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D-backs take prep catcher Trahan at No. 26

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Before signing Miguel Montero to a five-year contract extension recently, the D-backs brass scoured the Major Leagues, the Minor Leagues and the international scene to look at catching alternatives.

The scarcity was a reminder that finding a quality backstop is not easy and led the organization to paying more for Montero than they had planned.

And it's no coincidence that they decided to spend their first pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft on a catcher, as they selected Stryker Trahan out of Acadiana (La.) High School No. 26 overall.

"It was the greatest feeling I've ever had," said Trahan, who had over 75 friends and family at his house. "I was sitting there with all my family and I think I went deaf there with how loud it got there. I think it's one of the best feelings ever to be considered to be a Diamondback and I hope I have a great future ahead of me. I know I do."

It is the first time the D-backs have selected a position player in the first round since 2009. In '10 the organization spent its first eight picks on pitchers, and last year its first four and six of its first eight were hurlers.

A strong, muscular left-handed hitter, Trahan is expected to develop home run power, and he runs well for a catcher.

"The only way you're going to get it is to be able to take them in the Draft," D-backs GM Kevin Towers said about catching. "And we felt Trahan was one of the top two catchers in the country."

While his arm is plus for the position, he will need to work on his footwork and receiving, but his leadership skills are unquestioned.

The D-backs liked the fact that he was not only a leader on the baseball field, he also showed that skill as linebacker and quarterback in high school.

"With the bat profile where it is, and the position he plays and the fact that he hits left-handed, it's a pretty good package and we're very, very happy to get it at 26," scouting director Ray Montgomery said. "He's a good athlete; he can run; he can throw. Obviously he's going to have some work to do back there, but I think you could say that about pretty much anybody who was going to come into the system as a high school kid and have to catch the type of arms he's going to have to catch now."

Scouts differ on whether Trahan, 18, will be able to stick behind the plate or have to be moved to a corner-outfield spot, but the D-backs see him as a catcher.

"The plan is to keep him behind the plate, but the fact that he's athletic enough to play a different position, whether it be left field, I think that speaks to his athleticism that he would be able to do that," Montgomery said. "First of all, he's strong. Physically, he's mature. He's not your typical high school kid. He's a strong, powerfully built compact kid, so I think that helps. The swing itself is pretty pure. It's got a chance to be above average, for sure, and I think there's power in there to come."

Trahan, who was named after Burt Reynolds' character, B.L. Stryker, in a television series of the same name that aired from 1989-90, was the D-backs' lone pick on the initial day of the Draft. Quite a contrast from last year, when they had the Nos. 3 and 7 picks overall as well as a pick in the compensation round.

The D-backs will next pick in the second round, No. 90 overall.

"Much different," Montgomery said when comparing last year to this year. "This was a little more of a grind and there's still a lot of work left to be done. There's still 39 other guys that we have to make a commitment to and we spent a lot of time scouting those players, too."

D-backs scout Rusty Pendergrass has already reached out to Trahan's family, and the organization feels confident that there won't be protracted contract negotiations. Trahan does have a scholarship offer at the University of Mississippi.

"I think there was a pretty good idea that he was ready to go out and start his career sooner rather than later," Montgomery said. "But we still have the obvious hurdles to cross to make sure everything gets set up the right way."

Said Trahan, "We're so excited right now, Ole Miss hasn't actually crossed my mind, but we're very excited right now with where we are. But if everything works out I'll be playing for the Diamondbacks. We hope everything goes smoothly with negotiations."

Arizona Diamondbacks, Stryker Trahan