07 June 2011
With two picks among the first seven, and another at pick #43, Diamondbacks' fans had high expectations heading into the MLB draft. And after Day 1, fans, analysts, and all of the "draft experts" seem to agree - the Diamondbacks are having a great draft so far. Arizona's draft started with UCLA RHP Trevor Bauer, who has been the most dominant pitcher in college baseball this year. Next, at pick #7, the Diamondbacks selected Archie Bradley, a big right-handed high school pitcher from Oklahoma. Bradley already throws consistently in the upper 90s, and has an excellent hammer curveball. Bradley was considered the best player available at Pick #7, and it was encouraging to see the team draft Bradley rather than a player who may be easier to sign. The Diamondbacks closed out Day 1 by selecting LHP Andrew Chafin, a 6-2 LHP from Kent State University who has a low 90s fastball and an outstanding slider.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus stated that the Diamondbacks had the best draft of Day 1 - "I love what Arizona did with Bauer, Archie Bradley, and Andrew Chafin, my favorite non first round guy. Huge boost for a system that already has Parker and Skaggs." When asked for his thoughts on the best draft day, Keith Law at ESPN said - "I mean, is this cheating, since the Diamondbacks picked twice in the top 10? They sure didn't go cheap with Archie Bradley at No. 7 -- I liked him more than their first pick, Trevor Bauer. And they added Andrew Chafin in the sandwich round, a reliever-turned-starter on the way back from Tommy John surgery who was apparently "disgusting" (that's good) in his last outing prior to the draft." Here is a closer look at the Diamondbacks' draft picks from Day 1.
#3) Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA, 6-2/185
“So pumped to be a Diamondback!” This tweet was sent by UCLA right hander Trevor Bauer mere hours after he discovered he was the number 3 overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft. Bauer later added the following quotes about joining the Diamondbacks - "Obviously the organization is pretty close to home, it's in the National League West with good competition, it's a warm weather climate and I love pitching in the warm weather. I got a really good feel for the people that were in the organization and that they really knew what they were talking about, and I just felt really comfortable talking to them. Organizational philosophies as far as training and pitching sequencing and player development and stuff like that just happened to fit in with the ideas I kind of already had on my own."
His rotation partner Gerrit Cole was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, so the UCLA tandem becomes the first pair of teammates to be drafted 1 and 3 since ASU’s Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks in 1978. Although Cole does throw a little harder and was selected ahead of Bauer, Bauer clearly outpitched his teammate throughout the season. Bauer led all NCAA pitchers with 203 strikeouts, breaking Mark Prior’s Pac-10 record. Bauer powered his way to 10 complete games, with 9 of those being consecutive to finish his season. He has the deepest pitching arsenal of any pitcher in the draft, throwing at least six different pitches. His fastball is in the mid 90s, and Bauer has a plus-plus curve ball and an above average change-up. He also throws an occasional slider, split-finger fastball, and a "reverse slider" that runs in on left-handed batters.
Bauer is also a student of the game who studies biomechanics and monitors his training and conditioning very closely. He models his unorthodox delivery on another pitcher who has had tremendous success despite his diminutive frame, Tim Lincecum. Bauer is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top amateur player. He appears poised to shoot rapidly through the minors, and could battle for a rotation spot as soon as next year.
#7) Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (Okla.), 6-4/210
The Diamondbacks' second selection in Round 1 was Archie Bradley with pick #7. Not as polished or as close to the majors as Bauer is, Bradley still profiles as a future star pitcher. He possesses an electric fastball that can reach 101 mph, as well as 12-6 knuckle curveball. He overpowered the competition in high school Oklahoma baseball and led his team to the state championship, striking out 14 batters in a two hit shutout of Dylan Bundy's top-ranked Owasso team.
The question with 6’4” righty is his signability, as he is committed to play quarterback at the University of Oklahoma next season. He has said that he wants to play baseball, and that statement will soon be put to the test. The #7 pick was a compensation pick from last year's draft, when the Diamondbacks were unable to sign Barret Loux, which means that this pick will not be compensated if Bradley is not signed. He will be expensive, but the D'Backs would not have drafted him if they did not think he was signable. Says Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick, "We do need to sign the kid, and we'll do that. We'll get him signed." Before the draft, Bradley had suggested that he would be looking for a 5 year, $20M contract to play baseball. More likely is that he will receive a contract in the $6M range, just above that given to two-sport star Zach Lee by the Dodgers last year. Since Bradley is a two-sport player, his signing bonus can be divided over multiple seasons.
On Monday, Bradley seemed excited about playing for the Diamondbacks. "I've always seen baseball as my future," Bradley said. "I'm looking forward to talking to the owner, talking to the GM, talking to those guys and seeing what they have to offer, and then I'll base my decision off that. I love football with a passion and I would love to go play at OU, but at the same time, the frontrunner has always been baseball."
#43) Andrew Chafin, LHP, Kent State University, 6-2/210
Chafin missed the entire 2010 season with Tommy John surgery, but bounced back nicely in 2011. His fastball is in the low-to-mid-90s, and his slider works in the low 80s and has been called unhittable by many scouts. He has primarily been a two pitch pitcher, as his change-up still needs some work. But with two above average pitches already, scouts feel that Chafin has the potential to be a solid big-league starter, especially as he builds up more arm strength and command in his return from surgery. He's viewed as a strike-thrower with a nice clean delivery.
The Diamondbacks had an outstanding Day 1 of the draft. Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley are two outstanding pitching prospects, and immediately move into the Top 5 prospects in the organization. With young pitchers Ian Kennedy (Age 26) and Daniel Hudson (24) already pitching well in the Majors, and Jarrod Parker (22) and Tyler Skaggs (19) impressing in the minors, the Diamondbacks now have excellent depth in the pitching department. The Diamondbacks also have Joshua Collmenter (25) off to a great start in Arizona, as well as exciting minor leaguers such as Charles Brewer, David Holmberg, Patrick Corbin, and Wade Miley.
What will Day 2 bring for the Diamondbacks? They will pick 3rd in Round 2, and there are many exciting players on the board. Unfortunately, the best ones are still there because they will be difficult to sign. Leading the way is Josh Bell, who has asked teams not to draft him because he is committed to Texas. But Bell is probably the best high school hitter in the draft, and some team will probably take a chance and draft him anyway. The top pitcher left is probably HS LHP Daniel Norris, who is committed to Clemson. Also on the board are HS Catcher Austin Hedges (UCLA commit), HS RHP Dillon Howard (Arkansas commit), OF Alex Dickerson (Indiana Univ.), RHP Jorge Lopez (Puerto Rico), LHP Josh Osich (Oregon State) and C Andrew Susac (Oregon State, recently returned from a hand injury).