Panther Uhen gets the call from Brewers

Joshua Uhen, a standout pitcher for the Panthers, has been drafted by his hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers.

Joshua Uhen of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.

Uhen was the 152nd overall pick in the draft, with the fifth-round selection being the highest ever in Milwaukee program history. It topped the previous mark set last season when Jordan Guth was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the ninth round.

“The Brewers were always my favorite team growing up, going back to when I was a little guy back at County Stadium,” Uhen said. “It’s one of those things that I really appreciate, and I am blessed to get the opportunity with my hometown team. I am very happy it turned out that way.”

Uhen went 1-0 with a 3.80 ERA in 2013 for the Panthers, recording four saves in 21 appearances. He pitched 21.1 innings, allowing just a .233 opponent batting average while striking out 19 batters.

“We are extremely happy for Josh and his family – they are just great people,” UWM head coach Scott Doffek says. “He is loaded with talent and upside. He is so projectable it’s just a matter of hard work and getting a ton of experience.

“Josh has had to deal with a lot of adversity and has handled it very maturely,” Doffek continues. “He loves to work and compete – which is a great combination – so for him the sky is the limit. We are very proud of him and look forward to watching him continue to develop and reach his potential.”

Uhen, who was named the Horizon League’s top pro prospect by Baseball America in 2012 and was No. 2 on its top pro list again this season, had pre-draft workouts for the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs and the Brewers.

“During the draft I was with my immediate family watching on TV and I really had no clue; the only thing I really had some ideas about was the round,” Uhen said. “I knew a few teams were really interested in me and I did some pre-draft workouts, but it’s still sinking in and I don’t think it really will for a while.”

Uhen and his family were watching live when his name was called.

“They said my name, talked about me a little bit, and I just started hugging my family,” Uhen said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t know if you want to smile or cry. I didn’t cry, but it was one of those things that was a really unique feeling and it really hasn’t sunk in yet. I am just enjoying it while it lasts.”

Uhen became the fifth Panther player to be drafted in the past three seasons. In addition to being the highest-ever UWM player to be drafted, he was also the sixth-highest draft choice in the history of the Horizon League (higher picks have been 113, 94, 84, 80 and 21).

“Initially, I was just trying to keep up with the calls and the texts,” Uhen said. “But, between the texts, tweets, Facebook, all of that – you catch a glimpse of things like that. That means something to me, but I am really just thankful to continue chasing my dream.

“It’s one of those things where the stats and numbers are great, but the end result is to become a big leaguer. Hopefully this is one step along the way.”