Who Will the Brewers Draft?

The Brewers drafted Brett Lawrie with the 16th overall pick last year.
The draft is coming! The draft is coming!

It's true. I realize MLB draft coverage isn't (yet) shoved down your craw by national sports networks, so if you're interested but unsure of the schedule, the draft begins Tuesday (6/9) at 5 P.M. Central--sadly just an hour before the Rockies @ Brewers game starts. The first round will be broadcast on the MLB Network and simulcast on mlb.com; just the first round is televised, but you can continue watching after that online. Only rounds 1-3 will take place on Tuesday, with rounds 4-30 starting at noon on Wednesday, and finally rounds 31-50 on Thursday beginning at 11:30 AM.

So, who will the Brewers draft? Since they don't pick until 26th (tied for the lowest selection they've ever had) that's difficult to answer. Who they should pick is a different, but related, question. Unfortunately, having seen none of these players myself and completely reliant on scouting reports available on the internet, I don't have much in the way of an informed or original opinion about the latter question. Still, with the proliferation of draft coverage and mock drafts online, we can tackle the first question.

First of all, it's worth looking at Adam McCalvy's draft preview for the official site. It contains some interesting information from scouting director Bruce Seid, running his first Brewers draft and trying to live up to the standard set by his predecessor, the famed Jack Zduriencik:

The Brewers chose a hitter with their first pick in six of Zduriencik's nine years at the helm, but they are focused on pitching this year...Under Zduriencik, the team never shied away from high school picks high in the Draft, including Yovani Gallardo in the second round in 2004. But this year, they are looking harder at more advanced players.

"If you have a guy and he's closer to the big leagues, and there's still some upside, and he's available, you would be foolish not to look at that strongly," Seid said.

Sounds like they want a college pitcher, which would certainly be a departure from Zduriencik's approach; when Jack Z drafted Evan Frederickson in the supplemental first round last year, it was the first time in his nine drafts with the Brewers that he'd taken a college pitcher before the third round. The last time the Brewers took a college pitcher in the first round, it was 1999, Dean Taylor's last year running the draft. It worked out pretty well for them.

Follow the jump for a listing of players tied to the Brewers by various publications.

Click on a player's name to go to their mlb.com profile, including a detailed scouting report and video.
  • Baseball America (6/5):OF A.J. Pollock, Notre Dame
    While Milwaukee's most pressing need is pitching, it does own five of the first 74 picks and could kick things off with another bat. Count the Brewers in on the athletic outfielders, as well as Mier and Davidson. If Oklahoma righthander Garrett Richards' electric yet untamed arm lands in the first round, it may fit here.
  • Baseball Prospectus (5/21): LHP James Paxton, University of Kentucky
    James Paxton provides a scouting conundrum. He's a 6-foot-4 power left-hander who has been clocked as high as 97 mph with his fastball, and that combination has generated 115 strikeouts over just 78 1/3 innings in college baseball's toughest conference. At the same time, Paxton has a 5.86 ERA, giving up more than a hit per inning and 11 home runs. With a preference for hard throwers and a willingness to work with Scott Boras, Milwaukee should be warmer toward him than most.
  • Jonathan Mayo/mlb.com (6/4): 3B Matt Davidson, Yucaipa HS (CA)
    This will be Bruce Seid's first Draft as scouting director, so it's difficult to know which direction he'll go in. If one of the high school pitchers gets down here, that could be the way to go, though some believe the Brewers will want to take less of a risk the first time around. Davidson, a high school bat with some definite power potential, would provide a happy medium.
  • Project Prospect (5/24): C Luke Bailey, Troup County HS (GA)
    Just about every team will be monitoring Bailey's early stage recovery from Tommy John surgery, and assuming all goes well he could still figure into the late first round. When fully healthy, Bailey is a smooth defender with a strong, accurate throwing arm who figures to be a plus all-around defender. Offensively, Bailey has big time raw power, as he generates incredible bat speed with strong wrists and maintains great plate coverage. Before the injury, Bailey was a possible top 10 pick and given the high rate of recovery for Tommy John patients, the Brewers could get a steal with this selection. I have a hard time seeing Bailey get by the Red Sox or Yankees, both of whom have deep pockets and a need for a backstop of the future.
  • MLB Outsider (5/29): RHP Matt Hobgood, Norco HS (CA)
    The 18 year-old Hobgood is 10-0 with a 0.34 ERA, 90 K's, 21 BB's with Norco HS in the Mountain View League. His 2-seam fastball has officially been clocked at 93 mph, but Baseball Beginnings professes that the speed may actually increase to 95 mph in the middle innings. Besides 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs, Hobgood also mixes in curveballs and change-ups. His 6'4" frame enables him to have a higher release point than other pitchers, giving him another edge over hitters.
  • 5 Tool Talk (colbyjack from Brewerfan) (6/4): OF Tim Wheeler, Sacramento State
  • Sporting News (5/21): LHP Tyler Skaggs, Santa Monica HS (CA)
  • Andy Seiler (6/1): RHP Drew Storen, Stanford University
  • Minor League Ball community (6/1): C Max Stassi, Yuba City HS (CA)
  • MyMLBDraft.com (6/3): 3B Matt Davidson, Yucaipa HS (CA)
As you can see from the almost complete lack of consensus, predicting the 26th overall pick is a tough job. Only two of the mock drafts have the Brewers going after a college pitcher, and Storen is currently a reliever (though the team drafting him might convert him to a starter), so it seems like Paxton is the most likely of the projected picks.
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