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Arizona Diamondbacks: Draft Review

General Manager: Josh Byrnes
Farm Director: Mike Berger
Scouting Director: Tom Allison

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-slot signees ($200,000 or more)

2009 1st Round: Bobby Borchering, 3B, Florida HS
1. A.J. Pollock, OF, Notre Dame
1S. Matt Davidson, 3B, California HS
1S. Chris Owings, SS, South Carolina HS
1S. Mike Belfiore, LHP, Boston College
2. Eric Smith, RHP, Rhode Island
2. Marc Krauss, OF, Ohio
3. Keon Broxton, 3B, Florida CC
7x – Matt Helm, 3B, Arizona HS
13x – Patrick Schuster, LHP, Florida HS

Typically with the draft reviews I give a very brief overview of the key prospects taken in the ’09 draft. The Top 10 list that follows (due up tomorrow for The Snakes) does not include 2009 draft picks due to the lack of available statistical information, as well as the natural volatility of the young players’ values. This organization is different, though, given A) The incredible lack of depth in the system prior to ’09, and B) The number of quality prospects that were nabbed in last year’s draft. As such, I am going to give more in-depth profiles for a number of the top picks below.

Bobby Borchering: He had an OK debut in rookie ball in ’09. The 19-year-old third baseman hit .241/.290/.425 in 87 at-bats. He quickly showed his raw power (.184 ISO) but also that he needs to tweak his approach at the plate after posting a walk rate of 5.4% and a strikeout rate of 31.0%. Defensively, Borchering has a good arm, but there is concern that he’ll lose mobility at the hot corner and eventually move to either first base or even an outfield corner. Some clubs also liked him as a catcher.

Matt Davidson: Another prep third baseman, Davidson debuted in short-season ball to accommodate Borchering’s stay in rookie ball. The powerful prospect still produced respectable numbers with a line of .241/.312/.319 in 270 at-bats. Davidson’s power clearly did not show up in his debut (.078 ISO) but he showed some patience at the plate (7.0 BB%) but also big strikeout numbers (27.8 K%). Defensively, he has the arm to stay at third (He was his high-school team’s closer, too) but Davidson will have to watch his conditioning (He’s already 6’3”, 210 lbs).

A.J. Pollock: Drafted as an outfielder, Pollock played all over the diamond as an amateur; if his bat doesn’t click in pro ball, he has the potential to be a super-utility player. With that said, he had no problems in his debut. He hit .271/.319/.376 in 255 low-A at-bats. He slugged just .106, but Pollock showed his athleticism and speed by swiping 10 bases in 14 attempts. To be a true top-of-the-order hitter, it would be nice to see him increase his walk rate from 5.8%.

Marc Krauss: This college outfielder debuted in low-A ball and hit .304/.377/.478 in 115 at-bats. He showed a good idea of the strike zone with a walk rate of 10.8% and his strikeout rate was OK at 18.3%. He showed some power with an ISO rate of .174. There is concern that his approach will not lead to big power numbers in pro ball (as witnessed by his 53.3% ground-ball rate and low line-drive rate) and he’s not likely to hit for a high average. He’s also limited defensively due to a lack of overall athleticism.

Chris Owings: Owings isn’t flashy in the field or at the plate, but he’s reliable. Defensively, he’s sure-handed and coverts what he gets too; he’s expected to remain at shortstop on a long-term basis. At the plate, he has limited power (.120 ISO) but Owings projects to be a solid top of the order hitter, but probably in the two hole due to his lack of speed and patience (2.7 BB%). He makes good contact and should hit .280-.300 in the Majors if he keeps developing. Overall, he hit .306/.324/.426 in 108 at-bats in his debut.

Mike Belfiore: It’s easy to like Belfiore. He’s left-handed, he can touch the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball and he gets a ton of ground balls (54% in his debut). He also has a four-pitch mix (fastball, slider, change-up, and curve) and he his ceiling keeps getting higher now that the former two-way player in college has focused on pitching. Overall in low-A ball in ’09, Belfiore posted a 2.48 FIP in 58.0 innings, while posting a strikeout rate of 8.53 K/9 and showing excellent control with a walk rate of 2.02 BB/9.

Keon Broxton: An athletic center-field prospect, Broxton struggled somewhat in his rookie-ball debut thanks to an ugly 34.2% strikeout rate. He also walked just 6.4% of the time and attempted seven steals (six successfully) in 72 games. Overall, he hit .246/.302/.474 in 272 at-bats. He showed more power than expected with an ISO rate of .228. He currently looks a little bit like fellow Diamondback Chris Young.

