track down balls in the deepest parts on a ballpark and the burst to snag line drives in the gaps. His routes are a bit suspect at times and he needs more polish in his actions. His arm strength is probably a plus but his accuracy and footwork have a bit more progression left.
This is a player with the rare potential for all five tools to be graded as a plus or better and with how simple yet detrimental his issues are, it’s not all that unlikely of an outcome. This might be the highest upside player in the draft but with the lack of track record surrounding his power in particular lead to him falling all the way down to the Brewers who greedily snatched him up. Diabetes creates uncertainty but he might have been a top-five pick if he didn’t have that issue, so the risk is probably worth it for his sky-high upside.
2.53 SS Freddy Zamora – Miami
21 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – 6’1″ 190lbs – ETA: 2022
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In the second round, the Brewers returned to the college ranks and snagged the Hurricanes starting shortstop to bolster the farm. He was poised to possibly sneak into the first round with a strong 2020 campaign but a torn ACL ended his season before it had even begun.
At shortstop Zamora is probably the second-best guy in the draft behind only Alika Williams. He’s an acrobatic defender who will lay out to snag balls hit in the air and has the explosiveness and reaction times to get to balls in the gap that even elite speedsters struggle with. He moves extremely well in all directions and has clean actions and footwork. His arm strength is only slightly above-average but he shows the capability to make throws from all the required arm slots and his throws are extremely quick with his ease of actions that allow his arm to play up to a plus. There is some question on how the torn ACL will affect his defense as in spite of his explosiveness both in the field and on the base paths, his sixty times only grade out as average and there is some room to project more bulk knocking him down even further. I think the upside here is a plus and before the injury, the floor was probably above average as well but I’m shading him down half a grade after a torn ACL as those have sketchy track records involving the player’s athleticism.
At the plate, Zamora is a hard evaluation. On one hand, his swing is flat and he’s shown no feel for lifting the ball in the air. His hips tend to open a tiny bit early and his swing is very contact oriented at the present time. There’s a chance he has average raw in his frame and maybe more if he fills in his somewhat lanky frame but it likely will not be the main feature of his game. He has good bat control and has shown a feel for the strike zone, even walking more than he struck out in his college career. His bat doesn’t stay in the zone for all that long so his window of opportunity for making contact is short and that could really hurt him against the higher velocity stuff he’ll face as he climbs the ranks. The pitch recognition has the hit tool as above average but that’s also the least linear part of a hit tool so it’s hard to estimate where he might be in a couple of years.
I don’t love the bat and if he is forced off of shortstop after the ACL tear than this probably isn’t a major league player in any capacity. However, if he can stick as a plus or better even at shortstop than the bat is serviceable enough for him to be in the lineup everyday. There is more variance here than usual in a glove first college prospect but if he can retain his athleticism post injury than this is a high floor guy with a decent ceiling if they can remake his swing to be more geared towards power. As an under-slot second-rounder, it’s hard to be upset with this selection.
3.92 C Zavier Warren – Central Michigan
21 Years Old – Bat: B – Throw: R – 6’0″ 190lbs – ETA: 2023
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Zavier Warren was the Brewers third round selection and he is one of the more polarizing players in the entire draft. He does a lot of things right at the plate and has some other issues that cause some rather poor grades at times. He’s also a positionless player with good but not premium athleticism but the bat should play wherever he winds up.
Zavier Warren is an explosive player in all facets of the game. His speed is fringe-average when he is at his top speed but his explosiveness and quick burst really plays up on the base paths and has made him an incredibly efficient base stealer while in college. The explosive burst and quick reaction times has also made him a somewhat playable shortstop in spite of his error proneness and rough actions. The arm strength is a plus and that should translate behind the plate where in high school he would demonstrate pop times as quick as 1.90 seconds in workouts. He has a quick transfer and a quick release that made him an interesting option behind the plate. His athleticism has some upside behind the plate but he moved out for a reason and his actions are still incredibly rough. There’s some potential to stick behind the dish but more likely than not he’ll wind up at third base or a corner outfield spot.
Zavier is an intriguing bat with a real upside at the plate. He has a wide stance with his hands held near his ear before dropping down as he begins his stride towards the plate. His stride does a good job of coiling his hips and gathering his load. He does a good job of controlling his hips and stopping his rotation at the optimal time to maintain his kinetic energy and unleash it into a baseball. There is an obvious concern that catching will damage his ability to control his hips and not over-rotate like it has to so many players before him so I’m not sure it’s the best idea to try him back there. The power potential is there for him to hit for a significant amount of it although he’s not there yet but any time a guy can do six reps of 315lbs squats at 18 you know he has serious raw power potential. He has issues elevating baseball with consistency, particularly from the right-handed side and his swing is rather flat which puts a lot of topspin on his batted balls and leads to his raw power playing down.
I have some concerns with the way his back half collapses (shown above)and his bat tilts out to the swing plane rather than a more natural angled swing. That causes some power issues and adds tons of length to his swing that leads me to question his hit tool somewhat although in the MAC he had very little swing and miss issues. The positive is it keeps the barrel in the zone for most of the duration of his swing so well the movement is choppy it might not be a huge negative. He shows a tremendous feel for the strike zone and is a patient hitter who walked more than he struck out in his college career and that feel for the strike zone should serve him will as he climbs the ranks of the minors.
The tools are there for him to be an above average hitter but there is some rawness here and I worry about how catching will effect his bat. If he can stick behind the plate and continue to hit at the level he has been then this is an above average regular but otherwise, he needs a swing change to get to more of his power to profile as a regular of any sort, likely at third base. As a slightly under-slot third rounder there are enough intriguing things here to like with this selection but it’s not a slam dunk by any means.
