6/8/2013 1:49 A.M. ET
Brewers find fan in local right-hander Uhen
By Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers stayed local for their fifth-round selection (No. 152 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, taking right-handed pitcher Joshua Uhen out of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
Uhen became the highest Draft pick out of UWM, four rounds and 156 picks earlier than Jordan Guth, the Phillies' ninth-round selection last season.
"It's been a blast. I don't think it's really hit me yet," said Uhen about an hour after being chosen by the Brewers. "Just the fact that I'm presented with the opportunity to chase my dream is amazing."
Uhen grew up a Brewers fan in Oshkosh, Wis., about an hour away from Miller Park, and watched the Draft Friday with his father, Kevin, mother, Cheryl, and sister, Alyssa.
"All the support from friends and family is amazing," Uhen said. "They are all Brewers fans, so they are pretty happy.
"I just wanted a team that wanted me."
The hard-throwing UWM reliever underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2011 but bounced back from the elbow surgery with a solid 2013 season to bump up the Draft boards.
"When I found out I had to have the surgery, it was scary. A lot of things run through your head," Uhen said. "But I forget I even had the surgery sometimes until I look down and see the scar."
Uhen has plenty of arm strength, with a fastball that can sit at around 94 mph and touch as high as 97 mph at times. The 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore has good life and sink to his two-seamer as well. His other pitches are still works in progress, though both his changeup and slider could be Major League average in the future.
Uhen didn't pitch a ton this spring out of the 'pen and has some command issues to work through. Should he sign, his future is likely coming out of a big league bullpen.
"I'm still learning the game, still improving," Uhen said.
Brewers use third-round pick on college righty Astin
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers opened Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday by selecting Arkansas right-handed pitcher Barrett Astin as the first of their eight picks on the day.
Milwaukee took Astin in the third round with the 90th pick overall, making him the third Arkansas pitcher taken off the board behind Ryne Stanek (29th overall) and Colby Suggs (73rd).
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said the team thinks Astin "has a chance to be a pretty good starter. He works both sides of the plate up and down and he throws the breaking ball for strikes," Seid said.
Astin served as Arkansas' closer in 2012 and helped his team reach the College World Series, but he was converted mainly to a starter this year. The right-hander started 14 of the 18 games he appeared in, pitching a career-high 90 2/3 innings.
While Arkansas couldn't repeat its deep run in the NCAA Tournament, Astin had his best statistical year, pitching well in both roles while holding a 1.79 ERA.
"He's got a good delivery and everything seems to work," Seid said. "The ingredients are there for him to be a pretty good starter for us."
Astin relies on his low-90s sinker. It has good tailing action, and he isn't afraid to attack hitters with it. He notched 79 strikeouts this season as a junior and walked just 20 hitters. His secondary offerings aren't as well-developed as his fastball, but he has the makings of a solid slider.
Astin will have to improve his offspeed pitches to be a starter as a professional, but there could be more upside if he returns to his previous role. He has the makeup to pitch in high-leverage situations as a reliever.
Astin was the first of three consecutive right-handed pitchers taken by the Brewers on Friday, followed by Taylor Williams of Kent State and Joshua Uhen of University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.
Milwaukee finished Day 2 picking three outfielders (Omar Garcia, Brandon Diaz and Michael Ratterree), a first baseman (Garrett Cooper) and a left-handed pitcher (Tyler Linehan).
Day 3 of the Draft continues with Rounds 11-40 streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 12 p.m. CT.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
In the Pipeline
The Brewers loaded up on arms in the first two days of the Draft, selecting four right-handed college pitchers in their first five picks, and adding left-hander Tyler Linehan in the ninth round.
The college pitchers could fit in nicely behind pitching prospects the Brewers already have and like.
Seid believes the Brewers have pitching at the upper levels of the system that will make it to the Majors, starting with Johnny Hellweg and Jimmy Nelson at Triple-A Nashville, Taylor Jungmann and Drew Gagnon at Double-A Huntsville and Jed Bradley and David Goforth at advanced Class A Brevard County.
Brewers add college righty Williams in fourth round
MILWAUKEE -- With their fourth-round pick (No. 122 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected college right-hander Taylor Williams.
Williams began his college career at Washington State, but he played sparingly as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to Mount Hood Community College in Oregon. He then transferred to Kent State this year and has become the Golden Flashes' top starter.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid thinks he could continue as a starter in the Brewers farm system and work his way up the chain.
"He can throw middle, mid-90s," Seid said. "He's got an out-pitch slider, as well as being able to manipulate the fastball in the strike zone.
"We really like him as part of our pitching group [in the Draft]."
Williams, a right-hander, grabbed attention in February when he struck out Kris Bryant, this Draft's top hitting prospect and No. 2 pick to the Cubs, three times in a Kent State victory. Williams mixes his low-90s fastball effectively with a slider and changeup.
