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Greinke makes hobby out of Draft arts

Brewers starter studies video, scouts and observes in war room

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were off Monday, but right-hander Zack Greinke was working. He was the team's secret weapon in the First-Year Player Draft.

Greinke, one of the most highly-scouted players in the country in 2002 -- he went sixth overall to the Royals -- is now something of a Draft hobbyist. He studied video of potential Brewers picks, joined Craig Counsell on a Spring Training scouting mission, and spent Monday night in the Brewers' war room observing Day 1's selections.

Draft night is more mundane than some fans might imagine, Greinke said.

"There's not much going on," he said. "You just kind of wait for your pick and just pick the top guy on the board, pretty much. They do all the work before."

"They" included amateur scouting director Bruce Seid and his army of crosscheckers and area scouts. They spent the last year canvassing North America for talent and building the team's Draft board.

Did Greinke offer input?

"Nah, they're pretty tight up there," he said.

Greinke said he favors hitters over pitchers because the latter are so tricky to scout. High school pitchers, particularly, Greinke said, can dazzle scouts at 95 mph in one start and then struggle at 91 mph the next. Scouting them via video is even more challenging, he said, because cameras cannot capture "life" on pitches.

Hitters are more steady. Greinke's personal Draft board contained lots of them.

He compiled it on an iPad and showed it to general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and manager Ron Roenicke on Sunday at Miller Park.

"He doesn't care to go down in the fifth round and beyond," Roenicke said with a smile. "He just wants the first 40 guys, whatever he had on his list. He knows them. It's not that he just looks at numbers. He watches some video, knows the size of them. He likes it."

Roenicke stopped by the war room, too. When he arrived, Greinke was already in place.

"The past week, he's been writing reports and studying the videos," Melvin said. "Him and Counsell have been hanging out together. I invited [Greinke] up to the Draft room. I said, 'If you want to come, come on upstairs.' I think it's great to know that a young player likes that, loves to follow it. We enjoyed having him up there."

Roenicke said Greinke wanted the Brewers to get the player who went two selections before Milwaukee's first pick. If that's accurate, then Greinke wanted Clemson infielder Richie Shaffer, a 6-foot-3 power hitter.

Instead, the Brewers picked prep catcher Clint Coulter at No. 27 overall and college outfielder Victor Roache at No. 28.

In fact, the Brewers' first four picks were position players. That suited Greinke, a pitcher, just fine.

"I have a lot more trouble with pitchers," he said. "Hitters are easier. ... I try to get some guys I like, so, like three years down the line, I can see how I did."

Therein lies the draw for Greinke. The challenge of the thing.

"I guess you try to see something other people can't see," he said. "It's just interesting to me."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
Read More: Milwaukee Brewers, Zack Greinke