With the 14th overall pick in the MLB entry draft last night, the Brewers selected high school RHP Dylan Covey out of Pasadena, California. Before discussing Covey and the players the Brewers passed up at 14th overall, we must again visit the age-old prep vs. college pitcher debate.
I’ve always favored drafting college pitchers over high school pitchers, especially when you’re a team that doesn’t have supplemental or compensatory draft picks. It has been the failure of properly scouting and developing highly-drafted high school pitchers which is the biggest reason the Brewers have largely been a failure as a team. Prior to Covey, the Brewers had selected 12 high school pitchers in the first round (including supplemental first round) of the entry draft. Here is what they produced in their major league career as Brewers:
1) Butch Edge. 1974 - 6th Overall. Career with Brewers: 0 IP. Never good. Picked by Blue Jays in expansion draft of 1976. Had a brief, one-season cup of coffee with the Blue Jays before being relegated to minor league obscurity.
2) Richard O’Keefe. 1975 - 5th Overall. Career with Brewers: 0 IP. Complete bust who never accomplished anything.
3) Bill Bourdley. 1976 – 4th Overall. Career with Brewers: 0 IP, did not sign.
4) Alex Fernandez. 1988 – 24th Overall. Good career, just not with Brewers - did not sign. 0 IP.
5) Kenny Hernandez. 1991 – 5th Overall. No career, also did not sign with Brewers. 0 IP.
6) Tyrone Hill. 1991 – 15th Overall. No career. Minor league washout. Hey, at least he signed with the Brewers.
7) Jeff D’Amico. 1993 – 23rd Overall. Big Daddy is the only high school pitcher ever drafted in the first round by the Brewers to pitch for the Brewers in the majors. 432.1 IP, 4.23 ERA.
8) J.M. Gold. 1998 – 13th Overall. He along with second round pick Nick Notgonnapitchhereanymore were supposed to be the fire-ballers of the future. Never made it anywhere near the majors. 0 IP.
9) Mike Jones. 2001 – 12th Overall. Arm injuries and ineffectiveness. Still floating around in the Brewers system, but is not one of the top 500 prospects in baseball. May actually reach the majors, but is already a bust. Never had great stuff.
10) Mark Rogers. 2004 – 5th Overall. Terrible draft pick considering the alternatives and his abilities coming out of high school. His selection was immediately criticized by most baseball people. Rogers probably will reach the majors at some point barring another injury, but he too is probably not one of the top 500 prospects in baseball. Never had health, control or good secondary pitches. Also a bust considering he was selected 5th overall.
11) Jeremy Jeffress. 2006 – 16th Overall. Like Rogers, never had adequate control or secondary pitches. Unlike Rogers, he stayed healthy, but also has severe emotional problems, including what is believed to be a drug addiction. May never pitch again, but I would guess he shows up in the minors later this year or next. Not too early to call him a bust either, though the potential is there that he pitches in the majors at some point. That potential is slim, however, considering his problems and, well, the fact that he simply never was very good to begin with.
12) Jake Odorizzi. 2008 – 32nd Overall. May currently be the best prospect in the Brewers system, not like that’s saying too much. Unfortunately, he’s in low single-a and has years of work and health ahead of him to make it.
That’s bad, really bad. Like, no team in baseball is that bad or even close to that bad at drafting pitchers. The college pitchers they have taken have enjoyed some success: Dan Plesac, Cal Eldred, Kelly Wunsch, Joe Wagner, Kyle Peterson, Ben Sheets, Evan Frederickson, Eric Arnett, and Kyle Heckathorn. The last three are young, though Frederickson looks like busts at this point and Arnett has been a major disappointment. Sheets has had a great career, and Plesac and Eldred had long careers. Wunsch and Peterson at least made the majors.
This doesn’t mean I hate the pick of Dylan Covey. For one, he is generally highly regarded. Second, he doesn’t have the same extremely obvious blemishes that previous busts have had: (1) he should actually sign a contract, (2) he isn’t selected just because he throws left-handed and therefore for some magical reason is more valuable (he is right-handed), (3) he has a curveball, (4) he does not throw 100mph, rather in the 93 mph range like most good major league pitchers, and (5) he didn’t pitch in a high school area with no competition or with a 3-month playing season – he pitched in southern California. Further, high school pitchers have actually seemingly been better selections by the Brewers over the past several seasons – compare Gallardo, Inman, Odorizzi to Arnett, Frederickson, other shitty college pitchers. And it’s not like the college pitchers the Brewers have historically drafted have been total home runs. However, I just can’t get over the extensive history of failure at drafting high school pitchers for the Brewers. I will remain disappointed though cautiously hopeful in the Covey selection.
We can discuss this and other Brewers picks in the comments. Be sure to share a good memory of Jeff Suppan's Brewer career, too.
Labels: MLB Draft