Brewers MLB draft glance since 1998: Rounds 2-5

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, which will be held June 10-11, will be limited to five rounds.

With the truncated version this year, we thought we’d take a look back at Milwaukee Brewers drafts since 1998 – when the last two expansion teams were added – to see how the Brewers have fared in each round.

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We’ve already gone over Round 1 and now we’ll look at the players who made the majors from Milwaukee’s picks in rounds 2-5. Upcoming articles will touch on rounds 6-20 and 21-50.

Instead of ranking each player subjectively, we’ll order them objectively – by baseball-reference.com’s WAR (wins above replacement). Note: For pitchers, we’re using only their pitching WAR. To add in their hitting WAR seems a bit unfair, but we’ll include it in the capsule for reference sake. Also, this list only included players signed by Milwaukee.

 

Round 2

JJ Hardy, SS, 2001
WAR: 28.1 (11.0 with Brewers)

Hardy played five seasons with Milwaukee and made the All-Star Game in 2007. He hit .262/.323/.428 with 75 home runs with the Brewers, twice topping 20 homers in a season. Hardy had career highs in average (.283) and on-base percentage (.343) in 2008. He was traded to Minnesota, where he played one season in 2010 before being dealt to Baltimore, playing there until his final year in 2017. Hardy has the highest WAR of any Brewers player taken in the second round going back to 1969 when the team was in Seattle.

 

Yovani Gallardo, P, 2004
WAR: 19 .1 (15.5 with Brewers)
Batting WAR: 3.1 (2.8 with Brewers)

Gallardo arrived on the scene as a 21-year-old in 2007, appearing in 20 games with 17 starts, and pitched with the Brewers until 2014. In those eight seasons, he was 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA. He’s the franchise leader in strikeouts with 1,226. An All-Star in 2010, Gallardo won 12+ games each season from 2009-2013, with a high of 17 in 2011. He also helped himself at the plate a bit, hitting .195 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 466 plate appearances. Gallardo was traded in January 2015 to Texas in a deal that netted the Brewers reliever Corey Knebel (4.7 WAR with Brewers). Gallardo pitched just one year for the Rangers before heading to Baltimore, Seattle, Cincinnati and back to the Rangers.

 

Tony Gwynn Jr., OF, 2003
WAR: 5.1 (-0.4 with Brewers)

The left-handed hitting Gwynn appeared in just 130 games over three years with the Brewers, batting .248/.300/.298 (56 OPS+) with 14 steals in 264 plate appearances. He was traded in May 2009 to San Diego for Jody Gerut. Gwynn played two seasons with the Padres, two with the Dodgers and one in Philadelphia, finishing with a career slash line of .238/.308/.310.

 

Jimmy Nelson, P, 2010
WAR: 4.6
Batting WAR: -0.9

Nelson debuted in 2013 making four appearances then had 14 games and 12 starts the following year before entering Milwaukee’s rotation in 2015. Nelson had a breakout season in 2017, going 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 10.2 K/9 but a shoulder injury caused him to miss the rest of the year, all of 2018 and most of ’19. In 119 games with the Brewers, Nelson was 33-46 with a 4.22 ERA. He signed with the Dodgers this past offseason.

 

Tyrone Taylor, OF, 2012
WAR: 0.2

Taylor finally made the majors last season at the age of 25, getting 12 plate appearances. He was 4-for-10 with two doubles, a walk, hit by pitch, run and RBI. He remains on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster but did not appear in any exhibition games during spring training.

 

Nick Neugebauer, P, 1998
WAR: 0.0

Batting WAR:  -0.2

Neugebauer made 14 starts in 2001-02, going 2-8 with a 4.99 ERA. He never pitched more than six innings in any appearance. Neugebauer missed the entire 2003 season after undergoing shoulder surgery and was released – and eventually retired – in 2004.

 

Devin Williams, P 2013
WAR:  -0.1
Batting WAR: 0.0

Williams made his major-league debut last season as well, pitching 13 2/2 innings and allowing nine runs (six earned) on 13 hits with six walks and 14 strikeouts. He pitched in six games (five innings) during spring training this year.

