D-backs add more pitching, draft Cecconi at 33

June 11th, 2020

PHOENIX -- The D-backs dipped into the college pitching ranks for the second time Wednesday night when they selected right-hander Slade Cecconi from the University of Miami with their Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 33 overall) in the MLB Draft.

With their first pick of the night, the D-backs selected Duke University right-hander Bryce Jarvis at No. 18.

“Went pitching this year,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. “Had a pretty good idea that that’s how this was going to go down, just where we had all the pitching ranked on our board. It was pretty stacked up with pitching, those first 30-plus picks. The board fell fairly as we expected, plus or minus a few guys, there weren’t a lot of surprises for us. Very happy to get the guys we did.”

Cecconi was a top high school prospect heading into his senior year at Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Fla.), but an injury, as well as his commitment to Miami, caused him to slide to the 38th round in 2018, when he was drafted by the Orioles and did not sign.

At 6-foot-4, Cecconi, a Draft-eligible sophomore, is a big-bodied, hard thrower. He reaches 96 mph early in his starts, but his velocity has dropped off deeper into games, which makes some think that his future could be in the bullpen, where his fastball-slider combination would play up.

The D-backs view Cecconi as a starter, however, and though he’s not as polished as Jarvis, he also has a high ceiling.

“Obviously, he’s got the size and the stuff, the four-pitch mix, really intelligent, comes from a really good family,” D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said. “He’s an elite strike-thrower, you can look at his numbers and tell that, but we do feel like with him, there are some things we’re going to have to do to utilize his pitches. A lot of these guys, their games are being called by their coaches, and he will admit that. Maybe he wanted to use his changeup more and his curveball more, those are the types of things we’re going to have to teach him to do.”

Cecconi spent some time at Driveline Baseball to utilize Trackman data to improve his pitches.

“He took it upon himself to take his ability to the next level, which is exactly what we want him to do once we get him into the Minor Leagues,” Ladnier said. “That’s why both of these guys were so appealing. They’re advanced thought-process guys with really good stuff, and they’re outstanding human beings.”

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.