"The baseball draft is about the future more than today," general manager Doug Melvin said, who pointed out that only one player from last year's draft -- Washington's Ryan Zimmerman -- is currently in the Majors.
So the Brewers stuck to their "best player available" approach, a style that may sometimes aggravate fans searching for the quick fix, but has started to pay dividends for the team in recent seasons under scouting director Jack Zduriencik. Eighteen rounds of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft were completed on Tuesday, and it came as no surprise that the Brewers loaded up on pitching.
"There are more variables with pitching," Zduriencik said. "I wouldn't say it's harder [to find them], and some people might say it's easier because you can look at a radar gun and see a guy throws 95 mph.
"But that's just one aspect of it, it doesn't mean that a guy is going to be a big-league pitcher. The other thing is that the injury aspect is so prevalent. These kids don't throw as much as they used to, or you get a guy out of college who might have been overused, misused. You're taking the best talent and in a lot of instances, there are a lot of issues that have to be addressed once the guy is in professional baseball."
Starting with first-round pick Jeremy Jeffress, a high school right-hander from Virginia, the Brewers selected nine right-handed pitchers, one lefty, one first baseman, two shortstops, three left fielders and two catchers.
Nine of the Brewers' draftees came out of high school, seven out of four-year universities and two from junior- or community colleges.
The Brewers made their pick from a makeshift "war room" on the club level at Miller Park, where Zduriencik led a meeting of his staff and scouts, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ned Yost.
A brief look at Day 1:
Round 1: Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Halifax County High School
Round 2: Brent Brewer, SS, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek High School
May project as a left fielder in the pros, according to reports. ... Is a multi-sport athlete who committed to attend Florida State University if he does not sign with the Brewers. Mississippi State and Georgia also showed interest. ... The Brewers have hit on some quality players in the second round in recent seasons, including right-handers Will Inman (2005) and Yovani Gallardo (2004), outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. (2003) and shortstop J.J. Hardy (2001).
Round 3: Cole Gillespie, LF, Oregon State University
Named the 2006 Pacific-10 Conference baseball player of the year ... Scored 69 runs in the 2006 regular season, the most by any Pac-10 player this season and a new Oregon State single-season record. Led the
conference with a .683 slugging percentage and tied for first with a .492 on-base percentage, while ranking among the Pac-10 leaders in batting average (.370, fourth), RBIs (50, seventh), doubles (20, third), home runs (11, fifth) total bases (129, fifth), and stolen bases (14, tied for fourth).
Round 4: Evan Anundsen, RHP, Columbine (Co.) High School
Signed a letter of intent to play at Wichita State University. ... Had a 1.98 ERA with five wins and 68 strikeouts for Columbine last spring and pitched his team to the class 5A state baseball championship. ... His older sister, Sara, was a three-time state tennis champion and Evan made it to state as a doubles player in his freshman season before deciding to concentrate on baseball.
Round 5: Chris Errecart, LF, University of California
Was a Cape Cod League All-Star last summer, batting .303 with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and 22 RBIs for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox ... Was named a second-team preseason All-American and the fourth-best professional prospect out of the Cape Cod League by Baseball America ... Told the Stockton (Calif.) Record before the draft, "I definitely want to sign. It's something I've been ready for my entire life."
Round 6: Micah Wright, LHP, Oklahoma State University
Listed in Major League Baseball's draft database as Micah Wright but goes by his middle name. ... Played baseball and football at the University of Mississippi but was kicked off the Rebels baseball team in 2004 for a third violation of team rules and transferred to OSU. ... Drafted in the 26th round by the Florida Marlins in 2002 but did not sign. ... According to his OSU bio, he is the cousin of former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher David "Vinegar Bend" Mizell, who pitched seven years for St. Louis in the 1950s.
Round 7: Andrew Bouchie, C, Oral Roberts University
Round 8: Shane Hill, RHP, Florida Christian School
Committed to play for the University of Tennessee. ... Formal first name is "Charles" but goes by Shane.
Round 9: Shawn Ferguson, RHP, Texas Christian University
Selected by the Orioles in the 36th round of the 2005 draft but did not sign. ... Named to the 2004 NJCAA Division I Baseball Championship
All-Tournament team as an outfielder while playing for San Jacinto Junior College.
Round 10: Michael McClendon, RHP, Seminole (Fla.) Community College
Second-team NJCAA Division I Baseball All-American in 2005
Round 11: Zach Clem, LF, University of Washington
Played catcher and third base at Washington before finding a home in the outfield. ... Had his best season in 2006, finishing his Huskies career one home run short of tying the university's all-time home run record of 42. Two more home runs this season would have tied Clem for the season high of 22, and he led the team in slugging percentage (.645), RBIs (53) and total bases (140), and was second in runs (52) and third in on-base percentage (.417) while batting .304. ... "I'm going to get drafted -- not knowing or wondering if
it would be hard," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "And I'm going to sign for sure."
Round 12: Chad Robinson, RHP, Silverado (Nev.) High School
Signed a letter of intent to play college ball at UNLV.
Round 13: Chris Toneguzzi, RHP, Purdue University
Was the hard-throwing closer for the Boilermakers over the last two seasons, after serving as a "weekend starter" as a freshman and sophomore. Ranks second on the career list at Purdue with 78 appearances and third with 12 saves. ... Earned second-team All-Big
10 honors in 2006, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.10 ERA and five saves. ... Was born on Feb. 6, 1983, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, joining a growing list of Canadians in the Brewers Minor League chain. ... Was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 30th round of the 2002 draft but did not sign.
Round 14: Hector Bernal, SS, El Paso Community College
Round 15: Brett Whiteside, C, Mesquite (Ariz.) High School
Round 16: R.J. Seidel, RHP, La Crosse (Wis.) Central High School
At 6-foot-6, was the tallest player drafted on Day 1 by the Brewers. ... Committed to play college ball at the University of Arkansas. ... "Scouts like him," Central coach Gregg Erickson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last month. "He's got a pretty live arm." ... Collegiate programs at Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois-Chicago also were reportedly interested in Seidel, who was ranked the 172nd best prospect in the draft by Baseball America but slipped to 482, apparently because of signability concerns.
Round 17: Aaron Tullo, RHP, St. Petersburg (Fla.) High School
Underwent Tommy John elbow surgery 18 months ago and told the St. Petersburg Times that he wants to play a year at St. Petersburg College to test his arm strength. "It scared me," Tullo told the Times of his surgery. "I wanted to just give up. I just didn't want to play anymore. I didn't have to have the surgery if I just wanted to play the field. ... Likely will be a "draft and follow" candidate. The Brewers own his rights until the day before the 2007 draft.
Round 18: Andrew Clark, 1B, New Palestine (Ind.) High School
Committed to play for the University of Mississippi. ... Named Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year in baseball. ... Former pitcher who turned to hitting after a shoulder injury.