Decisions, decisions, decisions. Five Wolverines were taken during the first day of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday, including underclassmen Chris Getz (second base) and pitchers Derek Feldkamp and Clayton Richard. Senior pitchers Jim Brauer and Michael Penn were also selected, however, the big story of the day was the absence of star recruit Zach Putnam from anyone's draft board. Before the season began, Putnam, a Ann Arbor Pioneer pitcher, was considered a likely first-round pick.
Getz was the first Wolverine taken, drafted in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox. It was the second time in his career he has been drafted, and the second time by the White Sox – Chicago had taken him in the sixth round straight out of high school in 2002. Getz improved himself two rounds by batting .374 during his two-year stint with the Wolverines, including .386 this season to earn All-Big Ten first-team honors for the second consecutive season.
Getz may have a familiar face as he makes his way through the Sox farm system – Richard was also taken by Chicago, four rounds later in the eighth at pick No. 245 overall. The sophomore reliever returned to baseball this spring after focusing only on football in his first full year at U-M. In 33.1 innings pitched, he posted a 2.43 ERA, striking out 27, while walking only eight.
Even though Richard was not taken in one of the first five rounds, it is believed he will sign a pro contract, voiding his final two years of eligibility. Getz is also a likely departure.
Feldkamp may return to the Wolverines in hopes that he can improve his draft stock, however, recent forecasts had him going in the teens so a ninth round selection to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays should make his decision difficult. Appearing in 25 games, including seven starts, Feldkamp won a team-high nine games while losing five. He had a 4.05 ERA but was not as sharp as he could have been, allowing two walks for every three strikeouts.
Brauer was Michigan and the Big Ten's Pitcher of the Year after compiling a 7-2 mark with a 2.54 ERA in 15 starts and 110.0 innings pitched. Drafted three times in his career, but no higher than the 17th round by the Colorado Rockies in 2003, Brauer helped himself immensely with his senior season numbers. He was chosen in the ninth round by the Florida Marlins yesterday.
Penn was the final Wolverine to hear his name called, going in the 11th round to the Kansas City Royals. In 14 starts, he recorded seven wins and just two losses while giving up just 2.79 runs per game.
Putnam's contract demands – he wanted first-round money even if he went in the third – is believed to be a significant culprit in his day-one fall. Mention of possible arm trouble after his fastball dropped from the mid 90s to the upper 80s, also scared teams off.