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Brewers put focus on pitching early in Day 2

June 10, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- After picking a trio of bats on Day 1 of the MLB Draft, led by University of Louisville outfielder Corey Ray at No. 5 overall, the Brewers loaded up on college pitching on Day 2.Of the eight players selected by the Brewers on Friday, five were college pitchers,

MILWAUKEE -- After picking a trio of bats on Day 1 of the MLB Draft, led by University of Louisville outfielder Corey Ray at No. 5 overall, the Brewers loaded up on college pitching on Day 2.
Of the eight players selected by the Brewers on Friday, five were college pitchers, including four who stand 6-foot-2 or taller, beginning with South Carolina right-hander Braden Webb in the third round. The Brewers also picked a college second baseman, plus a prep catcher and a shortstop.
Was the Brewers' run on college arms by design? No, amateur scouting director Ray Montgomery said.
"This is the way the board was," Montgomery said. "We really like these guys."
Track every Brewers pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.
:: Complete 2016 Draft coverage ::
Here is a pick-by-pick look at the Brewers' selections:
Round 3 (82nd overall), Braden Webb, RHP, University of South Carolina
Webb was projected to be a high pick out of his Oklahoma high school in 2014, throwing consecutive no-hitters to start his senior season, but he suffered an elbow injury and underwent Tommy John surgery. He was still in rehab mode at this time last year when the Indians drafted Webb in the 38th round; he opted to prove his health with the Gamecocks instead and was a Draft-eligible freshman with a 10-5 record, 3.24 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings. His low-90s fastball reaches 96 mph, according to's scouting report, and his best pitch is a curveball.
"It made me not only a better pitcher," he said of his long journey, "but a better person overall. I truly believe that. … It made me realize there's more to life than just baseball. What drives me now is more my love for the game, and not what it will do for me."
After TJ, Webb raises his stock and his round
South Carolina plays Oklahoma in an NCAA Super Regional beginning Saturday.

Round 4 (111th overall), Corbin Burnes, RHP, St. Mary's (Calif.) College
Burnes went undrafted as a 170-pound high school senior in Bakersfield, Calif., three years ago but has shot up the prospect charts since filling out to 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He ranked 39th on's Draft prospect list and 57th by Baseball America, having boosted his stock last summer in the Cape Cod League before going 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 120 strikeouts vs. 33 walks in 101 2/3 innings as a junior ace at St. Mary's.
"[Scouts] always ask about the Cape," Burnes told in the run-up to the Draft. "That was everything for me. It was a big confidence builder."

Round 5 (141st overall), Zack Brown, RHP, Kentucky
The Brewers' run on college right-handers continued with Brown, who ranked 80th in's Top 200 entering the Draft. Another large-framed (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) workhorse with a mid-90s fastball that reached 96 mph, Brown's good stuff did not show up in his box scores. He was 2-11 with a 6.08 ERA in his junior season at UK, with only 62 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings.
"We look at the raw materials and what our guys can do with it," Montgomery said.

Round 6 (171st overall), Payton Henry, C, Pleasant Grove (Utah) HS
The 6-foot-3 catcher/first baseman/pitcher was the top-rated player in Utah and has a college commitment to BYU if he doesn't sign with the Brewers. A right-handed hitter and thrower, he batted .519 as a senior at Pleasant Grove, where he started practicing with the varsity team as a seventh grader because his dad, Darrin, is the baseball coach. That fall, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, players on the team convinced Darrin Henry to let Payton bat in the final inning of a scrimmage against BYU.
"I didn't really want to do it, and the pitcher they had out there was throwing about 91 and 92 [mph]," Darrin Henry told the newspaper, "but I decided to do it."
Payton lined a single.
"He wasn't intimidated and he's never intimidated in those situations," Darrin Henry said. "He's become used to playing against older guys, and it's really helped him."
Henry is one of the players who worked out for Brewers scouts at Miller Park about two weeks before the Draft. The same was true of the team's final selection on Day 1, catcher Mario Feliciano.

Round 7 (201st overall), Daniel Brown, LHP, Mississippi State University
The Brewers resumed their run of college pitchers, but broke their streak of selecting players who stand 6-foot-2 and above. Brown is just 5-foot-9, but he ranked No. 153 on's Draft prospect list with a 90-94 mph fastball that has played particularly well since Brown switched to relief in mid-April. He limited opponents to five earned runs in 14 relief outings from April 13 through the end of the season.
Even if he remains listed at 5-foot-9, Brown would not be the shortest pitcher in Brewers history. Three pitchers have checked in below that height; 5-foot-6 Danny Ray Herrera in 2011, 5-foot-7 Takahito Nomura in 2002 and 5-foot-8 Shane Nance in 2002. All were left-handed relievers, but Brown, like all of the other pitchers drafted so far this year by the Brewers, will begin his pro career as a starter.
"Size is not the issue here," Montgomery said. "It's the stuff that he has [that drew interest]."

Round 8 (231st overall), Francisco Thomas, SS, Osceola (Fla.) Senior HS
A switch-hitter, Thomas is from Carolina, Puerto Rico, and originally caught the eye of Brewers scouts there before moving to Florida to finish his high school career. The Brewers have a heavy scouting presence in Puerto Rico, which led them to this year's 75th overall pick, catcher Feliciano, as well as top pitching prospect Jorge Lopez and shortstop prospect Yadiel Rivera in past Drafts. Thomas does not turn 18 until Aug. 27.
"When you're talking about somebody that age, staying in the middle of the field and having 'switch-hitability,' he's new to all of that," Montgomery said. "He's raw in terms of where he's at right now. But he's athletic and he has good tools to stay in the middle of the field."

Round 9 (261st overall), Trey York, 2B, East Tennessee State University
Tall for a second baseman at 6-foot-2, York hit .348 with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in his senior season with the Buccaneers. He played in the same conference as Mercer's Kyle Lewis, an outfielder who went No. 11 overall to the Mariners, and reportedly was among the players under consideration by the Brewers at No. 5.
Round 10 (291st overall), Blake Fox, LHP, Rice University
Another big college pitcher for the Brewers. Fox is listed as 6-foot-4, 225 pounds in MLB's Draft database and went 31-9 with a 2.54 ERA in 48 career starts at Rice before graduating last month.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.