Happy Draft Day!

Posted by Steve

With the draft moving to prime time, I actually won’t be able to blog during the draft because I’ll be working.  The last few years I’ve managed to follow the draft during the day.  I believe the first live broadcast of the draft was a couple years ago when the Brewers selected Matt LaPorta seventh overall and shocked the pundits.  That one worked out well enough for them.

Still, as cool as it is that the draft has increased in popularity the last couple years, I still think I prefer the system of a few years ago.  The only way to follow the draft was online, and it took place on a Tuesday afternoon.  You literally heard teams’ conference calls in to the commissioner’s office to announce their pick.  It was pretty sweet hearing Tommy Lasorda blabbering about how he knew the kid’s father as he announced the Dodgers’ pick via conference call.  It felt much cooler and more… underground, I guess, than the NFL or NBA drafts that have been popular for years.  Those days are gone though, and I suppose I shouldn’t complain because higher exposure is better for the game.

I’m also looking forward to watching it at work with fans of all different teams.  Many of the guys at work are really into the draft–much, much more than I am.  I guarantee there will be people criticizing picks as soon as they are made, and I generally don’t know enough about draftees to criticize picks as soon as they’re made.

Despite not picking until number 26 and getting seriously screwed out of some high picks with the CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets debacles, the Brewers still own five of the top 74 selections.  They have a good opportunity to re-stock the farm system with some impact prospects.  It will be interesting to see how Bruce Seid does in his first draft as scouting director.

I’m sure I’ll do a rundown of the Brewers’ top picks tonight or tomorrow, but until then, here’s an interesting link.  SI ranks MLB teams in the draft over the last ten years.  The Brewers are exactly where you’d want them to be, which is in the number one spot.  Sigh.  I miss Jack Z already.

I take issue with a couple things, such as Manny Parra being the big steal.  It’s true Parra was a 42nd round pick, but he was a draft and follow pick and was given first round money by the time he was signed.  A better pick for their “steal” would have been Corey Hart, who was an 11th round pick.

I also don’t get the Mike Jones selection as their bust.  Certainly Jones was pretty much a bust, but he’s still pitching in AA and actually may still have a shot to reach the big leagues at some point.  Dave Krynzel, the first round pick in 2000, would have been a better choice, as he’s been out of baseball for a few years.

Finally, no mention of Ben Sheets?  He was their first rounder in 1999, and no player the Brewers have drafted since has done as much at the big league level to this point as Sheets.

As far as team rankings go, it’s fair to point out that the Brewers may only be in that number one spot because they picked high in the draft for so many years.  That’s certainly true, but I’d argue that picking high doesn’t guarantee anything.  Teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Baltimore picked high for years as well, yet none of them are in the top ten.  No matter how you look at it, the crop of players the Brewers have drafted in the last decade is very impressive.

This is why, in my opinion, it’s so much more rewarding to be a Brewer fan than a fan of a team like the Yankees, Cubs, Angels, etc who just buy top players in free agency.  It’s much more fun to root for someone who came up in your team’s system than a veteran you just signed from another team, or at least it is in my opinion.  Not to mention, it’s much more cost-effective and it’s really the only way the Brewers can compete.  The draft has been by far the number one reason for the Brewers’ success the last couple seasons, and things will have to continue that way if they are going to have success in the future.

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