D'Backs Draft Photo Spread

Scherzer was #11 overall

There are those who would claim the MLB first year player draft is a crapshoot, and perhaps they are right, but as gamblers know, the game with the best odds in Vegas is craps, provided you know how to play.

In the last five years, since D'Backs Director of Scouting Mike Rizzo took over as the point man in the draft, the Diamondbacks have drafted Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew, Dustin Nippert, Scott Hairston, and of course last year's number one overall pick, Justin Upton.

This year the Diamondbacks drafted 52 players over the two days of the draft.  Ten of their first twelve picks were pitchers.

Daniel Fornier out of Franklin Pierce was just one of many pitchers the D'Backs took on Day 1

Rizzo's philosophy is simple, take the best player on the board, regardless of position, age or signability.  It's a philosophy that has allowed the Diamondbacks to get maximum value for their picks, and this year was no exception.  In a similar manner to 2004, when the Diamondbacks were able to grab Drew with the 15th pick despite a general consensus that he was the best player in the draft, the D'Backs this season took right handed pitcher Max Scherzer out of Missouri with the 11th pick.  Scherzer, who was projected to go as high as number one overall at the beginning of his college baseball season, fell because of a variety of reasons, and the Diamondbacks were more than happy to scoop him up at number eleven.

Max Scherzer was the D'Backs first round pick, and the D'Backs have no fear of either his tendonitis or Scott Boras

Scherzer is almost a prototype for the type of pitchers Rizzo and the Diamondbacks like in the draft.  A big strong right hander with a fastball in the mid 90s, a plus breaking ball and a change up that Scherzer has only been throwing for one year, but is already a plus pitch.  He fell to the D'Backs for two notable reasons.  First, he suffered from a bout of tendonitis earlier in the season, and second, he's represented by uber Agent Scott Boras.  Many clubs are scared of Boras clients, as Boras as shown in the past that he has no problems letting his players sit if they don't receive what he feels is a fair deal.  The D'Backs though have a relationship with Boras, having come to terms with another of his first round clients, Drew, two years ago.  While previous success does not mean the negotiations will be easy, it does give the Diamondbacks a leg up.

One of the keys to Rizzo's philosophy in the draft is taking players from programs with proven winning traditions, and the Diamondbacks continues that taking players from powerhouse schools like Stanford, Georgia, USC, UCLA, Oregon State and ASU. 

ASU Senior Tony Barnette was just one of a handful of local prospect the Diamondbacks grabbed

The entire state of Arizona is a hotbed of talent, and the D'Backs grabbed six players from local high schools and junior colleges, including lefty Quentin Marsh of Wickenburg High School, outfielder Riley Etchebarren of Paradise Valley High School, and catcher Dominick Piazza from Notre Dame High School. 

Though 48th round pick Michael Solbach has already stated he won't sign this year, Mike Rizzo's decision to draft him late could make the negotiation process easier next season.

As always the draft is about building the future for the club, and even the future of the draft.  A prime example of that comes in the D'Backs 48th round pick, Michael Solbach of Liberty University.  Solbach has been projected as high as a top five pick, but a little bit of a down year, and the knowledge that he expected top 5 money to sign, scared clubs away from taking him.  Solbach has already stated that he will return to Liberty for his sophomore season, and the Diamondbacks knew that, but in an interview with FutureBacks yesterday Solbach said that the Diamondbacks using a pick to take him this season meant a lot, and that it would definitely make him more likely to sign if the Diamondbacks were able to take him again in next year's draft.

 

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