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D-backs focus on position players in Draft

PHOENIX -- A year after the D-backs selected five times in the first 93 overall picks, the club found itself with a more limited role in the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft.

After a surprising National League West division crown in 2011, the D-backs selected late in each round and did not receive any compensatory picks from unsigned picks or free-agent losses.

But even though their chances early in the Draft for more highly touted players were few, the D-backs used the majority of their 40 picks on position players to replenish a farm system stocked with well-regarded pitching prospects.

"I thought it was good, we're happy with what we accomplished," D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery said. "We have some athletic guys up the middle of the field that look good. Overall, it was a good Draft."

Seven of the team's first eight picks of the Draft were position players, with Arizona State right-handed pitcher Jake Barrett in the third round being the only exception.

"It's very hard to find middle of the field guys so we spent a little bit of time putting an emphasis on that after last year's Draft," Montgomery said. "With the arms we have, we felt like we could afford to do that."

The D-backs began by taking catcher Stryker Trahan out of Acadiana (La.) High School No. 26 overall.

"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 was the club's only pick Monday, then the team opened Day 2 on Tuesday in the second round by drafting Jose Munoz, a prep shortstop from California who will likely stay in the middle infield throughout the Minors.

"There's some room in the body and the bat for him to grow into a bigger projection," Montgomery said. "So I think it's a good fit for us. At the position, it's a need, and the talent is there with the player."

The D-backs derailed from their overall theme of the Draft by taking Valley native Barrett with their next pick, who was ranked by as the 55th overall prospect but fell to 120.

"Anytime you can get a guy like Jake in the third round is good," Montgomery said. "Then you add the fact that he's a local kid and we know him well. We're happy to have him and I think it's a win-win situation for the organization."

After Barrett, 17 of the next 26 names the D-backs called were position players.

One of the names that stuck out late in Day 2 was outfielder Daniel Poma from Hofstra. The college junior is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which is the baseball version of the Heisman, after batting .430 this year.

"He's sort of an older player in terms of level, but he put up quite a year," Montgomery said. "His offensive numbers speak for themselves."

Only a couple of weeks after signing Miguel Montero to a five-year extension, the D-backs drafted four catchers throughout the three days, including three in the first 13 rounds, because of how scarce the position is in the team's system.

"I feel better about it now," Montgomery said. "Of course these guys have a long way to go but throughout baseball and the industry as a hole, catching is hard to find."

Arizona Diamondbacks