Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Final Predictions For The Bucks Heading Into The NBA Draft

We are just about twenty-four hours away from the 2013 NBA Draft getting underway from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Many rumors have surfaced regarding the Bucks as well as a few names that have been associated with the Bucks 15th overall pick. I'll go over what is true, false, and what to take with a grain of salt. I'm also going to give you some insight on what to expect tomorrow from the Milwaukee Bucks on who we are likely to draft with each pick Here we go.

First, I want to tackle the rumors for everyone.

"The Bucks are interested in acquiring small forward Paul Pierce from the Celtics." 

GRAIN OF SALT - The rumor is true as it's been confirmed by multiple sources. However, this is pretty simple to debunk to show why it won't happen. Unless the Celtics throw in Rajon Rondo too, this isn't happening. Although we all know the Bucks love acquiring guys past their prime, there is no way they are in a position to take on Paul's contract. He would be a great veteran to have, but there are better small forwards that are free agents if we really want one. (Not to mention we can draft one, too). The nostalgia is cool, but it's not a move the Bucks should make if they want to rebuild. They have bigger issues at hand this offseason, like who will be in the backcourt for example, than worry about a veteran presence.

"The Pacers are looking to deal small forward Danny Granger to the Bucks in a sign/trade for point guard Brandon Jennings."

TRUE - The Pacers are/were really serious about getting Brandon Jennings. It's been documented by many NBA analysts, including Sam Amico from Fox Sports Ohio, that the Pacers are extremely interested in trading for Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks.

However, now the Pacers instead want to Bucks to sign and trade Monta Ellis instead. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN asked an NBA executive for some names that are hot-and-heavy in trade talks. The names he got back were the Pacers' Danny Granger, the Bucks' Monta Ellis (sign and trade).

Whether it's Jennings or Ellis, in return the Pacers would send small forward Danny Granger. Granger was a bit banged up last year and didn't play at all, really. He's a great shooter who the Bucks should seriously look at. The Pacers have Paul George now, which makes Granger very expendable. The Bucks will be careful here, however. They obviously won't trade for him if they don't feel he's healthy, especially for Brandon Jennings.

"The Bobcats have placed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the trading block. The Bucks have expressed interest in him."

FALSE - Charlotte Bobcats GM Rich Cho denied that the team is shopping former No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist during a radio interview. 

"No! We're not shopping him,'' Cho said on WFNZ-AM 610. "We get calls about all our players. It's my job to take calls. We're not shopping MKG.''

Cho said, "all the teams that are listed in the report are 100 percent false,'' adding "We still like Kidd-Gilchrist. We think he had a good year.''

The Bucks would have had to give up Larry Sanders, according to the report which made me scratch my head right away. I'd love MKG, but not for Sanders.

"The Bucks have interest in shooting guard J.R. Smith"

TRUE, BUT GRAIN OF SALT - God I really hope this doesn't happen. This is such a Hammond thing to do, though. If you thought Stephen Jackson was a cancer in the locker room, just wait for J.R. Smith if he comes to Milwaukee.

Those are all of the rumors I've heard of. Let's quickly move onto the draft.

Final Draft Predictions:

Pick 15 - UCLA SF Shabazz Muhammad - Shabazz is going to fall, and I feel the Bucks will bite the bullet and draft him. Contrary to the media outlets questioning Shabazz, I don't feel there is anything to worry about. Off the court he has some issues with his father, but that's about it. If he's on the board, the Bucks need to risk it can take him strictly on value. Maybe they look to trade him during the draft. They've been known to do that. Bottom line, the Bucks need depth a small forward if they don't pull off a trade for one after trading away Tobias Harris last season. Shabazz would be a steal at #15.

Pick 43 - Texas PG Myck Kabongo - He's considered one of the best pure point guards in the draft, and I would rank him as a Top 5 overall point guard in the draft. He was originally considered a lottery pick, but some issues at school caused his draft stock to drop. He's got way more pros than cons, that's for sure. His only downside is his size and the NCAA sanctions that kept him from playing last year. He's got great speed, he's a great passer, and great vision of the court. He rarely converts turnovers. The Bucks need depth at point guard considering they may not have a single one they had from last year. Kabongo sounds like a second round steal for me.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, @Mik3_Schu, and @10iskristin.

Bunt to Lose Episode 3: Tucker Neuhaus Interview

Andrew and Alec host this week’s episode as they interview the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2nd round competitive balance pick, Tucker Neuhaus (@Tucker_Neuhaus). Tucker, freshly turned 18 years old, answers a variety of questions, including growing up playing baseball along side his dad, his entire draft experience, who he emulates in the major leagues, if he likes bunting, and whether he’s a Chipotle or Qdoba guy. All that and more in this week’s episode. It was a pleasure to have Tucker on the show.

Follow us on Twitter: @BuntToLose, @AlecDopp, @YouAStupidHogg, @AndrewVrchota

Read our blogs here:
Alec Dopp –
Curt Hogg –
Andrew Vrchota –

Hosted By: Alec Dopp, Curt Hogg, and Andrew Vrchota

Click here to listen to Episode 3:

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @10iskristin, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, and @Mik3_Schu.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Few Ideas for the Brewers at the Trade Deadline

The Brewers will be an active team during the the closing weeks of July as the Non-waiver Trade Deadline looms.

We know it's coming. Doug said it's happening. Mark A. hinted it. Major changes are coming. They will be freeing salary cap while reloading the farm system in the process. Rebuilding for success is about to begin.

I had a long conversation regarding these possible trade ideas with fellow Brewers blogger Ryan Topp (@RyanTopp), who writes over at the Disciples of Uecker blog. We collaborated for a few hours on who are high priority people that need to move, and less important players that don't necessarily need to be moved, but should be shopped.

Here are a few trades that make a lot of sense for both parties involved. These aren't rumors, so don't take them as rumors. These are just ideas of mine that I have put together through research of the prospects and team needs. So, let's get started.

1. Milwaukee Brewers trade 3B Aramis Ramirez to the Boston Red Sox for LHP Brian Johnson and 2B Mookie Betts.

This one is easy. Aramis is set to be the highest paid Brewer next year at 16 million dollars. That is a lot of money that could be freed up for a rebuilding team. Also, the Red Sox need a lot of help at the hot corner. It's been a cold corner for them, actually. Will Middlebrooks has been terrible this year. The phenomenon that is José Iglesias will eventually cool off as well, although he is playing about as good as anyone right now in the Bigs. When it's all said and done, the Red Sox will need a right handed power bat in that lineup. Ramirez could play some DH for the Red Sox if Big Papi were to play first base on those days. The Red Sox have been a nice surprise this year, and Ramirez could be a nice threat added to that already solid lineup.

As for who the Brewers could get, I like the upside in Brian Johnson. He's a south paw who has a 4-pitch arsenal. He has a good sinking fast ball that touches around 92-93, a great slider that is his out pitch, a developing change up, and a decent curve. He's having a bit of an off year at age 22, so he could be available. Brian is ranked the #13 prospect in the Red Sox organization, according to

Mookie Betts is a hidden gem in the Red Sox farm system.
The other component to this trade is someone hidden in the Red Sox farm system, but someone who I think has a bright future in the MLB. Second baseman Mookie Betts is showing great patience in A-ball. He's actually having a very unique season. He's one of only five players currently in the minors who has at least 7 home runs with more walks than strikeouts. Betts actually has almost twice as many walks as strike outs with at least 7 round trippers. (8 HR, 46 walks, 29 strikeouts). To put that into perspective, since 2001, only Barry Bonds has accomplished such a statistic.

