Brewers Draft: Jack & Bruce (Part Two) | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

This post is the second in a Three Part series, which began yesterday, on Seid and Zduriencik.

Improving Legacy for Seid
Anyway, it is worth digging deeper into the Bruce S. drafts, because although it seems that he will not match Jack Z.’s excellent average of five MLB players per draft, his drafts arguably could graduate several more players with clearer roles (and there might be a superstar in there somewhere, too). Consider these players that are close to the big leagues, or still very young in the system:

  • 2010? Yadiel Rivera, Kevin Shackelford (Reds),
  • 2011? Drew Gagnon, Jed Bradley, Jorge Lopez, Nick Ramirez, Michael Reed, Mike Strong, Adam Weisenburger, Christopher McFarland
  • 2012? Mitch Haniger (Diamondbacks), Anthony Banda (Diamondbacks), Zach Quintana (Braves), Clint Coulter, Victor Roache, Tyrone Taylor, Damien Magnifico, Taylor Smith-Brennan, Brent Suter
  • 2013? Barrett Astin (Reds), Hobbs Johnson
  • 2014? Just about everyone is still very young and far from the MLB

With the Reds and Diamondbacks potentially rebuilding, a few Bruce S. draftees could earn depth roles on those 2016 and 2017 clubs. Furthermore, there are a number of Bruce S. prospects that surged forward during the 2015 season: from Jorge Lopez to Michael Reed to even Yadiel Rivera or Victor Roache or Mike Strong or Damien Magnifico, there are a number of players in the advanced minors that could graduate to the MLB with clear roles by 2017. Will it actually happen? Stay tuned.

Oddly enough, even if Bruce S. has yet to produce a superstar from his drafts, he already arguably has had more success with pitchers than Jack Z. ever did. This is impressive when one considers the early-draft misses by Bruce S. Even with the big “early round” snafus, Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson, and Taylor Jungmann graduated, and that’s before considering valuable depth like Wagner (potentially a future starter), Lopez (potentially a future starter), Tyler Cravy (depth starter), and Tyler Thornburg (excellent swingman in 2013). Beyond that, there are even more interesting (or “at least” intriguing) pitchers, like Kodi MedeirosCy Sneed, David Burkhalter, Hobbs Johnson, and of course, Devin Williams and Taylor Williams (among others). The point should be clear: in terms of pitching, the legacy of Bruce S. will likely be completely inverted from that of Jack Z.

It is also worth noting that most of Jack Z.’s success stories came from the first 60 picks. 11 of the 26 most valuable players drafted by Jack Z. were picked within the first 60 draft slots; by contrast, only one of Bruce S.’s MLB players came from the first 60 picks (thus far). This is both a blessing and a curse, for it shows that there were some missed opportunities early in some of the Bruce S. drafts, but he also made some very valuable late round picks. The same can be said about the lack of superstars from the Bruce S. drafts; Bruce S. could arguably produce a larger group of higher-floor, serviceable MLB players than Jack Z. This makes it tough to assess both scouting directors; obviously, one wants potential superstars in the MLB system, but Jack Z.’s superstars were almost immediately followed by replacement-level depth players all around. By contrast, Bruce S. has a set of drafts that could be completely the opposite: either “true replacement” or “true superstar,” and therefore swimming in the middle as “productive / serviceable MLB players.”

Direct Comparison
With those top picks, Jack Z. should handily beat Bruce S. in terms of draft value. Here, a direct comparison is in order: Bruce S. made his earliest picks between #12 and #15, while Jack. Z had three Top Five picks, two #6-#10 picks, and two picks between #12 and #15. This absolutely impacts the potential value for both scouting directors right off the bat:

  • Jack Z.: 11 first round & first supplemental picks, average 13th overall (MLB 52%, 11.3 WAR); average first pick 9th overall (MLB 60%, 8.4 WAR)
  • Bruce S.: 11 first round & first supplemental picks, average 27th overall (MLB 52%, 4.3 WAR); average first pick 24th overall (MLB 56%, 3.9 WAR)

In terms of actual performance, Jack Z. had an advantage and used it well, averaging 8.8 WAR (and counting) and nine MLB players among his first round & supplemental picks. Bruce S. has an incomplete record here, since the verdict is out on 2012, 2013, and 2014. In his earliest drafts, however, Bruce S. underperformed even a 27th overall / 24th first pick average, graduating one of six first rounders for 2.9 WAR (and counting, although Jungmann may end up meeting that average as early as next year).

Top Picks Player (WAR) Player (WAR) Player (WAR) Comparison
#2 R. Weeks (11.6) 7.0 WAR median / 14.2 WAR per MLBer
#5 R. Braun (39.1) M. Rogers (1.1) -0.9 WAR median / 12.9 WAR per MLBer
#7 P. Fielder (24.8) M. LaPorta (-0.9) -0.1 WAR median / 9.0 WAR per MLBer
#11 D. Krynzel (0.2) 0.2 median WAR / 5.5 WAR per MLBer
#12 T. Jungmann (2.9) K. Medeiros (no MLB / Incomplete) M. Jones (no MLB) -0.1 WAR median / 9.4 WAR per MLBer
#14 D. Covey (no sign) -0.3 WAR median / 8.3 average per MLBer
#15 J. Bradley (no MLB / Incomplete) Missed MLB median WAR / 11.9 WAR per MLBer
#16 B. Lawrie (14.2) J. Jeffress (1.9) -0.2 WAR median / 8.6 WAR per MLBer

Grades by pick:

  • #2: Jack Z. grades well (better than Median but less than AVG); Bruce S. n/a
  • #5: Jack Z. grades great (better than Median twice; 3x AVG once); Bruce S. n/a
  • #7: Jack Z. grades well (better than Median & 2xAVG once; below Median once); Bruce S. n/a
  • #11: Jack Z. grades median (median once); Bruce S. n/a
  • #12: Jack Z. grades below median (below median once); Bruce S. grades well (better than Median / below AVG once, INC once [2014 pick])
  • #14: Bruce S. grades below median (below median once).
  • #15: Bruce S. grades median / INC (median once [2011 pick]); Jack Z. n/a
  • #16: Jack Z. grades very well (better than median twice; better than average once)

I found it incredibly interesting that the #15 has such a rough draft history that if Jed Bradley doesn’t crack the MLB, that’s pretty much a median outcome for that spot (thus far, 28 15th overall picks have yet to make the MLB, although six currently active minor leaguers could make the MLB from that spot). Jack Z. and Bruce S. only go head-to-head on the 12th overall pick, and here is one place where the Bruce S. drafts could potentially outperform the Jack Z. drafts in a big way. But otherwise, it is clear that even with a great advantage of high picks, Jack Z. was a consistently solid draft performer. On the other hand, Bruce S. generated value from picks that occurred deeper in the draft (see Khris Davis, Scooter Gennett, Mike Fiers, even Tyler Wagner, etc.), which leaves his legacy unfinished and potentially more valuable than current analysts would suggest.


Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC., 2000-2015.

Milwaukee BaseballProspectus on MLB Draft

BrewCrewBall on minor leagues

ReviewingTheBrew on minor leagues.

The Brewers Draft Revisited” on Disciples of Uecker.

“Three Failures that Doomed Brewers GM Doug Melvin” on FOXSports.

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