The 3rd Man In

Brewers sign top MLB Draft picks

A week after the MLB Draft began, the Milwaukee Brewers announced the signings of three of their top four picks on Monday afternoon. Prep outfielder Trent Clark (first round, 15th pick), right-handed pitcher Cody Ponce (second round, 55th pick) and prep righty Nash Walters (third round, 90th pick) all signed their professional contracts while also meeting the media for the first time at Miller Park.

With their families in attendance and for their dreams of becoming pro ball players finally a reality, it was an unforgettable moment for these players.

Ponce, who was selected from Division II Cal Poly, said that once he heard his name called on draft evening, that he became emotional.

“My initial reaction – I broke out into tears,” Ponce said regarding his reaction after being selected by the Brewers. “I was just talking to my dad about this the other day – I had a sixth grade show-and-tell presentation and on a poster I put: ‘One day I am going to be a professional baseball player.’ I got the phone call and my dream came reality. God gave me an opportunity to come play for Milwaukee and of course [scouting director] Ray (Montgomery) did as well.”

Despite them all crossing one goal of their checklist, they made it known that they still haven’t accomplished their goal of playing at the major league level. Clark said that although he is a first round pick, that it isn’t a guarantee that he will make the big leagues one day.

“Not all first-round draft picks make it to the big leagues,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, that’s everybody’s goal. It is not to get drafted, it is not to play minor-league ball. It is to make it to the big leagues.

“It is fun to think about (being a first-round pick) for a little bit, but it is time to get back to work. I’m there with 40 other guys trying to reach our goal.”

Clark also got the opportunity to take batting practice and participate in defensive drills prior to the start of Monday evening’s game.

“It was exciting,” Clark said regarding the experience of participating in pregame warm-ups. “It was fun to be around all the big league guys and to talk to a few guys. And to just learn some stuff and let them give their opinions and tell me what it was like from their time in the minors and what it was like getting up here.”

Although Clark and Ponce both were selected on the first day of the draft, Walters had to wait to day two before hearing his name called. He decided to turn down a scholarship offer to Texas A&M and start his pro career right out of high school.

“College was a great opportunity,” Walters said. “But I felt this would be better for me in my end goal of eventually playing in the big leagues.”

Out of the players introduced on Monday, Walters was the only one to participate in a private workout with the Brewers prior to the draft.

“At that point, that’s just more icing (on) the cake in terms of what we had already hoped and suspected,” scouting director Ray Montgomery said. “It was to get him more comfortable for when he returned he had some familiarity with us.

“He handled himself incredibly well. For a high school kid to come up in that atmosphere, it is tough. Everybody forgets what 18 is like. It cemented what we already knew, but it was nice to have that so close to the draft.”

Clark and Walters both are 18 years old and will begin their pro careers at rookie ball in Arizona, while Ponce, 21, will head to the rookie-level team in Helena.

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