The Brewers hold the 27th overall pick in the first round of tonight’s MLB draft, marking the latest they have drafted in the first round since 2019.
In recent years, the Brewers have preferred up-the-middle college position players. They haven’t drafted a high school player in the first round since 2018. They have especially shied away from prep pitchers, a demographic they haven’t drafted in the first round since 2014.
It appears unlikely the Brewers’ drafting philosophy will change this year. They are heavily connected to college outfielders while also showing interest in college pitchers.
Below is a list of five names the Brewers could target with their first-round pick tonight. You can learn more about what the Brewers might do in this year’s draft by listening to the radio and podcast interviews I made in recent days.
Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
DeLauter is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound left-handed hitting outfielder with five-tool potential. He profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat and someone with can remain in center field long term.
Last year, DeLauter hit .298 with nine home runs in 34 games in the Cape Cod League, the top wood-bat college summer league. This spring, he played in 24 games, hitting .437, but suffered a broken foot in April that ended his season early. DeLauter went 3 for 14 with eight strikeouts in James Madison’s season-opening series against Florida State, who has two starting pitchers that will be top-five-round picks.
If it weren’t for his lackluster performance against FSU and the foot injury, DeLauter would have a chance to go in the first 10 picks of this year’s draft.
DeLauter has an easy left-handed swing and hits for average and power. Scouts rave about his plate discipline, as he had more walks than strikeouts in his college career. Defensively, DeLauter has the arm strength and speed to play center field.
Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee
Gilbert is a well-rounded 5-foot-9, 185-pound center fielder. He drew significant draft interest out of the Minnesota high school ranks in 2019 but ended up at Tennessee, where he has developed into one of the top players in college baseball.
Offensively, the left-handed hitter uses a slightly open stance and quick and compact swing to drive the ball to all fields. He shows a nice blend of power and speed. He profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter in pro ball and has a solid approach and plate discipline.
Defensively, Gilbert has all the attributes to remain in center field long term. Besides his speed, he has the above-average arm strength and the ability to make plays from gap to gap.
Scouts also like Gilbert’s makeup, as he has a team-first mindset and energetic personality that teammates gravitate towards.
Dylan Beavers, OF, California
Beavers is a 6-foot-4, 206-pound left-handed hitting outfielder with five-tool potential.
He is an aggressive hitter who hits for average and power. He sometimes expands the zone due to his aggressive approach, but he has made strides at the plate to become a more polished hitter.
Defensively, Beavers has experience playing all three outfield positions. He is athletic and possesses above-average arm strength. He can handle center field and prefers to play the position in pro ball, but he may fit better in right field long term.
Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon State
Hjerpe is an intriguing 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed pitcher. He made steady progress at Oregon State throughout his three-year college career and moved up draft boards this spring due to his ability to shut down opposing hitters.
He isn’t the hardest thrower, as his fastball sits in the low-90s. But the pitch plays up due to his low three-quarters arm slot and funky, cross-fire delivery. Some scouts compare his delivery to Brewers left-handed closer Josh Hader.
Hjerpe’s delivery generates deception, making it difficult for hitters to pick up the baseball. Even with his unique mechanics, Hjerpe pounds the strike zone with his three-pitch mix (fastball, slider and changeup). His slider is a strikeout pitch, and his changeup is a respectable offering.
Hjerpe profiles as a starter long term and will appeal to analytically driven teams.
Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
Hughes is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-handed pitcher that boasts an exciting combination of size and pitch mix.
He primarily relies on his fastball-slider combination. His fastball is an above-average mid-90s pitch that he throws with ease. His wipeout slider serves as his strikeout pitch while he shows feel for his changeup and curveball.
Hughes consistently fills up the strike zone and shows quality command and control of his pitches. Scouts rave about his makeup. He is a safe bet to be a starter in pro ball and still has the potential to improve.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.