Tuesday morning, the Diamondbacks signed RHP Daniel Fournier, their 13th selection in the 2006 draft. Fournier had been a Junior at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. "It seemed like they had me high on their list," said Fournier, who gleaned the organization's interest from conversations with a Diamondbacks scout before the draft.
The decision to sign was an easy one for Fournier, despite his having grown up in the other corner of the country. "From what I've heard and what I've researched, they've got one of the top minor league programs," he declared. "I think they're rated #1 by Baseball America. I mean, you can't ask for much better than that."
Fournier isn't intimidated by high expectations, as he's idolized a great pitcher for years. "I really like Pedro Martinez," he explained. "Growing up in the Boston area, I grew up watching him and trying to model myself after him… but he's one of the best ever!"
"I grew up watching the Red Sox, but now I'm a Diamondbacks fan!"
Daniel's fellow Diamondbacks fans are likely to soon become Daniel Fournier fans. With a fastball that's been clocked as high as 93 MPH, a power curve, and a deceptive changeup, Fournier has all of the necessary tools to succeed as a starter.
The results have been even more impressive. His 88 strikeouts in 62.1 innings this season gave him the best strikeout rate among all Division II players (12.71 K/9). He didn't allow any homers, and finished the year with an opponents' BA of .181.
"I definitely try to make good pitches and strike guys out," confirmed Fournier, "but I'm trying to be a situational pitcher as well: When you get a guy on, trying to get him into a double play rather than try and fix it all with a strikeout."
The biggest knock on Fournier is his control. He yielded 32 bases on balls and an alarming 20 wild pitches on the season. But when he has good command of his stuff, the results can be tremendous. On March 28th, Fournier pitched an 18-strikeout no-hitter, and he had a lot working for him.
"Real great velocity, good breaking ball, really spotting a lot of stuff. The catcher was doing a great job of blocking stuff. Our coach called great pitches. It was just one of those days where everything clicked."
Besides great stuff and great numbers, the Diamondbacks like Fournier's conditioning habits. He's a solid 6'4" 205-pounder with room on his long limbs to fill out even more. "I like to focus on balance, doing a little bit of everything, but I definitely push my legs the most," explained Fournier. "If your legs, arms, abs, or core aren't conditioned, then you start to feel tired in these areas in the middle of a game."
"I like being big, being a little more intimidating," he confessed.
It's a good thing, because the Diamondbacks expect big things from this kid.
Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com