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Meet Zavier Warren, 3rd-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers

Warren is ready to spend to develop as a catcher and do damage with his bat.

Zavier Warren takes a hack at the plate

With their third-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Zavier Warren at pick #92. Warren was mostly a middle infielder in college at Central Michigan, but the Brewers will see if he can stick behind the plate, a position he played as a prep player. I had a chance to catch up with the switch-hitter after he joined the organization.

Brad Ford: What’s it like being drafted?

Zavier Warren: It’s definitely just really exciting because obviously this has been something that I’ve been working towards, you know, ever since I was pretty young actually. So, it finally happened and now I can start the main goal of trying to make the MLB, it’s really exciting.

BF: At what point in your career did you realize I can be a pro player?

ZW: That’s a good question. I’d say I realized pretty early in high school that I had a chance. I wasn't sure yet, but I thought I had a chance if, I put in some work and kept developing.

BF: When your name or when the Brewers called and your name was announced on TV, what’s the reaction of your friends and family around you?

ZW: We were just like super excited, you know? I think the anticipation of watching all the picks made it a little more stressful than originally anticipated. Once my name went up there, it just happened so fast. It kind of caught us all off guard. But it was just really exciting, a little bit of relief, too.

BF: Was third round about where you expected to go?

ZW: Yeah, I was hearing mostly third and fourth round. There were some teams that had me a little higher, some teams a little lower, but right around that third or fourth range.

BF: Did you know Milwaukee was interested in you?

ZW: Yeah, I knew they were interested. I had a Zoom call with a lot of guys in the organization probably a few weeks before the draft, then I was in contact with the area scout a decent amount.

BF: They draft you as a catcher, which is a position you haven’t played a lot of in college, but played in high school. Are you excited about going back and seeing what you can become behind the plate?

ZW: Yeah, I’m excited to get back there and just focus on that a little bit. I feel like if I can, if I really put some effort into defensive work behind the plate, be really good as a catcher that could also hit. If I make some strides back there, I think it’d be really beneficial for me and the organization.

BF: I thought I read somewhere that your school was going to try you back out at catcher this year, before everything ran short. Is that right? Or were you still working primarily up the middle?

ZW: I was primarily shortstop. I caught four games before the season ended, so we played 30 games and I caught four of those. If you do the math, I’m not really sure how many games would add up to be at the end of the season, but it would have been more than what I caught before in college.

BF: If you don’t end up playing catcher as a pro, where do you want to go to? Is shortstop your favorite position? I know you played some third base in the Cape Cod league.

ZW: Yeah, if I didn’t catch it, didn’t really pan out, I could see myself ending up at probably third or second.

BF: When you played at the Cape, you actually performed really well with a lot of talented players. What was it like going up and proving yourself against some of that top tier talent?

ZW: It was just really fun and a really good experience. It gave me a lot of confidence, kind of realizing that I was just as good as a lot of the guys that play with like the bigger schools and were more highly recruited and all that stuff. So yeah, definitely this was a nice confidence booster and it was just really fun, just playing really high-level baseball all summer.

BF: Is there anything valuable that you took away from your time at the Cape that maybe you hadn’t gotten in your time at college?

ZW: I’d say there’s a lot of value in learning a new position (third base) and playing it every day and getting comfortable there. I’d also say there’s a lot of value in being on your own, in a sense. I feel like going to the park every day, working out on your own, being with a host family, and then obviously swinging with a wood bat all summer was helpful moving into pro ball.

BF: When you’re at the plate, what are you thinking about? What is your strategy? What’s your mindset for that?

ZW: I just stay relaxed. I try to stay loose with my body and just clear my mind before I step in the box. I have like a plan at the plate, like an approach that I follow every at bat. And then I just try to make sure I’m always on time for the fastball. I never like want to get beat by that.

BF: I was talking to Joey Wiemer and he said you guys have actually been getting some time and working out together. What was it like when you found out in the fourth round now he’s your teammate?

ZW: Yeah, I was really excited for him. I saw his name go up on TV and I texted him like right away saying that it was sick. I don’t think he realized at first that I was picked by the Brewers. But yeah, Wiems is a great guy.

BF: Is there anyone else you already know in the organization?

ZW: No. There’s a couple guys I’ve played against, but not anybody that I actually know. Well, I know Hayden Cantrelle a little bit just from Cape Cod and we’ve been talking a little bit here after the draft.

BF: Where can we find you on an off day?

ZW: You know, especially if I’m catching, then I’m probably just going to be chilling in my apartment or whatever. Just chilling with my roommates and hanging out a little bit. Just enjoying that downtime away from the field. I watch Netflix, YouTube, and stuff like that. I play a lot of chess, which is an interesting thing, and then another one I love ping pong too. I’m really good at ping pong.

BF: Ping pong and chess. Normally I get like Call of Duty or Fortnite. So little unique there.

ZW: Yeah, I’m not a big video game guy.

BF: You brought up Netflix, what’s your go to binge-watch show?

ZW: I’ve finished it now, but when I was watching Narcos, I was just running through those episodes.

BF: What do you know about Milwaukee, Wisconsin?

ZW: I think Wisconsin in general is like really big on the cheese stuff, right?

BF: Oh, yeah. (Said in hearty Wisconsin accent)

ZW: Yeah, so I know that and then I don’t know much about Milwaukee. I know a little bit about the organization and I’ve learned more in the last almost week or so, past two days. I guess they got a lot to learn to be honest and yeah, I’m excited to learn more.

BF: Is there anyone in the organization you’re excited to meet?

ZW: If I get a chance to meet Christian Yelich, that’d be unreal. He’s just massive, he’s unreal. Oh, and Keston Hiura. I followed him ever since he was at UC Irvine cause he just had crazy numbers. So I followed him and watched his whole career until he got up to the big leagues.