Arnett, Bushue and Dugan Get Their Assignments

One year, a world of difference.

That’s the best way to summarize Eric Arnett’s turnaround from 2008 to 2009.

A season after moving between the bullpen and the starting rotation in which he went 4-5, 5.45 in 66 innings of work, Arnett’s 2009 numbers were staggering–12-2, 2.5, 108 innings–en route to garnering All-American and co-Big Ten pitcher of the year honors.

The result?

The Brewers picked Arnett in the first round with the 26th overall pick. Before the season, Arnett couldn’t have expected to be drafted highly, if at all. In the offseason, Arnett, 6-foot-5, worked out with Tom Crean and the Hoosiers’ basketball team.

The added endurance and strength helped Arnett on the hill. He added several miles per hour to his fastball and become a workhorse at the top of head coach Tracy Smith’s rotation. In 14 games started, he totaled six complete games.

The biggest challenge Arnett had to overcome was control. In 2008 he averaged 5.18 walks per nine innings. This year, he averaged 3.28 by throwing one more walk in 42 more innings.

What’s next for Arnett?

After signing a $1.2 million signing bonus with the Brewers on Sunday, Arnett is headed to Rookie-level Helena in the Pioneer League. Play begins June 23 and the Brewers open with the Missoula.

BUSHUE TO TRI-CITY

Fellow Midwestern righthander Tanner Bushue, the Astros’ second-round pick (69th overall) will play for short-season Tri-City in the New York-Penn League.

Illinois’ top prep prospect, the 140th best prospect in the draft, signed with the Astros after he went 8-3, 0.62 with 140 strikeouts in 68 innings at Farina, Ill.’s South Central High. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder’s fastball sits in the upper-80s. He has an above-average curveball, but still needs to work on his changeup.

Along with Bushue, Houston signed 22 of its picks, including third-round pick Telvin Nash, but is yet to sign first-round pick Jiovanni Mier.

DUGAN TO CLEARWATER

Thanks to the offseason signing of Raul Ibañez, the Phillies did not have a first-rounder. Still, that did not slow Philadelphia in signing its top pick quickly.

Just two days after selecting Kelly Dugan with the 75th overall pick, the Phillies reached an agreement with the switch-hitting centerfielder from Notre Dame High in Encino, Calif.

Dugan hit .379 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs during his senior year, but the statistics weren’t what merited Philadelphia’s selection. Instead, the Phillies were impressed with Dugan’s intangibles and mental makeup.

Regardless, Dugan passed up an an opportunity to play at Pepperdine, and instead will play his first professional game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, likely on June 23.

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