D-backs take 'intriguing' pitchers and shortstops on Day 2

July 19th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Dylan Ray figured there was a good chance he could get selected Monday during Day 2 of the 2022 MLB Draft, but as for where and by who, the right-hander out of the University of Alabama had no idea.

Ray's wait didn't last long, though, as the D-backs picked him in the fourth round (108th overall), one of eight selections Arizona made in Rounds 3-10. The Draft concludes Tuesday with Rounds 11-20 beginning at 11 a.m. MST.

"I woke up and I had a quick phone call with my advisor, and I didn't really have any contact with teams today," Ray said. "I had no idea that the Diamondbacks were going to select me. And then, honestly, I walked out of the bathroom and my advisor called me and said, 'Hey, they're picking you right now.' So I got off the phone, they picked me and then [the D-backs] called me and said, 'Hey, we just picked you.' And I was like, 'Yeah, I just saw.' I was ecstatic. I was pumped up and it's a great opportunity for sure."

The D-backs watched Ray not only at Alabama this spring but also this summer when he pitched in the Cape Cod League.

Ray underwent Tommy John surgery before he threw his first pitch for Alabama, but he returned this year and ended up pitching 31 1/3 innings in relief for the Crimson Tide.

After missing the entire 2021 season, the Tide's coaching staff didn't want to use Ray as a starter and have him pile up too many innings, so he pitched out of the bullpen. If he had stayed another year at Alabama, Ray said, the staff told him he would be a starter. The D-backs think he has the potential to be one in pro ball.

"It was really kind of a collective effort," D-backs scouting director Ian Rebhan said of the decision to pick Ray. "He's a guy that our scouts had a lot of conviction in, in addition to our analysts on our data team. He's a right-hander that's been up to 96 mph. He's relieved at Alabama, but he's got kind of a starter mix -- so intriguing arm upside there. The overall strike quality is really good and we think he's got four pitches."

The D-backs took three pitchers (all college arms) and five position players (two out of the high school ranks and three with college experience) on Day 2.

"We got college players and interesting upside high school players, as well as arms and position players," Rebhan said. "So, I think, whenever you kind of get that blend, it's really exciting, and we're really happy with how it went."

The D-backs' first selection on Monday was left-hander Nate Savino from the University of Virginia, a player they had a lot of familiarity with dating back to his time on the high school summer circuit. Scout Rick Matsko saw him all through the end of his high school career and also at Virginia.

"You're getting a left-handed starter who throws strikes," Rebhan said. "He's got three pitches. It's a really good sinker with a slider and a changeup, so we think he has a chance to be a starter. And he's performed at the University of Virginia, which is a good program."

Arizona did select one home state product, shortstop Demetrio Crisantes from Nogales High School in the seventh round (198th overall). Crisantes is committed to playing baseball at the University of Arizona, but the D-backs will make an effort to get him signed.

"We were really intrigued by the upside of his bat, someone that we had a lot of scouting conviction in as a hitter," Rebhan said. "He's a really young athletic infielder, and anytime you get someone who you think can stick up the middle and has a lot of upside with the bat, the ability to hit for average and grow into some power while only being 17 years old is a really, really intriguing player."

Another high school shortstop the D-backs picked was Adrian Rodriguez out of the International Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. The 18-year-old was selected in the eighth round (228th overall).

"He was a guy we identified early," Rebhan said. "Our area scout in Puerto Rico, Pedro Hernandez, did a really good job staying on him all year, getting to know the kid really well. He's just an interesting complete package. He's really athletic, he can run, he can definitely stick at shortstop. He's a smooth, easy fluid defender, and we think there's a chance with the bat there that he can hit it for power and be an everyday type of player at shortstop."