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Brewers - Pirates Series Preview: Anatomy of a Disaster.

Tonight, two punch-drunk fighters take to the ring in Miller Park, as your Milwaukee Brewers -- fresh off a three-game bludgeoning at the hands of the Chicago Cubs (combined score: 25-4) -- take on the Pittsburgh Pirates, losers of six games in a row by a cumulative score of 55-9.  All the king's horses and all the king's men can't pretty those numbers up, so let's just move on.

As per yoosh, a look at the Cold Hard Facts first:

2010 vs. Pirates: 3-0; 36 runs scored, 1 run allowed.

Current three-game series:

  • Monday, April 26, 2010 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT. TV: WMLW  Radio: 620 WTMJ
  • Tuesday, April 27, 2010 @ 7:10 p.m. CDT. TV: FS Wisconsin  Radio: 620 WTMJ
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m. CDT. TV: FS Wisconsin  Radio: 620 WTMJ and 1510 WRRD

Pirates Probable Starters (in order):

  • Zach Duke (2010 vs. Brewers: 1 GS, 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 3 SO, 4 BB, 3 HR allowed)
  • Daniel McCutchen (2010 vs. Brewers: 1 GS, 0-1, 14.73 ERA, 2 SO, 1 BB, 2 HR allowed)
  • Paul Maholm (2009 splits vs. Brewers: 4 GS, 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 19 SO, 11 BB, 3 HR allowed)

Brewers Probable Starters (in order):

  • Yovani Gallardo (2010 vs. Pirates: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR allowed)
  • Randy Wolf (2010 vs. Pirates: 1 GS, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR allowed)
  • Chris Narveson (1-0, 7.20 ERA, 6 SO, 7 BB in 9 appearances in 2010; did not face Pittsburgh in 2009)
If you managed to avoid the ESPN cartel of networks this weekend, you might have missed the fact that the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE held its draft from Thursday to Saturday.  If you're like me -- and by "like me," I, of course, mean "a guy who needed to write a series preview for a team that we just saw four days ago" -- you wondered to yourself: How have the Pirates and Brewers fared in the MLB draft in recent years?

The answer and more, mere inches below.  For those about to JUMP, I salute you.

When the Brewers take the field tonight, you'll notice that six of the players were drafted by the club / signed as a teenage free agent and made their way up through Milwaukee's farm system:

  • 1B Prince Fielder (1st round, 2002)
  • 2B Rickie Weeks (1st round, 2003)
  • SS Alcides Escobar (amateur free agent, 2003)
  • LF Ryan Braun (1st round, 2005)
  • RF Corey Hart (11th round, 2000)
  • RHP Yovani Gallardo (2nd round, 2004)

Conversely, the Pirates' line-up will feature three players who were drafted and developed by Pittsburgh:

  • CF Andrew McCutchen (1st round, 2005)
  • C Ryan Doumit (2nd round, 1999)
  • LHP Zach Duke (20th round, 2001)

All told, the early rounds of the June amateur draft have been a disaster for the Buccos.  I went back to 1996 (since all of the players drafted since 2006 remain in the minors), and here's what I found:

  • Of the ten players drafted by the Pirates in the first round (1996-2005), only four have seen significant time in the Show: McCutchen (who looks like he's going to be a beast); Paul Maholm, who's been serviceable in six seasons in the league; Sean Burnett, who was a decent reliever for a season-and-a-half before he was shipped to Washington; and Kris Benson, who was middling to fair in four seasons in Pittsburgh.
  • Of the nine players drafted by the Pirates in the second round (1996-2005), just two have seen significant playing time for Pittsburgh: Doumit; and Tom Gorzelanny, who had one good season and one very bad season for the Pirates before being exiled to Chicago.  Other than Brian Bixler, no other Buc selected in the second round had so much as a cup of coffee in the majors.
  • Of the ten players drafted by the Pirates in the third round (1996-2005), only two -- lefty reliever John Grabow and RHP Bronson Arroyo -- saw playing time with Pittsburgh.  Interestingly, two other starting pitchers drafted by the Pirates in the third round -- Chris Young and Jeremy Guthrie -- have had some success pitching for other clubs.
  • None of the ten players drafted by the Pirates in the fourth round (1996-2005) has played in a game for the Pirates.  The most notable selection is Jeff Keppinger, the light-hitting Astros shortstop.

You can venture on at your own risk, but I've perused the next few rounds and, aside from the occasional Tike Redman or Chris Duffy or Matt Capps, the cupboard is Brewers-in-the-1990s bare.

The lesson, I guess: it's not a surprise that the Pirates haven't been good for a long, long time.