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What was the best Brewers draft of the last 20 years (Part 2)?




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This is the second part of my review of the Brewers past 20 drafts.  Check out my previous post for years 2002 - 2007.  Let’s continue with the 2008 draft, the last of scouting director Jack Zduriencik with the Brewers.

Note: In parentheses are their career WAR as calculated by Baseball Reference.

2008, draft order 16th, 54 players selected, 4 comp picks

  • All Star - Jake Odorizzi (13.9)
  • Regular - Brett Lawrie (15.6)
  • Role - Logan Schafer (0), Rob Wooten (-0.3), Lucas Luetge (1.7)
  • Callup - Erik Komatsu (-0.4)

The Brewers had a huge number of selections in 2008, with 4 comp picks.  Brett Lawrie was our first round selection and had a respectable career.  Brewers received two extra first rounders and two second rounders for losing Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink.  This netted us Odorizzi and Evan Fredrickson (topped out in A+) in the first round.  Odorizzi technically was an all star in 2019 but he is probably considered a solid regular starter and not a star.  The two comp picks in the 2nd round were Seth Lintz (topped out in A ball) and Cutter Dykstra (topped out at AAA).  Cutter was traded to get Nyjer Morgan who had some memorable moments for the Brewers.  The Brewers original 2nd round pick was Cody Adams who flamed out in A-ball one year later.  Schafer and Wooten played minor roles for the Brewers.  Luetge found success with other teams after he was lost in the Rule V draft and is still pitching well in the majors.

Considering how many picks the Brewers had, this was a disappointing draft.  Especially the comp picks with only one of the four making the majors.  Some of those guys struggled mightily and flamed out quickly.

2009, draft order 26th, 53 players selected, 3 comp picks

  • All Star - Scooter Gennett (7.1)
  • Regular - Khris Davis (10.8), Caleb Thielbar (3.6), Mike Fiers (13.2) 
  • Callup - Josh Prince (-0.1), Hiram Burgos (-0.8), Sean Halton (-0.4), Tyler Cravy (0)

Another huge draft selection in 2009 resulted in a disappointing group of top picks.  Their best players came in the 7th (Davis), 16th (Gennett), and 22nd (Fiers).  They had two extra 1st round picks and 1 extra second round pick for losing Sabathia and Brian Shouse.  All of these picks, including the original 1st and second rounders were busts.  Eric Arnett (topped out at A+), Kentrail Davis (AAA), Kyle Heckathorn (AAA), Max Walla (low A), Cameron Garfield (A+).  This could have been a huge draft considering how well we did with the later picks.  Gennett was an all star in 2018 playing in the bandbox in Cincinnati, but was generally average prior to that.  Davis put up some huge HR numbers playing for Oakland (133 over a 3-year period) but his defense relegated him to DH.  Fiers was a solid starter for most of his 11-year career.  Thielbar is still pitching in the majors.

The Brewers picked 26th in the draft, the lowest slot in many years, so the talent level is going to be less.  However, with so many extra high picks, you would expect to hit on at least one of those.  Still, hard to argue about selecting four solid players.

2010, draft order 14th, 50 players selected

  • Regular - Jimmy Nelson (5.6), Tyler Thornburg (3.9)
  • Role - Yadiel Rivera (-1.2), Jason Rogers (0.2)
  • Callup - Kevin Shackelford (-0.2)

The Brewers selected Dylan Covey in the first round but he did not pass his physical and was not signed.  They made the most of the next two picks (Nelson and Thornburg).  Both were very talented pitchers who could have been stars if not for freak injuries.  Shea Vucinich, selected in the 20th round, did not get above AA, but goes down in Brewerfan history as his interview was on the front page for a record number of days.

Jason Rogers was selected in the 32nd round.  He had one very good season for the Brewers and they traded him for Keon Broxton and Trey Supak.  Broxton had some OK seasons but the Brewers then used him to obtain Felix Valerio (and Adam Hill, Bobby Wahl).  

