The deadline for signing 2009 draft picks has come and gone, and with all the concentration on whether or not the Nationals could get Stephen Strasburg to sign (they did), it was easy to lose track of how the Brewers did in signing their own picks.
With so many high draft picks — they had two supplemental picks, as well as an extra second rounder — it was important to not only fill the system with great talent, but also get that talent under contract. For the most part, it appears the Brewers did an excellent job on both accounts.
While there were some questions on the signability of a few players, Bruce Seid and Doug Melvin managed to sign each of their first 23 picks, and 32 of 53 overall. A number of them signed soon after the draft, including first rounder Eric Arnett, but questions about outfielder Kentrail Davis, pitcher Brooks Hall, and shortstop Ryan “Scooter” Gennett. Those three did end up signing, albeit over slot and at the last minute.
As Adam McCalvy reported, the Brewers shelled out over $2 million combined for those three players, with $1.2 million of it going to Davis, a Scott Boras client. That’s more than the Brewers gave Arnett as their first pick — the righty from Indiana got a $1.197 million signing bonus. Hall, a big righty who was committed to South Carolina, required a $700,000 bonus to be lured away from the Gamecocks. Gennett was also committed to a national powerhouse — Florida State — but was signed for what’s believed to be over $200,000.
While the big league team has certainly been disappointing this year, it’s great to see the front office doing such a good job keeping the cupboards full in the minors. For a small-market team that can’t compete in the free agent market, it’s important to keep the prospects coming through the pipeline. Not only do these new prospects repesent the Brewers of tomorrow, they can also become valuable trade chips — just take a look at what Matt LaPorta was able to provide despite never playing for the big league club.
This was an especially important draft class for the Brewers, who have been short on pitching talent at nearly every level. The additions of Arnett, Hall, Kyle Heckathorn, and others will hopefully bolster the organizational depth. With other high picks like Jeremy Jeffress and Mike Jones flaming out (so far), the club desperately needs someone from this class (or last year’s) to step up as a top pitching prospect — something the Brewers haven’t had since Manny Parra and Yovani Gallardo. As the old saying goes, though, there’s no such thing as a can’t-miss pitching prospect.
For a full list of the Brewers’ draft picks and to see who signed, head on over to Brewerfan.net’s draft selection and signing thread.