I believe the Red Sox would love to have Aramis Ramirez. If they bring him back for next year, it would give the Red Sox another year to develop 3B Garin Cecchini so he's ready by 2015 to take over the hot corner in Boston.  

2. Milwaukee Brewers trade RHP Yovani Gallardo and 1B/OF Corey Hart to the Texas Rangers for 3B Mike Olt, RHP Neil Ramirez, and RHP C.J. Edwards.

There are two Yovani trades I could come up with. (Actually, the first one is mine and the other belongs to Ryan Topp) 

This might seem as a stretch for some, as Texas rarely trades away top prospects. But, there's a part of me that believes Texas has a secret man crush on these two Brewers. A lot of this trade may be apart of a desperation move by Texas if suspensions are handed out to Nelson Cruz for being a part of the Biogenesis scandal.

The Rangers are having all sorts of starting pitching issues to people not named Yu Darvish. Injury after injury after injury has caused over half the rotation to land on the DL. Gallardo has been proven to be a rather healthy guy since his ACL tear and recovery, which is appealing to any team looking for a reliable pitcher.

Another thing worth noting is that a trade very similar to this almost happened between the Brewers and Rangers last season when the Brewers were shopping Zack Greinke. Much like I mentioned above, the Rangers were reluctant to want to move any big prospects. However, now the Rangers have talked about moving guys like third base prospect Mike Olt, who would have to be the big name to come from Texas to the Brewers if they were to send Gallardo.

Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards are two pitching prospects the Brewers would likely be interested in. Much like the Zack Greinke trade, the Brewers will focus on getting a top prospect and then get two potentially great players as well. However, this time the Brewers will have to send more than one player, and it could be Corey Hart if he can prove he can play after the All-Star break. Texas would love the power bat of Corey Hart especially if worse comes to worst for Nelson Cruz. But the likelihood of any team wanting Hart is slim. So maybe you look to move Nori Aoki? Just to shop him, as he is one of the guys you wouldn't mind having in future plans but definite depth is there in the minors in case you do move him. Furthermore, Logan Schafer is sure proving he can be an every day player, thus losing Aoki wouldn't pinch as much.


Milwaukee Brewers trade RHP Yovani Gallardo and 2B Rickie Weeks to the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Kevin Gausman, 1B Christian Walker, and C Michael Ohlman

Baltimore makes about the most sense on paper. Baltimore desperately needs pitching, and they have a ton of prospects. Plus, their issues at second base were like the Brewers' issues at shortstop a few years back. They have nothing acceptable now, and nothing in the works in their minor league system, which is why the trade makes a huge amount of sense.

Gausman after signing his contract last season.
Much like the trade above, this trade would have to produce a top prospect from the Orioles farm system. Kevin Gausman is the obvious choice. Taken 4th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft, Gausman is quickly climbing the levels of the Orioles farm system. Currently pitching in Triple-A along side with Dylan Bundy, he has been rather impressive. Ignoring the wins and losses, Kevin has a 3.11 ERA with 46 strikeouts and only 5 walks. He's got ace potential, number 2 guy at worst. He's going to be a front line starter in the near future.

If we are sending Weeks too, then I expect more names to be involved in such a trade like this. Christian Walker would be a great get for the Brewers in case the Hunter Morris project doesn't work out. Walker hits for average (currently batting .317 in the minors). He has 81 hits with 21 of them going for extra bases (14 doubles, 7 home runs). Currently plays in High-A ball and projected to make MLB debut somewhere in 2015-2016.

Finally, a little bit of a gamble but high ceiling player is Michael Ohlman. He's a catcher. He had a really bad year in 2011. Since then, he's been turning it up and showing vast improvements. Some scouts don't trust it, but you can't ignore the stats. In 2011 he hit .224. Two years later, he's batting .283. Still not "blown away" numbers, but they are definitely noteworthy. 

All of this comes together with sending away Rickie Weeks. The Orioles have a serious issue in their farm system with a lack of developing a second baseman. Weeks would bide them a few years time to address that issue. As much as don't want to see Weeks go, his salary bumps up to 11 million dollars next year and that may weigh the Brewers down if they truly focus on rebuilding.

3. Milwaukee Brewers trade LHP Michael/Mike Gonzalez and RHP Francisco Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers for OF Tyler Collins, LHP Matt Hoffman, and RHP Melvin Mercedes.

This one is a no-brainer. The Tigers need bullpen help. Bad. Jose Valverde is showing the Tigers why they didn't bring him back in the offseason. They have no real reliable source in the pen to take over the closer duties besides Phil Coke. Bruce Rondon was a big tug of war as far as will he be or won't he be our closer. Bottom-line, the Tigers need bullpen arms.

The Brewers could send a proven closer in K-Rod and a decent situational pitcher in Gonzalez in exchange for a few prospects. Both are veterans which is something that (kind of) young bullpen staff needs. 

The most important thing to remember is that this is what the Tigers need right now. They may be willing to part ways with some guys in the lower parts of their minor system to win now, which is why I chose Matt Hoffman and Melvin Mercedes. They both are promising relief pitchers that are just tearing up the minor leagues right now. Hoffman is 24 years old left handed pitcher in Triple-A for the Tigers. Hoffman is not on the Tigers 40 man roster, which is odd. He currently has an ERA of 1.13.

Melvin Mercedes might be a bit tough to get from Detroit. He's on their 40 man and he's having a better season than Hoffman. Granted the right handed pitcher is only 22 years of age pitching in High-A, his numbers are still really good. As a closer, Mercedes is sporting a line of 0.66 ERA/0.91 WHIP/.202 AVG, 11 saves, and 17 strikeouts in 27.1 innings pitched.

Finally, Tyler Collins is a corner outfielder with some good pop in his bat. Though only batting .223 so far this year, he is still putting up pretty decent stats. 22 extra base hits on 45 total hits, including 9 home runs.

4. Milwaukee Brewers trade RHP Kyle Lohse to the San Francisco Giants for LHP Michael Kickham and LHP Ty Blach.

The Giants will be looking for a helluva lot more than just starting pitching come the trade deadline. They need help all around the baseball diamond. The starting rotation, bullpen, second base, and outfield all need to be addressed for them. I think the Brewers will help them with a starting pitcher as Kyle Lohse makes a lot of sense here. They have some payroll freeing up after this season as the Barry Zito contract is on it's tail end. So picking up Lohse's contract wouldn't be all that bad for them.

Kickham pitching for the Giants' Triple-A affiliate.
Unlike the teams listed above, the Giants farm system isn't anything to write home about. There are a few guys that stand out that I think would have to be a part of the deal. The first being Michael Kickman. He's a lefty. He's got a good strike out pitch. And, he's likely only a year or so away from being 100% Big League ready. He made one start for the Giants this year and showed he isn't exactly ready yet. He only lasted 2 1/3 innings and is sporting a 15.43 ERA. He'll be a great middle of the rotation guy once he's truly ready.

