MILWAUKEE -- If the comparison is to Brett Lawrie, the sensational Brewers prospect-turned-Blue Jays third baseman, then Clint Coulter will probably take it.
The Brewers on Monday spent their first of their 42 picks in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft on Coulter, who, like Lawrie four years ago, is a right-handed-hitting high school catcher out of the Pacific Northwest. The Brewers took Lawrie 16th overall in 2008 out of British Columbia. Coulter went 27th overall from Union High School in Camas, Wash.
Lawrie ultimately moved from catcher to second base and then, after Milwaukee traded him to Toronto in December 2010, to third. Teams who worked out Coulter, including the Brewers, who saw him at Miller Park last week, wanted to gauge his skills both behind the plate and in the outfield.
"They did have me throw from the outfield, and I caught, but it's going to be whatever they want," Coulter said. "My main focus is definitely hitting and it's always been, and that's probably partly why I'm not the greatest catcher. I haven't really gotten a ton of instruction on it. I just kind of got put back there."
Coulter was a shortstop growing up, then moved to third as he grew bigger and stronger, then to catcher because of his strong arm.
"I'm still learning the ropes back there," he said, "but it's definitely something I'm passionate about now and I would definitely like a shot at it if they would give it to me. Whatever is going to get me in the lineup, I'm comfortable with."
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said the team plans to keep Coulter at catcher. Seid's staff sent video to Brewers catching instructor Charlie Green for analysis.
"[Green] said he feels confident he has a chance to stay behind the plate," Seid said. "This guy is an offensive guy as well, and he's an athletic kid for his size, so there is opportunity that this kid could play multiple positions if needed. This kid wants to catch. His goal is to be an offensive-minded, Major League catcher."
Indeed, Coulter told MLB Network he molds his game after Braves All-Star Brian McCann.
The catching instruction that Coulter did get in high school came from his coach, Tom Lampkin, a former Major League catcher who played parts of 13 seasons for six different teams, including a 73-game stint with the Brewers in 1993.
"He's always told me that I was different," Coulter said. "He's played with first rounders, and he thought that I did have that ability, both mentally and physically. But you just never know, you know?"
Coulter was the 49th best prospect in the Draft, according to MLB.com's rankings, and is committed to play at Arizona State if he doesn't sign with the Brewers. He has not hired an advisor, a good sign that Coulter intends to sign and begin a professional career.
"I have a great scholarship to Arizona State, definitely one of the best programs in the U.S., but starting my pro career now is definitely really important to me," Coulter said. "I'm not getting any younger."
The signing deadline is 4 p.m. CT on July 13. Coulter turns 19 on July 30.
"Hopefully, we come to an agreement," Coulter said. "I'm not looking for any crazy signing bonus or anything. That's partly why I got drafted, because I wasn't trying to break the bank. I know you don't make your money in the Draft. I'd like to get out playing and start getting better, start learning."