Milwaukee Brewers fans are excited about the prospect of their team making the first back-to-back playoff appearance since the 1981-1982 season, and the only World Series in team history.
General Manager David Stearns has cast a wide net this off-season. It seems like every day a new rumor pops up that never ends up materializing. He has made a couple signings and trades, but fans keep watching for the “big one”.
But have you ever looked at how the 2018 playoff team was built in Milwaukee?
The Brewers can’t spend like the big market teams and aren’t a team that attracts free agents with a warm climate. Unlike basketball and football, draft picks routinely take time to make it to the major leagues and often top out in the high minor leagues. It takes a lot of skill, extreme amounts of scouting, making timely well-educated deals, and a little bit of luck.
This current team took time, a lot of time, so we take at the trades, free agent signing and amateur draft picks, that brought us the key players on the current roster.
It all started at the 2004 MLB Draft
On June 7th, 2004, the Brewers were 54 games into what would end up a 67-94 season and their third consecutive last place finish in the NL Central. Players like Ben Sheets, Geoff Jenkins, and Craig Counsell were in the final season of the worst stretch of Brewers baseball since the 1984-1986 season when the Brewers finished last or second to last in the American League East.
On that June day, Doug Melvin, then General Manager made two draft picks that would change the direction, and future of the franchise, for the better. In the 2nd round the Brewers selected 18-year-old pitcher Yovani Gallardo out of Texas and a lengthy outfielder from Georgia, Lorenzo Cain.
Drafting Ryan Braun and Jeremy Jeffress
In 2005, the Brewers would draft University of Miami power hitting righty Ryan Braun. After less than 200 games in the minor leagues, Braun made his MLB debut in 2007 and has been a cornerstone of the franchise since.
The next year the Brewers drafted Jeremy Jeffress, 16th overall from Halifax County High School. He was bound for the major leagues, and he finally got there in 2010.