Ty Blach is an interesting one. He's not anywhere near Baseball America's Top 30 (per team) for the Giants. Yet, he's tossing really good numbers so far this year for High-A. He's 7-2 over 12 starts, 2.41 ERA/1.09 WHIP/.255 AVG, while striking out 63 batters and only surrendering 8 walks. I like his upside and can be a good middle of the order lefty arm.

(A side note here: I'm not sure how serious we should be taking the San Diego Padres right now, but they are sure playing some great baseball and could be buyers at the deadline if they seriously have a Wild Card slot in sight. They would need pitching, and a lot of it.)

I'm not saying every single trade idea will happen, but these are some options the Brewers will have. They will be heavily shopping players for the next month and a half. It's going to be a pretty wild time. Change can be hard to deal with, especially as a fan because of the connection you develop with your favorite players. But, a change of landscape is needed for this team and it should be something everyone should be looking forward to if they want to Brewers to succeed in the near future.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, @Mik3_Schu, and @10iskristin.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Look Ahead – Where the Brewers Offense Could be in 2014

If you’re like me, this Brewers seasons has frustrated you to no end and you’re probably having a difficult time coming up with positive things to say about the team. At this point, the only non-negative things you can think of to say are laced with sarcasm. Or perhaps now you’re just content that no other players have been injured within the last week. That’s a good start…I think? Segura has been fun to watch, and Gomez has been a nice surprise, but other than that, this season has pretty much been a nightmare. Sure, the Brewers just won a series in Miami and are coming off a 6-0 win against the division rival Reds yesterday, but for the most part, there haven’t been a whole lot of positives this season. For me, I’d much rather think about the future of this franchise than dwell on their ho-hum play from 2013.

Corey Hart trips on blade of grass, placed on 365 Day DL.
Let’s look forward to 2014 and see how next season could possibly start out. The players that the Brewers could and should end up moving this year are third baseman Aramis Ramirez, right fielder Nori Aoki, bullpen pitchers Francisco Rodriguez, Michael Gonzalez and possibly John Axford and Jim Henderson. The Brewers should also look to see what they could get in return for starting pitchers Kyle Lohse and possibly Yovani Gallardo. Rickie Weeks could be a player that the Brewers would be willing to part ways with, but with his performance so far this season I doubt that any team would be interested in trading for him unless he really starts hitting. Corey Hart is a common name that keeps coming up, but at this point, nobody really knows if he will even be on his rehab assignment before the trade deadline. His injury has kept him out longer than expected, and the Brewers don’t think that he will be ready to play before the All Star Break. This will drastically diminish his trade value and probably discourage teams from wanting to trade for him. I also think there’s a big possibility that the Brewers try and bring him back on a one year deal for 2014. 

So, if the Brewers end up trading some or all of these players, that means that they are going to be going into rebuild mode, and there could be a handful of rookie debuts next year. Here is how I think the 2014 roster will shape up. 

Left Field – Ryan Braun. There is zero chance that the Brewers trade him and barring any sudden developments in a situation that I won’t mention, he will be the Brewers starting left fielder on opening day 2014.

Center Field – Carlos Gomez. Another player who isn’t going anywhere. Gomez just received an extension before the season started and has performed better than anyone could have possibly imagined this year – it’s almost like he resurrected his career right before our eyes. (Hey, so this is what it feels like to be a Cardinals fan). It’s a treat to watch him play defense, and his speed on the bags makes him one of the best base runners in the game.

Right Field – Logan Schafer. He’s shown the Brewers what he is capable of doing on the field this year – offensive and defensively. He has one of the Brewers’ best defensive plays of the year this year, gunning down Miguel Montero at home plate from left field in early April. His throwing arm is a thing of beauty, and he has been on fire at the plate lately. If Nori Aoki gets traded, I think Schafer will become the everyday right fielder.

Honestly, this is a better option at third base than Yuni B.
Third Base – This one is more of a question mark, but the Brewers have a couple of possibilities should they trade Aramis Ramirez. They have Taylor Green, who is currently out for this season with a hip injury. Jeff Bianchi, who is being used as a utility man for the Brewers right now, has the ability to play third base. The Brewers also have Juan Francisco, who is currently sharing time at first base with Yuniesky Betancourt, but is a natural third baseman. They could also allow Josh Prince some playing time. He was with the team earlier this year and is currently batting .255 with an OBP of .349 in Nashville. I don’t think any of these guys are long term solutions, but for a team who is attempting to rebuild, any of them would be an okay fit for a year. As long as I don’t have to watch Yuniesky Betancourt ever play third base again, I’ll be happy.

Shortstop – Jean Segura. If you could give someone a negative chance of being traded, I would give that to him. Acquired in the Zack Greinke deal last year, Segura has become a hitting machine. He also has incredible range at shortstop and a very strong throwing arm. He’ll be here for awhile, folks.

Second base – I believe that Rickie Weeks will eventually get himself out of his hitting slump and start playing every day for the Brewers. He has started hitting lately, but is still in a platoon with Scooter Gennett. Weeks will be owed $12MM in 2014. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a player who is earning $12MM (the second highest 2014 salary behind Aramis’ $16MM) to be sitting on the bench half of the time. The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this year, so I’m not sure why they aren’t giving Weeks more opportunities now that he is finally starting to turn it around.

First base – Many people are saying that Hunter Morris will be called up to start at first base in 2014, but I have a feeling that Corey Hart will be back. Since his injury will have kept him out for at least half of the season, teams will probably be hesitant to give him a big deal. The Brewers could bring him back for one year and help him build up some value. If things go well for him and the Brewers aren’t in the race again next year, they could always trade him before the deadline (assuming his stays healthy).

Catcher – Either Jonathan Lucroy or Martin Maldonado will be the Brewers’ primary catcher in 2014. I seriously doubt that Lucroy gets traded, but if he does, we will probably see Maldy pick up most of the catching duties. 

So, as you can see, the Brewers offense will still be in pretty good shape next year. This “rebuild” will probably only take two or three years and the Brewers will be able to start contending for a postseason spot around 2015. And hopefully, by this time, the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates won’t be the three best teams in the National League. But, for now, we’re just going to have to try and survive the rest of the 2013 season by making clever jokes about how bad the team is in order to make ourselves laugh so we don’t cry.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Kristin Zenz (@10iskristin)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, @Mik3_Schu, and @10iskristin.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bunt to Lose Podcast: Episode 2 Recap

Andrew Vrchota and Curt Hogg discuss the latest on the Biogenesis Scandal involving Major League Baseball and it’s players. With them they have Adam Rygg, writer for the Brewer Nation blog on They go over the credibility of Anthony Bosch, the clinic’s creator. They debate the integrity of Major League Baseball in this whole mess. They finish with the future of the game – where do they go from here on out? Also, at the end of the episode Andrew has a special announcement for the listeners.

