Gus Varland

Courtesy Tulsa Drillers

After years of abstaining from the Rule 5 draft, Milwaukee made a selection in 2022.

In the first round, the Brewers, picking 18th, took right-hander Gus Varland from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

It’s the first Rule 5 pick by Milwaukee since 2016 when left-hander Caleb Smith was selected with the seventh overall pick, although the Brewers traded him to the Chicago Cubs.

The 26-year-old Varland was a 14th-round pick of Oakland in 2018 and was dealt to the Dodgers in February 2021.

At Double-A Tulsa in 2022 he posted a 6.11 ERA and 1.64 WHIP but with 85 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. In 44 1/3 innings as a reliever he had 62 strikeouts to go with a 4.67 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. Over his minor-league career Varland has a 4.30 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 184 Ks in 169 2/3 inning pitched.

Varland’s brother, Louie, pitches for the Twins.

Milwaukee took two players in 2015 – second baseman Colin Walsh from Oakland and right-hander Zack Jones from Minnesota, although both were eventually returned to their former teams.

To select Varland, the Brewers pay $100,000 to the Dodgers. Varland must remain on Milwaukee’s 26-man roster all season (being on the injured list can delay the necessary roster time) or else be placed on waivers and offered back to the Los Angeles for $50,000.