The Milwaukee Brewers took two of of three contests against the Colorado Rockies over the weekend to finish out 2016 with a 73-89 record. For all the supposed “tanking” talk prior to the start of the year, that’s not altogether too bad of a finish. Our beloved local nine improved by five wins over their total of 68 from last year and avoided consecutive seasons of 90+ losses.
Thanks to the Brewers ‘failed’ tanking effort, however, they were not able to secure a second straight top-five overall draft pick. For those who don’t remember, the club selected OF Corey Ray at 5th overall in 2016. The organization did secure their second consecutive top 10 pick, at least, and will select 9th overall in next June’s draft. Here is how the top 10 draft slots wound up shaking out:
1. Twins (59-103, .364)
2. Reds (68-94, .420)
3. Padres (68-94, .420)
4. Rays (68-94, .420)
5. Braves (68-93, .422)
6. A's (69-93, .426)
7. D-backs (69-93, .426)
8. Phillies (71-91, .438)
9. Brewers (73-89, .451)
10. Angels (74-88, .457)
All of the teams in the top 10 will have protected first rounds picks next year, meaning that if one of them chooses to sign a free agent this winter who rejected a Qualifying Offer, they would lose their second round pick rather than their first round one. I don’t see Milwaukee being that aggressive on this year’s free agent market though, for what that’s worth.
Last year, the Tigers held the ninth overall draft pick and it came with a bonus slot value of $3,505,800. Expect that value to be slightly higher for Milwaukee during the upcoming draft.
The Brewers have only picked 9th overall once previously in franchise history, back in 1995. It wound up working out pretty well for them though, as outfielder Geoff Jenkins would go on to enjoy a fine 11 year career (including 10 seasons in a Brewers’ uniform) that saw him hit .275/.344/.490 with 221 home runs in 1,349 games.
According to Baseball-Reference, 32 of 52, or 61% of the players selected at 9th overall since the first amateur draft back in 1965 have played in the major leagues, so there’s a pretty good chance that Milwaukee will at least get a big leaguer at number 9. The median career WAR of those who played in the MLB is 2.8 wins while the mean is 8.2 wins. Six players drafted at 9th overall have eclipsed 20 WAR in their careers:
1987 - RHP Kevin Appier (Royals): 54.9 WAR
1999 - LHP Barry Zito (Athletics): 32.6 WAR
1995 - OF Geoff Jenkins (Brewers): 21.9 WAR
1996 - OF Mark Kotsay (Marlins): 21.5 WAR
2003 - RHP John Danks (Rangers): 21.0 WAR
1981 - RHP Ron Darling (Rangers): 20.2 WAR
Recent selections at 9th overall include RHP Matt Manning (2016, Tigers), OF Ian Happ (2015, Cubs), RHP Jeff Hoffman (2014, Blue Jays), CF Austin Meadows (2013, Pirates), LHP Andrew Heaney (2012, Marlins), INF Javier Baez (2011, Cubs), and RHP Karsten Whitson (2010, Padres).
2017 will be Tod Johnson’s first opportunity to make his mark as the newly minted amateur scouting director in charge of running the draft. He took over for Ray Montgomery, who was promoted within the front office to the position of Vice President of Scouting.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference