Ryan Braun and the 10 Best First-Round Draft Picks in Milwaukee Brewers History

Alec Dopp@alecdoppCorrespondent IMay 20, 2011

Ryan Braun and the 10 Best First-Round Draft Picks in Milwaukee Brewers History

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    MILWAUKEE - JULY 22:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers bats against the San Francisco Giants on July 22, 2007 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers won 7-5. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Brewing up some talent: Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and the 10 greatest first-round draft picks in Milwaukee Brewers history

    The Milwaukee Brewers are a relatively young franchise by league standards, but that hasn't hindered their success when it comes to the MLB draft.

    In fact, the last 10 Milwaukee draft classes have included homegrown stars such as Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Corey Hart and Mat Gamel.

    A pretty solid haul, to say the least.

    With talk of the 2011 MLB draft at its collective climax, I thought it would be more than appropriate to rank the 10 greatest first-round selections in Brewers history.

    Let's get things started.

    Alec Dopp is a Featured Columnist for the Milwaukee Brewers on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @doppler9000, and read his new Brewers beat blog, Brewers Rumors.

10. Gary Sheffield: Sixth Overall, 1986

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    1988:  Outfielder Gary Sheffield of the Milwaukee Brewers swings the bat. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Drafted by the Brewers in 1986, Sheffield played just four seasons with Milwaukee.

    During that time, Sheffield amassed 21 HR and 133 RBI and maintained a .243 BA.

    Nevertheless, he'll go down as one of the best picks in Brewers history, as well as major-league history.

9. B.J. Surhoff: First Overall, 1985

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    6 Apr 1993:  Infielder B. J. Surhoff of the Milwaukee Brewers swings the bat during a game against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The only first overall selection in Milwaukee Brewers history, B.J. Surhoff had a lot of hype to live up to during his nine-year career in the Brew City.

    Surhoff was one of the most consistent defensive players in the league.

8. Gorman Thomas: 21st Overall, 1969

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    Believe it or not, Thomas was the first pick in the inaugural season of Brewers baseball in Milwaukee way back in 1969.

    Not only did he produce on the field during his time in Milwaukee (605 RBI, 208 HR, .786 OPS), but he was also a fan favorite in each of his 11 seasons with the Brewers.

    Thomas is without question one of the 10 greatest first-round pickups in Brewers history.

7. Geoff Jenkins: Ninth Overall, 1995

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    MILWAUKEE - MAY 09:  Geoff Jenkins #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers watches the flight of his seventh home run of the year, a solo shot in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals May 9, 2007 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers won 3-
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In 1995, the Brewers utilized their first-round selection on what would become one of the most well-known Brewers of all time, Geoff Jenkins.

    Playing 11 career major-league seasons, Jenkins spent 10 of them in the Brew City—registering 704 RBI, 212 HR, 287 doubles and an .843 OPS.

    If that's not a return on investment, then I don't know what is.

6. Rickie Weeks: Second Overall, 2003

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    MIAMI - MAY 06:  Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits for the first pitch against the Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium on May 6, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins defeated the Brewers 3-0.  (Photo by2 Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    The Brewers' only second overall selection in franchise history was invested in one of college baseball's most elite prospects of all time, Rickie Weeks.

    Professionally, Weeks has put together a seven-year stint with Milwaukee but has yet to even approach what his collegiate potential would suggest of him.

    If not for untimely injuries, Weeks might arguably be the top choice on this list.

5. Ben Sheets: 10th Overall, 1999

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 1:  Ben Sheets #15 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch in the first inning of the spring training game against the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field March 1, 2008 in Tucson, Arizona. The Rockies defeated the Brewers 6-3.  (Photo
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Milwaukee's prolonged success in the draft more than likely started with its selection of Ben Sheets out of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

    Talk to any major-league scout back in 1999, and they'd tell you that Sheets had the most upside and pure talent of any prospect due to be drafted that year.

    However, like Weeks, Sheets never quite lived up to the hype.

    That said, in his eight years with the Brewers, Sheets would go on to serve up several of the greatest pitching performances in Milwaukee's baseball history. If not for Roger Clemens' outstanding campaign, Sheets would have likely won the 2004 NL Cy Young Award as well.

    An all-time Brewers great, without a doubt, but could you imagine what his career would've looked like without the burden of injury?

4. Ryan Braun: Fifth Overall, 2005

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 18:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers leads off first base against the New York Mets on April 18, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    It's hard to believe, but hardly six years ago already, the Brewers pulled the trigger on one of the best pure hitting talents the power-packed 2005 draft class had to offer, Ryan Braun.

    Since then, Braun has gone on to accumulate 140 HR, 454 RBI, 154 2B and a .307 BA, and he was just recently signed to a contract extension that will make him a Brewer through the 2021 season.

    When it's all said and done, he will probably be the greatest Brewer of all time.

3. Prince Fielder: Seventh Overall, 2002

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 8: Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a single against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 8, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Does he even need an introduction?

    After the Brewers added Ben Sheets in the 1999 MLB draft, Milwaukee set out to find a serious power bat to help reincarnate an organization deprived of talent in the worst way.

    Let's just say they found him.

    With the seventh overall selection in the 2002 MLB draft, Milwaukee took Prince Fielder out of Melbourne, Florida.

    Fielder made his major-league debut June 13, 2005 and hasn't looked back since—amassing 569 RBI, 201 HR, 176 doubles and a .280 BA.

2. Paul Molitor: Third Overall, 1977

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    MILKAUKEE - 1990:  Paul Molitor #4 of the Milwaukee Brewers connects with a pitch during the 1990 season game at Milwaukee County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Playing a grand total of 21 career major-league seasons—15 of which were spent with the Brewers—Paul Molitor remains one of the greatest pure hitters the league has ever known.

    Over the course of his Hall of Fame career in Milwaukee, Molitor registered 160 HR, 790 RBI, 412 SB, 405 2B and a .303 BA.

    When the Brewers selected him with the third overall pick in the 1977 MLB draft, they made history.

1. Robin Yount: Third Overall, 1973

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The man—the legend.

    From the time Milwaukee selected Robin Yount with the third overall selection in the 1973 draft to his final game as a major-league player in 1993, the Brewers forever cultivated baseball in Wisconsin.

    Playing 20 seasons with the Brewers, Yount developed one of the most renowned résumés in major-league history, no to mention Brewers history.

    To this very day, Yount leads the Brewers in at-bats (11,008), RBI (1,406), HR (251), 2B (583), 3B (126) and TB (4,730).

    Long live the mustache.