The fifteenth part of my draft preview series is on the Milwaukee Brewers and their scouting director Bruce Seid.
Owner: Mark Attanasio, bought club in 2005
General Manager: Doug Melvin, first season was 2003
Scouting Director: Bruce Seid, first draft was 2009
2009 Draft: $6.8 Million Budget
1. Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana, #26 Overall: Arnett was a legitimate first-rounder that Milwaukee was lucky to get near the back end of the round. He was a late bloomer in college, and he featured a plus fastball and slider. Following players selected: Nick Franklin, Reymond Fuentes, Slade Heathcott. Signing bonus: $1,197,000.
2. Kentrail Davis, OF, Tennessee, #39 Overall: Davis was an intriguing, if frustrating player at Tennessee. Blessed with plus tools all around, Davis was a signability question as a draft-eligible sophomore with big bonus demands, but supplemental first to second round talent. Good find on the early end of that range for Milwaukee. Following players selected: Tyler Skaggs, Chris Owings, Garrett Richards. Signing bonus: $1,200,000.
3. Kyle Heckathorn, RHP, Kennesaw State, #47 Overall: Heckathorn flashed a huge arm at Kennesaw State, and he had the best fastball in the class outside of Stephen Strasburg. He was expected to go in the supplemental first to third round range, and this was a solid find of a plus arm for slot money. Following players selected: Tyler Kehrer, Victor Black, Jeff Kobernus. Signing bonus: $776,000.
4. Max Walla, OF, Albuquerque Academy (NM), #73 Overall: Walla was an interesting prep bat that rose up draft boards slowly over time, and then exploded up boards late. He featured plus hitting and power tools, and he was generally athletic enough to be a first-day prospect. This was on the early side of where he was expected to be picked, but scouts generally thought of his bat as in this range. Following players selected: Cameron Garfield, Kelly Dugan, J.R. Murphy. Signing bonus: $499,000.
5. Cameron Garfield, C, Murrieta Valley HS (CA), #74 Overall: The second of back-to-back picks, Garfield was on the second tier of prep catchers in the class. He featured outstanding defensive tools with above-average raw power, and he was expected to be a second to fifth round prospect. Following players selected: Kelly Dugan, J.R. Murphy, Alex Wilson. Signing bonus: $492,200.
Other Notable Selections: SS Josh Prince (3rd), Tulane, $304,200 bonus; LHP Del Howell (15th), Alabama, $260K bonus; SS Scooter Gennett (16th), Sarasota HS (FL), $260K bonus.
Bruce Seid took over Milwaukee’s amateur scouting department for the 2009 draft season after former scouting director Jack Zduriencik left to become the Seattle Mariners’ general manager. Zduriencik had been a holdover from Dean Taylor’s days as the Brewers’ general manager, and he had stuck around through current general manager Doug Melvin’s tenure, and he had consistently produced excellent players that moved quickly to the Major Leagues. Seid’s transition from area scout to scouting director was very quick, as he only spent two years in-between, both as the Brewers’ West Coast crosschecker. Despite the lack of time at the higher level, Seid’s long history of experience in scouting is definitely helpful. Seid’s deputy is Ray Montgomery, another former crosschecker, and their combined scouting experience makes for a solid drafting team. It’s tough to really judge trends off of a single draft, but I also wanted to be careful and not include the picks of Zduriencik, as anytime a team has to replace two crosscheckers, as well as the top levels of their scouting department, drafting philosophy will undoubtedly be different. Just from a high-level look, the main trend you can see from the 2009 draft for Seid is that there is a preference for big-bodied college pitchers with a good fastball. Both Arnett and Heckathorn are big kids, and there’s no doubt that those frames played a part in Seid’s decision to draft them. Hitters were harder to judge, as overall tools were important for Davis, hitting tools were important for Walla, and defensive tools were important for Garfield, but in general I’ll simply say that Seid showed a willingness to go anywhere for hitters, both at the prep and college levels.
While looking at trends continued from a previous scouting director’s tenure isn’t advisable, draft budgeting usually doesn’t dramatically shift between scouting directors when the general manager stays the same. Looking at the most recent five years, the Brewers have spent a healthy amount on draft bonuses. They rank 11th in overall draft spending for that period, one spot behind San Diego and one ahead of Seattle. Most people don’t necessarily think of the Brewers being on the cusp for the top third in draft spending, but the most recent two drafts have represented larger draft budgets due to added compensation picks. They’ve generally had good amounts throughout the five years, though, and there’s no fault to find for their budgeting. Their spending last year had them come in at the same spot as their average in terms of rankings for draft budgeting, so that doesn’t look out of line. In 2010, the Brewers hold picks 14, 64, 96, 129, and every 30 picks after that, and I can say that with certainty after Rod Barajas officially signs on the dotted line this week. That’s one natural pick in each round, gaining and losing no compensation picks from free agency. I wouldn’t expect another budget close to $7 million, but a healthy $5-5.5 million is to be expected, especially with a pick in the top half of the first round this year.
Connecting the Brewers to specific players is difficult, but I’ll give it an early shot. My latest mock draft has the Brewers opting for Washington prep lefty outfielder Josh Sale, who features similar tools to Max Walla, just improved and refined. He’s also a better overall athlete than Walla, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see such a pick happen. Other names that pop up to me are Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, Nick Castellanos, and Bryce Brentz for their first round pick. At this moment, Castellanos looks like the only one that’s a fairly sure thing to fall to pick 14. Later picks that look possible include Josh Mueller of Eastern Illinois, Dixon Anderson of Cal, Leon Landry of LSU, Matt Lipka, and Cory Vaughn of San Diego State. All are good names to follow, and I’ve talked about each of them in my weekly chats. All these names are purely speculative, and without a long history to work with, Seid is much harder to peg. I expect another solid draft with a good infusion of high-ceiling talent in 2010, though don’t look for the big haul that three extra picks netted in 2009.
*Bonus information came from BA.
What do you guys think? What will the Brewers do?