COMMENTARY | In recent years, the Milwaukee Brewers have had some bad luck with their first-round draft selections, especially when it comes to pitching. But even though some of those picks have yet to pan out, it's still too early to label players like Eric Arnett, Jed Bradley or even Mark Rogers as busts.
While the inability to develop pitching has been a main criticism of the Brewers' organization, you may be surprised to see that there isn't a single hurler who cracked the Top 5 of Milwaukee's biggest first-round busts in MLB draft history.
Honorable mention: Dave Krynzel (No. 13, 2000), Kyle Peterson (No. 13, 1997), Mike Jones (No. 12 pick, 2001), Kenny Felder (No. 12, 1992)
5. 1B: Dan Thomas (No. 6 pick in 1972)
The life and career of Dan Thomas has to be one of the most of the most bizarre and troubling tales in Brewers' history. After winning the Eastern League Triple Crown, Thomas joined the Brewers in September of 1976. Because of his faith, Thomas practiced strict Sabbath observance, meaning he refused to play from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Thomas only played 22 games for Milwaukee in 1977 before being demoted despite having a respectable .271 average. In Triple-A, Thomas' average declined considerably and he refused an assignment down to Double-A, sitting out the remainder of the '77 season. He would never play at the MLB level again, quitting in 1979.
Post career, Thomas suffered from mental health problems, taking to alcohol and drugs. He was arrested in Alabama on a rape charge and hung himself in jail on June 12, 1980.
4. 3B: Antone Williamson (No. 4 pick in 1994)
Williamson played in only 24 games with the Brewers, hitting just .204 with 6 RBIs in 60 career plate appearances. He retired from professional baseball in 2000 after just six-plus years in Milwaukee's system and finished with a career .271 average, 29 HRs and 244 RBIs at the Minor League level.
3. OF: Chad Green (No. 8 pick in 1996)
A medal winner in the 1996 Summer Olympics, Green caught the attention of the Brewers in the 1996 draft. Unfortunately, Green was never able to crack the big league lineup, or even the roster, for that matter. Following the 2000 season, he was traded to the San Diego Padres. Green would finish with a career .252 average with five different organizations before officially retiring in 2005.
2. SS: Tommy Bianco (No. 3 pick in 1971)
Just the third first-round pick in Brewers' history, Tommy Bianco had a forgettable baseball career. He only played in 18 games with Milwaukee after a promotion in 1975, but Bianco only hit .176, failing to record a single home run or RBI. Bianco retired in 1979 after nine seasons in professional baseball, ending his career with the Baltimore Orioles and a .267 average in the Minor Leagues.
1. C: Nick Hernandez (No. 8 pick in 1978)
Described as "the best high school catcher we've ever scouted" by the Brewers' scouting chief, Nick Hernandez never even saw a big league field during his four-year professional career (via the Milwaukee Sentinel). If fact, Hernandez never played higher than the Single-A level, calling it quits in 1981 with a .217 average, 9 HRs and 65 RBIs in Milwaukee's farm system. Whoops.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
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