Brewers put focus on pitching as Draft concludes
MILWAUKEE -- A slew of college arms, a handful of tough signs and a pair of players with local ties highlighted the Brewers' selections on the third and final day of the 2015 MLB Draft.
Starting with Day 1 and 15th overall pick Trent Clark, a power-hitting high school outfielder from North Texas, the Brewers' 41 selections included 26 pitchers (20 right-handed, six left-handed), five shortstops, four catchers, three outfielders, two first basemen and one third baseman.
Twenty-eight of the selections came from colleges, and 13 from high schools. The Brewers have until July 17 to sign their picks, with at least one player -- Texas high school right-hander Nash Walters -- already in the fold.
Some trends in Ray Montgomery's first Draft as Milwaukee's amateur scouting director:
Starting with the team's second overall pick, University of Virginia left-hander Nate Kirby in Competitive Balance Round A, the Brewers stocked up on collegiate pitchers. Twelve of the team's first 25 selections in the draft were pitchers from four-year colleges or junior college, and the Brewers took 18 college pitchers in all.
In the span of five rounds from the 25th through the 29th, the Brewers took three high school players who generated significant pre-Draft buzz, but fell to the later rounds because of indications they would attend college. They included 25th-round pick Justin Hooper, a 6-foot-7 left-hander with a power fastball from De La Salle (Calif.) High School who was considered one of the best handful of prep pitchers eligible for this year's Draft. But he took to Twitter to make his intention clear before the Draft even began, writing that he was "100 percent honoring my commitment to UCLA."
Starting a new chapter in my life as I will be 100% honoring my commitment to Ucla. Can't wait to get down to Los Angeles in the fall.- Justin Hooper (@hooperbeballin) June 7, 2015
More showcase circuit players followed with 26th-round pick John India, an infielder from American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., who has a scholarship waiting at the University of Florida, and 29th-rounder Donny Everett, a right-hander from Clarksville (Tennessee) High School who is a Vanderbilt recruit. Another fell to the 34th round with Corona (California) Senior High School right-hander Tristan Beck, who told teams before the draft he was going to Stanford. All of those players were mentioned in the run-up to the Draft as potential early-round selections.
After Milwaukee picked Beck, he signaled again his intention to go to college instead, retweeting a story in which he says that after weighing serious offers from teams over the weekend, "I thought it over, slept on it and I just knew my heart was with Stanford. Not that they were bad offers or bad teams, but it just wasn't the right time for me to go out."
Besides 20th-rounder David Lucroy, an East Carolina right-hander and the younger brother of Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, the Brewers selected University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee catcher Mitch Ghelfi in the 28th round.
Ghelfi's older brother, Drew, was the Brewers' 25th-round pick in 2013 out of the University of Minnesota but was released the following August. His father, Andy, was the Indians' second-round pick in 1985 and pitched five Minor League seasons. And his uncle, Tony, was a first-round pick of the Phillies in 1980 and made it all the way to the Minor Leagues as a right-handed starter, pitching three games in '83.
Ghelfi would be the 30th UW-Milwaukee product to play in the Minor Leagues, including current Brewers farmhand Josh Uhen, a right-handed pitcher. The Panthers program is still waiting for its first Major Leaguer.