06/17/2002 9:08 pm ET
Brewers sign Prince Fielder
First baseman will report to Ogden Wednesday
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers knew their first-round draft pick wanted to play ball. It was just a matter of getting him in uniform.
Prince Fielder, a hefty first-baseman taken by the Brewers with the seventh overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, took a step in that direction Monday by inking his first professional contract.
Fielder, 18, son of former Major Leaguer Cecil Fielder, was assigned to Ogden of the Pioneer Rookie League and will join the Raptors for the team's homer opener on Wednesday. On Tuesday, he will participate in a workout at Miller Park.
"We wanted to get him out by the start of the season," Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik said. "We weren't sure if we would be able to do that."
But in the end, they signed him on the day Ogden opened its season on the road. Brewers vice president of player personnel David Wilder, senior advisor Bill Lajoie and area scout Tom MacNamara spearheaded a campaign to sign Fielder that Zduriencik termed "persistent."
Fielder batted .524 with 10 home runs and 41 runs batted in for Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla. this season in just 82 at bats. He also had 13 doubles, a triple and scored 47 runs.
"All of us felt comfortable that this kid wanted to play, and he wanted to play sooner than later," Zduriencik said. "He knew that was in his best interests all along."
Fielder's signing is the Brewers' 20th from the recent draft class. Milwaukee selected 42 players overall.
Fielder, a left-handed hitter, stands six feet and weighs 255 pounds. He was considered to have the second best power potential of all high school players in this year's draft by Baseball America.
Adam McCalvy covers the Brewers for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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