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With Draft over, signing phase begins for D-backs

After agreeing to terms with player, scouting team will assign him to summer club

PHOENIX -- The 2015 Draft may be over, but the work does not stop in the D-backs' front office.

There are players to sign and short-season Minor League teams to stock. It's a whirlwind of activity that requires Arizona's scouting and player development departments to work in lockstep.

First, scouting director Deric Ladnier and his team will work to get the draftees under contract. In most cases, the area scouts who were responsible for a given player being drafted have a good idea of what it will take to sign him.

"Our guys have gotten so efficient at getting guys in that it's really incredible," director of player development Mike Bell said. "Once they agree, the scouts find out if they're ready to travel. Most of them are. Most of them are ready to go."

In fact, 14 players were set to arrive in Arizona on Thursday, with another five or six due Friday.

Getting all those players from across the country and then arranging transportation to a hotel and eventually to Salt River Fields on such short notice takes a great deal of effort and coordination.

The responsibility for that falls to assistant director of scouting Brendan Domaracki, player development assistant T.J. Lasita, senior coordinator of Minor League administration Shawn Marette and baseball operations executive assistant Kristyn Pierce.

"Those four really work together and make sure all the paperwork and the travel is all lined up," Bell said. "The window of getting guys here and seen by doctors and going through minicamp is so small now. We really only have four days on the field with them."

Video: 2015 Draft: looks at the D-backs' picks

After those four days, the players get assigned to teams for the summer. The number of college players the D-backs chose this year means that most will likely wind up with short-season Class A Hillsboro in the Northwest League or Rookie-level Missoula in the Pioneer League.

A third option is for the draftees to remain in Arizona and play in the Rookie-level Arizona League.

To determine at which level a player should begin, Bell and his staff meet with Ladnier and the scout who signed the player. Those meetings begin Thursday night.

"We rely on what our scouts are telling us and where they think they should start based on their ability, their level of maturity and where they're at in their development," Bell said.

Once the assignments are determined, the club must make plane reservations for the players heading out to Hillsboro and Missoula, both of which start their season June 18.

Hillsboro and Missoula are allowed to have up to 35 players on their roster, and Bell and his staff will often fill the extra spots with pitchers to make sure that no one gets overworked and innings are accounted for.

Keeping in mind that many of those drafted are leaving home for the first time, care is also taken to put players who have been in the D-backs' system before on each of the teams for leadership purposes.

"It's a balancing act," Bell said. "I'm fortunate that we have such a good scouting department, and I could not do all of this without my staff putting in all the work that they do."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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