While baseball still hasn’t arrived and we all play the waiting game, the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft is upon is this week, starting Wednesday evening. The 2020 Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) with live coverage on MLB Network and ESPN. The Draft will also stream live on MLB.com.
The first night of the Draft spans picks 1-37 — the first round and Competitive Balance Round A.
The Draft resumes with the start of the second round at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT) on MLB Network and ESPN2, plus live streaming online at MLB.com.
The five round draft is a direct result of Major League Baseball front offices looking to save money where they can during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and will save teams $29.58 million in bonuses.
The five-round draft will have 160 picks, which will be an 87-percent reduction in the number of picks from the 2019 draft, where 1,217 players were selected.
Here’s every pick for the Brewers in this year’s shortened five-round draft, with the bonus assigned for each slot. Teams can also sign an unlimited amount of undrafted free agents for up to $20,000 (previously, undrafted signees were able to sign for bonuses of up to $125,000 without the signing team incurring pool penalties), beginning on June 13.
- Round 1, Pick 20 – $3,242,900
- Round 2, Pick 53 – $1,370,400
- Round 3, Pick 92 – $637,600
- Round 4, Pick 121 – $473,700
- Round 5, Pick 151 – $353,700
It’s often debated whether clubs should draft for “need”, or simply take the “best player available” in the first round of the draft. Personally, I’m a best player available guy, especially in the first round. The one exception to that rule for me, is for teams picking in the latter third of the opening round, where most of the no-brainer picks are off the board by that point.
The Brewers fall into that area this year, picking 20th overall in Round 1. The Brewers also have the worst farm system in baseball according to MLB Pipeline’s 2020 team rankings.
The Brewers enter the draft as the only team in baseball without a Top-100 prospect in their system, and their top projected rookie in 2020 — Drew Rasmussen — is ranked No. 9 in their system. So despite picking in the bottom third of the round thanks to their recent on-field success, the Brewers can — and should — use the best player available approach throughout the entirety of the draft. Especially this draft.
With the farm in dire need of an infusion of talent, the Brewers have only five picks, making it all the more important that they maximize the talent acquired on each of these selections.
If you take a look at various mock drafts, the Brewers lack of depth and high-upside prospects down on the farm has many predictions all over the place, most commonly taking the best available at No. 20 each time (dependent on who was taken previously in that particular mock draft or mock draft version).
For example, CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa has released four versions of his mock, and has went with a different pick for Milwaukee in all four versions.
In his latest version Axisa has the Brewers taking Auburn right-hander Tanner Burns. Prior to that he had Milwaukee taking Texas Tech righty Clayton Beeter (June 1), Georgia righty Cole Wilcox (May 19), and prep catcher Drew Romo (April 15).
Keith Law’s latest mock draft over at The Athletic has the Brewers taking Dillon Dingler, a catcher out of Ohio State. His previous version had the Brewers taking UCLA’s sweet-swinging outfielder, Garrett Mitchell.
Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com has Cole Wilcox (RHP, Georgia) at No. 20 in his latest, and also mention Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler, a mix of Axisa and Law’s picks.
Our friend Dan Zielinski over at Baseball Prospect Journal, like Mike Axisa has Texas Tech right-hander Clayton Beecher as the pick.
“I definitely think they could go the pitching route this year,” Zielinski said. “Clayton Beeter would make a lot of sense, and again I know they’re high on him and he definetly presents some upside,”Dan Zielinski of Baseball Prospect Journal on a recent episode of The Dugout Podcast.
You can listen to all of Dan’s thoughts on the Brewers 2020 draft strategy on a recent episode of The Dugout Podcast, here.
Personally, we have the Brewers taking prep catcher Tyler Soderstrom in Round 1 in our mock draft here at The Dugout.
Soderstrom is an intriguing pick, in that he possesses high-upside at the dish, and has the athleticism to move to third base if his defense doesn’t stick behind the plate at the next level. Ryan Ozella (former California area scout for Prep Baseball Report and founder of Ozella Baseball Consulting) told Melissa Lockard in her recent preview of the top NorCal draft prospects that Soderstrom is, “one of the best left-handed bats in the nation,”.
“Really quick through the zone. Loft power. 60-future power, 55-future bat (on the 20-80 scouting scale),” Ozella said. “I think he’s probably the best hitter in the state. It’s easy for him. He’s consistently in a good position to hit.”
Tyler’s Father, Steve Soderstrom was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 1993 MLB Draft, and the Giants have been mocked — see Keith Law’s version 2.0 — as a team willing to take Soderstrom before Milwaukee picks at No. 20.
If Soderstrom falls to No. 20, hit elite bat would likely elevate him ahead of 2018, 2019 first-rounders Brice Turang and Ethan Small as the top-prospect in the Brewers’ system. Soderstrom would likely end up pairing-up with Turang on the left side of the Milwaukee infield in a few years since he’s likely to move to third base.
Soderstrom has a commitment to UCLA, but is expected to sign with an MLB club if he’s taken in the first round.
In the end, there’s a bevy of possibilities for the Brewers in Round 1, and beyond, but the resounding consensus is that they need to attack with the mindset of drafting the best player available each time they’re on the clock.
If there is a strength — or depth — in the Milwaukee farm system, it’s left-handed pitching and middle-infielders, so the Brewers should be looking for right-handed pitching, and bats at the corners, catcher, and the outfield positions. This pretty much lines up with every mock that you can find right now, and jives with my personal pick, Tyler Soderstrom.
The goal here for the Brewers, is to just add as much front-end talent to that depleted farm system as possible this week. If they can add a much-needed infusion of talent to their farm, it’ll be a win for David Stearns and company.