Thanks to numerous free agent departures in the offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks held seven picks among the first 64 in today's draft and eight overall through the end of the third round. This is advantageous not only for the obvious reason that more high draft choices lead to a higher chance of success, but also that the D-backs can afford for a couple of their higher draft selections not to sign. This gives them a negotiating advantage over any prospects who want to hold out for more money and allowed them to select three high school players among their first four picks, as it would not be disastrous for one or two of those high schoolers to elect to go to college.
In fact, Bobby Borchering, the club's first selection at 16th overall, has signed a letter of intent to the University of Florida. Borchering has been switch-hitting all of his life and was regarded as one of the best power bats of the draft, grading with a 70 potential on the 20-80 scale and drawing comparisons to future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.
The D-backs immediately balanced that high-risk, high-reward pick with a blue chip selection in A.J. Pollock. Pollock went .365/.443/.610 with Notre Dame this year and was also the Cape Cod League MVP in 2008. He has the speed to bat leadoff, the defensive acumen to play center (as evidenced by committing zero errors in 159 total chances this season), and the seasoning to advance quickly through the system.
35th overall selection Matt Davidson, on the other hand, will likely need quite a bit of time to develop. He won't turn 19 until August and currently has a hole in his swing, although his power potential is significant. Likewise, 41st overall pick Chris Owings is a long way from reaching the major leagues. Just 17 years old, Owings may need to learn the second base position, as his arm and range grade below average for a shortstop.
The Diamondbacks' fifth and sixth selections today were the college arms that we have come to expect from the higher rounds of a Tom Allison draft. Mike Belfiore, taken 45th overall, is most famous for having been used for 129 pitches during a 9 2/3-inning relief stint a week before the draft. Eric Smith, the 60th overall selection, has an effortless mid-90s fastball, but control issues have prevented him from having much collegiate success.
In contrast, the D-backs' second round pick, Marc Krauss, put up incredible numbers at Ohio University, although his defense may be a liability even in left field. Keon Broxton rounded out the club's Day One selections. He is a former high school football star that brings a lot of athleticism to the table, and was the third hot corner defender selected by the D-backs in their eight picks.
Overall, the early picks in the draft addressed one of the biggest organizational needs: power. Although youngsters Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton haven't even approached their power ceilings yet at the major league level, there aren't a lot of even 30-homer potential players behind them in the system. That all changed today, with Borchering, Davidson, and Krauss all possessing bigtime pop already.
Scouting reports and interviews with these
players will follow in the coming days. In the meantime, continue to
follow the FutureBacks.com Draft Tracker for sortable info on all of the
Diamondbacks selections and signing info updated throughout the summer.
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