 

Jorge Lopez, P, 2011
WAR:  -1.4 (0.2 with Brewers)
Batting WAR: 0.0 (0.1 with Brewers)

Lopez pitched in just 31 2/3 innings between 2015-18 for the Brewers before being traded to Kansas City as part of a deal that brought Mike Moustakas to Milwaukee. In his 13 games with two starts for the Brewers, Lopez was 1-2 with a 3.69 ERA. He’s gone 6-13 with a 6.34 ERA for the Royals.

 

Round 3

Jonathan Lucroy, C, 2007
WAR: 17.8 (17.3 with Brewers)

Lucroy came up to Milwaukee in 2010 and was the team’s main catcher until being traded to Texas at the 2016 deadline. In 805 games with the Brewers, Lucroy hit .284/.342/.436 (110 OPS+) with 79 home runs. He hit double-digit home runs in five years for Milwaukee, twice batted over .300 and led the majors in doubles, with 53, in 2014. Lucroy was an All-Star in 2014 and ’16. The Rangers traded him to Colorado in 2017. He’s also played with Oakland (2018), the Angels (2019) and Cubs (2019) and signed with Boston this past offseason. Lucroy’s career WAR is nearly double the next-highest Brewers’ third-round pick (Jamie Navarro, 9.3, 1987).

 

Tyler Thornburg, P, 2010
WAR: 3.9 (4.2 with Brewers)

Batting WAR: -0.2 (-0.2 with Brewers)

Thornburg split his time between relieving and stating in 2012-13 before transitioning to the bullpen full-time in 2014. He had a breakout year in 2016, posting a 2.15 ERA, 0.940 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 with 13 saves and was dealt in the offseason to Boston. Overall with Milwaukee, Thornburg recorded a 2.87 ERA and 1.188 WHIP in 144 appearances (10 starts). Injuries have plagued him since – he missed the entire 2017 season and had a 6.54 ERA over two years with Boston. He signed with Cincinnati this past offseason.

 

Ruddy Lugo, P, 1999
WAR: 1.3 (DNP with Brewers)

Batting WAR: n/a

Lugo was the player to be named later, sent in June, in the Brewers’ February 2001 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Devon White. Lugo pitched for Tampa Bay (2007-08) and Oakland (2008), going 8-4 with a 4.39 ERA in 102 relief appearances.

 

Logan Schafer, OF, 2008
WAR: 0.0

Schaefer played in parts of five seasons for Milwaukee from 2011-13. He appeared in 134 games with 337 plate appearances in 2013. Overall, he hit .212/.286/.319 in 292 games with 646 plate appearances in Milwaukee. Schafer played one final season in 2016 with Minnesota.

 

Josh Prince, SS, 2009
WAR: -0.1

Prince played in eight games with one start in left field in 2013. He went 1-for-8 with a double, walk, strikeout and three runs. Prince played in the Brewers’ system through 2014 before appearing in the minors for Detroit and Arizona. He is a free agent after playing in 29 games for Reno in 2019.

 

Barrett Astin, P, 2013
WAR:  -0.1 (DNP with Brewers)

Batting WAR: 0.0

Astin was part of a trade with Cincinnati in which Milwaukee acquired Jonathan Broxton on Aug. 31, 2014. Astin made six appearances (eight innings) with the Reds in 2017, allowing six runs.

 

Cy Sneed, P, 2014
WAR: -0.1 (DNP with Brewers)

Batting WAR: n/a

Sneed was traded in November 2015 to Houston for Jonathan Villar (4.5 WAR with Brewers). He debuted for the Astros last season, tossing 21 1/3 innings over eight relief appearances with a 5.48 ERA.

 

Cole Gillespie, OF, 2006
WAR:  -0.6 (DNP with Brewers)

Gillespie was part of a July 2009 trade with Arizona for Felipe Lopez. Gillespie played six years (2010-11, 2013-16) in the majors with the Diamondbacks, Giants, Cubs, Mariners, Blue Jays and Marlins, batting .251/.305/.367 in 221 games with 482 plate appearances.

