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Draft Report Card


Mike Jones
MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Best Pro Debut: RHP Mike Jones (1) held his own as a high schooler facing college hitters in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He went 4-1, 3.74 with 32 strikeouts in 34 innings, and managers rated him the league’s top prospect. 2B Ralph Santana (42) batted .337 and finished second in the same league with 30 steals.

Best Athlete: SS J.J. Hardy (2) has good genes, as his father Mark played pro tennis and his mother Susan golfed on the LPGA tour. All of his tools are average or better, and he also threw 88-92 mph as a high school closer. Jones, who also excelled in the outfield, and RHP Calvin Carpenter (6) are very athletic for pitchers.

Best Hitter: The Brewers compare 1B Brad Nelson (4) to Sean Casey, and Nelson has more pop.

Best Raw Power: Nelson was one of the best high school sluggers available in the draft. He also has power in his arm, reaching the low 90s when he pitched.

Fastest Runner: Santana can run the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds, a tick faster than Hardy and SS Chris Barnwell (25).

Best Defensive Player: Hardy. Some teams liked Hardy’s upside as a pitcher, but the Brewers took him with the intention of making him their shortstop of the future. Nothing thus far has changed their mind.

Best Fastball: Jones throws 93-94 mph with ease and still was throwing as hard as 97 mph in instructional league. RHPs Jon Steitz (3), Dennis Sarfate (9) and Aaron Sheffield (14) all can register 95s on a radar gun.

Most Intriguing Background: The son of two Yale professors, Steitz returned there this fall to complete his degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. 3B Taylor McCormack’s (7) father Don played in the majors, as did unsigned C Tim Dillard’s (15) father Steve. RHP David Nolasco (23) and C Matt Serafini (43) have brothers who were drafted by the Cubs and Twins, respectively, in 2001. 1B Brandon Gemoll’s (8) brother Justin plays in the Royals system.

Closest To The Majors: Steitz, despite his 6.68 ERA in the Pioneer League. His fastball and slider are plus pitches, and he just showed some rust after not pitching for two months.

Best Late-Round Pick: Sheffield entered 2001 ranked as the top junior college prospect in the nation, then abruptly left Young Harris (Ga.) JC and returned home to be with his father, who was dying of cancer.

The One Who Got Away: LHP Ray Liotta (12) is 6-foot-4 and touches 90 mph. Tulane beat out the Brewers for his services.

Assessment: It’s no secret that the Brewers need pitching, and Jones has easily the best arm in the system now that Ben Sheets and Nick Neugebauer have reached Milwaukee. Hardy, Steitz and Nelson immediately vaulted toward the top of the organization’s prospect list. The Brewers took a liking to players from Arizona in this draft as their first two picks were from that state, as well as six of their top 20.

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