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After prep splash, Crew pivots to experience, arms

MILWAUKEE -- After swinging for the fences with three straight high school picks to start the Draft, the Brewers' focus shifted to college players and pitchers throughout the final two days of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

The Brewers made a splash on the first day of the Draft, selecting three prep players with high ceilings. It began with left-handed hurler Kodi Medeiros from Hawaii's Waiakea High School at No. 12. The Brewers then used pick No. 41 to take California prep shortstop Jacob Gatewood and pick No. 50 to select Monte Harrison from Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri.

The latter two gambles paid off Saturday, when Gatewood and Harrison both reportedly signed with Milwaukee, each for a bonus of around $1.8 million. That was about $450,000 more than the assigned slot value for the 41st pick and $700,000 more than the assigned value for the 50th pick. The Brewers lured Gatewood away from a scholarship at USC; Harrison was planning to play both baseball and football at Nebraska.

"We're in a position to say that we're very, very close with those players, and we're happy that they're going to be in a Brewer uniform," amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "At the same time, we still have a few things to get done."

Those things would presumably include discussions with the other 39 players the Brewers drafted over the three-day event. After three high-schoolers on Day 1, Milwaukee dipped into the pool of college talent for seven of the team's next nine selections. analysts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis speculated Milwaukee shifted its philosophy knowing that it would have to pay more than the allotted slot money for Gatewood and Harrison. Seid acknowledged that the limits set by the Draft system played into the team's strategy.

"You have to be cognizant of what you feel you're going to spend, based on the system and how much you're able to allot for your top players, so from that standpoint, we did our homework," Seid said. "At the same time, the players we got in the top 10 rounds, and several beyond that, we took with the idea that they could be Major League Baseball players."

Seid pointed out that several Brewers, including second baseman Scooter Gennett and pitcher Mike Fiers, came from the third day of the Draft and went on to big-league success.

The eight picks the Crew made on Day 2 were split evenly between pitchers and position players, highlighted by third-round right-hander Cy Sneed out of Dallas Baptist University, who analysts say might project as a reliever, and fourth-round Maryland prep outfielder Troy Stokes, a prototypical center fielder and leadoff hitter. On the Draft's final day, Milwaukee went heavy on pitching, using 22 of its final 30 picks on hurlers. All but one of the Brewers' picks between rounds 21 and 35 were used on pitchers. The trend was broken up at the end, when Milwaukee used four of the last five picks on high school position players.

"We did due diligence early on in the Draft today in trying to identify some tools, some arms," Seid said. "It got to a point where some of the players became maybe one-tool type guys toward the end, but we did everything we can to continue to make great picks."

Perhaps the team's most intriguing pick of Day 3 was Jordan Yamamoto of Hawaii's Saint Louis School. The right-hander threw a complete-game two-hit shutout against the Brewers' top pick, Medeiros, in Hawaii's state playoffs this year. Reports say more than two dozen scouts were in attendance at the matchup.

Seid also highlighted 11th-round pick Brandon Woodruff out of Mississippi State, who he said has a great arm but was sometimes inconsistent.

In all, the Brewers selected 27 pitchers and 14 position players. It was a slight shift from last year, when Milwaukee selected 23 pitchers. Twenty-three of Milwaukee's 41 picks were selected out of college.

At the end of three long days of drafting, Seid sounded extremely content with the Brewers' new crop of talent.

"I feel good with the way things went," Seid said. "The staff and I are happy with the results at this point. Like every year, you walk out of your Draft room feeling that you've done something good."

Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for
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