Williams' delivery has some effort to it, though he is athletic enough to largely compensate for it. Still, his delivery and 5-foot-11 stature will likely make him a reliever in his professional career.
Brewers draft power first baseman in Cooper
MILWAUKEE -- With their sixth-round pick (No. 182 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected college first baseman Garrett Cooper.
The 6-foot-6, 229-pound Manhattan Beach, Calif., native hit seven home runs and 12 doubles and had 37 RBIs in 56 games as a senior at Auburn in 2013, with a slash line of .354/.481/.540.
"Our scouts just felt really good about this guy's potential," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "In the sixth round, we felt it was a good value pick. We took [Brewers starter] Hiram Burgos in the sixth round in 2009. More or less the same situation."
Cooper was a Second Team All-SEC selection, finishing second in the SEC in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage and seventh in batting average.
Cooper transferred to Auburn after spending two years at El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif.
He was drafted for the first time on Friday.
"Why he wasn't drafted [in past years]? I can't tell you," Seid said. "It could be signability reasons. Some guys, they do slip through the cracks in the Draft. Maybe he's one of them."
Brewers select college outfielder Garcia in Round 7
MILWAUKEE -- With their seventh-round pick (No. 212 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected center fielder Omar Garcia out of Miami Dade Community College South.
"I saw him at Miami Dade this year and I told my scouts, 'Let's keep an eye on this guy. He can play a good game,'" Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said.
Garcia played two seasons at the Miami, Fla., junior college and hit .447 with 19 RBIs and 39 runs scored in his 2013 sophomore campaign.
What stood out most to Seid, though, was Garcia's speed as he stole 32 bases in 39 games.
"He can fly," Seid said. "Love the speed. He plays a good center field, he knows his game. He gets on base and plays small ball. He's an exciting player to watch."
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Oviedo, Fla., native bats and throws from the right side and attended Lake Howell High School in Seminole, Fla.
He was the third position player selected by the Brewers and the first outfielder.
Brewers discover young outfielder in Diaz
MILWAUKEE -- After selecting high school pitchers with their only two selections on Day 1, the Brewers picked their only high schooler of Day 2 with Brandon Diaz of American Heritage High School (Fla.).
The Brewers took the center fielder in the eighth round as the No. 242 overall pick.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid liked Diaz's speed but also his maturity between the lines as a young player.
"For a high school player, he's a good baseball player," Seid said. "He has a chance to hit for some power and again, love the speed."
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Coral Springs, Fla., native batted .478 with a .620 on base percentage, seven home runs, 22 RBIs and 44 runs scored in his senior season.
The speedy right-handed hitter will play college ball at Florida International if he does not sign with the Brewers.
Diaz was the second of three outfielders selected by Milwaukee and second center fielder in a row behind Omar Garcia.
Brewers show faith in southpaw Linehan
With their ninth-round pick (No. 272 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected left-handed pitcher Tyler Linehan out of Fresno State.
The Mariners drafted Linehan out of high school in 2010 in the 14th round, but he opted to go to Fresno State instead of signing.
Following a successful sophomore campaign in which he tallied a 3.58 ERA over 83 innings, Linehan had a disappointing season this year. In moving between the rotation and the bullpen, the southpaw struggled to find any consistency. He finished his junior season with a 6.97 ERA in just 41 1/3 innings, while opposing batters hit .370 off him.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid looked past the numbers, though.
"If you notice, at the end of the year he pitched some really good games for Fresno State," Seid said. "He's a guy that throws in the low to mid-90s, he's got secondary pitches. When his game's on, he's very difficult and he gets a lot of swings and misses."
Despite the struggles, Linehan still has good potential because of two good pitches in his fastball and curveball. His fastball sits in the low 90s and has good cutting action to it, while his curveball has late, sharp downward action.
If Linehan can become more consistent and add a third pitch, he has a good future ahead of him.
Brewers use final Day 2 pick on outfielder Ratterree
MILWAUKEE -- With their 10th-round pick (No. 302 overall) in the First-Year Player Draft on Friday, the Brewers selected right fielder Michael Ratterree out of Rice.
In his four seasons at Rice, Ratterree remained relatively consistent. Of course, that also meant there wasn't a ton of improvement -- at least stats-wise -- from the 6-foot-1, 210-pound outfielder.
Still, Raterree found ways to impact games with his arm and his defense, and there was a bit of a boon to his power numbers as his college career went along.
"Great kid. Has a chance to hit. Has a chance to hit for power," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "Finding a position for him will be the issue. He will probably end up in the outfield.
"We're looking at him as an opportunity to be a Major League baseball player."
Although his overall production dipped in his senior season, Ratterree consistently found ways to reach base, leading Rice in walks during the 2013 campaign.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.