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Brett Hunter


I brought up Hunter's name in the college resource thread, but I'm curious to learn what people would think about him as a candidate for one of the team's early picks, possibly at #16, since he hasn't pitched since February 29th (not March 1st as noted below in BA's comments). He reportedly had some blister problems which led to a forearm strain which led to some elbow tenderness. He was shut down as a precautionary measure and hasn't pitched for two months. BA reports that he's expected to start pitching in games early next week, and has been pitching bullpens in the past week or two:

 

Hunter hasn't pitched since March 1 against Texas Christian and won't pitch this weekend either, but he's getting close to returning. Tests have revealed no structural damage in his elbow, rather a nick that simply needed rest to heal itself. Rodriguez said Hunter has felt good for the last three weeks and has wanted to start pitching again, but doctors advised caution, so the Waves are being cautious. He has begun throwing bullpen sessions recently, and the plan is for him to throw a couple of innings in relief next weekend against Portland, then slot back into the rotation the following week against Santa Clara.

 

When I saw Hunter pitch in his last start (which was against Tulane) he didn't throw a fastball below 94, and topped out at 97, gaining more velocity as the game progressed. His breaking ball isn't very consistent, but it's impossible not to love his fastball and overall pitching frame. Some think a permanent move to the bullpen may be in order for him, but I just don't see that happening soon since his stuff gets better the deeper he goes in ballgames.

 

However the injury concern is obviously a huge one. Should Hunter return healthy he could be a steal at #16, and his arm is going to be relatively fresh over the course of the summer since he hasn't pitched much at all this spring, and I'm guessing will only have another 20-30 innings between now and the end of the year should all go well, depending of course on how far Pepperdine advances in postseason play.

 

And even if he doesn't succeed as a starter, assuming he stays healthy, he could be a very good late-inning reliever.

 

Would you take him if you were the Brewers, or is the lingering injury too great of a concern?

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I would be very hesitent to draft him at that spot, especially if he has not developed a consistent secondary pitch. Not to merge threads, but a poster mentioned that the Brewers should continue what they do best (save the Gallardo pick), which is to collect power bats with a good chunk of their early selections. I am very tempted by this thought, though I agree that pitching quality and depth is a large orginizaional need. As Brewer fans we have been spoiled with meteroic rises of our recent power bats in LaPorta, Braun, and even Fielder if you reach a little further back. The patience needed for proper draft evaluation hasn't been something we have had to deal with for our offensive selections. If there were to be one selection there at 16 that would mirror our previous offensive selections in terms of possible affiliate ascention and readiness, whom would it be?
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I would find it a little disturbing if the Brewers took a kid with injury concerns that high in the draft. I would be more willing to take risks with a supplemental or second round pick than the 16th pick. With that said where would this guy have been projected to go if he were injury free this season.
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I would be more willing to take risks with a supplemental or second round pick than the 16th pick.

 

I agree completely. Colby, if we don't take him at 16, is there any hope that he makes it to the supplemental round?

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I meant to ask you why you thought he had retained so much traction (ranking #20 on your list). My sense is he has lost traction because of the injury and will be available for one of the Brewers' supplemental picks.

 

I don't think he has a history of blister problems. If he can show his arm problems are behind him, pop him with a supplemental pick.

 

I'm more concerned about his max effort delivery than his lack of 3rd pitch. I take it you don't share those concerns.

 

I personally like Hunter more than Shooter Hunt (who reminds me too much of Daniel Cabrerra or Derrick Turnbow).

 

______________________________________

 

I have similar questions about another idled pitcher who is #21 on your list -- Sonny Gray.

 

Why has he retained so much traction?

 

Does he have the makings of a 3rd pitch?

 

Is he seen as a starter or reliever? If he is seen as a reliever, is it because of stature or the lack of a 3rd pitch?

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If there were to be one selection there at 16 that would mirror our previous offensive selections in terms of possible affiliate ascention and readiness, whom would it be?

 

Conor Gillaspie would fit the mold for this type of player, a polished college bat that has some concerns about his defense at first base but almost no questions about his ability to hit. The power isn't quite there like it was for Braun and even Fielder, but like Braun and Fielder Gillaspie going at #16 would be the highest probably any team would take him.

 

And Gillaspie could move very fast.