Follow us on Twitter: @BuntToLose, @AlecDopp, @YouAStupidHogg, @AndrewVrchota

Read our blogs here:
Alec Dopp –
Curt Hogg –
Andrew Vrchota –

Hosted By: Alec Dopp, Curt Hogg, and Andrew Vrchota

Click here to listen to Episode 2:

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, and @Mik3_Schu.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Milwaukee Brewers 2013 MLB Draft Results


Round 2, Pick 54 - Devin Williams, RHP, Hazelwood HS, Missouri 

The Brewers did not have a 1st Round pick in this draft because of the free agent signing of Kyle Lohse. However, that didn't stop the Brewers from drafting a 1st Round talent. Williams was ranked #20 on Keith Law's big board and #44 by Baseball America.

Williams has a projectable body, which means he has space to grow physically. Right now he sits at 6-3, 175 pounds. His fastball hits 90-93 on the radar and it has room to grow. His change up sits at 82 and curve ball sits at around 77-78.

According to Ben Frederickson, $1.017MM is recommended signing bonus for where the Brewers selected Devin Williams. However, the Brewers expect to offer him more.

I really like this pick. The Brewers shied away from taking a college arm this year and went to the high school arm. Hopefully they can hit big on an arm once in my lifetime. I have a good feeling about Williams.

I mentioned above that Keith Law had Williams ranked as his #20 player on his big board. Law is known for being quite critical of farm systems. Especially the Brewers over the years. He had this to say.

Round 2, Pick 72, Competitive Balance Pick - Tucker Neuhaus, SS/3B, Wharton HS, Florida

This is exactly what the Brewers needed. In the preview blog I did a few days ago, I mentioned that the Brewers needed to focus on building the depth of our infield back up. I especially stressed the need of second base and third base. Although he is listed at short stop, I see Tucker turning into a third baseman. And quite frankly, I don't think we need to worry about a short stop for a while.

Tucker has a big power bat, which is another reason you'd think third base would be ideal for him. However, Bruce Seid has indicated that Tucker will in fact start in the Brewers system as a short stop. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are going to be a fun team to watch next year, that's for sure.

Tucker is a good story. He's been through a lot in his life. He tragically lost his brother in a car accident this past year. He's battled through a few injures. Adversity is no stranger to the 17 year old.


Round 3, Pick 90 - Barrett Astin, RHP, University of Arkansas

Barrett Astin was ranked #125 in the draft by Baseball America. This is a good pick, only because it's likely to help pay for Devin Williams.

Round 4, Pick 122 - Taylor Williams, RHP, Kent State

Baseball America listed Taylor Williams at #144. Fastball hits 95 mph. The Brewers have taken two college pitchers in a row. I like this pick more than our third round selection, for what it's worth.

Round 5, Pick 152 - Joshua Uhen, RHP, University Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Hey! Congrats to the local kid, who was the #1 prospect in Wisconsin. A little bit of a red flag pitcher, but the Brewers have a well recognized pitching coaching staff that knows how to take care of arms. Joshua can hit 98 mph with his fastball.

Round 6, Pick 182 - Garrett Cooper, 1B, Auburn University

Cooper is a great pick here. Cooper isn't the first first baseman the Brewers have selected from Auburn. You may have heard of Hunter Morris. Cooper is 6-5, 230 pounds. Little known fact...Cooper was born on Christmas in 1990. Hopefully he can be a gift for Milwaukee.

Round 7, Pick 212 - Omar Garcia, CF, Miami Dade Community College South

Omar Garcia batted .447 with 19 RBI, 39 R, 32 SB at Dade CC South this year. Not sure if he'll stay in center field, or if they try him at middle infield. Outfield seems to be him comfort zone. Not a lot out there on him. He's very small at 5-9, 160 pounds, though.

Round 8, Pick 242 - Brandon Diaz, CF, American Heritage HS, Florida

Brandon Diaz is another speedster. Scouting reports give him a grade 70 for speed, which is pretty good. Our Florida scouts have been busy this year it seems. He's 5-11, 175 pounds.

Round 9, Pick 272 - Tyler Linehan, LHP, Fresno State

Tyler will be a bullpen guy. He struggled this past year. He still has decent stuff. He's got a good cut-fastball that sits in the low 90s. He compliments it with a good breaking curve ball. Jonathan Mayo says if he can add a third pitch and become more consistent, he will be a solid bullpen guy.

Round 10, Pick 302 - Michael Ratterree, RF, Rice

A former second baseman turned outfielder. Don't have much on him. He's 6-1, 210 pounds.


Round 11, Pick 332 - Andy Hillis, RHP, Lee University

Andy is 6-8, 240 pounds. Hillis hits a constant 94-96 mph with his fast ball and can hit 99 mph. He was ranked #179 by Baseball America

Round 12, Pick 362 - Trevor Seidenberger, LHP, TCU

Fastball is high 80's and will develop.

Round 13, Pick 392 - Tanner Norton, C, Bishop Brossart

Tanner might be a tough sign:

Round 14, Pick 422 - Hobbs Johnson, LHP, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Fastball sits at around 88 but will develop. Also throws a change up and curveball.

Round 15, Pick 452 - David Denson, 1B, South Hills HS, California

He did this:

Round 16, Pick 482 - Corey Miller, RHP, Pepperdine University

Went 10 scoreless innings (3 hits, 10 strikeouts)  in April vs. Washington Huskies

Round 17, Pick 512 - Brandon Moore, RHP, Arkansas University

He's part of an Arkansas pitching staff that has an NCAA best 1.87 team ERA, which is an NCAA season record that hasn't been broken since 1976.

Round 18, Pick 542 - Clint Terry, LHP,  Lee University

He has an excellent change-up and good competitiveness on the mound. Great left-handed option.

Round 19, Pick 572 - Josh Matheson, RHP, Minnesota State - Mankato

Relief pitcher. Started one game for Minnesota State. He went 6 innings and only allowed one hit.

Round 20, Pick 602 - Ryan Yarbrough, LHP, Old Dominion

Not finding much on him. Struck out 60 over 82 2/3 innings for Old Dominion in 2013.

Round 21, Pick 632 - Tristan Archer, RHP, Tennessee Tech

As I'm getting to these later picks, it's really hard to find anything on them. So if I don't, I'm going to just write an interesting fact about the player. I'll start here with Tristan...he's majoring in Turf Grass Management.

Round 22, Pick 662 - Johnathan Davis, LF, West Los Angeles College

Found absolutely nothing on him. He's Ryan Braun's replacement, though. (kidding)

Round 23, Pick 692 - Eric Williams, CF, Sachse HS, Texas

This time last year, Eric Williams made Jason A. Churchill's Class of 2013 outfielders. Read here:

Round 24, Pick 722 - Chris Razo, RHP, Illinois State University

Chris Razo was selected by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper as a Louisville Slugger Third Team All American.

Round 25, Pick 752 - Drew Ghelfi, RHP, Minnesota University

Drew calls LaCrosse, Wisconsin home. He'll be a relief pitcher.

Round 26, Pick 782 - Kyren Gilmore Parrott, CF, Herndon HS, Virginia

Found nothing on him, but Kyren Gilmore Parrott has my vote for best baseball name drafted by the Brewers this year.

