MILWAUKEE -- After waiting over four hours to make their first pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers selected two players with tremendous upside.
With the 54th pick, the Brewers selected right-hander Devin Williams from Hazelwood West High School in Missouri. Milwaukee used the 72nd overall pick to take prep shortstop Tucker Neuhaus of Wharton High School in Florida.
The Brewers waited long into the night to make their first pick because they forfeited the 17th overall selection when they signed right-hander Kyle Lohse in free agency.
Williams, 18, is ranked as the 49th overall player in the draft by Scout.com. The 6-foot-3, 172 pound right-hander has an athletic build that should be ideal to add weight down the road. Committed to the University of Missouri, Williams has a fastball in the 88-92 mph range and throws a change-up, curveball and slider. His velocity had increased over the past year and he has hit 96 mph on the gun a few times, according to Baseball America.
"A high-upside talent," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. " ... From Day 1, we were excited about the athleticism of the player as well as his talent."
Baseball America ranked Williams as the 44th overall player in the draft, while ESPN.com had Williams at 20th overall. Seid saw Williams pitch in a 1-0 game in the Missouri state tournament and walked away impressed with his poise and competitiveness.
"To say we are happy he got to us - I'm very happy and really excited about it," Seid said.
In an interview with FOXSportsMidwest.com, Williams came off as confident and said he grew up idolizing Pedro Martinez.
"I want to be in the Hall of Fame," Williams told FOX Sports Midwest. "I want to be one of the best to ever do it."
Neuhaus has faced a tremendous amount of adversity during his senior year of high school, starting with the death of his older brother in a car accident last November. His senior year on the diamond was slowed to just a few games due to injuries.
About to turn 18-years-old in the coming weeks, Neuhaus ruptured his eardrum after a ground ball took a nasty hop during a game and also dealt with a strained quadricep.
"The makeup is off the charts," Seid said. "He's athletic. He's going to stay in the dirt, that's our evaluation of him. He's a left-handed hitter that not only brings power, but a chance to hit. We did have him here in Milwaukee for a workout, and the kid really grows on you."
Ranked 53rd by Scout.com and 84th by Baseball America, Neuhaus is a player the Brewers feel they got a bargain on because they jumped on his scouting earlier than most teams. Committed to the University of Louisville, Neuhaus stands at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds.
"You have to rely on your scouts in the area a lot of times," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "He had some adversity this past spring. There are teams that might not have seen him. We are fortunate to get a guy where we really like his bat."
There are some questions as to if Neuhaus projects as a shortstop at the next level, but Seid says the team will send him out as a shortstop whenever he is signed.
"There's a chance," Seid said of Neuhaus playing shortstop. "I wouldn't rule it out. I'm not saying it's his ultimate position, but he's got good hands, he's got good feet and he's got a good arm."
The Brewers had Williams much higher on their board than when they picked them. Melvin admitted the challenge of waiting until the second round to make their first pick of the draft is much harder than picking in the first round because it's difficult to zero in on a few players that will be available at the pick.
"We liked both of these guys," Melvin said. "They were talked about a lot ... We think Williams is a guy we were very fortunate to get."
With two players they are happy to have, the Brewers next step is to sign both. Though Williams and Neuhaus have college offers on the table, both Seid and Melvin are confident they will sign with the organization sooner rather than later.
"Mostly, if it's a team I think is a good fit for me, and obviously the signing bonus is a big part of it," Williams told FOX Sports Midwest. "I'll just have to make a decision on whether I want to play in the SEC, or go play pro ball. They're both good options ... If I signed right away, it would be nice to get started. Whatever team you're with, they start molding you toward what they want to see to get you into the big leagues."
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