 

I agree completely. Colby, if we don't take him at 16, is there any hope that he makes it to the supplemental round?

 

Sure there's a chance. Any player with some arm troubles has a chance to fall, and by the time he makes it back to the mound (supposedly this week) teams are already narrowing their focus down to a handful of players they have seen the entire spring. However, he has a very good arm, and there's a very good chance a team picking later in the first round will take him.

 

I meant to ask you why you thought he had retained so much traction (ranking #20 on your list). My sense is he has lost traction because of the injury and will be available for one of the Brewers' supplemental picks.

 

I've left him that high because I believe in his arm and his fastball, not to mention his athletic frame. I know there have been some reports about his max effort delivery, but I don't think it puts that much strain on his arm, and actually I feel his arm works quite well with the ball exploding out of his hand. He is a very similar pitcher to Max Scherzer during his junior year of college. Scherzer also had concerns about his stuff past his fastball, and also had some nagging injury problems. Chamberlain also should have been taken among the top 10-15 picks in the draft if it weren't for some arm problems. Clearly the D-Backs and Yankees did very well for themselves taking these two pitchers, and I personally feel the Brewers could put themselves in a similar situation by drafting Hunter.

 

I have similar questions about another idled pitcher who is #21 on your list -- Sonny Gray.

 

Has Sonny Gray idled? I brought up some concerns about Gray in my most recent Crack of the Bat column (which hasn't been posted online yet), citing his recent injury (an ankle injury, nothing related to his arm), size and commitment to Vanderbilt. However, this guy throws in the mid-90s with an absolute hammer curveball and he has a good enough changeup to be successful. Even if he didn't have a change, you take his FB-CB combo given how easy his arm works regardless if he's only 5'10" or so. He's similar to Jeffress in size and stuff, and Gray also receives huge marks for his character.

 

If Gray falls in the draft he's probably Vandy bound, but a team could look pretty dang smart taking him where he should go, which is in the 15-25 range.

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I was reading a mock draft at draysbay, and they mentioned Gillaspie as a 3rd baseman at the majors...is this realistic, or will he have to move across the diamond as you indicated?

 

Any chance the Brewers go for Yonder Alonso, and also, does skipworth or Posey have any chance at all of slipping to 16?

 

Edit: I just read the college thread info on Gillaspie, and am guessing you meant 3B from the getgo. I could see X being correct in that it fits the Brewers M.O.

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Yeah, if you take Gillaspie, you better be pretty sure he sticks at 3B. He doesn't have the power potential to play 1B.

 

No, I don't think the Brewers go with a guy like Alonso, as much as I like Alonso. I've heard from a few people about players that Brewers aren't looking at, which includes both Brett Wallace and Ike Davis, which leads me to believe they're not looking to add more 1B/LF types early, and probably for good reason.

 

There's no chance Posey falls to 16. Allan Simpson confirmed last week what Peter Gammons reported last weekend in that the Rays may be seriously considering Posey with the first overall pick. I haven't heard much about Skipworth's draft fate, but I would be very surprised if he fell to 16.

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I would not take him with that pick. I know that the Phillies have had some success with taking injury prone players in the 1st round (Hamels, Savery) that have been good picks. But the Brewers major flaw in the draft has been drafting skill position players (at least in the 1st round), and they always seem to take a huge risk on unproven talent when it comes to pitchers, who have very little chance of coming up big.

 

Ive seen Skipworth drop a little as the year has progressed, not horribly mind you, but if he is available when the Brewers pick, and then dont take him, I wont ever again respect a Brewer first round pick (not that I do now). (e.g. Kazmir over Fielder, Weeks was right on, Maybin over Braun, Daniel Bard over Jeffress, Josh Smoker over LaPorta, et al.)

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But the Brewers major flaw in the draft has been drafting skill position players (at least in the 1st round), and they always seem to take a huge risk on unproven talent when it comes to pitchers, who have very little chance of coming up big.

 

Ive seen Skipworth drop a little as the year has progressed, not horribly mind you, but if he is available when the Brewers pick, and then dont take him, I wont ever again respect a Brewer first round pick (not that I do now). (e.g. Kazmir over Fielder, Weeks was right on, Maybin over Braun, Daniel Bard over Jeffress, Josh Smoker over LaPorta, et al.)

