Brewers strike pleasing symmetry in Draft picks
Club takes 21 pitchers, 21 position players over three days
MILWAUKEE -- It started and ended with a slew of bats and position players, but in the end, it was a wash.The Brewers completed the final day of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday. And in 42 picks, Milwaukee took 21 pitchers and 21 position players, making for a balanced three days of selections. "As you guys know, we've drafted a lot of pitching up top, and not for any other reason than it kind of fell to us," amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "We may have [gone a little more] in that direction the last few years, so to get these types of bats that we got, I felt in a way that we were really happy. But it's a good balance [because] then we followed up with some nice young arms, too; some arms with some upside."
With three picks on the first day of the Draft -- two in the first round and one in the first supplemental round -- the Brewers went after athletes with big bats, starting with the selection of catcher Clint Coulter (No. 27 overall).Hailing from Camas, Wash., Coulter is known for his size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and strength, earning him the nickname "Country Strong." One pick later, Milwaukee took another power right-hander in outfielder Victor Roache, who said he plans on taking a physical and signing with the Brewers on Thursday. Before fracturing his wrist early in his junior season with Georgia Southern, Roache batted .326 with 84 RBIs and 30 home runs, the most in NCAA baseball since 2003.
The Brewers had been on Coulter and Roache long before drafting them, and amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said that made it easier to pull the trigger on each pick."The more you know about a kid, the better you feel," Seid said. "And our guys really felt good. Sometimes you spend a lot of time with a kid, and it could be the opposite effect. You see some things that you don't want to be a part of. But these two guys gravitate to you." Milwaukee capped off Day 1 by taking outfielder Mitch Haniger in the first supplemental round. The Brewers then started Day 2 taking prep outfielder Tyrone Taylor in the second round (No. 92 overall). Also a football star at running back and receiver in high school, Taylor possesses speed and athleticism that Seid and his scouts had to have. And although it wasn't necessarily in the plan to take position players with the first four picks, Seid said each pick made sense. "I think when you get a chance to get power guys like we had available to us, we weren't going to pass that up," he said. The Brewers finally took a pitcher in the third round. Then, another in the fourth and the fifth and four straight in Rounds 9-12 before ultimately taking 10 pitchers in 13 Day 2 picks. Right-hander Zach Quintana from Arbor View High School in Las Vegas was the first pitcher taken by the Brewers (No. 122 overall). Questions regarding his size surrounded Quintana early in the Draft process. Quintana said he's "definitely 6-foot," but after Seid saw him throw, he didn't care one way or another. "When you throw 96-97 [mph] with a plus breaking ball, I don't care how big you are, you have a chance to do something," Seid said. "But he's not a thin guy. This is a strong-bodied guy who does bring an athletic thickness to him that shows some durability." Two rounds later, the Brewers took another pitcher with issues in right-hander Damien Magnifico. Considered to have one of the hottest arms in the Draft, Magnifico consistently hit triple digits while at Oklahoma. The knock on Magnifico is that he lacks a solid secondary pitch and his fastball has little movement. But much like Quintana, Seid said the potential is there. "He does have to work on a second pitch that will work for him," Seid said. "But 100 miles is 100 miles. So we'll take it." Through two days of the Draft, the Brewers made 17 picks. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which places a cap on the money that can be spent in the first 10 rounds, making it more important to sign early-round guys, Seid said he feels Milwaukee is in position to sign most of the Day 1 and Day 2 picks. But he wouldn't get into much more detail. "I'll put it this way," Seid said on Tuesday. "All of our guys are motivated to get going." Day 3 saw the Brewers take 17 of the 27 college players they selected throughout the Draft. One was outfielder Lance Roenicke, the son of Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. Lance batted .310 with four home runs and 35 RBIs for UC-Santa Barbara as a fifth-year senior. Before his team took on the Cubs at Miller Park on Wednesday, the Brewers manager said his son is a hard worker who deserves the chance he hopes to get with the Brewers' organization. "He's certainly athletic enough to do it," Ron said of Lance's chances to play professionally. "It's just a matter of having all the tools come together." The Brewers finished the 2012 Draft in much the same way they started it, taking six consecutive position players, including three of the six catchers selected by Milwaukee during the three-day process. The club also took two shortstops -- Jose Sermo in the 35th round and Taylor Smith-Brennan in the 37th -- late in the Draft, and Seid said that's a position where it's hard to find good prospects. "They were there," Seid said of the late-round shortstops. "And we needed to at least put some guys in the system, we felt, [and say], 'Let's see what they can do.'" Now two important dates loom ahead of the Brewers in terms of draftees and new prospects. The first of which is the international signing period, which begins July 2. Less then two weeks later, the signing period for Draft picks ends at 4 p.m. CT on July 13. Which, for Seid at least, means it's not quite time for a vacation. "It's over, but it's not over," he said. "The drafting part of it's over, but now we got to sign them all. I think we're very close with a lot of them, and we're walking away feeling really good about what we did."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.