Brewers Draft Preview
By Allan Simpson
Scouting Director: Jack Zduriencik (first draft: 2000).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 11th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking 12th)
2002 Draft (First five rounds, picking seventh)
His efforts are a primary reason the organization's minor league talent has made a quantum leap forward in his tenure. Ranked last by Baseball America entering the 2001 season, the Brewers talent ranked 16th just two years later.
Milwaukee's top eight prospects were all drafted out of high school--seven by Zduriencik. All three of his first-round picks--outfielder David Krynzel in 2000, righthander Mikes Jones in 2001 and first baseman Prince Fielder in 2002--have enjoyed minor league success and project to be at least solid big leaguers.
That's a far cry from the previous decade, when a series of suspect picks sent the Brewers' fortunes spiraling. Kenny Henderson, Tyrone Hill, Kenny Felder, Antone Williamson, Chad Green and Kyle Peterson are just a sampling of first-round picks that fell far short of expectations for the Brewers in the '90s.
With the second overall pick this year, the Brewers have a great chance to build on their recent success. It's their earliest pick since 1985, when catcher B.J. Surhoff was the No. 1 overall selection.
There's no consensus on the top picks in this year's draft, making it unclear where Zduriencik will lean. The Brewers have considered both a college pitcher (Wake Forest righthander Kyle Sleeth) and position player (Southern second baseman Rickie Weeks), as well as a high school pitcher (Florida lefthander Andrew Miller) and position player (California outfielder Delmon Young).
A wild card is Chipola (Fla.) Junior College lefthander Adam Loewen, the fourth overall pick in last year's draft by Baltimore, the team that drafted him last year and controls his rights. If he goes back into this year's draft pool, he could be a target for the Brewers or any of the teams at the top of the draft.