Are you suggesting that all of those picks were the wrong ones? Because if you are, I think it's either unclear at this point, or a very good argument could be made that they were the right picks.

 

What's more, the Brewers are lauded for the position players they've drafted early, so I find it odd that anyone says that's their major flaw. Just doesn't make any sense to me.

 

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I look at the first round with an "opportunity cost of capital" approach. The Brewers do not have one premier P, C, 2B, SS or CF in their entire farm system. They are loaded with one or two tool players at the corners. Escobar is close but his only big skill right now is defense.
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I look at the first round with an "opportunity cost of capital" approach. The Brewers do not have one premier P, C, 2B, SS or CF in their entire farm system. They are loaded with one or two tool players at the corners. Escobar is close but his only big skill right now is defense.
The Brewer farm system is week right now because of massive graduations. They drafted too well to have a good farm system right now.


(not that I do now). (e.g. Kazmir over Fielder, Weeks was right on, Maybin over Braun, Daniel Bard over Jeffress, Josh Smoker over LaPorta, et al.)
Are you saying that list is who you thought they should select before the draft, or is it who you still think that should have drafted? Fielder is better than Kazmir, Braun was rookie of the year last while Maybin is still in AA this year, Bard is a bi disappointment, and Laporta is a budding phenom who could make an impact in the bigs this year. Smoker is miles away.

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"88.6% of all statistics are made up right there on the spot" Todd Snider

 

-Posted by the fan formerly known as X ellence. David Stearns has brought me back..

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I'd also chime in with those who would rather have the Brewers take the most solid choice at 16, and then go after a guy like Hunter with supplemental picks.

 

I'd like to see the early rounds be pitching dominant, but understand that they must go with their "signable" board.

 

Any chance the Brewers take Weeks again? I really think he's the kind of guy who could be an eventual top of the the order OBP machine.

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While I hate to see this thread take a completely different direction, I honestly don't know how anyone can go out of their way to contest the Brewers picks in recent years, especially a Fielder and Braun vs. Kazmir and Maybin argument. If you want to argue Jeffress against someone, I would recommend picking someone better than Daniel Bard, and LaPorta vs. Smoker right now seems like a stretch since it really could be LaPorta vs. anyone that wasn't taken in the top 6 last year, making Smoker an interesting selection.
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"Fielder is better than Kazmir"

 

Thats definitely debatable!

Ok, fine, but Braun vs Maybin is hardly debatable at this point, nor is LaPorta vs Smoker.

You also make the claim that we don't have a "premier" player at P,C,CF,2B,SS. Well, we've certainly drafted several in the past few years, and developed them and graduated them to the big leagues. I wonder, would your opinion be different if Weeks, Hardy, Gallardo, Parra, Braun, and others were still in the minors?

Complaining about the Brewers drafts is really going out of your way to find something wrong. And when you use players who are far less accomplished than the players we've picked it makes that argument appear even less valid.

 

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Ive seen Skipworth drop a little as the year has progressed, not horribly mind you, but if he is available when the Brewers pick, and then dont take him, I wont ever again respect a Brewer first round pick

Drafting a HS catcher , in your mind, is a can't miss oppurtunity? Do you realize they have the biggest bust rate of any players in the draft? They make HS RHPs look like conservative picks. Just look at how some recent HS catchers have faired so far. Look at the massive struggles of Devin Merasco or Max Sapp. Skipworth is an interesting player, but remember, in taking him, theres an excellent chance he'll bust.



Back to Hunter, that is an interesting question. He seems to be pre-Tommy John surgury. While the Brewers haven't drafted players with elbow problems in the past, they have often picked up players just after TJ surgury. Its possible Hunter's elbow concerns dissipate with rest. The cause seems to be blisters, and not pitching directly. I think part of the reason the Brewers haven't drafted college pitching early yet is because they haven't had the opportunity to grab 1 with the power arm and upside of Hunter. The Brewers also seem to avoid the overworked college pitcher, and thats not Hunter.


In the end, I still hope there's a worthwhile bat the steps to the front at 16. The Brewers have only selected pitchers in the past in years where there simply wasn't a bat to even consider.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"88.6% of all statistics are made up right there on the spot" Todd Snider

 

-Posted by the fan formerly known as X ellence. David Stearns has brought me back..

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