Round 27, Pick 812 - Tyler Alexander, LHP, Florida International

Tyler tossed a complete game shutout vs. Arkansas State on March 29th. He allowed 4 hits and struck out 10 batters. At that point of the season he had struck out 45 batters over 44 1/3 innings.

Round 28, Pick 842 - Alex Moore, RHP, Lee University

According to Moore's coach, he turned things around big time in 2013 after a bad 2012. Most improved player on the team, in fact.

Round 29, Pick 872 - Nick Eicholtz, RHP, Cambridge Christian HS, Florida

He's already said he'll be playing for the University of Alabama. Won't be signing with the Brewers, unfortunately.

Round 30, Pick 902 - Luis Aviles, SS, Southwest Miami HS, Flordia

Put up a .297 batting average for Southwest Miami High. Not a power bat at all. Speed. Speed. Speed.

Round 31, Pick 932 - Tanner Poppe, RHP, Kansas University

The second Tanner picked, this time a pitcher. He's a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2011, 2012) and KU's Rookie of the Year in 2010.

Round 32, Pick 962 - Ryan Deeter, RHP, UCLA

He's a relief pitcher. 0.89 ERA over 30 1/3 innings in 2012 as a set up man.

Round 33, Pick 992 - Charles Leblanc, SS, Georges Vanier SS, CANADA~!

OH CANADA! It took until the 33rd round to draft someone from the great north. That has to be a Brewers record, considering their motto is Speed. Power. Canada. Here's a showcase video of him:

Round 34, Pick 1,022 - Dylan Brock, RHP, Glendale Community College

Brock is a pitcher, but has a nice bat as well. Batted .318, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 26 R for Glendale CC.

Round 35, Pick 1,052 - William Travis, RHP, Southwest Mississippi Junior College

Not to be confused with the 19th-century American lawyer and soldier, but I couldn't find anything on him.

Round 36, Pick 1,082 - Jesse Weiss, 1B, Kenyon College

Here's Jesse doing a hitting session for Baseball Central:

Round 37, Pick 1,112 - JaVon Shelby, SS, Tates Creek Senior HS, Kentucky

Son of Brewers outfield coach John Shelby.

Round 38, Pick 1,142 - Charlie Markson, CF, Notre Dame

Another hometown kid. He's from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

Round 39, Pick 1,172 - John Cleary, C, University of Maryland College Park

Couldn't find anything on him.

Round 40, Pick 1,202 - Kenneth Meimerstorf, RF, Bishop Gorman HS, Nevada

Here's Kenny hitting at Team Vegas Scout Team's HQ. He was Nevada's #2 prospect in 2013:

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, and @Mik3_Schu.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MLB Draft Preview: Milwaukee Brewers Mini Mock

This is just a little 4 Round mock draft I did for the Brewers. I only did four rounds because, frankly, I didn't feel like doing a forty round mock draft. This is just to give you an idea of how the Brewers could/should draft. This will shed some light on the fact that if we draft well, not having that first round pick won't sting as much. Don't get me wrong, it's still unfortunate that we don't have it, but it's not the end of the world. I'll be the first to tell you that the Brewers need to value their draft picks a lot better then they do. So, anyways, here are a few prospects to look out for during the first couple of rounds.

Round 2 Pick 54 - Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B, St. Thomas HS, Houston TX

Last year I feel the Brewers missed the boat on passing up on 3B Joey Gallo, who was eventually drafted by the Texas Rangers about ten or so picks after the Brewers drafted. Gallo is not hitting for average in Low A for Texas, but he is tearing the cover off the baseball and his fielding% has been in the 90's.

This year, I don't want the Brewers to miss "the boat". So, meet the SS Biggio. Actually, 2B/3B Biggio. Yes, the product of future Hall of Famer Craig, Cavan Biggio would be a glorious pick for the Brewers.

It's evident that the Brewers need to address their infield woes as the recent decline of Rickie Weeks and lack of any hope of having a future third baseman have become obvious in recent years. Current second base prospect Scooter Gennett was called up to platoon with Weeks. Taylor Green was called up last year and was supposed to be the next big thing for the Brewers as he was coming off a Minor League Player of the Year campaign with the Brewers. I can't speak for Gennett but we all know how the Green project worked out.

Cavan Biggio is a great pure talent. Hits the ball well, and still has room to build muscle to really hit for power. He throws right, bats left. He can play both second and third base. He's shown he is very patient at the plate. The only thing that worries me is that he won't be on the board when it comes time to make our pick at #54.

Round 2 Pick 72 (Competitive Balance) - A.J. Puk, LHP, Washington HS, Cedar Rapids Iowa

Starting pitching is yet again an issue for the Brewers. You can never have enough pitchers in your minor league system, especially if they are quality guys. Puk is a great lefty who has a low to mid-90s fastball which will gain a couple tics on the radar as he matures. He has a great change up with good arm speed. His curve ball is a bit of a side arm throw, which will tip pitchers once they pick up on the difference in release points. He does a great job at hiding the ball.

The kid is not only listed as a left handed pitcher, but also a first baseman. He prefers to be drafted as a pitcher, but he also loves to swing the bat. He possesses phenomenal bat speed. He's a very aggressive left handed swinger with lift.

Puk has way more upside on the mound, but he should attract a few National League teams with the bat he possesses as well. Puk should be a solid middle of the rotation pitcher someday.

Round 3 Pick 90 - Jan Hernandez, 3B/SS/2B, Beltran Academy, Florida, P.R.

If the Brewers are able to draft Hernandez in the 3rd Round, it will be the biggest steal on the 2013 MLB Draft.

Jan Hernandez is former teammates with last year's number one overall pick Carlos Correa and is often compared to Carlos. He is considered one of the best pure hitters in the draft this year. Much like Cavan Biggio, Hernandez would help the Brewers rebuild some depth in their minor league system after the trades and busts they've had over the last few seasons.

Hernandez has the potential to be a hit for average player, maybe break 20 home runs every year, and play above average defense at third base. He has much more upside at third base vs. short stop or second base.

One scout said "I wouldn't be surprised if you told me ten years from now that Jan Hernandez is the best hitter in the game." So, there's that.

Round 4 Pick 122 - Pat Young, RHP, Villanova

Pat Young is going to be a huge sleeper pick in the 4th Round. Young stays in the 92-94 MPH range and can hit 95 from time to time. His fastball has a lot of life to it as well. At times it shows a decent amount of sink to it. His slider is developing right now, but showed signs of a major league breaking ball. He also throws a change up every so often.

Pat Young is a tall fellow. He's a staggering 6-7, 205 pounds. 

I think the ceiling for Young is a solid number two in a pitching rotation. He's got some good stuff that will develop well in the minors. Worse comes to worse, he's a great power righty out of the bullpen. 

Note: I previously had the Brewers drafting RHP Buck Farmer out of Georgia Tech. The Brewers drafted Farmer last year in the 15 Round of the 2012 Draft, but Buck decided not to sign and return to Georgia Tech for his senior season. I had to be brushed up on the MLB Draft rules and found out that a player can't be drafted by a player they drafted in a previous year unless they have the player's consent.

