SAN DIEGO -- Last year was an historic one for the Arizona Diamondbacks when it came to the First-Year Player Draft.
The D-backs became the first organization to have two of the first seven overall picks. They had the No. 3 pick because of their poor finish in 2010, and they had the No. 7 pick as a result of not being able to sign their first pick in 2010, Barret Loux.
Arizona scouting director Ray Montgomery made the most of those two picks, selecting UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer and high school righty Archie Bradley.
Bauer is already thriving in Triple-A Reno, while Bradley has been impressive for Class A South Bend.
Whereas last year the organization had to decide what highly ranked players to take, this year the challenge is to find quality players while selecting No. 26 overall.
The D-backs do not have a pick in the compensatory round, meaning they will pick again at No. 90 overall and then not again until No. 120.
"I reminded the guys all throughout the spring that we had two of the first seven and this year we're going to get two of the first 119," Montgomery said. "It's a sobering reality, but it was unfortunate circumstances that put us in that position last year -- we didn't play well and all the stuff that had gone on the year before. We made the most of it. Picking No. 26 is where we want to be every year, so I'm all for that."
Live coverage of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday, at 3 p.m. MST on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following@MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
One of the most famous No. 26 overall picks in history wears a D-backs uniform each day, though he's no longer an active player. Bench coach Alan Trammell fashioned a stellar big league career after being drafted by the Tigers in 1976.
"I actually think it's pretty good," Montgomery said of this year's Draft class. "I know everyone wants to refer to last year as being so strong. I think this class is good. I don't think there's huge separation between guys, but I think there's good depth."
Here's a glance at what the D-backs have in store as the Draft approaches:
In about 50 words
The D-backs won't get the same kind of impact players they did at the top of last year's Draft, but they do hope to land a quality player. The last time they picked No. 26 was in 2008, and they took lefty Daniel Schlereth.
Last year, the D-backs could strategize in choosing who they wanted because they had a pretty good idea who the top seven picks were going to be. This year, though, they are at the mercy of the clubs' selections in the 25 spots ahead of them.
The D-backs have $3,818,300 to spend on their first 10 picks, which is quite a bit less than the $11,161,500 they spent last year on those picks, according to Baseball America.
"There are good players that want to play the game that will sign for what we're talking about money-wise," Montgomery said.
There is simply no way to know who the D-backs will have available to them picking that late in the Draft, so the cliché about taking the best available player will definitely apply this year.
Because of the uncertainty of who will fall to them, the D-backs have cast a wider net than in most years.
"Consequently we've had a lot of looks on some guys that we feel pretty good about because we've been focusing on those guys and spreading our looks over a wider range," Montgomery said. "On the flip side -- because we don't know what's going to happen, because we don't know who is going to be there -- it's going to come down to best player available at our pick."
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
Most experts agree, the D-backs' system was heavy on arms before they added Bauer, Bradley and Andrew Chafin last year.
Additionally, GM Kevin Towers has spoken often about the fact that his club does have some up and comers among the corner infield and outfield positions.
Where the D-backs seem to be the thinnest is in middle infielders and catchers. Unfortunately this Draft is not deep in those players, and there are plenty of other teams looking for the same thing.
"If you polled all of the clubs in baseball and you said, What are the biggest needs in baseball,' it's got to be the middle-of-the-field type players," Montgomery said. "I don't know anybody that has an abundance of those."
Pitching, pitching and more pitching has been the theme for the D-backs of late when it comes to the Draft. After restocking the organization's position player inventory during the 2009 Draft, the organization spent its first eight picks of 2010 on pitchers, and last year its first four and six of its first eight were hurlers.
Recent Draft History Rising fast
Take your pick. There's Bauer, who signed early on in last year's process and got a head start at Double-A Mobile. He started there this year and quickly was moved up to Triple-A, where he has again been impressive. Right-hander Evan Marshall, who was picked in the fourth round last year, is back at Double-A Mobile again this year and was invited to Spring Training.
D-backs' recent top picks
Trevor Bauer / Archie Bradley
Reno (AAA) / South Bend (A)
Did not sign
Bobby Borchering / A.J. Pollock
Visalia (A+) / D-backs (MLB)
Adam Eaton was selected in the 19th round in 2010 and hit .385 in Rookie ball that summer. One year later, he hit .322 at Class A Advanced Visalia and was promoted to Double-A Mobile, where he once again found success, hitting .302. The outfielder then went to the Arizona Fall League and continued his impressive run by hitting .344 and earning a spot on the league's All-Prospect Team. It all added up to an invitation to Spring Training this year, and he is currently knocking on the Major League door with Triple-A Reno.
In The Show
Paul Goldschmidt was taken in the eighth round in 2009, and after hitting 30 homers in just 366 at-bats for Double-A Mobile in 2011, he found himself in the big leagues on Aug. 1. One day after debuting with a hit off San Francisco's Matt Cain, the first baseman blasted a homer off Tim Lincecum. Goldschmidt quickly established himself as the team's starting first baseman.