Thoughts on Day 1 of the 2008 MLB Draft

5 06 2008

As you already know, I was not able to update the site consistently with the first few picks of the draft.  I thus chose to wait until after the day ended to give my thoughts on what Milwaukee did with their first selections in 2008.  Here’s how I evaluate their day:

  • The Brewers selected C/3B Brett Lawrie, a prep player from British Columbia.  Once I saw no team snatched up Brett before Milwaukee’s pick at #16, it was a no-brainer for the Brewers.  We all knew the team loved the kid’s skills and projectability at the next level.

    I fully expected Lawrie to be off the board by the time Milwaukee picked, but I’m sure Jack Zduriencik and company were pleasantly surprised he wasn’t.  Brett is brimming with confidence since mashing down in the Dominican Republic.  He has hit extra-base hits off MLB starter Kyle Davies in extended Spring Training.  That is impressive enough.

    I love this pick for the Brewers.  Lawrie’s power definitely projects to be plus at the big league level, as he’s been popping balls out of the park with a wooden bat since he was 14-years old.  The only concern I have is where he will play defensively.  Jack Z has traditionally drafted on ability, figuring a prospect will settle into a position later.  That certainly will be the case for Lawrie, even though I hear reports that Milwaukee very much likes the young man as a catcher.  He has the skill set to be a catcher.  If they truly want to capitalize on his bat, however, the Brewers might be wise to move Brett to third base or second base.

    Overall, Brett Lawrie is a great pick for the Brewers.  I would have been equally happy with LHP Christian Friedrich, as he was still available at #16.  Brett has a much higher ceiling, however.  Great seleciton.

  • The Brewers obviously were out to improve their pitching today.  Pitching has been quite thin in the Brewers farm system this season, but the Brewers set themselves up to infuse the system with some quality arms in July.  The real key will be signing all these players and getting them into the minor league system before the end of June/July.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi slipped to Milwaukee in the Supplementary Round, which was a big surprise to me.  Again, the Brewers capitalized on the shortsightedness of other teams.  Some scouts (presumably some of them being Milwaukee’s scouts) believe Odorizzi could be the best high school arm in the draft.  I love his four-pitch arsenal, and every pitch is already at least a big league average pitch.  Let’s hope the Crew can throw enough money at the young man to keep him away from Louisville.  He could be a bright spot in the minors in a short amount of time.

    LHP Evan Frederickson is a big, big left-hander from the University of San Francisco.  Tom Haudricourt and Rivals.com say that he absolutely lights up the radar gun, but his scouting tape on MLB.com only clocked him pitching at about 88-89 mph.  Supposedly, he threw the ball very hard in a personal workout with Milwaukee.  Some see Evan projecting to be more of a reliever, but a hard-throwing left-hander is never something I’m going to complain about.  He may have problems finding the zone, but the upside is big here.

    The Crew kept the pitching trend going in the third round, selecting a right-handed Tennessee prep star by the name of Seth Linz.  Doug Melvin will have to wrestle Linz away from the University of Kentucky, but it should be worth it.  He has a mid-90s fastball and a solid slider.  If he can come up with a third pitch, he could be in the bigs someday.

    Jack Z may have found another diamond in the rough this year with RHP Maverick Lasker (Sandra Day O’Conner HS, AZ).  The young man has first-round stuff.  His fastball tops out around 94-95 mph and has an above-average curveball.  His change-up is solid, but projects to be above average.  He fell in the draft because of a shoulder injury, but that issue may be a thing of the past now.  The Brewers may have some signability issues with Maverick.  If they can get him in the system, however, he could be a solid prospect next season.

  • The last thing I noticed is that the Brewers drafted for need this year.  Jack Zduriencik is not a believer in the “draft for need” philosophy, but he turned over a new leaf this year.  What did the Brewers need?  The system could use more catching, pitching, and center field help.  Brett Lawrie arguably supplies the catching depth.  There was plenty of pitching chosen in the first day of the draft, both from the high school ranks and the collegiate level.  Jake Odorizzi, Evan Fredrickson, and Maverick Lasker headline the pitching selected.  The other need in the system is center field.  How did the Brewers address that need?

    The Crew first selected a prospect with major league bloodlines, CF Cutter Dykstra.  Cutter is the son of former-major leaguer Lenny Dykstra.  Cutter is just like his dad, but with a little more athleticism.  He has plenty of speed to roam the center of the outfield and has a .400+ batting average.  At only 18 years old, he will be a bit of a project, but scouts believe he could make a solid offensive-minded center fielder in a few years.

    Milwaukee also selected CF Logan Schafer, who is solid but doesn’t possess any extraordinary tools in the outfield.  He is a gritty player who always seems to outperform what his abilities suggest he should be capable of doing.

    The center field depth gets a little deeper as the Brewers selected an interesting two-way player in LHP/CF Joshua Romanski.  Josh throws in the upper-80s, low-90s with his fastball, so there is some legitimate upside to putting him on the mound.  Scouts suggest he will never be anything more than a solid fourth outfielder, so I don’t believe the Brewers would want to put him in center.  He’ll most likely be on the mound in July.  The significant aspect of this pick is that the Brewers have the option of another center fielder.

    Don’t draft for need, hm?  It seems Jack didn’t see it that way this season.

  • To round out the picks for the first day, the Brewers also selected SS Jose Duran from Texas A&M University and RHP Thomas Adams.  I don’t know much about this players, so I am reluctant to comment on them.  I’ll see what I can dig up for you all for tomorrow.

Overall, I think it is safe to say the Brewers mixed up their draft nicely, picking up players from both the high school and collegiate ranks.  The important thing is that Milwaukee will need to get these players in the minor league system as soon as possible.  The draft does no good if the players cannot compete and improve down on the farm.

There is a lot to like about these selections.  Brett Lawrie wields a premiere bat, and Milwaukee has a legitimate star prospect on their hands.  If Doug Melvin can get all of these picks into the farm system successfully, the pitching in the minors just became extremely improved.  Depth helps a lot.  The Brewers organization hopes to hit on two or three of their pitchers.

I suspect there will be much written on the first day of the draft tomorrow, so I will be sure to update you all in tomorrow’s Round ’em Up.

(Note: There will be no NL Review tomorrow, as I will continue to keep up with the MLB Draft.  Don’t worry though.  It’s not going away.  The feature will be back next week.)

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4 responses

6 06 2008
Aaron

I’m not going to lie, i wasn’t particularly pleased with the Lawrie pick to begin with, but it’s already growing on me base on what I’ve heard from Jack, and how long they’ve really been watching him. The pick of that kid from Louisville was pretty much a waste. He felll that far because he’ll never sign.

6 06 2008
Jim Breen

I was under the impression that Jack Z and Doug Melvin talked to Orodizzi before drafting him. They consider him very signable. Lawrie shouldn’t cost as much as many of the other players around them, so Milwaukee will have some bonus money to throw Orodizzi’s way to get him into the system.

6 06 2008
Aaron

Good point about the extra cash. I just have a hard time believing that kid is willing to pass on a better opportunity in the NFL. Louisville WRs get a lot of passes to look at.

6 06 2008
Jim Breen

Odorizzi wants to play baseball.

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