MILWAUKEE -- North Carolina pitcher Hobbs Johnson was passed over as a Draft-eligible sophomore a year ago. The Brewers did not let that happen again, selecting the left-handed pitcher in the 14th round (422nd overall) of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday.
Johnson served as North Carolina's Sunday starter in 2013 and throws his fastball in the upper 80s to low 90s, with decent movement. He also throws a curveball, a slider and a changeup, which is his best offspeed pitch.
Johnson earns high marks for his willingness to attack hitters and his feel for pitching, but he needs to tighten his command to be effective at the next level.
"Good left-handed arm," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "We like the left-handed pitchers we got in the middle or late in the Draft."
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Johnson isn't very physical. He spent most of his first two years at North Carolina as a reliever and likely will return to the bullpen as a professional.
He was the third lefty and eighth pitcher overall selected by the Brewers in the Draft.
Brewers start Day 3 with right-hander Hillis
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers started Day 3 of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday by taking right-handed pitcher Andy Hillis out of Lee University in Tennessee with the 332nd pick in the 11th round.
The Brewers were not finished with Lee pitchers there. The team added lefty Clint Terry (Round 18) and righty Alex Moore (28) later in the day, ending up with three of the five Lee pitchers drafted this week.
"I talked to them right after they got drafted and told them congratulations," Hillis said. "They're guys that I like and I hope to spend more time with them."
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said he likes the Brewers' Lee pitching picks, especially the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Hillis.
"Hillis is a big fella that throws hard," Seid said. "In the 11th round, you give me those all day and I'll be really happy with it. I'm really happy with what we got with him."
Hillis began his college career at Tennessee, but he had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and never pitched for the Volunteers. He transferred to NAIA powerhouse Lee, where he was used as a closer.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s and has been clocked as high as 99 mph this spring. He also throws a slider, but Hillis relies on his fastball.
Hillis, who struck out 66 hitters in 37 1/3 innings and finished with a 0.96 ERA this season, grew up in Brentwood, Tenn., about 15 minutes from Nashville where the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds play.
"I've always gone to those games, so I think it would be great to play with them someday," said Hillis who noted the Marlins and Diamondbacks also showed interest in him this week. "I'm stoked to be a part of the organization. I've heard nothing but good things about the Minor League system, and hopefully I'll be able to come in and fill a role."
Scouts view Hillis as more of a thrower, but if he can improve his breaking ball, he profiles as a high-impact reliever.
In the Pipeline:
The Brewers ended the Draft with 40 selections, 23 pitchers and 17 position players. Of the pitchers, six are left-handed. Milwaukee chose eight outfielders, seven infielders and two catchers.
They drafted 28 college players and 12 high school players.
Seid said he likes how the pitchers from this Draft class will fit in behind the already well-developed arms in the Brewers' farm system.
"I know people talk about our pitching here, but from Triple-A on down to our low A team, we have anywhere from two to four guys at each level that have a chance to be Major League pitchers," Seid said. "I'm confident with our development. I'm confident with the guys we're sending out, and I think we're definitely strengthening the system down there."
Brewers take second lefty in Seidenberger
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers chose their second left-handed pitcher of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday with Trevor Seidenberger, who was taken in the 12th round (362nd overall).
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound lefty played two years at Blinn Junior College before transferring to TCU for his junior season. Seidenberger made 21 appearances for the Horned Frogs, mostly in relief.
"He's got a good arm," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid. "Good slider, good breaking pitch. A good arm that we feel is probably a pretty good bullpen arm. We hope to get him signed. He's a junior, but he definitely wants to go out and play, so we're going to work on that one."
Seidenberger made six starts and 15 relief appearances, finishing the season with a 3-3 record to go along with a 2.63 ERA. He struck out 62 hitters and walked 15 in 54 2/3 innings pitched.
The Pflugerville, Texas, native was the seventh pitcher chosen overall by the Brewers in the Draft.
Prep catcher Norton the Crew's first backstop pick
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers chose their first catcher of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday in high-school backstop Tanner Norton, who was taken in the 13th round (392nd overall).
Norton, out of Bishop Brossart High School in Alexandria, Ky., bats from the left side and throws from the right.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder hit .437 with five home runs and 32 RBIs to help lead Bishop Brossart to a state runner-up finish last year and is the lone senior on the Mustangs' 2013 roster.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid hopes the team can get Norton's bat in their system.
"We like him. He's a left-handed hitter, got a little power," Seid said. "As a young catcher, most of those guys take two, three, four years to develop as a catcher. Where we got him, we're hoping to get him out playing and signed. If that's the case he'll go to our rookie league team. We hope he becomes a Brewer. I know he wants to play, and I think that's the right thing for him to do as a young player."
If he does not sign with the Brewers, Norton will play at Western Kentucky.
Power-hitting Denson goes to Brewers in 15th
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers picked their second first baseman of the First-Year Player Draft in the 15th round (452nd overall) in power hitter David Denson out of South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif., on Saturday.
Denson made headlines in January when he hit a ball an estimated 515 feet, with a metal bat, at Marlins Park during the Power Showcase.
That enormous power is clearly his best tool, and Denson will have to improve his overall hitting so he can tap into that power consistently at higher levels, though he's proven to be coachable.
"Denson needs to get to that power more consistently. That's the one thing," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "He's a great kid. We're hoping to sign him, we want to sign him. We'll get him out there and let repetition, let development and let all that take place and you never know, you just may have a special player. The power is really good, more than special."
While he's limited to first base, Denson is a good athlete and moves well for his size. The University of Hawaii commit is also a good pitcher and hit 90 mph on the radar in high school.
Shelby's son JaVon drafted by Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Saturday was a good day for Brewers coach John Shelby as his son, JaVon, was selected in the First-Year Player Draft.
The better news: JaVon was taken by the Brewers.
"This is exciting, it really is," John Shelby said after Saturday night's 4-3 win over the Phillies. "I'm very thankful for it, that his name was up on the [Brewers' Draft] board. They were gracious enough to draft him. It's pretty evident that he's probably going to go to school, but still thankful. He's very excited about it."
Milwaukee took JaVon in the 37th round (1,112th overall) on Day 3 of the Draft.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound University of Kentucky commit played shortstop for Tates Creek Senior High School in Lexington, Ky., and he bats and throws from the right side.
"He's an athletic kid," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "We took him late. We knew that he was someone that was on our radar and we'll just see where it goes. Right now I know he's leaning toward going to Kentucky."
JaVon's brother, John Shelby III, played in the White Sox and Rays Minor League system from 2006-11 and played with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League in Sauget, Ill., in 2012.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.