MILWAUKEE -- Playing with a chip on his shoulder worked for one notable Wisconsin athlete. Perhaps it will work for another.Sounding a bit like Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he slipped to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24 in the 2005 NFL Draft, California prep shortstop Brice Turang said
MILWAUKEE -- Playing with a chip on his shoulder worked for one notable Wisconsin athlete. Perhaps it will work for another.
Sounding a bit like Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers after he slipped to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24 in the 2005 NFL Draft, California prep shortstop Brice Turang said he was determined to make teams regret letting him fall to the Brewers at No. 21 in the MLB Draft last month. Turang signed Thursday for $3.4111 million, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis.
"Obviously, there were some teams that didn't like me and some teams that did," said Turang, who was mentioned as a possible top overall pick before his senior season at Santiago High School in Corona, Calif. "It happened to work that way, and I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm going to go out there and put a chip on my shoulder and play as hard as I can to pretty much show what they lost.
"That's just kind of how I am."
Turang had a scholarship waiting at LSU had he opted not to sign with the Brewers, and he said the decision went nearly down to the wire. It wasn't until Wednesday, Turang said, that he knew for sure he was going the professional route. He put pen to paper at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix on Thursday, a day before the deadline.
In the run-up to that life-altering decision, Turang tried to keep things as normal as possible.
"I went out and hit, I hung out with my friends," he said. "I wasn't quite thinking about it. Then we were kind of getting to the deadline and I was like, 'OK, let's try to figure this out.' So we did. Now I'm out here in Arizona playing for the Brewers."
It was "extremely hard" to pass on a scholarship to play for LSU, he said.
"I'm not going to look behind," said Turang. "I wish LSU the best of luck. They're going to go out here and win a national championship. I know they will. It was a tough call, but I'm excited to be out here."
Turang will begin his professional career in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but the Brewers have shown a willingness to advance high school picks to the Pioneer League in their first year of pro ball. That was the path of outfielder Tristen Lutz last year after the Brewers drafted him 34th overall. This year, Lutz is playing at Class A Wisconsin as a 19-year-old.
"[Turang] hasn't seen live pitching in quite a while, so we'll get him ramped back up down there in Arizona and let him get his feet wet on the routine of being a professional baseball player," Brewers amateur scouting director Tod Johnson said. "Then, we'll see."
The Brewers struck one other agreement on deadline day with 20th round pick Joey Matulovich, a right-hander coming off his junior season at Cal. His bonus was lower than $125,000, so it did not count against Milwaukee's pool. The Brewers signed fewer players than in past years -- 23 of 40 Draft picks, plus eight undrafted free agents -- but still exceeded their pool by nearly four percent and will pay a tax on that overage. Milwaukee used its remaining dollars to make some last-minute offers Friday to players with college offers, but none bit.
"I think we took an 'aggressive' class, as far as a lot of high school kids after the 10th round," Johnson said. "They obviously have options, and junior college players as well, to go to school if we don't reach an agreement. In other cases, for instance with [12th rounder] Korry Howell and [12th rounder] Reese Olson and [24th rounder] Wade Beasley and [25th rounder] Pablo Garabitos, we were able to get those guys to sign. We feel good about that."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.