Quick Profile: Seid Legacy | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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

Thus far this offseason, Brewers GM David Stearns has more intriguing house-cleaning and “counterbuilding” deals than he does pure “rebuilding” moves. This trend appears stronger after last night’s trade of 1B Jason Rogers, which fits the profile of a “counterbuilding” deal in which the Brewers and Pirates both exchanged young players with plenty of control years. Immediately, one must think about the implications of this type of deal, compared to the “static” shed-all-expensive-veterans-but-keep-the-youngsters “rebuilding” characterization. In this vein, J.P. Breen has an excellent take at Milwaukee BaseballProspectus. Coupled with the Cy Sneed trade, as well as the advancement of Orlando Arcia, Jacob Barnes, Jorge Lopez, Damien Magnifico, Michael Reed, and Yadiel Rivera to the 40-man roster, there is also a specific angle involving the late Bruce Seid‘s legacy as scouting director.

A couple of years ago, it was both relatively easy and most certainly fashionable to bash Seid’s early draft history. A sudden turn toward big upside gambles in 2014 helped to shift focus on Seid, as did surges at the MLB level by Khris Davis (and even Scooter Gennett‘s productive 2.5+ years), and 2015 surges down on the farm. Adding the recent offseason trades to the equation makes Seid’s legacy even more difficult to judge: Seid’s drafts can now claim some of the Brewers’ most intriguing arms, as well as some trading chips that have impacted the currently flexible and young roster (see Jonathan Villar and Keon Braxton [1/2 of the return for Rogers]). Derek Harvey captured the difficulty of judging trades from a scouting director’s stock of talent, as the credit almost certainly goes to the GM, analysts, and scouting departments as they construct the trade. Yet, adding trades to a scouting director’s “value” or “legacy” shows the vitality of an organization: the goal of an organization is not simply to draft/sign and advance all homegrown players.

By my count, this legacy of drafts, signings, and now trades accounts for 17 players on the Brewers 40-man roster:

Seid Drafts & Signings Year / Round (Pick) [or Year / Country] WAR (16.5+) Note
Mike Fiers 2009 / 22nd (676) 4.9+ Traded w/ Gomez for Hader / Houser (40-man) / Phillips (BA #4 Brewers / BP #2)/ Santana (40-man)
Khris Davis 2009 / 7th (226) 4.3+ Currently on 40-man roster
Scooter Gennett 2009 / 16th (496) 4.0+ Currently on 40-man roster
Taylor Jungmann 2011 / 1st (12) 1.9+ Currently on 40-man roster
Tyler Thornburg 2010 / 3rd (96) 1.6+ Currently on 40-man roster
Jimmy Nelson 2010 / 2nd (64) 1.2+ Currently on 40-man roster
Jason Rogers 2010 / 32nd (969) 0.4 Traded for Broxton (40-man) / Supak
Yadiel Rivera 2010 / 9th (279) 0.1+ Currently on 40-man roster
Michael Reed 2011 / 5th (161) 0.1+ Currently on 40-man roster
Sean Halton 2009 / 13th (406) 0.0
David Goforth 2011 / 7th (221) 0.0+ Currently on 40-man roster
Josh Prince 2009 / 3rd (105) -0.1
Jorge Lopez 2011 / 2nd (70) -0.1+ Currently on 40-man roster / BA #2 Brewers (BP #3)
Tyler Wagner 2012 / 4th (155) -0.3+ Currently on 40-man roster
Hiram Burgos 2009 / 6th (196) -0.7
Tyler Cravy 2009 / 17th (526) -0.8+ Currently on 40-man roster
Orlando Arcia 2010 / Venezuela BA #1 Brewers / Currently on 40-man roster
Damien Magnifico 2012 / 5th (185) Currently on 40-man roster
Jacob Barnes 2011 / 14th (431) Currently on 40-man roster
Cy Sneed 2014 / 3rd (85) Traded for Villar (40-man)
Mitch Haniger 2012 / 1s (38) Traded w/ Banda (2012 / 10th) for Gerardo Parra (traded for Davies / 40-man)

This is an incredibly difficult group to judge. The cynics that like to jump on Davis and Gennett will surely rejoice that the three best MLB players from Seid’s drafts don’t even boast 15 WAR between them yet. However, one of those players was the missing link that helped land Brett Phillips, a 5-tool centerfield prospect (if you only ascribe to the theory that Doug Melvin had to include Fiers to pry Phillips from the Astros). Both the Rogers and Sneed trades improve the MLB roster, as mentioned above, making the roster flexible and young. At least five of the Brewers’ rotational options are also on this list, as are a couple of surging relievers that strengthen the hard-throwing Brewers bullpen.

Simply stated, 2016 could roundly turn the previous legacy of Seid into an even more positive light, as a few other prospects take their next steps.

Additional Seid era drafts / signings Year / Round (#) [or Year / Country] Note
Gilbert Lara 2014 / Dominican Republic BA #5 Brewers / BP #5 Brewers
Kodi Medeiros 2014 / 1st (12) BA #6 Brewers / BP #16 Brewers
Tyrone Taylor 2012 / 2nd (92) BA #7 Brewers / BP #10 Brewers
Clint Coulter 2012 / 1st (27) BA #8 Brewers
Devin Williams 2013 / 2nd (54) BA #10 Brewers / BP #6 Brewers
Jake Gatewood 2014 / 1st (41) BP #12 Brewers
Monte Harrison 2014 / 2nd (50) BP #7 Brewers
Troy Stokes  2014 / 4th (116) Next-step “toolsy” CF
David Burkhalter 2014 / 6th (176) Moving to Advanced A
Taylor Williams 2013 / 4th (122) Injured
Garrett Cooper 2013 / 6th (182) Upper level 1B
Hobbs Johnson 2013 / 14th (422) Upper level LHP
Barrett Astin 2013 / 3rd (90) Traded with Shackelford (2010 / 21st) for Broxton (traded for Malik Collymore)
Dustin Houle 2011 / 8th (251) Upper level catcher
Adam Weisenburger 2011 / 34th (1031) Upper level catcher

These notes and arguments should not be taken as absolutes. In fact, the whole point of this exercise is to show that a baseball executive’s legacy will frequently change, and is often difficult to accurately assess given the opportunities for both positive and negative assessments. Under the conservative development of Melvin, some of Seid’s picks showed as high-floor MLBers without big flash at times. Yet, even Melvin used some of Seid’s players as win-now trading pieces that now turned into rebuilding moves (see the Gerardo Parra sequence). Turned into trade weapons by Stearns, Seid’s picks have suddenly become keys to producing a younger and more flexible MLB roster (with room for more advancement from a few key players, too). If one draws anything from this offseason, perhaps one ought to note that there is no one strategy for building a ballclub, just as there is no one legacy for a baseball executive. Now, big steps from the Seid era players (like Taylor Jungmann, Arcia Lopez, and / or Reed, among others) could be the next key to winning, bringing the assessment of his legacy full circle.

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