Ryan Wheeler (5th round): Wheeler had a solid debut in short-season ball and even earned a late-season promotion (eight games) to low-A. He hit .363/.461/.538 in 234 short-season at-bats. Wheeler’s scouting report out of college suggested that he was a one-dimensional slugger who went up swinging for the fences. He showed a little more depth than that in pro ball by posting a walk rate of 13.2% and he kept his strikeout rate to an excellent 12.0%. His ISO rate was .175 and he even stole seven base in 11 tries despite average-at-best speed.

2008 1st Round: Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona
1S. Wade Miley, LHP, Southeastern Louisiana
2. Bryan Shaw, RHP, Long Beach State
3. Kevin Eichhorn, RHP, California HS

Schlereth reached the Majors quicker that a lot of people thought he would but the reliever was dealt to Detroit in the off-season in the Edwin Jackson trade. Miley is on the Top 10 list. Eichhorn has a chance to get onto the list in 2010 if he can continue to develop his control. The reliever spent ’09 in rookie ball and pitched just 16.0 innings with 25 strikeouts and nine walks.

Shaw spent time in both the starting rotation and the bullpen at high-A ball in ’09 and he posted respectable numbers. He allowed 96 hits in 107.1 innings, while showing OK control with a walk rate of 3.35 BB/9. He also struck out batters at a rate of 7.97 K/9. His FIP (3.70) was a full run lower than his ERA, in part because he relies to heavily on the ground ball (55%) and minor-league defenses are notoriously unreliable. He’s a better prospect than he currently appears to be.

Outfielder Collin Cowgill (5th round) was a steal and appears on the Top 10 list. Right-hander Trevor Harden (14th) is another player to keep your eye on.

2007 1st Round: Jarrod Parker, RHP, Indiana HS
1S. Wes Roemer, RHP, Cal State Fullerton
1S. Ed Easley, C, Mississippi State
2. Barry Enright, RHP, Pepperdine
3. Reynaldo Navarro, SS, Puerto Rico HS
5x – Tyrell Worthington, OF, North Carolina HS

First pick Parker has looked very good in pro ball and reached Double-A in ’09 before succumbing to Tommy John surgery. The organization hopes to have him back by the end of 2010 and he is on the Top 10 list along with Navarro.

Both Roemer and Enright are right-handed pitchers with good control but modest stuff. Roemer reached double-A in ’09 and allowed 132 hits in 134.2 innings, while also posting a walk rate of 2.87 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 6.55 K/9. He also produced a 44% ground-ball rate but his line-drive rate was a worrisome 18%. Enright also pitched in double-A and he gave up a lot of hits: 171 in 156.0 innings of work. His walk rate was good at 2.13 BB/9 but the strikeout rate was very low at just 5.94 K/9.

Easley’s bat has been a disappointment since turning pro. He hit just .228/.324/.304 in 378 high-A at-bats. Worthington has been a huge disappointment and has shown limited aptitude at the plate. In his third try at short-season ball, the outfielder hit just .204/.264/.274 with a 33.3% strikeout rate in 186 at-bats.

Josh Collmenter (15th round) is a pitcher to keep an eye on, while Bryan Augenstein (7th) could end up being a useful arm in the Majors.

2006 1st Round: Max Scherzer, RHP, Missouri
1S. Brooks Brown, RHP, Georgia (Traded to DET)
2. Brett Anderson, LHP, Oklahoma HS (Traded to OAK)
3. Dallas Buck, RHP, Oregon State (Traded to CIN)
3. Cyle Hankerd, OF, Southern California

Anderson was the cream of this crop, but he was traded to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal. Scherzer is a close second, but he was lost to Detroit in the Jackson deal. Brown (Detroit) and Buck (Cincinnati) were also traded. The organization, which doesn’t have a lot of money to burn, has made some very poor decisions by using cheap, talented minor leaguers as trading chips for more expensive veterans – some of whom did not stay around long.

Hankerd has never lived up to the hype that developed after his pro debut in ’06 but he could still see time in the Majors as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Daniel Stange (7th round) has some potential as a middle reliever. John Hester (13th) could be the club’s back-up catcher no later than 2011. Clay Zavada (30th) took a unique route to the Majors but he should be one of the southpaws in the MLB ‘pen this season.

Up Next: The Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects