Brewers make progress with top pick
Florida slugger was taken seventh overall by Milwaukee
MINNEAPOLIS -- Negotiations between the Brewers and their top pick in last week's First-Year Player Draft were progressing but no deal was imminent, the team's scouting boss said Friday.
That contradicted an earlier report in the Fort Myers News-Press that quoted first baseman-turned-outfielder Matt LaPorta as saying he would be in Milwaukee on Friday to sign a contract.
"We're close, and I'm sure he's anxious to play, but we do not have a signed player," Brewers amateur scouting director Jack Zduriencik said. "He is not in Milwaukee and we do not have a signed player."
LaPorta, drafted No. 7 overall by the Brewers out of the University of Florida, told the newspaper that he was on the verge of signing a deal before reporting to the team's Spring Training and Rookie League facility in Phoenix. On the day of the Draft, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he expected LaPorta, 22, to spend time this season at Class A West Virginia.
That still could happen. But it did not happen Friday.
"It's been real positive," Zduriencik said. "We're still talking."
The three previous players drafted seventh overall received $2.3 million signing bonuses.
LaPorta, who bats and throws right-handed, went to Florida as a catcher and played some left field as a freshman but primarily played first base on the way to winning Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year honors in 2005 and again in 2007. The Brewers announced on Draft day that he would play left field as a pro.
Other notable seventh overall picks include outfielders Austin Kearns (Reds, 1998) and Trot Nixon (Red Sox, 1993), and first baseman Frank Thomas (White Sox, 1989). The only other time the Brewers had the seventh pick was 2002, and they spent it on first baseman Prince Fielder.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.