2011, draft order 12th, 51 players selected, 1 comp pick

  • All Star - Jorge Lopez (0.4)
  • Role - Taylor Jungman (0.9), Nick Ramirez (0.7), Jacob Barnes (-0.6)
  • Callup - Jed Bradley (0), Drew Gagnon (-1.5), Michael Reed (-0.1), David Goforth (-0.4)

Seven players made it to the majors from the Brewers 2011 draft, though none of them are standouts.  Jorge Lopez, drafted in the second, is probably the best.  He had a promising minor league career but could never find success as a starter in the majors.  He became an All star as a reliever this year and may have revitalized his career.  The Brewers had two picks in the top 15 overall due to not signing Dylan Covey the previous year.  Jungman (12th overall) and Bradley (15th overall) both made the majors but did not make much of a mark. Nick Ramirez failed as a 1B, but reached the majors as a LH reliever for a few years.  Jacob Barnes parlayed his high 90s fastball into seven years of opportunities, but only a few years of success.

2012, draft order 27th, 42 players selected, 2 supplemental picks

  • All Star - Mitch Haniger (14.2)
  • Regular - Brent Suter (3.9)
  • Role - Tyrone Taylor (2.5), Anthony Banda (-0.7)
  • Callup - Tyler Wagner (0.1), Damien Magnifico (0)

The Brewers had one compensation first round pick (for losing Prince Fielder) and a competitive balance pick after the first round.  Clint Coulter and Victor Roache were picked in the first round and neither made the majors.  The competitive balance pick was Mitch Haniger who rose to fame with the Mariners.  He was traded away with Banda for Geraldo Parra.  Tyrone Taylor has been an useful backup outfielder with the potential for more still.  Brent Suter has filled in as a swing man being a decent 5th starter and long reliever over 7 seasons.  He was a steal in the 31st round.

2013, draft order 17, 40 players selected, No first round pick, but one supplemental pick

  • All Star - Devin Williams (4.4), Garrett Cooper (4.3)
  • Role - Taylor Williams (-1.3)
  • Callup - Barrett Astin (-0.1)

The Brewers lost their first round selection when they signed Kyle Lohse in the previous offseason (Ughh).  They made up for it by selecting Devin Williams in the second round who has become a shutdown reliever.  Their competitive balance B pick after the second round was Tucker Neuhaus who never made it above high A ball.  Garrett Cooper has been a useful role player after being traded away for Ty Webb.  He was selected to the all star game after a good start to the 2022 season.  He has had more productive seasons in the past but this is the first time he has been healthy.  Taylor Williams had a lot of promise but never put it together in the majors.   The rest of the players selected are all out of baseball now.

2014, draft order 12, 41 players selected, competitive balance A pick

  • All Star - Brandon Woodruff (12.2)
  • Callup - Monte Harrison (0.1), Cy Sneed (-0.4), Troy Stokes (0), Jordan Yamamoto (-0.3)

Brewers selected Kodi Medeiros and Jake Gatewood in the first round, neither of which made the majors and appear to have topped out at AAA.  Monte Harrison signed over-slot in the second round and was a key player in the Yelich trade.  He has struggled in the majors and at age 26 is running out of chances. He caught on recently with the Angels and has been successful in a handful at bats so there is still a chance.  Brandon Woodruff was a steal in the 11th round.  He looks to be a perennial all star and a mainstay in the rotation.  The remaining players are either retired or are toiling in the minors.  This was Bruce Seid’s last draft as he unfortunately passed in September of 2014.

Many of the stars selected during this period are still playing and are in their prime so their career WAR will continue to grow.  However, its unlikely they will reach the level of Braun (47.1), Cain (38.4), Brantley (34.1), and Fielder (23.8).  It was also a period of lower draft picks due to major league success the Brewers were having.  Compensation and competitive balance picks gave the Brewers more opportunities, but out of those 11 extra choices only Odorizzi and Haniger succeeded.

Stay tuned for my next post which will cover the remaining drafts.  Since these players have had less time to establish themselves in the majors, there are fewer stars, but I’ll highlight those that still have a chance to succeed at the highest level.

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