The Draft will take place Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on and MLB Network on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m. CT, with the top 73 picks being streamed on and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 11:30 a.m. CT, and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on on Saturday, starting at 12 p.m. CT.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

- Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter (@WISportsBlog) for up to date news on the Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Golden Eagles. We feature live, in-game commentary, breaking news, previews and post game discussions. Follow the entire Wisconsin Sports Blog writing team on Twitter: @AndrewVrchota, @jheldred, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @olewr7, @Stevie2Westside, and @Mik3_Schu.

Braun, A-Rod and 18 Others Could be Suspended by MLB in Connection to Biogenesis Clinic

UPDATE (6/19 at 10:58am) - Suspensions are likely in Biogenesis case.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported that people who have spoken with MLB investigators feel that it is likely that a few suspensions will be issued.

Major League Baseball has started interviewing players connected to the Biogenesis scandal. Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun have yet to be interviewed by the MLB because the league considers them "primary targets" and wants to be sure that they compile enough evidence against the pair before conducting the interviews.
Document recovered from the Biogenesis clinic with Alex
Rodriguez's name that indicate he was a client.

Jon Heyman also reports that the MLB will claim the Joint Drug Agreement legally allows them to issue suspensions prior to the appeals process, because the names involved have already been leaked. This would obviously be a large point of contention for the MLB Players Association, who will argue that suspensions cannot be issued or announced until a player has had the opportunity to appeal.

MLB is also interviewing Porter Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee who is responsible for leaking Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch's notebooks and records to the Miami New Times. MLB has reportedly interviewed Fischer three times now in an attempt to stockpile evidence. Heyman reminds that there are varying degrees of mentions in Fischer's documents; for example, Rodriguez's name allegedly appears alongside mentions of specific PEDs, while Braun's name only appears next to dollar amounts.

I guess the part that sticks out to me is the whole Porter Fischer mess that I linked in the paragraph above. To paraphrase what happened, Porter Fischer took records from Biogenesis after the clinic's owner, Tony Bosch, failed to repay him $4,000. MLB tried to buy records for $15,000. Many of the records have gone missing after they were stolen from Porter's car. Porter is getting death threats.

"The people running Major League Baseball are the biggest scumbags on Earth as far as I'm concerned. At this point, every bad guy out there knows exactly who I am. Why shouldn't everyone else know the story too?"
                                                                                                             - Porter Fischer

UPDATE (6/6 at 12:18am): Here is a statement from Alex Rodriguez on Biogenesis investigation:
"Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our Basic Agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As i have said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship. I am down here doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I'm back playing."
The most noteworthy piece of A-Rod's statement is when he brings up that fact that MLB squealed to ESPN, which is a violation of the Joint Drug Agreement's confidentiality rules. MLB got caught up in that same mess during the Ryan Braun appeal. And, we all know how that ended.

UPDATE (6/6 at 11:10am): In addition to the A-Rod/Bosch news, the New York Daily News is also reporting that Ryan Braun may have only consulted Anthony Bosch while he played college ball for the University of Miami. If that is all they have on Braun, I don't see any way they could discipline him. MLB has nothing to do with the decisions he made in college. If anything, Braun could get hit with lying about only consulting Bosch during his appeal process. But, again, him consulting him in college has nothing to do with MLB. There has been no new evidence presented and MLB can't suspend him for something he already won an appeal on.  

UPDATE (6/6 at 12:45am): According to the New York Daily News, Anthony Bosch tried to get money from A-Rod to help pay his mounting legal bills, due in part to the frivolous lawsuit filed by Major League Baseball for tortious interference. A-Rod refused his request, so Bosch cut a deal with the MLB. In exchange for his cooperation, MLB will reportedly be dropping the lawsuit they filed against him earlier this year and paying his legal bills. (via

As if the integrity and credibility weren't at a low, this has to put everything at rock bottom. I don't see how the MLB will win this battle.

UPDATE (6/5 at 2:34pm): MLBPA president Michael Weiner issued the following statement today: 
"The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner's Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players, and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association. The Commissioner's Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations.
"The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner's Office shares these interests."
Original Post:

The MLB is planning to suspend at least 20 players connected to Biogenesis, the Miami clinic under investigation for supplying performance-enhancing drugs, reports T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish of ESPN's Outside The Lines.

According to a source of Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record, besides Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, "other major, major names" are also involved in the Biogenesis case.

A full list of the suspected names are: Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jhonny Peralta, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto. Other names have turned up on documents, but as of right now they are known under code names.

Previously, MLB officials also investigated a possible connection between Biogenesis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, as the spokeswoman for Cano's foundation, Sonia Cruz, has had her name turn up in some clinic documents.

One name that has cleared is Nationals' pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who used the Biogenesis clinic to buy product that is not banned by Major League Baseball.

Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and begin naming players, with suspensions possibly following within two weeks. Bosch is set to meet with MLB officials in New York City on Friday to begin sharing his information.

First things first. Cheating is bad. I don't endorse it. I don't like it. I don't support it. An even playing field makes sports fun. However, there is cheating not just in what one ingests or injects into their body. Especially in baseball. Stealing signs, corked bats, the use of pine tar that is not allowed, and pitchers using foreign substances for better grips and rotations all are just as illegal as taking a drug to give them the upper handed advantage.

Photo: ESPN
Let me start here with the "credibility" of this whole situation. So, in an interview with Pedro Gomez, Tony Bosch said he didn't have any knowledge of suspected PED distribution at Biogenesis. But, now he has agreed to work with MLB to name names of guys he sold PEDs to? Not to mention MLB is suing Tony Bosch...(awkward)

The MLB will need to gather more information than just Bosch's testimony. The lawyers who represent the players will easily claim that Bosch's lack of credibility and that he is only naming names to avoid possible criminal prosecution and getting himself sued by the league and that will be that. 

The original report on ESPN uses words and phrases like "if," "might," "possibly," "is expected to," and "corroborating evidence could prove difficult to come by." To me, that doesn't sound like MLB has all of their eggs in one basket. Not one bit.

First, to cover the basis for my Brewer fans who read my blog regularly, it's not known if Braun's name will be mentioned by Tony Bosch in regards to if Braun actually purchased PEDs from the clinic. It's all speculation at this point. Bosch mentioned a few months back that Braun only used him as a consultant during his appeal process, so there's that. But again, Bosch is about as credible as a butcher at a PETA event. It is believed that MLB is continuing to use Braun's name just because of his history.

Here is Braun's post game interview following the game in which the news came out. It was full of confidence and he didn't have a "Well, you caught me" vibe at all, which at least gives Brewer fans some reassurance. Here is the full post game interview:

MLB's integrity is quite possibly the most comical about this whole situation. A player can get a DUI and won't get suspended, let alone fined or get benched for a game, yet taking a banned substance gets you a 50 game suspension. A player can abuse his significant other physically or sexually and not get suspended or fined, yet a player's name on a piece of notebook paper could end up leading to a 100 game suspension. There's something terribly wrong with that mindset. Infact, to me it's 100% ass-backwards.

I understand rules are rules and there are no loopholes for them. However, we're in an era of baseball where performance enhancers are part of the game. They have been for almost 20-25 years. The 80's were all about drug use, too. Only back then it was all about the cocaine and heroine.

