Brewers excited for extra pick early in Draft

July 9th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Adam McCalvy’s Brewers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MILWAUKEE -- Infielder has been a hit when healthy.

Left-hander is on the cusp of returning from the injured list, perhaps as a new bullpen weapon.

Now, the Brewers will add another piece to the return in the Corbin Burnes trade with Baltimore when the 2024 MLB Draft begins Sunday. Milwaukee has four selections on Day 1 of the three-day event, including their own three (Nos. 17, 57 and 67 overall) plus an extra pick at No. 34, which came from the Orioles as part of the Burnes trade.

“It just gives you an extra shot at a good player that you’re interested in,” said Brewers vice president of domestic scouting Tod Johnson. “If not [for that], you go from 17 to 57, which, you watch a lot of good players go off the board in that span. And then the extra money.”

The money is key, because of the way the MLB Draft works. Even though they don’t pick until 17th in the first round, the Brewers have the league’s ninth-biggest pool at $12,984,400. For an explanation of why that matters, and to see every assigned pick value in the first 10 rounds, click through to this story from my colleague Jim Callis.

Last year, Milwaukee used those funds to great effect, picking up a number of highly rated prospects much later in the Draft than many expected those players to go. Assistant general manager Matt Kleine explained that strategy last month.

The Brewers have had their Draft board essentially lined up for a couple of weeks, though scouts are traveling into Milwaukee on Tuesday for a week of final debate. It caps a yearlong process for the Brewers’ amateur scouts, some of whom met with 40-plus players at MLB’s recent Draft Combine.

“Class-wise, I know there’s a lot of people out there, prognosticators and whatnot, who say it’s not a great class. I’m not leaning into that narrative, honestly,” Johnson said. “There are strengths and weaknesses to every class, and when you try to judge whether it’s a good class or a bad class, sometimes we look back in five years and we were way off.

“We’ll get good players with all of our picks. I’m happy with where we’re at relationship-wise with players and knowing who wants to sign and who [does] not. Our scouts do a great job with that. We’ll be in a good spot.”

Given the makeup of this year’s Draft class, it’s a particularly good year to have the extra selection from Baltimore in the 30s, Johnson said.

“It’s a top-heavy group. There’s a top 10 that have separated themselves in a lot of the rankings and mock drafts,” Johnson explained. “From there to 50, I don’t think it’s a weak group, it’s just not a very differentiated group. It’s not like you can point to the 20th-best player and say very definitively that he’s better than the 40th-best player. But I don’t think that’s different than most classes, honestly. I think we think we know that better sometimes than we actually do.

“That’s why I think we’ll get good players with all of our picks. I think we’ll look back and be pretty excited about what we accomplished here.”