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D-backs draft polished bats, high-end talent

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- The D-backs got polished college bats in the first few rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft, selected some high-upside high school players after that and finished Wednesday's final day by getting some more high-end talent early as well as taking a flier on some guys who might pose signability issues.

The D-backs selected University of Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith with their first pick (seventh overall), University of Louisville third baseman Drew Ellis (second round) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee catcher Daulton Varsho (Comp B) on Day 1. All could mover quickly through the system.

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PHOENIX -- The D-backs got polished college bats in the first few rounds of the 2017 MLB Draft, selected some high-upside high school players after that and finished Wednesday's final day by getting some more high-end talent early as well as taking a flier on some guys who might pose signability issues.

The D-backs selected University of Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith with their first pick (seventh overall), University of Louisville third baseman Drew Ellis (second round) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee catcher Daulton Varsho (Comp B) on Day 1. All could mover quickly through the system.

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:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::

Right-handed pitchers Matt Tabor (third round) and Harrison Francis (fourth round), along with third baseman Buddy Kennedy (fifth round) are all top high school talent.

The D-backs are confident in signing all three of those prep players, but it will take extra money to do so, and as a result the organization selected some easier-to-sign players in the second half Tuesday on Day 2.

On Wednesday they accomplished a few different objectives with Rounds 11 through 40.

"We started early in the Draft [on Wednesday] taking guys that we feel still will have some upside in the roles to which we drafted them," D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "Then obviously as the Draft progresses you start to see some draft on need and take flyers on guys to see if their signability changes during the course of the summer. A lot of that comes down to money."

One of the high-upside players the D-backs took was center fielder Tra'Mayne Holmes, a junior from Faulkner University. Holmes helped lead his team to the NAIA World Series and was named to the All-World Series team.

"You talk about a tooled-out athlete that we feel like has tremendous upside, he definitely would be one of those," Ladnier said.

The D-backs will keep an eye on Canadian outfielder Clayton Keyes (15th round) and high school outfielder Kevin Watson (18th round) to see if they might be able to sign them during the summer.

"They're both high-upside guys," Ladnier said. "We're not too far apart, but we'll just have to see what we ultimately end up with financially."

One of the biggest differences for the D-backs in this year's Draft was the amount of analytics incorporated into the process thanks to the influence of a new front office staff led by general manager Mike Hazen. This was Ladnier's third Draft with the D-backs, and he said the respect between the scouting side and analytics was impressive, calling it a "seamless transition," and he was thankful for the extra input.

"I know at the end of the day this blend is only going to allow us to have deeper drafts and put more prospect players in the organization," Ladnier said. "Everybody was in the room, and as we discussed players from a pure scouting perspective, we would get an analytical perspective and try to blend those and make the right selection when we had a combination of both."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks