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Road to The Show™: Brewers’ Wilken

Milwaukee’s No. 7 prospect moves quickly with prodigious power
After being selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2023 Draft, Brock Wilken played 34 games with High-A Wisconsin. (Justin Nuoffer/
March 5, 2024's Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at seventh-ranked Brewers prospect Brock Wilken. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here. Brock's Road to the Show Scouting Report series spotlights players who are just starting their professional careers, focusing on what the experts are projecting for these young phenoms. Here's a look at seventh-ranked Brewers prospect Brock Wilken. For more player journeys on The Road to The Show, click here.

Brock Wilken may be having the hottest start among the many prospects who have turned heads in the early part of Spring Training.

The 21-year-old was among eight ranked Milwaukee prospects to receive non-roster invites to big league camp, and he’s made the most of the opportunity so far. The Brewers’ seventh-ranked prospect has five hits, including two doubles, in his first seven Cactus League at-bats.

Wilken has some of the biggest power in the Minors, which Brewers scouting director Tod Johnson labeled the best of his 2023 Draft class. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound third baseman finished his time at Wake Forest as both the program and ACC career home run leader with 71 total long balls.

He also possesses 65-grade arm strength to match his impressive power, though scouts have not been quite as infatuated with his fielding ability at the hot corner. Although he’s worked to stick at third and played there exclusively in his first professional action after the Draft, a shift to first base may be in his future.

But the bat will continue to be the headliner in Wilken’s scouting report. In 165 at-bats across three levels of the Minors, including the final six games of the season with Double-A Biloxi, Wilken batted .285/.414/.473 and collected 17 extra-base hits, including five homers, while driving in 29 runs.

“I had to kind of grow into my body, grow [up] as a hitter a little bit,” Wilken told after the Draft. “I learned about hitting and my approach and kind of grew into my body. We don’t go out there trying to hit a lot of homers. We stick to our approach and we know that if we put a good swing on it that our barrel is in the zone long enough that it has a chance to go out.”

The Albuquerque-born Wilken attended Bloomingdale High School in the Tampa, Florida, area. By the end of his high school tenure, he gained some national prominence and was ranked by Perfect Game as a Top 100 college recruit. During his junior season, Wilken was named first team all-state as he batted .470 with 12 homers and 26 RBIs in 25 games.

He likely would have been picked in the 2020 Draft had it, and his senior season, not been shortened by the pandemic. But the slugger honored his commitment to Wake Forest.

Upon his arrival in Winston-Salem, Wilken was the Demon Deacons' everyday third baseman, starting in 47 games as a freshman. He crushed a game-winning homer in his first collegiate game and proceeded to tie the program’s freshman homer record and lead all true freshmen in the nation with 17 long balls. Wilken was named a freshman All-American by two different publications as he finished with a .279/.365/.618 line and 44 RBIs.

That summer, Wilken was the MVP of the prestigious Cape Cod League. Still just 19 years old, he batted .302 with a .950 OPS and six homers against some of the best college pitchers in the country.

Wilken continued to hit for more power during his sophomore season at Wake Forest. He clubbed 23 roundtrippers, drove in 77 runs and collected 13 doubles while batting .272/.362/.602. He finished with a strikeout rate around 24 percent and continued to have those troubles when he returned to Harwich that summer, going down on strikes in around 26 percent of his plate appearances.

Wilken did not tear up the Cape in his second tour with the Mariners, batting .229 with five homers, five doubles and 15 RBIs in 32 games. But he was able to put it all together and solidify his status as a first-round talent during his junior season at Wake Forest.

Wilken was named to four different All-American teams while helping Wake Forest reach its first College World Series since 1955. He clubbed three homers in the Super Regional clincher against Alabama and finished with a program record and ACC-leading 31 long balls. Among NCAA qualifiers, he ranked second in homers, fifth in OPS (1.313), sixth in slugging (.807) and 10th in RBIs (82). The power had long been there for Wilken but a more selective approach allowed him to walk (69) more than he struck out (58) as he lowered his punchout rate to around 18 percent.

MLB Pipeline ranked Wilken as the No. 25 Draft prospect in his class, but the Brewers pounced on him at No. 18 overall. He signed a below-slot $3.15 million bonus and reported to the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League for his pro debut.

Wilken spent seven games in the ACL, collecting seven hits, including a homer, in 21 at-bats with six RBIs. He quickly moved on to High-A Wisconsin, where he batted .289 with an .865 OPS in 34 games. Wilken logged 11 extra-base hits, including a pair of long balls, and drove in 15 runs.

Upon the end of the Midwest League regular season, Wilken was elevated to Biloxi. He collected five hits, four of which went for extra bases and two of which left the yard, and eight RBIs in 23 at-bats.

Wilken strengthens an already incredibly deep Brewers farm system, which MLB Pipeline ranked as the third-best in the Majors in August, months before the club landed No. 63 overall prospect Joey Ortiz in the Corbin Burnes trade. Although he’s part of a youth movement, that should not limit Wilken’s opportunities, especially if he can manage to stick at the hot corner.

Here's what the experts at MLB Pipeline have to say about Wilken:
Scouting grades (20-80 scale)
HIT: 45
RUN: 30
ARM: 65

“A Cape Cod League MVP in 2021, Wilken set multiple home run records at Wake Forest and finished as both the Demon Deacons’ and ACC’s all-time leader with 71 long balls over his three years on campus. Thirty-one of those came in his junior campaign, placing him second in Division I. That helped push him into the first round to the Brewers with the 18th overall pick and he signed for $3.15 million. Wilken reached Double-A Biloxi in his first taste of the pros and finished with a .285/.414/.473 line with five homers over 47 games across three levels.

The right-handed slugger relies on the strength in his upper half to generate bat speed and loft that helps him send balls over fences in bunches. He can look almost hunched over the plate before ripping at the ball with a slight step as a lower load. Wilken’s swing decisions improved over his time at Wake, and while he’ll take his walks, the early strikeout concerns that emerged in college could return against more advanced pro arms, as they did in his small Double-A sample.

Standing 6-foot-4, Wilken clocks in as a well-below-average runner. He can move around capably at the hot corner and has more than enough arm for the position, but his defense doesn’t figure to add much value to his overall profile. Given his size and speed, he might have to move across the diamond to first, where his power would still more than fit the bill.”

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for