Three days and forty-two picks later, the MLB Draft concluded for Milwaukee. The Brewers’ player development staff can now begin signing their draftees to professional contracts and welcome them into the organization.
Understandably, lots of post-draft information is being bandied about. Let’s attempt to slog through it and bring some clarity to the last three days.
TARGETED TALENT: POWER AND ATHLETES
The focus for the organization became readily apparent midway through the second day of the draft. Milwaukee coveted power — both at the plate and on the mound — and premium athletes. The organization focused on elite tools, largely ignoring injury concerns and polish.
The first three bats selected on Day 1 of the draft all featured plus-power. Clint Coulter may not remain a catcher throughout his career as a professional, but few scouts question whether his power bat will play somewhere on the diamond. Victor Roache has major question marks in his pull-centric approach and with his injured wrist, but he launched 30 home runs with the new composite bats. Finally, Mitch Haniger has scouts convinced he can hit 25-plus home runs annually at the professional level.
Next, came the power arms. Zach Quintana has been clocked as high as 95 MPH with his fastball as a high school righty. Tyler Wagner also touches 95 MPH out of the bullpen. While right-hander Damien Magnifico has little for offspeed stuff, he has wowed scouts with a fastball that consistently touches triple digits, registering all the way up to 103 MPH.
And if the organization did not draft power, they drafted a raw athlete. Second-round draft pick Tyrone Taylor excelled in football as a high school running back and safety. When he wasn’t striking out opposing batters, Zach Quintana played shortstop or DHed for his high school club and hit .445 with 13 home runs. Outfielder Edgardo Rivera has graded out at 70-80 speed on the scouting scale. Finally, shortstop Angel Ortega can really pick it at shortstop, so much so that scouts only question his bat.
Milwaukee apparently had a plan this week. Augment the power in the system and draft some athletes who could develop into quality prospects if something clicks early in their development cycle with the organization.
BREWERS FOLLOW SPIRIT OF NEW DRAFT RULES
Much of the talk surrounding the draft has centered upon the popularity of drafting college seniors early (especially rounds seven through ten) in an attempt to take advantage of the new draft rules agreed upon in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Brewers, however, were one of the few organizations that did not partake in this practice. Milwaukee did not draft a college senior until shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez in Round 17, which means the organization did not artificially bank budget dollars in hopes of spending overslot after the tenth round.
[For more information on this topic, check out my article on FanGraphs in regards to college seniors and the MLB Draft.]
Despite following the “spirit” of the new draft rules, the Brewers should still have ample room in the budget to throw significant money at some late-round draft picks — such as RHP Buck Farmer (15), 1B Adam Giacalone (16), or OF Derek Jones (39). Many of the early round draft picks expressed interest in signing as soon as possible, even prep catcher Clint Coulter at pick number 27, and are not expected to command large bonuses.
Here are some of the early-round draft picks who should be signing early:
C Clint Coulter: “”Starting my pro career is definitely really important to me. I’m not getting any younger, and hopefully we can come to an agreement. I’m not looking for any crazy signing thing, signing bonus or anything and I think that’s probably why I got drafted, because I wasn’t trying to break the bank.” [source]
OF Victor Roache: “I’m coming into Milwaukee Thursday to get my physical and sign a contract, do the press conference and all that.” [source]
OF Mitch Haniger: “I’m excited to see where the Brewers want me to play. We’ll see. I can play both. I’m happy to make a position change if necessary.” [source]
RHP Zach Quintana: “I’m going to sign as soon as I can, get out there and start my career already.” [source]
RHP Tyler Wagner: “Now that the draft process is over, Wagner says that he’s eager to sign and to start playing.” [source]
LHP David Otterman: “I plan to sign with the Brewers and get started as soon as possible.” [source]
Lots of speculation preceded the draft on whether pre-draft deals would be quietly agreed upon in an attempt to increase cost-certainty in the budget by getting players in the fold early. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick spoke with an agent, who stated that more pre-draft deals were brokered this year than in any previous year. While technically against the rules, teams across the league have long agreed in principle to a signing bonus and worked out the minor details shortly after draft day.
At the very least, it appears the Brewers did their homework in terms of gauging the signability of their draftees. As Tom Haudricourt tweeted today:
#Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid on signing draft picks: “We’re real close with a lot of the top guys.”
— Tom (@Haudricourt) June 7, 2012
We already know about 21st-rounder RHP Austin Blaski signing his professional contract, as he tweeted a picture of his contract, proudly proclaiming himself a member of the Brewers family.
HIGH SCHOOL POSITION PLAYERS
It may not feel like it, as Milwaukee selected two college bats on Day 1 of the draft, but the Brewers gravitated toward the prep ranks for their position talent.
Only eight of the twenty-one position players drafted by the Brewers came from a four-year college. Eleven were drafted out of high school, including five of the first seven position players off the board. As discussed earlier, Milwaukee valued premier athletes in this draft. The fact that they focused so highly on prep position players further reflects that, as prep players traditionally have more projection remaining and possess less polish in their baseball skills.
The Brewers did the same thing last year, drafting seven of their first nine position players out of high school.