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Feature
 
 
2002 Draft Preview

Ebert
on 05/21/2002

 

Even though we have yet to see anything made from the efforts, General Manager Dean Taylor has done a good job surrounding himself with a good scouting staff. Scouting Director Jack Zduriencik was brought into help Taylor rebuild the system largely through the amateur free agent draft, and has hired the additional scouts & crosscheckers necessary to do so. The organization has obviously placed a preference on scouting & selecting higher risk yet higher potential players from the high school level. That of course does not prohibit them from taking a more polished yet for the most part less exciting college baseball athlete, it just makes it more unlikely.

The Major League Baseball draft is completely different than any other draft in professional sports. Because of the need for players to groom their talents & skills at the minor league levels, teams tend not to draft for an immediate need, at least not in the early rounds. Therefore, don't expect the Brewers to draft a third baseman, a catcher or a left-handed pitcher just because those would seem to be the Brewers' current positions of the greatest need. Become comfortable with the notion of selecting the best player available. If that player just happens to seem to fill an organizational need, all the better.

And don't forget about signability. Some players may be considered among the best available in one particular draft, but that player in question may fall due to imposing salary bonus aspirations. Scott Boras clients are generally the ones considered to be tough signs, as Boras has quite the reputation for getting as much bang for his buck as possible which also leads to long & tedious negotiations in which the represented player may not even have the opportunity to play professional baseball the summer in which he was drafted.

That said, the organization has identified a few glaring needs, and likely will try to address these needs at some point during the 50 rounds of the draft. Third base obviously is an organizational weakness. Currently in the minors, DJ Clark may be the only 3B that can be considered a prospect, and he might be too much of a defensive liability to stay at the hot corner. Same could be said for Jason Belcher behind the dish. Eliezer Alfonzo & Florian Villanueva offer renewed hope at catcher, but aren't exactly proven commodities. Of course, no prospect can be considered a sure thing, but both 3B & C are especially thin on the minor league front.

As the old adage goes, you can never have too much pitching. Don't rule out a right-handed pitcher in the first round just because the Brewers took one in Mike Jones last year with the 12th overall selection. If the best player available happens to be a RHP, which seems to be a very possible scenario, you've got to make that player your pick.

I'm going to breakdown each block of positions (C, 1B, middle IF/3B, OF, LHP, RHP), and review some of the best players available at these positions. The focus will largely be on the best high school talent given the organization's preferences, but college prospects will be noted as well. This breakdown could be helpful not only for the best available talent in the first round, but some of the best talent for the top 3-5 rounds. As long as some of these lists may seem, they could easily be considerably longer.

I will also make my selection for one player that really stands out in my humble opinion at each position.

CATCHER: I don't think I've ever seen a draft in which the talent at catcher wasn't considered weak. However, there are about 3 guys at each level that could be gone by the end of the 2nd round.

High School:
Jeff Clement-6'1" 190, L/R (bat/throw), Iowa. Great hitter with a nice, short compact left-handed stroke. Questions about competition level in Iowa & defensive ability has dropped his stock recently. I've heard some claim that if he were 2-3 inches taller, he would be as highly regarded as #1 overall pick Joe Mauer was last year.
Brian McCann-6'2" 180, L/R, Georgia. Another left-handed hitting catcher. An ideal combination of a power bat & power arm, but like most high school catchers, everything else needs refinement, although his defense is promising.
Adam Donachie-6'2" 175, R/R, Florida. More slender, athletic catcher. Defense has never been a question with Donachie, and his bat has really come to life this spring.
Taylor Teagarden-6'1" 195, R/R, Texas. Solidly built catcher with good overall tools.
College:
Tyler Parker-6'3" 212, R/R, Georgia Tech. His reputation seems to be based off of his performance in the Cape Cod summer league a few years ago. Good overall tools, and good be a good all around catching prospect.
Chris Snyder-6'3" 224, R/R, Houston. Good hitting & defensive catcher. Nothing fancy to his game, just gets the job done.
Alberto Concepcion-6'0" 215, R/R, USC. Good hitting catcher with pop that really needs to work on his defense to stick behind the plate.
Patrick's pick: Adam Donachie-Nice, athletic build noted for his defensive prowess, and as noted above, his bat really came to life this year. Instead of picking a good hitting catcher to work on his fielding skills in the minors, I think it's about time the team took a good defensive catcher with promise handling the bat. Likely could be had with our 2nd round pick.

FIRST BASE: Scouts typically don't like taking high school 1B in the first round as they're looking for more well-rounded players. The exception of course is if that player in question epitomizes the position. Obviously, that player's bat has got to be big, and it helps not only if they hit left-handed, but that they throw left-handed as well. Prince Fielder's name has been brought up far too much for my liking in regards to the Brewers' 7th overall pick. While his power is impressive, being rated a perfect 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, questionable conditioning & his body type have got to be huge concerns for the future.

High School:
John Mayberry Jr.-6'5" 215, R/R, Missouri. An absolute monster of a young man, whose overall athleticism will probably push him to RF. As a Stanford recruit, it will likely take more than the average bonus to sway this promising hitter to play professional baseball.
Prince Fielder-6'1" 240, L/R, Florida. Big-time power, and a pretty good overall hitter as well. Everything else is in question.
Corey Shafer-6'3" 210, L/L, Oklahoma. Another big boy, with a good lefty-swing. Has been noted to

 




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