Posted by Steve
The MLB Draft has never had the hype and hoopla of the NFL or NBA drafts, mainly because many of the players drafted never even reach the big league level, and those that do usually don’t reach the bigs for a few years. This year, however, will be the first time the draft is televised nationally (Thursday on ESPN 2). As always, before I even get started, brewerfan.net has a cornucopia of information on the draft that I couldn’t even dream of rivaling. I’m just going for an overview, so check out bf if you want more in-depth information. Also see the Baseball America link. Back to the show…
Many major league teams use free agency, or even trades, as a main way to acquire talent. For the Brewers, the draft is far and away the most important method of getting talent. It’s also pretty much the only way for them to acquire a superstar. Look no further than the current Brewers roster to see how important the draft is and how successful the Brewers have been recently: Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Tony Gwynn Jr., Ben Sheets and Geoff Jenkins are all former Brewers draft picks. Ben Sheets has been an ace for about five years, and Prince Fielder is on the brink of super-duperstardom. If either of these players were on the open market the Brewers would have no chance of affording them.
Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik has a “best player available” philosophy towards the draft, which in theory is the best method. While Jack Z has had great success with position players, he has had less success with pitchers. If the Brewers select a high school pitcher in the first round this year, it will be the third time doing so in four years.
The Brewers drafted Mark Rogers in 2004 over Homer Bailey (ranked ahead of Rogers by most) and Jeremy Sowers. Sowers has been in the major leagues for almost a year. Bailey is considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and is actually set to make his first big league start this weekend for the Reds. Meanwhile Rogers underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the entire season.
In last year’s draft the Brewers selected prep righty Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress only recently made his first appearance outside of extended spring training this season. While he certainly could turn out to be a great pick, he has a long way to go.
This year the Brewers hold the seventh overall pick. They’ll need to make it count because they lost their second round pick to the Cardinals when they signed Jeff Suppan. For this reason the Brewers won’t make their second selection until the third round.
The draft is just a couple days away, but at this point the first round is hardly predictable. Unlike some recent years where the first five to ten picks have been fairly predictable, the 2007 draft gets pretty murky after the second pick.
The first pick belongs to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and it is widely expected to be Vanderbilt LHP David Price. He has the arm and frame scouts drool over– he’s 6’5″ and he works regularly in the low to mid-90s.
Most expect the Kansas City Royals to take prep RHP Rick Porcello with the second pick. Porcello is another tall body who throws in the mid-90s with a smooth delivery. He’s a great prospect as a high schooler.
After this it gets much less clear. The wildcard in all of this is Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters. On talent alone Wieters would be the first or second pick in this draft; he is considered the best catching prospect since Joe Mauer. But Wieters is represented by Sith Lord Scott Boras, and there are rumors of him demanding a huge signing bonus. For this reason he could go third overall or he could fall all the way to the middle or even end of the first round.
It appears that high school third baseman Josh Vitters will be selected third or fourth by the Cubs or Pirates, and that Missouri State lefty Ross Detwiler will be shortly behind him.
This brings us to some candidates for the Brewers selection:
Mike Moustakas, Prep 3B
Moustakas has shot up the draft boards in the last couple months and projects as a great power lefty hitter. His position is a little unclear, as he could end up at first base or even catcher, but his bat should play anywhere.
Jason Heyward, Prep Outfielder
Heyward projects as a high average power hitter. Like Moustakas, he hits from the left side. He would be a welcome addition to a Brewers organization short on power bats.
Phillippe Aumont, Prep RHP
Aumont is a huge pitcher (6’7″, 215 lbs) who is lauded for his power and “stuff.” The knack on him is he has inconsistent mechanics, which should be a warning flag for teams.
Jarrod Parker, Prep RHP
Parker is not a big pitcher (6’1, 175), but doesn’t have the red flags on mechanics that some prep pitchers have. He has a fastball in the low 90s and a plus slider.
Daniel Moskos, College LHP
Moskos pitches at Clemson University. While not overpowering, he works at 88-90 with command of the strike zone. Interestingly, this has been exactly the type of pitcher Jack Z has avoided: The safe, projectable pitcher with a ceiling a bit lower. I’d be a little surprised if they took Moskos, but he’s ranked as the next best college arm after Price and Detwiler.
Madison Bumgarner, Prep LHP
Aside from his funky-fresh name, Bumgarner has a great fastball for a left-hander. His secondary pitches are not on par with the fastball, but that isn’t enough to drop him far out of the top 10 or so.
Who I’d like to see
I’d love to see the Brewers add a power bat. Now that Braun has left the system for Milwaukee, power is a huge need. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Mike Moustakas, and despite his affiliation to Lord Boras, would like to believe the Brewers would take him if he falls. The latest rumblings have him off the board before the seven slot, unfortunately. If they can’t get Moustakas I would like to see them draft Jason Heyward.
Who I think we’ll see
Jack Zduriencik has created a pattern when selecting in the first round. He almost always takes a guy who will sign quickly. If it’s a pitcher, he opts for the high-ceiling high school pitcher. I’m pretty sure it will be Phillippe Aumont. He’s got a few things going for him: He’s a boom-or-bust type like Mark Rogers and Jeremy Jeffress, he’s 6’7″ with a power arm and he’s signable. Plus, he’s Canadian, so you know Doug Melvin and Gord Ash like him.
I’m not too crazy about taking Aumont, though he is certainly an exciting player. I’d just go for the safer bet of a bat, and there are some quality power hitters that will be available.
One last note
I’d like to see the Brewers select Jordan Zimmerman from UW-Stevens Point with their second selection. The missed out on the Wisconsin guy in Tony Butler last year, and Zimmerman looks like a great prospect.