4.121 OF Joey Wiemer – Cincinnati
21 Years Old – Bat: R – Throw: R – 6’5″ 215lbs – ETA: 2024
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With their fourth round selection, the Milwaukee Brewers snagged the toolsy Cincinnati outfielder Joey Wiemer. Wiemer is a freak of nature who probably isn’t actually a human, and is the most entertaining watch in the entire draft. He has insane raw tools but is an oddity that I have no clue how he will develop.
His speed is probably only 70 grade but the ability his explosiveness and insane athleticism makes it play up closer to an 80 on the basepaths. He is probably the best player in the world at dodging tags considering he’s done this, oh and this, and this. Yeah, the ability to leap like a frog off of his belly and around tags is completely insane. He went 43/50 on stolen base attempts in his 156 career games if you include the Cape Cod League which is obviously tremendous. He’s an acrobat in the outfield as well with more than enough speed and explosiveness for centerfield. His arm is also a plus tool that can hit 98 MPH off the mound and he’ll fire lasers to hose base runners from the track. This is a premium athletic profile.
At the plate, things are a bit more complicated. His swing is unusual, to say the least. His swing has lots of moving parts and can be difficult to repeat at times. His leg kick is overly flamboyant and his stance is open with a lot of bat waggle. There are some comparables there to Hunter Pence which shows that this complicated of a swing can work but Pence is more of an anomaly than the norm. His hands are in motion during the leg kick and the moment his foot comes down he is firing forward into his swing. He does a good job of loading up his back hip but some of that kinetic energy is wasted by how much overrates when he swings. The bat path is simple but the list of moving parts makes it hard to believe in the hit tool. There is some reason for optimism however with how good he is at laying off on borderline pitches and he knows the strike zone well enough to mostly make good swing decisions.
In spite of the huge raw power he has in his 6-5 frame and how loose his swing is, the uphill approach and his explosiveness, the power still is below average right now. He has issues getting underneath baseballs with consistency and is a big hitter to the opposite field which causes the power to play down further. He runs high groundball rates which he can make work with his speed but he would be better served elevating and using the raw power that drips from his incredible frame. There is still some projection left in his body so I wouldn’t rule out him growing into even more power. If he can control his hips and stop over-rotating so frequently along with adjusting his swing then there is in theory double plus power here.
There is a real rawness in his offensive game and for the bat to be playable at the major league level, he might need to completely rework his offensive game. If he can make adjustments to even just get up to a 40 hit and 50 power guy then with his speed and defensive capabilities he should be able to carve out a role in the major leagues. This is a ball of unbridled clay brimming with potential that the Brewers player development team can potentially mold into a star.
5.151 SS Hayden Cantrelle – Louisiana Lafayette
21 Years Old – Bat: B – Throw: R – 5’10” 190lbs – ETA: 2023
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With their final pick in the 2020 draft, the Brewers decided to select Hayden Cantrelle, a middle infielder out of Louisiana Lafayette. If he hadn’t hit .136/.320/.237 in his seventeen game 2020 campaign he would have gone much higher, possibly even in the second round according to some scouts but alas he did so he fell all the way to the Brewers in the fifth round.
Hayden Cantrelle isn’t a guarantee to stick at shortstop due to his solid-average arm strength but his precision accuracy and quick release give him a real chance to have the sufficient arm strength needed for the premium position. His actions at shortstop are relatively clean with the ability to move well and scoop up grounders with regularity. He doesn’t have the range that you typically want from a shortstop so there’s a chance that he slides to second base but as it stands right now he can probably play shortstop in his prime at a big league level. He’s a plus runner who uses his speed incredibly well which led to him going 76/86 on stolen base attempts over 203 games at the collegiate level. He gets great jumps consistently and isn’t reckless in his zeal to steal some bags. He won’t be a forty steal guy at the major league level but twenty or so bags in a full season is totally realistic.
Offensively, Cantrelle is a conundrum. He has some things in his swing that make me very optimistic for his long term outlook as a contact hitter but also a few things that are glaring issues that could prevent him from ever reaching the majors. The same is true of his power, albeit to a lesser extent. He does a great job controlling his hips and stopping his swing before he overrotates. That might be part of the reason why he struggles in the power department, considering that he gets very little hip-torso separation in his stroke. He gets the barrel in the zone early and often which gives him a long window to make contact but he still struggles to consistently make contact of any sort, even against the poor pitching of the Sun Belt Conference he still had a 19% K rate in his collegiate career. Although, he did run one a 19% K% again in the Cape Cod league against elite competition. There are real reasons to be worried about the inability to make contact at the lower levels and even with his bat control, there is a good chance his hit tool winds up below-average.
From a power standpoint, I’m skeptical that Cantrelle will ever even reach average. He has a slight inclination to his swing and a feel to elevate to his pull side so he should steal some home runs on cheap shots down the line. He does a good job getting underneath balls and elevating them with surprising consistency from the left-handed side but the lack of separation between his hips and torso holds him back majorly. From the right-handed side, he has almost no power as far as I can tell and there are even times that his torso gets in front of his hips. He lacks blinding bat speed or the twitchiness to generate power from his upper half alone so, without a complete swing overhaul, it’s hard to believe in his power.
Hayden Cantrelle has a small chance at succeeding as a light-hitting shortstop who makes his impact as an everyday shortstop whose speed and efficiency on the basepaths let him be an average player in spite of a pedestrian bat. I’m not sure that he’s even a shortstop and if he shifted to second base than the bat probably isn’t good enough to play every day without some major changes. It’s not impossible that he finds a way to make things work at the plate but more likely than not; he’s a quadruple A utility infielder who bounces around the waiver wire. Decent enough to get a handful of opportunities but not good enough to stick anywhere.
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