D-backs Address LHP Deficiency Early in Draft

The Arizona Diamondbacks' first two picks in the 2008 Amateur Draft address a glaring organizational need: left-handed pitching. Southpaws Daniel Schlereth and Wade Miley were the Diamondbacks' first two selections on June 5th.

When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for Dan Haren in December, they had to part with three excellent left-handed pitching prospects in Brett Anderson, Greg Smith, and Dana Eveland.  The organization took a major step in replenishing their stock of southpaws by selecting Daniel Schlereth and Wade Miley as their first two picks on Thursday.

Daniel Schlereth

Schlereth was selected 26th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is the son of ex-Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth.  Although he boasts a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball, Schlereth has already endured Tommy John Surgery and a broken rib in his amateur career.  He has been used as a reliever throughout his college career.

"[There are] not as many college starters as there have been in the past; that has been limited," said D-backs scouting director Tom Allison.  "A lot of colleges are putting their best arms in the bullpen.  College bullpen arms have some depth to them this year."

Miley was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the supplemental round as compensation for losing pitcher Livan Hernandez to free agency. Miley represents one of the better college starters in what is considered a very weak class for that type of player.  The supplemental round selection makes Miley the highest-drafted player in Southeastern Louisiana history.

"I'm very honored to be selected by the Diamondbacks," Miley said.

Both pitchers project as players who can advance to the major leagues quickly.

Wade Miley

"Putting a timetable on players is always very tough," admitted Allison. "I know we do hear the phrase, 'this guy is quick to the big leagues,' or 'he's a safe pick,' or 'this guy's raw and may need some time,' but the one thing I've learned over the years is that players will surprise you - sometimes to the good, and sometimes to the bad.  We really don't know until we get them into the professional game how they're going to adjust to it."

Difficult as it may be, we do our best to estimate the developmental time for these prospects, and it's quite clear that the Diamondbacks have opted to go for proven commodities over upside in the early going. 

"Schlereth could help AZ in a hurry," one scout told us.  "He has a power lefty arm with a college track record."  The same scout had Miley pegged for the third or fourth round, calling him a safe pick.

With their third selection, the Diamondbacks took another blue-chip college pitcher out of an established program: Bryan Shaw, a right-handed reliever out of Long Beach State.

Follow each Diamondbacks pitch as it happens with the FutureBacks Sortable Draft Tracker.

Send questions or comments for Keith Glab to future_backs@yahoo.com

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