I guess I didn’t see this one coming.
The Nationals selected my guy Ross Detwiler right before the Brewers with the #6 pick, so there’s no telling if they would have gone with him if he fell one more spot. Daniel Moskos went 4th to the Pirates while Matt Wieters went 5th to the Orioles. Pretty much all the guys I wanted went before the Crew picked.
Except, of course, Jason Heyward. He fell all the way to #14, where the Braves took him. He’s got to have more upside than LaPorta, but I think I have an idea about what the Brew Crew might be doing here.
I was just musing this morning that the team needs another impact bat in the lineup. Prince Fielder is putting up MVP numbers and Ryan Braun might insert himself into the ROY race pretty quickly here. Corey Hart is finally being given a chance and is showing what he can do. Still, our offense lags significantly at times and I can’t help but think ahead to what we’ll do with LF next season. (I’d trade for Adam Dunn, but I’m sure his .250-ish AVG and 150+ SO will blind Doug Melvin).
Matt LaPorta figures to move quickly through the minors given that he’s got 4 years of college ball under his belt, and is already 22 (older than ¡Gallardo!). Maybe the Brewers believe he can play LF well enough to solve that problem as early as next year. He played 6 games there as a freshman at UF, but as a senior this past year, he played only 1B and DH. Either way, I’m guessing we might see him in the Show when the rosters expand in September.
Jeff Sackmann speculates:
It sounds like LaPorta will give left field a try as soon as he starts his pro career. That could be great, giving the lineup yet another big bat in another couple of years…or it could mean we’ll have a Ryan Howard/Ryan Shealy like trading chip to support the 2008 pennant run.
As was the case with Rabbi Braun, if LaPorta needs time to work on defense as he transitions to the outfield, it’ll probably happen at Hunstville or Nashville. All the same, though, I’d hope that one of the main reasons the Brewers went with LaPorta is because they think he’ll contribute sooner than in “another couple of years.”
One thing is for sure: his power is serious. A run down of his senior season at UF shows that he controlled the plate well to boot. 55 BB against 16 SO, a .582 OBP and .817 SLG. In short, a beast-like season.
He might have been a stretch pick, maybe to save money (he’ll still get >$2million), maybe so that the team sees results ASAP. If the LF experiment is anything of a success, and he adds 20-30 homers as early as next year, Brewers fans will end up liking this pick quite a bit. A lot depends on the next year and a half, which is actually a lot shorter of an appraisal time than most draft picks.
With Detwiler, Moustakas, Wieters, and Moskos all gone by #7, I can’t say that I mind this pick at all. Jason Heyward would have been a bit more interesting, but at least they didn’t take Jarrod Parker (who will now turn out to be the next Jake Peavy, I’m sure).