Milwaukee Brewers: 2017 MLB Draft Primer
By David Gasper
We’re a little over two weeks away from the 2017 MLB Draft and it’s shaping up to be a good one. Here is everything you need to know before the Milwaukee Brewers head into draft night on June 12th on MLB Network.
The MLB Draft is a crapshoot, plain and simple. There are no “sure things” in the MLB Draft and every player has the potential to be a bust. It doesn’t get the attention that the NFL or NBA Draft get and the players won’t even be seen in the big leagues until a few years later
The bar for success is so low that, of the 40 picks that teams have, getting three productive major league ballplayers out of a draft class is considered a roaring success. The players taken in this year’s draft likely won’t even reach the Major League level until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. Most of them will never see a day with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report examined the success of MLB Draft picks reaching the Majors back in 2012, but the numbers are still similar today. Only about two-thirds of first round picks ever make it to the Show. About half of second rounders ever make it and the percentages keep getting smaller from there. Keep in mind Rosenbaum only considered if they make it to the Majors. He didn’t take into account if they have any success or staying power.
Even first overall picks are no guarantees to become anything. There is only one first overall pick to make it into the Hall Of Fame, and that was Ken Griffey Jr.
The spot in which teams pick in the first round doesn’t seem to be important long-term. Let’s look at 2009 for example. With the 18th pick that year, the Marlins took High School pitcher Chad James, while at 19, the Cardinals also took a High School pitcher, Shelby Miller. James hasn’t reached the Major Leagues and Miller has spent a few years in the Showy.
The 26th pick that year was Eric Arnett by the Brewers and the 25th pick was some guy named Mike Trout. In theory there shouldn’t be much difference in value between these picks, but remember, the MLB Draft is a crapshoot.
Jim Sannes wanted to find the success rate of college first rounders vs. high school first rounders. He found that the college kids make it to the Show about 75% of the time while high schoolers succeed only 58% of the time. Basically, when it comes to drafting high schoolers, you might as well just flip a coin to see if they’ll succeed or not.
Milwaukee Brewers Draft History
The first round selections made by the Milwaukee Brewers over the past few years haven’t enjoyed much success at the Major League level. Obviously we’ll give a pass to Corey Ray, Trent Clark, and Kodi Medeiros as they were drafted only recently. The last first round pick to make any impact with the Brewers was Taylor Jungmann, drafted in 2011, and his impact was limited. Before that, Jeremy Jeffress was drafted in 2006, but he was traded away then signed as a free agent. The last true impact player the Milwaukee Brewers drafted and developed in the first round was Ryan Braun in 2005.
For every Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, there is a Mark Rogers and Eric Arnett. The Brewers had a good stretch from 2002-2005 in first rounders with Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and Braun. Rogers was the only failure during that stretch.
That’s what makes the Chicago Cubs getting production from five straight first round picks so incredible. It’s rare to hit on five straight first rounders, but it’s a major part of the Cubs success.
After 2005, The Milwaukee Brewers traded away their next three first rounders in Jeffress, Matt LaPorta, and Brett Lawrie. Now, with the team rebuilding, it’s imperative that the Brewers’ first round draft picks will eventually produce in the Majors. Ray, Clark, and Medeiros all have the potential to break the trend. GM David Stearns will need success throughout the draft to finish the rebuild, but he isn’t the guy calling the shots on draft night.
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Milwaukee Brewers draft prep
Last September, the Milwaukee Brewers re-organized their scouting department. Ray Montgomery, who ran the last two Brewers drafts was promoted to vice president of scouting. He will oversee all player evaluation, not just for the draft. Tod Johnson, who was the assistant director of amateur scouting, was promoted to director. Johnson will run his first draft for the Brewers organization this season.
The Brewers received a pick in Competitive Balance Round A which gives Johnson a total of 41 selections in the draft. The Brewers have three of the first 46 picks in the 2017 draft giving them plenty of opportunities to acquire impact players.
Another great asset for the Milwaukee Brewers is the large bonus pool they have. A pool of $10,447,700 is sixth-highest in baseball and will help the Brewers sign these players and prevent them from heading back to school. Each pick in the first ten rounds has a certain slot value assigned to it and if a team overspends their draft pool by more than five percent, they lose a selection in the next year’s draft. No team has ever done that. After the tenth round, players can sign bonuses up to $100,000 without counting against the bonus pool.
The Milwaukee Brewers will have the ninth selection in the 2017 draft and there’s a number of players they could take.
Rumors surrounding who the Brewers like in this draft are few and far between right now, but as we get closer to draft night, we should hear more. The rumors heard so far say the Brewers are heavily interested in a lot of the High Schoolers at the top of the draft. Some mock drafts place the Brewers with OF Austin Beck or OF Jordon Adell.
Brewers fans likely don’t want to see another outfielder in this system after going outfield in the first round for the past two drafts. Other players thought to be linked to the Brewers are left-handed pitchers D.L. Hall and Trevor Rogers.
General Draft Info
The Draft begins on Monday, June 12 at 6 PM CT on MLB Network and MLB.com. The first two rounds and both competitive balance rounds will be on the first night. Day 2 will include rounds 3-10 and Day 3 is rounds 11-40. By the end of the third day, 1,215 prospects will hear their name called.
Competitive Balance picks can be traded but that is unlikely to happen on draft night. The Brewers will have three picks the first night of the draft with selections at 9, 34, and 46.
The deadline to sign draft picks is still undetermined but the 2016 deadline was July 15, so expect a similar date this year. In 2016, the Milwaukee Brewers signed 37 of their 41 picks and that included their first 16 selections.
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The Brewers farm system is among the deepest in baseball and should be even deeper after this draft. A successful rebuild needs successful drafts to work. The last two drafts by Ray Montgomery boosted a once struggling farm system. Tod Johnson looks to continue that trend this year.