Tossing a complete-game eight-hitter against Ohio State in the
Big Ten tournament could have been a great way for Michigan junior
pitcher Jim Brauer to end his collegiate career. At the time he
wasn’t thinking about jumping into the system of a big league
team or what the scouts in the stands were thinking.

Michigan Baseball
Michigan junior pitcher Jim Brauer expected to be heading to the majors, but after being passed on until the 42nd round his future is not so clear. (WILLA TRACOSAS/Daily)

“I was more concerned with winning a championship in what
I thought would be my last year at Michigan,” Brauer
said.

But the Wolverines dropped the next two games after
Brauer’s gem against the Buckeyes, ending his and
Michigan’s bid for a Big Ten title.

Twelve days after what could have been his final start as a
Wolverine, turning pro became his main focus. But after his name
went uncalled on the first day of the Major League Baseball First
Year Player Draft last Monday, his plans changed.

Despite being ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the state of
Michigan by Baseball America, it took 42 rounds before the New York
Mets put Brauer’s name up on the draft board. Seventeen
players from the Great Lakes state went ahead of him.

“A lot of kids get bitter in this situation,” Brauer
said. “You were told you were supposed to go higher and
didn’t.”

But he doesn’t intend on letting bitterness get the best
of him. Brauer said he has to decide between coming back to try for
a championship at Michigan or sign a contract with the Mets hoping
for a chance to show off his stuff in the Mets minor league
system.

Should he sign with the Mets, Brauer would likely be sent to the
Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, a Low-A
affiliate.

“It kind of put things in perspective,” Brauer said.
“You have to decide what’s more important, what are
your goals.”

The Mets selection of Brauer marked the third time in his career
the Michigan righty was picked in the draft. Just a year prior, the
Colorado Rockies selected Brauer in the 17th round, 25 rounds
earlier than he was picked this year. In 2000, before Brauer headed
to Ann Arbor, the Montreal Expos used their 29th round pick to
select him out of Carmel High School in Indiana.

One advantage Brauer has over some other draft picks is an extra
year of eligibility. After taking a medical red shirt with a
shoulder injury in 2003, he can simply walk away from the table and
remain a part of Michigan’s rotation next season.

“They know the situation of me being passed up,”
Brauer said. “The option is there to work something out, and
the option is also for me to come back to school. It’s really
going to be a tough call.”

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