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BG’s Brech taken by Indians in 35th of Major League Baseball draft

The BGSU athletic department saw its second professional draft pick in as many months when junior pitcher Alan Brech was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 35th round of the MLB draft last week.

“It was a long day and a half, but it’s like a dream come true,” Brech said of his draft experience.

Omar Jacobs, also a junior, left earlier in the year and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL draft.

Both Jacobs and Brech were drafted lower than expected. NFL draft gurus had Jacobs projected as a second to fourth round pick before the Steelers selected him in the fifth.

In the days leading up to the MLB draft, Brech had been told by teams that he would be drafted anywhere between the tenth and fifteenth rounds.

Unlike Jacobs, however, who had to make his decision to leave college months before the draft, Brech still has the luxury of waiting to see what the Indians are going to pay him before he makes his final decision.

He said he should know by midweek what the Indians’ final offer will be, and then the Falcons will find out if they will need to find a replacement for one of the best pitchers in the Mid-American Conference.

“From a selfish standpoint we definitely want him back, but we also want what is best for Alan,” said coach Dan Schmitz.

Josh Stewart was another draft hopeful this year, but met disappointing results when he was not selected. Stewart was drafted last year in the 43 round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but chose to stay at BG for at least one more season.

Another Falcon that had a chance but went un-drafted was junior second baseman Eric Lawson. Both he and Brech were named to the All-MAC second team this season.

“I wasn’t expecting anything major,” Lawson said. “I had a couple teams talking to me, but I was planning on coming back for my senior year.”

While Brech has spent the last week in baseball limbo, Lawson has already started playing summer ball in Kansas as part of the Jayhawk League, one of the top summer leagues in the country. Falcon pitching coach Tod Brown said what is best for Brech may be to take Lawson’s approach and come back for another year of college baseball simply based on where he was drafted.

“The problem he’ll have is he’ll be labeled a 35th rounder for the rest of his career,” he said. “Players picked in the top five rounds get multiple chances even when they’re not playing well. A 35th rounder won’t get those chances.”

Schmitz agrees and said that money will also play a huge role in how many opportunities he’ll get.

“There are a lot of politics in baseball,” he said. “If a lot of money is invested in you, you get lots of opportunities. If not, you have to be good right out of the get go.”

It’s not that Schmitz and Brown don’t think Brech can succeed in the pros. In fact the opposite is true.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will do extremely well in pro ball,”

Brown said.

Still, they are worried that Brech may end up selling himself short in his haste to make his dream a reality.

“I told Alan to stick to his dollar amount, because then, you’ll find out how bad the Indians want you,” Schmitz said. “I told him to remember that Uncle Sam is going to take 50 percent of whatever he gets, too.”

But Brown also stated that this is probably Brech’s best chance at negotiating a favorable deal, because he holds all the cards.

“Based on our experience, you’re in the best position to negotiate your junior year, because you can threaten to come back to school,” he said.

But even if he can negotiate a good deal, Brech said he plans on having an off-season job.

According to minorleaguebaseball.com, players can only earn $1,100 a month maximum in their first contract year.

Another factor that will influence Brech’s decision to leave or stay is that the Indians drafted 21 pitchers before him. How many of those players sign will impact his contract as well as his playing opportunities.

Schmitz and Brown both said that whatever Brech decides is fine with them, but they do see some ways he could improve his draft status with another year of college.

“He has tremendous poise on the mound and he’s a good fielder,” Schmitz said. “He’s got a lot of plusses, but he needs to work on his quickness. His fastball was not quite up to where it was his sophomore year, and he could use some more stamina to go deeper in some games.”

Should Brech decide to leave he will most likely be assigned to the Burlington, N.C. Indians, Cleveland’s affiliate in the minors’ Rookie League.

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