Former IU pitcher Eric Arnett has agreed to contractual terms with the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that took him in the first round of the Major League Draft on June 9.
Arnett, a right-hander who finished his junior season at IU last May, will receive a $1.2 million signing bonus, the amount recommended by Major League Baseball’s slotting system.
“I came in being pretty signable, and all I wanted was fair market value, signing-wise,” said Arnett, who said he’s quite happy with the terms of the contract, which also ensures him a spot in Major League spring training next year.
For now, Arnett will take a trip to Milwaukee to tour the stadium, meet with organization officials and be wined and dined by his new team – a common tradition for top draft choices.
He will then board a plane the next day for Helena, Mon., to join the Helena Brewers, Milwaukee’s Rookie League affiliate.
“I think they wanted me to keep me on a pretty low workload, this summer,” Arnett said by phone.
He also said the team has mentioned the possibility of promoting him to their Class A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, later this summer if he progresses well in rookie ball, but that they do not want to rush him.
“I guess it all depends on how fast I develop and how well I do,” Arnett said, adding that he hopes to make it to the Majors “within the next couple of years.”
Arnett finished his junior season at IU with a 12-2 record and a 2.50 ERA, both tops in the Big Ten.
Those numbers, combined with strong command, caused Arnett’s name to shoot up mock draft boards, sometimes as high as No. 15. He slipped slightly from that projection to No. 26, still becoming the first Hoosier drafted in the first round in 43 years.
Another aid in Arnett’s draft stock, according to the pitcher himself, was his time spent with the IU men’s basketball team last fall, which he credited for making him a better athlete.
However, conditioning was not the only thing Arnett got from his time spent sporting candy-striped pants. Arnett said Tom Crean went to bat for him come draft time.
“He knew a lot of people, including the GM there at the Brewers, and he put in his good word for me,” Arnett said.
Considering the hectic nature of the latest days of his life, Arnett said he’s only really had time to talk to Crean and IU baseball coach Tracy Smith personally.
Still, despite the whirlwind feel of the proceedings, Arnett said it’s been good to him.
“It’s been a remarkable experience,” he said., “and I’m really blessed to be able to encounter it.”