Bruce Seid and the Brewers DraftsMuch of the Brewers success over the past few years can be attributed to players that the team has drafted and developed through their minor league system.
Players like Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Ben Sheets, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Bill Hall and J.J. Hardy were all drafted by
Milwaukee and came up through the organization to be key contributors over the past decade.
One thing all of these players have in common is that they were selected by current Seattle Mariners GM and former Brewers Director of Amateur Scouting, Jack Zduriencik.
When Bruce Seid took over for Zduriencik following the 2008 season, he was tasked with trying to maintain the pipeline that his predecessor had built.
While there have some been some trades resulting in prospects leaving the organization over the past few years, much of the scrutiny has been on Seid’s drafts. There have been some hits, but also some pretty big misses in Seid’s five plus seasons at the helm.
As we get ready for the three day draft event this Thursday through Saturday, here’s a brief look back at Seid’s draft history, both good and bad, in Milwaukee.
The Brewers had pick #26 overall in the first round, as well as a pair of supplemental first rounders. They used those picks on pitchers Eric Arnett and Kyle Heckathorn and outfield Kentrail Davis in the first round. None of the three have made it to Milwaukee as of yet, and Arnett was release by the organization this spring. The Brewers did pick up Khris Davis in the seventh round and Scooter Gennett in the 16th round in 2009. They also found a couple of pitching prospects in Mike Fiers, Hiram Burgos and Tyler Cravy
Best Pick: Scooter Gennett (16th round) – The Brewers popped Gennett in the 16th round and were able to sing him away from Forida State. He hit his way up through the minors and is now the Brewers starting second baseman.
Worst Pick: Eric Arnett (1st round) – Milwaukee was one pick away from getting a crack at Mike Trout, but players such as Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Billy Hamilton were all still on the board when the Brewers tabbed Arnett.
Best Late Round Pick: Mike Fiers (22nd round) – Fiers was the first player from the Brewers 2009 class to reach Milwaukee, making his debut in September of 2011. He’s appeared in 36 big league games and with an ERA of 4.20.
The One That Got Away: Caleb Thielbar (18th round) – The Brewers actually signed Thielbar and he pitched for two seasons in the Brewers system, but they released him following the 2010 season. He went the indy ball route and was scooped up by the Twins. He made his Major League debut in 2013 and has a career 2.35 ERA in 71 relief appearances.
Milwaukee selected 14th overall in 2010 and grabbed high school pitcher Dylan Covey. Unfortunately, it was discovered that Covey suffered from Type 1 diabetes and upon the diagnosis, Covey opted to head to college rather than sign. The Brewers did have success in the second and third rounds, getting pitchers Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg. The team also landed first baseman Hunter Morris in the fourth round and shortstop prospect Yadiel Rivera in the ninth.
Best Pick: Jimmy Nelson (2nd round) – The Brewers top pitching prospect was a nice consolation prize after Milwaukee didn’t sign Covey. Nelson has been fantastic at Triple-A Nashville this season and pitched six scoreless innings for the Brewers in a spot-start against the Marlins.
Worst Pick: Matt Miller (5th round) – Drafted in the 5th round out of the University of Michigan, Miller never made it out of Single-A with the Brewers. He retired prior to the 2014 season.
Best Late Round Pick: Jason Rogers (32nd round) – Milwaukee’s 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, Rogers lasted until the 32nd round in 2010. In five seasons in the Brewers organization, Rogers has a career average of .282 and has homered 47 times.
The One That Got Away: Dylan Covey (1st round) – Covey pitched for three seasons at the University of San Diego and was drafted again last year, in the fourth round, by the Oakland Athletics. He’s appeared in 11 games – starting ten – this season for Class-A Beloit.
After losing out on Covey in 2010, the Brewers had a pair of first round picks in 2011 and selected pitchers Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley. Despite have players such as Jose Fernandez and Sonny Gray on the board, the Brewers decided on Jungmann and Bradley who had both enjoyed collegiate success at Texas and Georgie Tech respectively. The Brewers went heavy on pitching in the early rounds, taking Jorge Lopez in the second and Drew Gagnon in the third. The team also landed several other prospects in 2011 including outfielder Michael Reed, first baseman Nick Ramirez and second baseman Chris McFarland.
Best Pick: Taylor Jungmann (1st round) – Despite not living up to some lofty expectations, Jungmann has been the best player to come out of the Brewers 2011 draft and is knocking on the door of Milwaukee after a recent promotion to Triple-A Nashville.
Worst Pick: Daniel Keller (6th round) – The Brewers had high hopes for Keller when they took him in the sixth round, but he never made it out of rookie ball, going 3-9 with an 8.03 earned run average in 38 career appearances.
Best Late Round Pick: Chris McFarland (18th round) – Milwaukee lured McFarland away from Rice University and he had an impressive season at Helena as a 19-year-old. This year at Wisconsin, he is batting .269 with six home runs through 41 games.
The One That Got Away: Carlos Rodon (16th round) – After the Brewers failed to come to terms with Rodon he headed off to North Carolina State. After three successful seasons with the Wolfpack, Rodon is among the top rated pitchers in the country and is sure to be one of the first players off the board on Thursday night.
Armed with picks #27, 28 and 38 in the first round, Milwaukee went with a trio of position players, selecting high school catcher Clint Coulter and college outfielders Victor Roache and Mitch Haniger. The Brewers also picked up their top outfielde prospect, Tyrone Taylor, in the second round and pitchers Tyler Wagner and Damien Magnifico in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively.
Best Pick: Tyrone Taylor (2nd round) – With all the hype surrounding the three first round picks, it’s been Taylor who has impressed most out of the 2012 class. Playing at High-A at only 20-years-old, Taylor is batting .264 with 21 doubles.
Worst Pick: David Otterman (7th round) – The Canadian left-hander never advanced past rookie league, going 1-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 20 career appearances.
Best Late Round Pick: Brent Suter (31st round) – Suter dropped all the way to the 31st round coming out of Harvard, but the lefty has turned in to one of the Brewers best starters for a Double-A Huntsville team that currently sits in first place.
The One That Got Away: Buck Farmer (15th round) – After saying no to the Brewers, Farmer returned to Georgia Tech for another season and upped his draft stock, getting selected by the Tigers in the 5th round of last year’s draft. Currently pitching for West Michigan in the Midwest League, Farmer has a 2.81 ERA and has struck out 74 batters in 57.2 innings.
Last season the Brewers were without a pick until #54 overall after giving up their first-round choice to sign veteran pitcher Kyle Lohse. When their pick finally did come around, they grabbed high school pitcher Devin Williams. With pick #72 they took another high schooler, third baseman Tucker Neuhaus. The Brewers followed with a trio of college arms in rounds 3-5 and wound up using 23 of their 40 picks on pitching.
Best Pick: David Denson (15th round) – The slugging first baseman lasted until the 15th round when the Brewers took a chance and were able to sign him away from a scholarship to Hawaii. At just 19-years-old, Denson began the 2014 season at Class-A Wisconsin.
Worst Pick: TBD – With less than a year past since last year’s draft, it’s a little too early to tell. Several later round picks are no longer in the organization, but it will be a year or two before things start to take shape.
Best Late Round Pick: Tanner Poppe (31st round) – The reliever out of Kansas has advanced quickly to Double-A Huntsville. He saved nine games at Brevard County before joining the Stars, and has allowed only one run in five Double-A outings.
The One That Got Away: Cory Miller (16th round) – Miller headed back to Pepperdine for his senior season and had a good year, posting a 1.75 ERA in 15 starts for the Waves.