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Power bats rule for Crew on Draft's Day 1

Power bats rule for Crew on Draft's Day 1

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Power bats rule for Crew on Draft's Day 1
MILWAUKEE -- After nabbing a pair of power arms in the first round last year, the Brewers went for power bats this time.

Blessed with a pair of first-round selections for the second straight First-Year Player Draft, the Brewers picked catcher Clint Coulter at 27th overall and Georgia Southern University outfielder Victor Roache at No. 28. Both are right-handed hitters, Coulter a prep player who was linked to the Brewers for weeks before the Draft, and Roache a collegian coming off a serious injury.

The Brewers picked another big bat in the supplemental round, using the 38th overall selection on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo outfielder Mitch Haniger.

"We think there's a shortage of power [in the Minor Leagues], and in the Draft there's a shortage of power, too," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But all three players aren't just power, softball-type players. They are all guys that can play a position.

2012 Draft Central

"This goes in cycles sometimes. We had some pitching last year, and now these are [hitters] who fit some of our needs in the organization."

The selections snapped the Brewers' three-year streak of picking pitchers in the first round. They took Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley in 2011, Dylan Covey in '10 (he did not sign) and Eric Arnett in '09.

"That's the way the board was lined up," amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "We had high school, college pitchers; we had a couple of college bats. We're just happy the bats got to us. We were a little nervous for a second."

These are big bats.

Coulter, 18, is listed as 6-foot-3 and between 210-215 pounds, depending on the source. He is a former state wrestling champion in Washington, a discipline that Coulter says imparted toughness and flexibility.

Teammates called him "Country Strong," or "Grunt," because, as Coulter said, "every time I swing, sometimes a little grunt sneaks out."

Baseball America called Coulter "a beast."

"Yeah, I'm pretty large," he said. 

Roache, 20, is listed as 6-foot-1, 230 pounds and belted 30 home runs as a sophomore at Georgia Southern, the first Division I player to top 30 since 2003. He had major surgery after fracturing a bone in his left arm and dislocating his wrist in February, but was examined by Brewers head physician William Raasch and director of medical operations Roger Caplinger, who expect Roache to be ready for the fall instructional league.

They hope his power stroke returns.

"From freshman to sophomore year, my work ethic didn't change," said Roache, who went from hitting seven home runs his first season at Georgia Southern to 30 homers as a sophomore. "I was always the first one at the field, last one off. My approach at the plate changed. It got a lot more aggressive, kind of found my identity as a power hitter. My whole approach to the plate changed. I think it allowed me to see the ball better and when I got that pitch not miss it."

Haniger, 21, is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound center fielder. He was the runaway Big West Conference leader in home runs (13), RBIs (64), slugging percentage (.626) and total bases (132).

He hails from the same school that produced Brewers outfield prospect Logan Schafer, whom Haniger considers a friend.

"I had heard from my advisors that [the Brewers] were one of the teams real interested, but once Victor Roache got taken in the late first round, I thought there was less of a chance they were going to take me at 38," Haniger said. "But it's awesome, it was a great feeling. Words can't describe it."

The Brewers go way back with both Coulter and Roache. Area scout Shawn Whalen coached Coulter as an 8-year-old All-Star, and scout Mike Farrell previously coached Roache. Haniger was scouted by Dan Huston.

The Brewers have until 4 p.m. CT on July 13 to sign their 2012 Draft picks.

Coulter has not hired an agent, a good sign that he intends to sign with the Brewers instead of going to Arizona State University on a scholarship. Roache is advised by agent Larry Reynolds, and Haniger by Matt Sosnick.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. By virtue of their extra picks, the Brewers have baseball's 12th-highest pool, a total of $6,764,600.

That includes $1.675 million for the 27th overall pick, $1.65 million for No. 28 overall and $1.359 million for No. 38.

The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

"We're in a good direction," Seid said. "I feel pretty confident that we'll be able to take care of this and get them out playing."

The Draft continues Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. CT at MLB.com with rounds 2-15, and concludes with rounds 16-40 on Wednesday.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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