MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Get Set for the 2014 MLB Draft
The 2014 MLB draft begins on June 5th and runs through June 7th with the first round being televised on the MLB Network and the remainder on MLB.com. It is well-known that the MLB draft garners nowhere near the attention of the NFL or even the NBA drafts, but over the last few years it has been gaining in popularity. The prospects waiting to be selected, now more than ever, are becoming names that fans already know. More coverage of college baseball on TV, and even on the internet, is a big reason for the name recognition. The use of the internet to watch high school players is also a factor in the gain in popularity.
The AZ Diamondbacks have four of the first 70 picks, #16, #54, #69 and #70. The #69 selection was acquired from San Diego just before last year’s non-waiver trade deadline. The selection acquired from the Padres, along with the Diamondbacks #70 selection, were the result of the new competitive balance lottery. It is difficult to explain, but it was one of the top priorities of the commissioner’s office during MLB’s last collective bargaining agreement to add new rules to the MLB draft. They were designed to both contain costs and promote a competitive balance. In this draft, every team that is one of the ten smallest-market and/or the ten lowest-revenue teams, were eligible to get an extra pick in the draft.
The draft is 40 rounds, so there is a lot of work year round by the Diamondbacks’ Scouts, Scouting Director, Ray Montgomery, and General Manager, Kevin Towers. However, Montgomery makes the final decisions. This is Montgomery’s fourth Diamondbacks draft and, although he has found guys in the later rounds, such as Paul Goldschmidt in the 8th round, Josh Collmenter in the 15th round and Chase Anderson in the 9th round, the Diamondbacks have not had a whole lot of success in the early rounds of the draft. The jury is still out on Archie Bradley, who the Diamondbacks took in the 2011 draft. Bradley is in AAA Reno and has been injured. In 2012 Stryker Trahan was chosen and has been moved from catcher to the outfield and he has struggled in A ball in South Bend. And, it is still too early to report on Braden Shipley, although he has looked good in A ball in South Bend and Visalia. You will have to go back to the 2009 draft, when they took A.J. Pollock, to find an early draft selection that has made an impact on the big league club. Hopefully this year, with a “deep” draft, the team will do better.
You can never go wrong with more pitching in your organization, and fans understand that the Diamondbacks have plenty of pitching for their future, led by Braden Shipley and Archie Bradley. But, after trading Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and even Jarrod Parker over the past two years, it would not be a bad idea to draft a few pitchers. Although I cannot predict players that the Diamondbacks should/will take, I can tell you that along with starting pitching, they need corner outfield help and catching help.
One area that is not a need right now is bullpen arms. They just need to continue to develop in AAA or AA, with possible call-ups in September with a chance at getting a roster spot for Spring Training 2015. Those players include Matt Stites, and Jake Barrett.
When it comes to selecting players the Diamondbacks have been known to take the best player available at each spot and not select based on positional needs at the big league level, but we will see how they handle this year’s draft.
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