Draft preview: Crew will 'stay fluid' early
Brewers have short list of players to consider with 14th pick
The Brewers selected a pitcher in the first round of last year's First-Year Player Draft, and given the organization's mound needs, the club might be tempted to do so again on Monday, the first of three days of prospect picks.
The Brewers own the 14th overall selection in amateur scouting director Bruce Seid's second year at the helm. Seid spent the 26th overall pick last year on Indiana University right-hander Eric Arnett, who has struggled in his first full professional season. According to Seid, the Brewers will stick to their long-held philosophy of selecting the "best player available" and will not draft based on need.
"There's a short list at this point, based on our projections and who we think will still be there," Seid said. "We like all of the guys, obviously, but we have to take into consideration that some of those players won't be there for our turn. So that makes it a relative short list."
MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from Monday through Wednesday on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live from MLB Network's Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 5 p.m. CT.
MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.
Coverage for Rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and Rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.
Here's a glance at what the Brewers have in store as the First-Year Player Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The Brewers drafted a hitter first in six of former scouting director Jack Zduriencik's nine years at the helm, but they went with a pitcher in Seid's first Draft. Milwaukee's recent first-round pitching picks have not panned out, with Mike Jones (2001) and Mark Rogers (2004) dogged by injuries, Jeremy Jeffress (2006) by drug problems and Arnett (2009) currently adjusting to the pro game.
"I think we'll take pitchers, and there will be some good pitchers available. There seem to be a lot of pitchers on the board. There are not a lot position players." -- Brewers GM Doug Melvin, during a recent FS Wisconsin broadcast
Asked whether the Brewers were leaning toward a pitcher, Seid said, "It's 50-50. We're either going to take a position player or a pitcher, and we're not really set on either one. If something happens in front of us that we don't expect to happen, then anything can happen. That happens a lot in these Drafts -- last-second changes in front of you. We stay fluid and we stay focused on the best-player philosophy, and if it fits our need, then fine."
Seemingly every organization needs pitching and catching, and the Brewers fit that profile. They like some of their outfielders in the lower levels, but many of them -- Logan Schafer chief among them -- have battled injuries this season, reinforcing the need for depth.
While Zduriencik was often drawn to high-school picks, who carried more risk but often a higher ceiling, 21 of the Brewers' first 30 Draft picks under Seid in 2009 were collegians. Overall last season, 32 of Milwaukee's 53 picks were drafted from the college level.
Recent Draft History
It took a nagging groin injury to slow Schafer's rapid rise in the system. Schafer was Milwaukee's third-round pick in 2008 out of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and made it all the way to Double-A Huntsville in 2009 before earning an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp this year. He never made it, though; a groin injury suffered in an invitational minicamp cut Schafer's Spring Training short, and he has been on the disabled list all year. Still, the Brewers like him.
Infielder Scooter Gennett, a 16th-rounder last season, gets a nod here. So does right-hander Michael Fiers, who was sidelined for a year before the 2009 Draft by a car accident and fell to the 22nd round. He "has opened some eyes in the organization," Seid said.
But the winner has to be the guy they call "Cinderella Man," left-hander Zach Braddock, who underwent Tommy John surgery in high school and fell to the 18th round of the 2005 Draft, then battled injuries through the Minor Leagues. Braddock overcame those obstacles to become one of the Brewers' top pitching prospects and was promoted to the Majors last month.
In The Show
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (third round, 2007) is getting a crash course in the big leagues as he fills in for injured veteran Gregg Zaun. Lucroy passed 2004 Draft pick Angel Salome on the organizational depth chart while Salome deals with personal issues. Lucroy earned a promotion after just 21 games above Double-A.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.