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Draft Perspective

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It has always seemed to me that most baseball fans fall into one of two categories when it comes to draft: complete apathy (the majority), and too much concern.  The latter group gets excited about the future of their franchise; after all, if you're a Nats or Rays fan right now, it's more fun to follow David Price than it is Casey Fossum.

Luckily, we have plenty to be excited about in the present, so we can just trust the front office to make a good pick at #7, fill out the organization with some interesting gambles beyond that, and then continue whipping up on the rest of the division.  What always fascinates me, especially in comparison to other major sports, is how many solid major league players were completely unheralded when they were drafted.  Sure, there are some can't-miss guys (A-Rod comes to mind; Price looks like that sort of player, too), but there are plenty of #1 overall picks who turned into nothing.

So, I thought I'd look up where current Brewers were drafted:

  • Johnny Estrada: 17th round, 1997
  • Prince Fielder: 1st round (7th pick), 2002
  • Rickie Weeks: 1st round (2nd pick), 2003
  • Craig Counsell: 11th round, 1992
  • JJ Hardy: 2nd round, 2001
  • Geoff Jenkins: 1st round (9th pick), 1995
  • Bill Hall: 6th round, 1998
  • Corey Hart: 11th round, 2000

  • Kevin Mench: 4th round, 1999
  • Tony Graffanino: 10th round, 1990
  • Tony Gwynn: 2nd round, 2003
  • Gabe Gross: 1st round (15th pick), 2001
  • Damian Miller: 20th round, 1990
  • Ryan Braun: 1st round (5th pick), 2005
  • Corey Koskie: 26th round, 1994

  • Ben Sheets: 1st round (10th pick), 1999
  • Chris Capuano: 8th round, 1999
  • Jeff Suppan: 2nd round, 1993
  • Dave Bush: 2nd round, 2002
  • Derrick Turnbow: 5th round, 1997
  • Brian Shouse: 13th round, 1990
  • Matt Wise: 6th round, 1997
  • Chris Spurling: 41st round, 1997
Digging all of these up, I was a little surprised at just how many 1st rounders there were.  I would guess the average team doesn't have this many, and certainly not this many 1st rounders who were drafted by their current team.  Even still, it's striking all the contributors who  came from very unheralded beginnings, such as Hart, Estrada, and Turnbow.  Damian Miller can be counted among that group, too: we don't think of him as much more than a mediocre starter/good backup anymore, but he was an above-average catcher (combining defense and offense) for a stretch of seven or eight years.

By the way, despite the fact that my partner and I long ago stopped making CollegeSplits.com a free resource, we are planning on publishing complete stats and splits for every college player taken in the first few rounds, as well as every college player taken by the Brewers.