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Crew snags Puerto Rico's top arm on Day 2

Crew snags Puerto Rico's top arm on Day 2

Crew snags Puerto Rico's top arm on Day 2
MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't a coincidence that the Brewers didn't draft a position player until the fourth round on Day 2 of the First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

After selecting pitchers Taylor Jungmann (12th overall) and Jed Bradley (15th overall) in the first round on Monday, bringing in more young arms remained at the forefront of the Brewers' plan. Through two days, the Brewers selected 16 pitchers, 12 of which are right-handers, and drafted right-handed pitcher Jorge Lopez in the second round (70th overall).

"We took the best players there on the board, and we lined the board up, stayed true to it for the most part," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "You got to stay true to the talent pool, and in this particular Draft, it was pretty pitching-heavy. We did get some pretty nice-looking upside talent as far as position players with some tools, so we thought we hit on a few aspects of the Draft."

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Lopez was ranked as the top prospect in Puerto Rico according to Baseball America, and the 18-year-old from Caguas Military Academy was high on the Brewers' Draft board, too. Seid said he was surprised the pitcher was still available at the 70th spot since he anticipated Lopez going somewhere in the 55 picks that separated the club's last first-round selection from its second-round pick.

In addition to his 91-mph fastball, Lopez is also Puerto Rico's top volleyball prospect. He's been pitching for just three years, but the Brewers were confident enough in the high schooler's feel for his pitches.

"The one thing we really made a concerted effort this year was to identify not only the tools of the player, the athleticism, but also the ability to throw strikes, have feel with their stuff," Seid said. "I think in the past, guys get caught up in radar-gun readings."

Milwaukee added right-handed pitcher Andrew Gagnon from Long Beach State in the third round and came back and selected two-way player Nicholas Ramirez in the fourth round. The Cal State Fullerton product spent plenty of time on the mound, converting all 16 save opportunities, but the Brewers want him at first base. Seid likes Ramirez' swing, and said he's a player who can hit for both average and power.

Not wanting to shy away from adding strong bats to the farm system, the Brewers added another power hitter with the eighth-round selection of 17-year-old British Columbia catcher Dustin Houle. Milwaukee's scouts have been keeping a close eye on Houle for the past couple years, and Seid said there's no denying the teen's power at the plate.

"He's traveled with the Canadian national team and performed with them and went to the Dominican Republic recently, and he came to our workout and hit a home run well up into the Harley Davidson deck. This kid is a strong kid, and he's got a good arm and I'm happy to get him, really happy to get him, and we'll look to sign him for sure."

Though the club selected 14 high school players on Tuesday, Seid said it was important to look deeper into the rounds at players who might be willing to sign.

Among those selected was right-handed pitcher David Lucroy, who is the younger brother of Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy. The 29th-round selection committed to East Carolina, but Seid said he liked what he saw from Lucroy during the pre-Draft workout.

Milwaukee rounded out Day 2 of the Draft with third baseman Trent Boras, who is the son of agent Scott Boras. Seid anticipated the high school senior would attend USC, but said the organization was familiar with him from their area-code team in California.

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 11 a.m. CT Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

• Round 2, Lopez, RHP, Caguas Military Academy, Puerto Rico: The 6-foot-4 high school senior was the top pitching prospect in Puerto Rico. The converted shortstop maxed out his fastball at 91 mph, and he's a quick learner who began pitching just three years ago.

• Round 3, Gagnon, RHP, Long Beach State: His fastball hit 94 mph this spring -- just one of the improvements by the junior, who went 8-14 with a 4.61 ERA through his first two collegiate seasons. Dubbed as a pitcher who could eventually be at the back end of the rotation, the knock on Gagnon is his delivery, which can get too mechanical.

• Round 4, Ramirez, 1B, Cal State Fullerton: His collegiate season ended Sunday in the NCAA regionals but the two-way player brings a lot of power potential. At 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, Ramirez can go opposite field, but working on keeping his body and swing under control remains key.

• Round 5, Michael Reed, CF, Leander High School, Texas: The recent graduate committed to the University of Mississippi. His projections varied as some scouts liked his power, but others felt he was too raw. He hit .386 during his senior season, with five home runs, 39 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

• Round 6, Danny Keller, RHP, Newbury High School, Calif.: At 6-foot-6, 185 pounds, the lanky right-hander has a fastball that maxed out at 93 mph, but his breaking ball didn't draw rave reviews. His delivery also didn't impress scouts, who see him as more of a long-term project. He is committed to Cal State Northridge.

• Round 7, David Goforth, RHP, University of Mississippi: The junior went 4-8 in 14 starts this season, but pitched a complete game against Arkansas. Selected in the 31st round by the Cleveland Indians in 2010, Goforth's go-to pitch is his four-seam fastball, which has hit 97 mph.

• Round 8, Houle, C, Brookswood Secondary School, British Columbia: Houle also played third base in high school, but the Brewers envision him behind the plate. The 17-year-old is Canada's best position prospect, and the right-handed batter also has a strong arm that makes the position change feasible.

• Round 9, Malcolm Dowell, CF, La Grange, HS, Ga.: Dowell excelled in football and baseball, but traded in the shoulder pads and signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City. He was a high school defensive back and linebacker, but the Brewers hope his speed pays off in center field.

• Round 10, Michael Strong, LHP, Oklahoma State University: The community college transfer was previously drafted in the 25th and 22nd rounds and looks poised to be in a relief role. Strong went 5-1 with a 3.61 ERA for the Cowboys this season, and though he could eventually start, his curveball remains one of his best pitches.

• Round 11, Thomas Toledo, RHP, Florida: Toledo is 5-3 with a 3.21 ERA and issued just eight walks during 33 2/3 innings this season. Toledo was a highly touted recruit out of high school and was drafted in the third round by the Padres in 2007.

• Round 16, Carlos Rodon, LHP, Holly Springs High School, N.C.: Rodon committed to NC State, but has no shortage of big league talent. He throws in the low 90s. He entered his senior season as the No. 66 prospect by Baseball America.

• Round 29, Lucroy, RHP, Umatilla High School: The Brewers liked the high schooler's feel for his pitches, which have registered at 89 and 90 mph, and complimented his understanding of the game.

• Round 30, Boras, 3B, Junipero Serra Catholic High School: He appears likely to head to USC, but Milwaukee liked the young left-handed hitter.

Audrey Snyder is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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