 

Drew Gagnon, P, 2011
WAR: -1.4 (DNP with Brewers)

Batting WAR: 0.0

Gagnon was packaged in a trade with the Angels for Jeff Bandy in December 2016. He eventually signed with the New York Mets and appeared in 23 games in 2018-19, sporting a 9.34 ERA. Gagnon is playing with the Kia Tigers of the KBO League.

 

Round 4

Nick Ramirez, 1B, 2011
WAR: 0.9 (DNP with Brewers)

Batting WAR: 0.0

Ramirez converted to a pitcher in the minors and signed with Detroit as a free agent before the 2019 season. He got to the majors for six appearances and allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

 

Eric Farris, 2B, 2007
WARL -0.1

A speedster who stole 70 bases in Single-A in 2009, Farris got one plate appearance in 2011 and nine in ’12, going 1-for-9 with a walk and a steal.

 

Tyler Wagner, P, 2012
WAR: 0.1 (-0.3 with Brewers)

Batting WAR: -0.1 (0.0 with Brewers)

Wagner made three starts for Milwaukee in 2015 and allowed 11 runs in 13 2/3 innings. He was traded to Arizona in a five-player deal in January 2016 and pitched 10 relief innings with a 1.80 ERA for the Diamondbacks that season. He last pitched in Texas’ minor-league system in 2018.

 

Taylor Williams, P, 2013
WAR: -1.0

Batting WAR: 0.0

Williams appeared in 71 games for the Brewers between 2017-19, sporting a 5.23 ERA. He was waived this past offseason and claimed by Seattle.

 

Mat Gamel, 3B, 2005
WAR: -0.2

A good hitter who batted .325 in 2008 in the minors, Gamel saw injuries curtail his career. He appeared in 106 games over five years with the Brewers and was done at age 26. Most of his appearances came in 2009, when he played in 61 games with 148 plate appearances and hit .242. Overall he slashed .229/.305/.367.

 

Brad Nelson, 1B, 2001
WAR: -0.3

Nelson had a couple of cups of coffee with the Brewers in 2008 and ’09, mainly as a pinch hitter (he did start two games in the outfield in 2009). After going 2-for-7 with two doubles in 2008, Nelson was hitless in 21 at-bats in 2009. He bounced around the minors until 2014.

 

Corbin Burnes, P, 2016
WAR:  -1.6

Batting WAR: 0.1

Burnes had a solid rookie season, posting a 2.61 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in 38 relief innings. It all imploded in 2019 when he had an 8.82 ERA and 1.837 WHIP in 49 innings. In spring training this year he pitched 10 innings allowing just one run on six hits with 13 strikeouts.

 

Round 5

Caleb Gindl, OF, 2007
WAR: 0.0

In 2013, Gindl appeared in 57 games for the Brewers and hit .242/.340/.439 (112 OPS+) but got into just eight games in 2014 (3-for-19), which would be his last in the majors. He bounced around the minors until 2018 and is now a player-coach with Independent League Lancaster.

 

Damien Magnifico, P, 2012
WAR: 0.0 (0.0 with Brewers)

Batting WAR: n/a

Magnifico pitched three innings for the Brewers in 2016 and was traded to Baltimore, which dealt him to the Angels, where he pitched to three batters (two walks, strikeout) in 2017. He was recently released by Arizona after spending last season in its organization.

 

Angel Salome, C, 2004
WAR: -0.1

Salome’s career consists of three pinch-hit appearances in 2008. He went 0-for-3.

 

Michael Reed, OF, 2011
WAR: -0.1 (0.2 with Brewers)

Reed spent a long time in Milwaukee’s organization, getting 30 plate appearances in 2015-16 (6-for-28 with a double and steal). He re-appeared in the majors in 2018 with Atlanta (2-for-7) and then in 2019 with San Francisco (0-for-9). He remains a free agent.