My point is that maybe instead of slapping the wrists of these players by dishing out these suspensions that they honestly don't care about, I think it's time for MLB to either A.) make these drug use regulations part of their contracts where if they fail their contracts are voided and they are jobless or B.) just allow steroids to be a part of the game. That's really the only way to get this stuff straightened out and to put an end to the bad press baseball has been building up for decades now. Financially, these players don't care about suspensions. And if you think they do, you're delirious. A lot of these players could retire today if that wanted to and could live comfortably for the rest of their lives. But, neither of those options I listed are likely to happen when they can't even figure out how to implement a proper instant replay system to fix the errors their umpires continuously make.

Finally, to defend a few of the players that are rumored to be on this list, what happens to the players who have already been disciplined by the MLB? You have guys like Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera who served 50 game suspensions last season for testing positive for PEDs. Shame on them for doing it, however all indications show they are clean now. I'm assuming previous offenders are more "on the radar" than non-offenders, you would think. Anyways, so MLB's plan is to suspend them again for already serving punishment for what they've done? I'm sorry, but that makes so sense to me at all. If I get a parking ticket for illegally parking and pay the fine, I don't get another ticket the next time I park legally just because of what I did the day before. Maybe that's a bad comparison, but I hope it gets my point across.

MLB is head hunting because they are frustrated with what the game has become, which is understandable. They are looking to make an example out of the these 20 players and anyone else in the future who turns up in the bad press of steroid use. We will find out in a few weeks time how they will handle this situation, but I have a feeling this is going to be a battle that will last a lot longer than the two week timetable MLB has on the board.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @Mik3_Schu, @jheldred, @olewr7, and @Stevie2Westside. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Draft Prospect Fits for the Bucks - Round 2

I hope everyone enjoyed my Round 1 write up from a few days ago. I'm now going to dive into Round 2 of the draft board and point out some key players that could help the Bucks rebuild and fill their holes in the backcourt. But first, a few news tidbits for the Bucks.

- Lester Conner, who was Larry Drew's main assistant coach in Atlanta, will likely be named as Drew's lead assistant in Milwaukee.

- The Bucks, who pick 15th and 43rd in the upcoming NBA Draft, are looking seriously at guards and small forwards.

- They're especially looking closely at German import Dennis Schroeder and Shane Larkin from Miami.

- Regardless if the Bucks bring back Redick, Ellis and/or Jennings, they're still looking to add depth to their backcourt.

- Despite the recent report that suggests they prefer Ellis to Jennings, NBA officials would be pretty surprised if they let him walk without getting anything in return. Further, it's expected for him to be back in Milwaukee next season. 

- Herb Kohl is committed to keeping the Milwaukee Bucks from relocating by replacing the Bradley Center.

- Reports indicate PG/SG Jarrett Jack is unlikely to return the Golden State Warriors next season, who the Bucks could pursue in the offseason. (I have Jarrett Jack as part of the Bucks' offseason outlook post found here:

Round 2

Tony Snell, SF, New Mexico, 6-7, Jr. - Now before we get too infatuated with Snell, let's all be honest with each other. With the way he's shooting up the draft boards in recent weeks, chances are he won't even be available when it's time for the Bucks to pick at number 43. But, before the hype ensues even more, let's take a look at Snell. He's a 42% shooter from the field and 39% from behind the arc. He averaged 12.5 points per game last year for the Lobos. Although his stats aren't overwhelming, he had a fantastic finish to his junior year, including making nearly 50% of his 3-point attempts over his last five games. Snell is a sharpshooter, and is a player the Bucks desire. If he were to drop to the Bucks in the second round, he's a great value pick and should be taken by Milwaukee.

Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State, 6-1, Sr. - Here's another prospect whose stock is rising by the day as the NBA Draft approaches. Canaan is another point guard the Bucks should really take a hard look at. He is also a very underrated prospect and could be a steal for the Bucks if they decide to draft a point guard in the 1st Round. Speaking of 1 Round, Isaiah has a chance to be drafted late in the 1st Round much like Snell. Canaan averaged just over 21 points per game for Murray State in his senior year. He had 3 rebounds and 4.5 assists to go along with that. In his most impressive game from last year, Canaan scored 35 points in a double overtime win vs. Morehead State. He shot 50% from the field (10-20), including 41% from behind the arc (5-12). He also shot 91% from the free throw line (10-11). Canaan also had an impressive game in an overtime loss to Belmont as he was one rebound shy of having a triple double (22-10-9). Cannon showed sparks last year and could really turn into someone special for anyone's backcourt. The Bucks need to take a long look here. He has received some NBA comparisons to Jameer Nelson, which is nothing to shake a stick at. He's more than likely NBA ready right out of college. He's strong. He's got a great jump shot. He's got the leadership.

Ryan Kelly, PF, Duke, 6-11, Sr. - Kelly is on of those risky picks heading into draft day because of an injury. Kelly missed 13 games during his senior year due to a foot injury and about two months ago had surgery on that same foot. Kelly is expected to return to 100 percent health and pursue an NBA career. He should be healthy by July, which is perfect timing as the NBA Draft is June 27th. Kelly's biggest game of the year and arguably the best of his Duke career came during the game where he returned to action after his 13 game absence. Ryan dropped 36 points on then #5 ranked Miami Hurricanes, including making 7 three-point shots out of 9 attempts. Kelly finished at 71% from the field that game. Kelly is an interesting draft prospect because he has the height to be a power forward but has a sweet little jumper to play at the small forward position. And, as I said about Tony Mitchell in Round 1, the Bucks could look in the Round 2 for their man to compliment Sanders and Henson.

Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State, 6-7, Jr. - The kid knows how to shoot. The kid knows how to rebound. The kid knows how to dish the rock. If you watched any Big Ten basketball this year, I'm sure you've seen multiple highlights of Deshaun Thomas. Thomas scored double digits in every single game this year. He averaged 19.8 points per game, almost 6 rebounds a game and 1.3 assists. One thing that he corrected from the 2011/2012 season to the 2012/2013 season is his free throws. He went from shooting 74% in 2011 to 83% in 2012. In doing so, that really helped him improve his game. He's about the standard size for what an NBA team would be looking for in a small forward. Thomas could serve as a great 6th man off the bench to start of his NBA career and eventually move into the starting lineup. Regardless of where and when he plays, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.

Nate Wolters, G, South Dakota State, 6-4, Sr. - Look out for Nate Wolters, folks. Another guard that is going to turn heads in the NBA but is so underrated right now he's not getting the attention he deserves. Wolters can run both point and shooting guard. He averaged 22.3 points per game, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists in his senior year. He shot an impressive 48.5% from the field last year. Wolters had one of the best performances of all college basketball players last year. In a game against a college that has the longest name in the history of the earth, Nate Wolters dropped 53 points on Indiana University/Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons. He shot an incredible 60% (17-28) from the field while going 9 for 14 from behind the arc and making 10 out of 11 free throws. Nate came close to a few triple doubles this year but missed them by a rebound or assist or two. Nate has some rising stock, but not enough to be a Round 1 draft pick. Furthermore, he will lkely be available when the Bucks have to make their second pick.

