Brewers select Indiana U righty Arnett
Not since they drafted Ben Sheets a decade ago have the Brewers found first-round success with a pitcher. They hope right-hander Eric Arnett breaks the slump.
New Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid spent the 26th overall pick of the First-Year Player Draft on Arnett, a 6-foot-5 power pitcher who jumped to first-round consideration during his just-completed junior season at Indiana University. Arnett was named the Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Year after going 12-2 with a 2.50 ERA and six complete games.
“I feel with the selection of Eric Arnett, we took the best player available,” Seid said in a statement released immediately after the pick on Tuesday night. “He is someone that will be a great fit in our organization and will make us a better as a whole.”
Before they added Arnett on Tuesday, the Brewers had not selected a collegiate pitcher in the first round since they picked Sheets at No. 10 overall in 1999. The team has picked three high school pitchers in the first round since then: Mike Jones in 2001, Mark Rogers in 2004 and Jeremy Jeffress in 2006.
Arnett was rated the 10th-best right-handed pitching prospect entering the Draft by Baseball America. He throws a 92-94 mph fastball that can reach 96 mph, plus a slider that remains a work in progress.
At No. 26, the Brewers matched their latest first-round selection ever. In 1993, they took left-hander Kelly Wunsch with the 26th pick and while he pitched 258 games over six Major League seasons, none of them were with the Brewers. In 1983, the Brewers spent the 26th pick in the Draft on another lefty, Dan Plesac, who eventually became Milwaukee’s closer and made three All-Star teams.
The Brewers were poised to make make five other selections on Tuesday night: Supplemental first round Nos. 39 and 47, second round Nos. 73 and 74 and third round No. 105. Seid and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin will speak to reporters after making their final pick on Day 1 of the three-day Draft.