Drafted at No. 18, Jarvis 'thrilled' to join D-backs

Duke right-hander is son of former Arizona pitcher, scout

June 11th, 2020

PHOENIX -- Right-hander Bryce Jarvis, selected by the D-backs with the No. 18 pick in Wednesday’s MLB Draft, could become the second member of his family to pitch in the big leagues for Arizona.

Jarvis’ father, Kevin, pitched for 10 different teams over 12 years in the Majors, including making five appearances (one start) for the D-backs in 2006. He also served as a scout for the D-backs after his playing career ended and has been a longtime friend of Arizona scouting director Deric Ladnier.

“I’ve been watching the kid since he was 16, 17 years old,” Ladnier said. “It’s been neat to watch him develop into the pitcher he’s become, the man he’s become. I know the background of the family, and I know we’re getting an A-plus individual.”

With their Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 33 overall), the D-backs selected another right-handed starter from the Atlantic Coast Conference in University of Miami right-hander Slade Cecconi.

After his sophomore year at Duke, Jarvis turned down a chance to pitch in the Cape Cod League and instead spent the summer working on his pitches at Driveline Baseball and improving his strength and conditioning at Cressey Sports Performance.

The result was more muscle, an even better feel for his pitches and an increase in velocity. He touches 96 mph with his fastball with good downhill plane, and he also has a well-above-average changeup and a plus curveball.

Jarvis had a great start to his junior year, as he authored the first perfect game in the 131-year history of Duke University baseball on Feb. 21 against Cornell, collecting a career-high 15 strikeouts while throwing only 94 pitches.

In four starts before the coronavirus pandemic ended the college baseball season, Jarvis went 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA. He walked only two while striking out 40 and holding opponents to a .120 average.

More than just the quality of Jarvis' pitches is the understanding he has of how to use them and what makes them effective. Part of that comes from his work at Driveline, while part is his background and the teachings from his dad. He’s also intelligent, as evidenced by his mechanical engineering major at Duke.

“This kid is wired for success,” Ladnier said. “With starting pitchers, there has to be some form of intelligence to be able to apply all the data that’s used nowadays to get hitters out, apply advance reports. We had a Zoom call with the young man maybe a month ago, and to sit there and listen to him talk about all the things that he’s done with shaping his pitches and how he uses them, it’s as advanced.”

As pick No. 18 got closer, Ladnier began to get a bit nervous.

“The last few picks, I was sweating it out, because we heard rumors about different things,” Ladnier said. “As I have told you in the past, we take guys on ability, and we literally went down our board. He was the guy that we had targeted that we hoped he got to us.”

After growing up around the game during his dad’s career, Jarvis set his sights early on a day like Wednesday.

“I was thrilled,” Jarvis said. “It’s been a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It was awesome to be surrounded by friends and family and longtime supporters. It was definitely very validating. It’s still sinking in. It’ll take a couple of days, if not weeks, to fully grasp what happened tonight. I’m looking forward to the time it takes to set in. Like I said, it’s really special to be able to share it with my family.”

The Draft continues Thursday with Rounds 2-5. The MLB Network preview show begins at 4 p.m. ET, with live coverage on MLB Network and ESPN2 beginning at 5 p.m. ET. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on the Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.