Second Round Sleeper Pick: Vander Blue, SG, Marquette, 6-4, Jr. - Because, why not? Right? Blue really developed into a star player this past season. He averaged nearly 15 points per game and made just over 45% of his shots. It came as a surprise to many that Vander announced he would skip his senior year at Marquette and enter the NBA draft. Whether you believe it or not, drafting Blue could be a wise choice by the Bucks. He's a home town kid. He's familiar with the home court of the Bradley Center. He has improvements to make in his game such as ball control, free throws, and selecting better 3-point shooting opportunities. He's raw talent, and can develop into a formidable player in the NBA.

You can watch full coverage of the NBA Draft on ESPN on Thursday, June 27th. Follow the Twitter feed (@WISportsBlog) for up to the minute details and rumors days before and the day of the Draft for the Milwaukee Bucks. Hope you enjoyed these two installments. With my luck, they will trade both picks away and not draft anyone and these two articles will be for naught.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @Mik3_Schu, @jheldred, @olewr7, and @Stevie2Westside. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Top Draft Prospect Fits for the Bucks - Round 1

The Milwaukee Bucks have hired former Atlanta Hawks head coach Larry Drew to a four year deal worth about ten million dollars. I really like this hire. A lot. Much better than what Kelvin Sampson could have done, in my opinion. Larry Drew coached the Hawks for three seasons, leading them to the NBA Playoffs in each of those three years he coached them. Drew provides a great draw for the Bucks, if that makes any sense to anyone.

With this hire, we can officially focus on the NBA Draft, which is later this month (June 27th). There are many questions surrounding the Bucks backcourt heading into the offseason as Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, and JJ Redick could all be gone when free agency is all said and done. There is a rumor that the Bucks front office prefers to keep Ellis and Redick over Jennings, but grain of salt there. One thing worth mentioning to somewhat support that potential direction of the Bucks regarding the future of Brandon Jennings is that Brandon really went to bat for the the Bucks to hire Sampson, yet they hired Drew instead. So, there's that.

The following candidates are who I feel are the top talents in each round that I feel could benefit the Bucks the most to improve the voids they have. Obviously no matter who they draft, it won't put them up to the caliber of the Heat, Bulls, etc. However, with the amount of funds that will be available for the Bucks to utilize this offseason in free agency, we could easily improve to a number six or five seed. But, that can be discussed on a later post. Here is Round 1.

Round 1

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan, 6-6, Jr. - Tim has the potential to be an instant star. The Bucks worked him out last week and are very high on him. They were thoroughly impressed to be exact. The Bucks need depth all across the backcourt and will look at the best available player who can provide a punch off the bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. isn't elite in any area of his game, but he is a solid all-around player. Tim was a 43% shooter from the field for Michigan last year, while knocking down 37% of his 3-point attempts. He also averaged about 5 rebounds a game along with 2 assists and 1 block. He's listed as a 6'6" shooting guard, but the Bucks would likely want him to add depth to the small forward position after trading away Tobias Harris at the trade deadline.

Shane Larkin, PG, Miami, 5-11, Soph. - Larkin is another guy the Bucks worked out last week and are also very high on. Larkin interviewed with the media after the work out and said he sees a lot of potential with the Bucks and how he could fit into their offensive scheme and help improve the team. Larkin averaged 14.5 points and about 5 assists while shooting 40.6% from beyond the arc last season. Larkin is a sharpshooter and can go on streaks without missing, hence his 47% shooting percentage last season. Larkin is only a sophomore, so age will factor into his playing time for the Bucks off the bat if they draft him. However, he could really form into one of the best point guards in the league regardless of his size (5'11", 180 pounds).

Could Shane Larkin be the potential replacement for Brandon Jennings?

Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State, 6-5, Jr. - Franklin is definitely one of the more underrated draft prospects in this draft and could be a great value pick for the Bucks. Jamaal is a 6'5" shooting guard who averaged 17 points per game last year while shooting 41% from the field to go along with with 9.5 rebounds and 3 assists a game. His shot from behind the arc isn't anything special, but he makes up for it with his defense and intangibles. He got about 3 steals a game last year for the Aztecs while only committing just over 2 fouls a game. He's a very smart ball handler and all around great basketball mind. A pattern that Jamaal showed last season was that he contributed somehow in every game in some aspect. If his points were down, he was racking in 10+ rebounds, stealing the ball and accumulating dimes. 

Glen Rice Jr., G/F, NBADL, 6-6 - Glen Rice is an interesting story. Last year he was kicked off the Georgia Tech basketball program for driving under the influence and discharging a firearm while under the influence. A year later, he got his act together, played for the NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and lead the team to the D-League championship and was named the game's MVP. Rice averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in the playoffs including averaging 29 points, 11.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3.5 blocks in the D-League finals. The Bucks have worked Rice out and would be a phenomenal pick for the Bucks.

Glen Rice Jr. playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers

Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas, 6-9, Soph. - Mitchell could very well be one of the best pure athletes in the NBA Draft this year. The Bucks have said that they want someone to compliment Larry Sanders and John Henson at the forward position. Well, standing at 6'8.5" with a 7'3" wingspan, Mitchell is easily their guy. A nice note on Mitchell is that he was born in Milwaukee and has talked about in recent interviews about liking the idea of playing here. Mitchell had ten double doubles for North Texas last season. To give you a better idea of how crazy good Mitchell is, here is a little highlight video of him. He makes playing basketball look easy.

First Round Sleeper Pick: Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA, 6-6, Fr. - Now, you all are probably thinking I'm nuts for a few reasons. You either think A.) Shabazz won't drop this far or B.) he's a terrible athlete and not worth the pick. If you are in group A, it's been talked about that Muhammad could end up dropping to the late first round even. Past the Bucks at pick 15. If you are in group B, I understand your concern. I was a bit skeptical myself. (Still am a little). However, it can't be ignored he averaged nearly 18 points as a freshman while shooting 44% from the field and 38% from behind the arc. He also averaged 5 rebounds a game. He did all of this while only playing an average of 30 minutes a game. Not counting the three games Muhammad missed to start the season, he only had one game last year for UCLA where he didn't score in double digits. (vs. Utah 6 points, 3-13 shooting, 0-4 from 3-point range). If Muhammad falls to the Bucks, I would simply take him as a value/best available player pick. Who knows, you may strike gold.

Thank you for taking the time to read, as always. I'd like to hear what you would do (realistically) if you were the GM and you had control of the 15th pick of the NBA draft for the Bucks. I don't want answers like "trade the pick for a warm towel" or anything of that nature. Send me your ideas on the Twitter account: @WISportsBlog. I should have Round 2 ready to go by tomorrow if I have time. If not, by Tuesday for sure.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

Andrew Vrchota (@AndrewVrchota)

Follow us on Twitter for up to date news on Brewers, Packers, Badgers, Bucks and more. Live in game commentary, breaking news, previews, and post game discussion. @WISportsBlog @AndrewVrchota, @JoeP_Norton, @SMahon2Go, @Mik3_Schu, @jheldred, @olewr7, and @Stevie2Westside. Finally, find us on Instagram! (wisportsblog)