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Amateur Signing Bonuses: Brewers

Next up in our series looking at each team's spending on amateur prospects, the Brewers...

  1. Rickie Weeks, $3.6MM (2003)
  2. Ben Sheets, $2.45MM (1999)
  3. Ryan Braun, $2.45MM (2005)
  4. Prince Fielder, $2.4MM (2002)
  5. Mark Rogers, $2.2MM (2004)

The Brewers had a lot of high draft picks in the early-aughts, and they spent accordingly. Weeks was the second overall pick in 2003 after a season at Southern University that was straight out of a video game: .500/.619/.987 with 46 walks and 17 strikeouts in 50 games. He made his big league debut later that year but didn't stick until 2005. He finally put together a full, health season in 2010, hitting .269/.366/.464 with 29 homers.

Sheets, the tenth overall pick in '99, was really the first young player to come up and help get the Brewers back to respectability. He was an All Star as a rookie in 2001, and overall made four trips to the Midsummer Classic in his eight years with the team. Injuries derailed him starting in 2005, but he was always dominant before leaving as a free agent after 2008: 3.72 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 221 starts.

Braun was the fifth overall pick in 2005 and the third college third baseman drafted (behind Alex Gordon and Ryan Zimmerman), but he's since moved to left fielder. His Rookie of the Year campaign in 2007 featured a .324/.370/.634 batting line and 34 homers, and overall he's a .307/.364/.554 hitter in his four big league seasons.

High school first basemen aren't drafted in the first round all that often, but Milwaukee made an exemption for Fielder, who the chosen seventh overall in '02. He reached the big leagues three years later, and is a career .279/.385/.535 hitter in five-plus seasons. Fielder has a 50 homer season and two top-four finishes in the MVP voting to his credit.

Rogers was the fifth overall selection in 2004, but a series of arm injuries and setbacks kept him on the shelf from June 2006 through the 2008 season. He returned in 2009 and performed well (1.67 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 in 64.2 innings), then reached the big leagues this past September. Rogers struck out 11 and allowed just five baserunners and two runs in ten innings, putting himself in prime position to break camp with the team next season.

The Brewers have gotten a ton of return on these investments, with Rogers even coming back from major injuries to produce at the big league level. They haven't spent much on international free agents, but that should change after kick-starting their Latin American program earlier this year.








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