Every year hundreds of MLB draftees go unsigned. That happens for many different reasons. Unlike other sports, in a given draft, very few players will ever see the playing field. For example, in 200 The Milwaukee Brewers drafted 49 players. 46 of those players never stepped on a big league field, 2 did but had minimal impact (Jon Coutlangus and Dave Krynzel), and only 1 has made a career (Corey Hart). This article I will examine players who the Brewers failed to sign and have had major league impact since the 2000 draft.
As I mentioned before, the Brewers didn’t fail to sign anyone of significance. One big mistake that the Brewers did make though was drafting Dave Krynzel with the 11th overall pick. They could have taken Chase Utley who went just 4 picks later to the Phillies.
Like the 2000 draft, the Brewers didnt fail to sign anyone of significance. The highlight of this draft was JJ Hardy in the second round. Other notable Brewers include Manny Parra and Tim Dillard. Again the Brewers had a dud in the first round in Mike Jones, he never put on a big league uniform. Outiside of the top 5, there weren’t any significant players until David Wright at 38.
The Prince Fielder year. The drafting of Prince alone made this a successful draft. However the Brewers could have done even more damage in 2002. In the 40th round with the 1189th pick, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Hunter Pence OF out of Arlington HS. Yes that Hunter Pence. The Brewers could have formed a hell of a team by adding Pence to their core of 2007-2011. Can’t really blame the Crew for letting a 40th rounder get away but this one hurts.
Perhaps one of the biggest moves by the Brewers was to hire Doug Melvin as GM before the 2003 season. The Brewers drafts significantly improved once Doug Melvin came to town. The Brewers didn’t miss out on much. They took Rickie Weeks who has been a cornerstone to this franchise over the past 6 years.
This year the Brewers selected Mark Rogers (5th overall) and Yovani Gallardo (46) with their first two picks. Mark Rogers has been a bust to say the least. The Mark Rogers pick hurts because later in the round Jarred Weaver and Gio Gonzalez were selected. A rotation of Greinke Weaver Gallardo and Marcum would be World Series caliber. Another key late pick was Lorenzo Cain who was dealt to Kansas City to help acquire Zack Greinke
2005 was both a great draft for the Brewers and for the MLB as a whole. The first round of 2005 was loaded with All Stars. The Brewers were also able to acquire a handful of players that are important to the team. That group is led by MVP Ryan Braun, Mat Gamel, Michael Brantley(no longer a Brewer but a key piece to the CC Sabathia trade), Zach Braddock, and Taylor Green. That group could have been even better though. The Brewers failed to sign Jemile Weeks (8th round), 2009 AL ROY Andrew Bailey (16th), and up and coming Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta (26). The Brewers bullpen is one of the main components that held them back from ’08-10 and Andrew Bailey really could have boosted that.
It’s still too early to tell if the Brewers let anyone significant go unsigned. Many people do not realize how unlike the other major sports in America, a player is not automatically tied down to a team. Due to the amount of players in the draft and the fact that many of the players are virtually unknown, these hidden gems are hard to spot but you really feel the pain if they get away. The point of this piece is to show just what players the Brewers let slip away. I just wish that Doug Melvin and Crew would have had a crystal ball and ponied up the extra couple dollars to sign these future all stars.