D-backs eye 'impact players' in 7 early picks

In first 75 selections, focus is on talent regardless of position

June 2nd, 2019

PHOENIX -- There’s no getting around the importance of the 2019 Draft for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

With seven of the first 75 selections, the D-backs have a chance to add significant talent to their organization. With that many picks, and the near-record bonus pool that comes along with them, Arizona gets an opportunity to be creative.

The D-backs have two first-round picks (No. 16 and 26 overall), which they received when last year’s top pick, Matt McLain, chose not to sign. They also have compensation picks for losing pitcher Patrick Corbin (33) and outfielder A.J. Pollock (34) as free agents. In addition, they have their second-round pick (56) and their own Competitive Balance pick (74) as well as one they received from the Cardinals (75), included as part of the Paul Goldschmidt trade.

The 2019 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 41 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, mock drafts from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the D-backs, whose first selection is the 16th overall pick.

In about 50 words: The D-backs are trying to compete at the big league level while also building up the talent in their system. Starting pitching was a strength for the organization at the top end heading into this year, but with recent promotions their depth has been stretched. Most of the team’s top position players are at least a year away from the Majors.

What they’re saying: “I think having the number of picks we have helps us artificially infuse a volume of talent into the organization that we wouldn’t be able to do in just a normal, traditional Draft. I think this helps with continuing to build our organization quite a bit.” -- Arizona GM Mike Hazen

Who might they take? Matthew Allan, a right-handed pitcher out of Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., has been linked to the D-backs at No. 16 in multiple mock drafts done by MLB Pipeline experts Callis and Mayo. Right-hander George Kirby from Elon University has also been mentioned.

Money matters: Under the 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 $125,000 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.

This year, the D-backs have $16,093,700 to spend in the first 10 rounds, the second-highest amount allocated to a club since spending limits came into play in 2012. That figure includes $3,745,500 to spend on their first pick in the first round.

Shopping list: Hazen is a big believer in not selecting for need, either at the big league level or for the system.

“I just think we need to add impact players,” Hazen said. “Whether that comes in the rotation or an everyday player, I don’t care at this stage. Either one of those would be important to us. I think [we want] as many impact players [as] we can find, regardless of position.”

Trend watch: The D-backs have leaned toward college bats in the first round under scouting director Deric Ladnier. They took shortstop Dansby Swanson in 2015, Anfernee Grier in 2016 (Competitive Balance pick) and first baseman Pavin Smith in 2017. Last year, though, they took McLain, a high-school shortstop, who chose to attend UCLA.

The D-backs' recent top picks

2018: Matt McLain, SS (Did not sign)

2017: Pavin Smith, 1B (Double-A Jackson)

2016: No first-round pick

2015: Dansby Swanson, SS (Majors, Atlanta)

2014: Touki Toussaint, RHP (Majors, Atlanta)