After spending the last nine years filling the Brewers system with talent, an effort that culminated with the Brewers making the postseason this year for the first time since 1982, Jack Zduriencik has finally been rewarded for his hard work and knack for procuring big-league ballplayers by being named the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners.
You can nitpick and argue against the players that he accumulated through the draft, as none of them are without warts, but the bottom line remains that without him the team probably wouldn't be in the position they are today.
Five of the team's regular starters (Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart) are products of those efforts. Starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra were also drafted by Zduriencik, as were the key pieces used in the trade for CC Sabathia (Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley and Rob Bryson) and Scott Linebrink (Will Inman and Steve Garrison). The farm system remains strong, and deep, with talent as we continue to look forward to the players that will be a part of the Milwaukee Brewers moving forward.
While I plan to write a more detailed story in the weeks to come breaking down the talent Zduriencik procured, in this story I want to take a look back at his final draft with the Brewers.
As the 2008 draft approached, the first year in which Zduriencik would have additional, early picks to play with, most assumed the team would load up on pitchers.
However, no one expected the team to draft and sign 20 pitchers among their top 28 picks. That's almost enough arms to fill two minor league rosters.
The scouting department under Zduriencik's watch continued to do an exceptional job signing its draftees, inking the top 26 selections, 29 of the top 30 and 36 of 54 in total.
Naming his replacement will be incredibly crucial, as the Brewers scouting department needs to continue to keep the pipeline of talent from the lower levels all the way up to Milwaukee rich with talent if the team hopes to continue their success. This talent will not only be used to replace and complement the talent at the big-league level, but also to supply General Manager Doug Melvin with valuable trade commodities the next time a trade opportunity like the one for CC Sabathia presented him with.
For more detailed coverage on the picks from the 2008 draft and to discuss these players while keeping up to date with the team's draft and follow candidates as well as the top prospects for the 2009 draft, please be sure to visit Brewerfan.net's default draft page for scouting reports, links and past stories, and visit the draft forum for ongoing conversations: