This year’s first-year amateur draft was lauded as one of the deepest talent pools in a very long time. It seemed to have everything; there were polished college position players, raw high school hitters, advanced collegiate pitchers, and high-ceiling high school arms. For teams it was a smorgasbord of talent to choose from.
The draft was especially intriguing to Arizona Diamondbacks fans. For the first time in baseball history a team had two draft picks in the top ten selections. As a result of their last place finish in 2010 the Diamondbacks owned the number three overall pick. The team also had the number seven selection as compensation for not being able to sign their first round draft pick last year.
Besides these two picks the Diamondbacks also had a sandwich selection between the first and second round as a free agent compensation. All told, the Diamondbacks had five picks in the top 100. The draft came at a perfect time as Arizona attempted to restock a farm system that had been drained by players being called up from 2008-2010.
After the draft many experts described the Diamondbacks selections as some of the best in all of baseball. Identifying the talent and making the selections was only part of being successful. The team still had to try and get these draft picks under contract for the process to be a success.
Many of the late round draft picks signed fairly quickly and have been assigned to places such as Missoula Montana, Yakima Washington, and the Scottsdale Arizona. These players got a head start on their professional baseball careers.
For the higher draft picks the negotiation process was a lot more intensive and time consuming. Major League Baseball has a deadline of August 15 for signing any draft pick. If a team is unable to sign their first round draft choice they ware given a compensation pick the next year one selection below the previous year’s pick which is how the Diamondbacks received the seventh overall selection. If a selection was a compensation pick from the previous year the team is not awarded a compensatory pick for not being able to sign that player. The process sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.
The compensation criteria did come into play with the Diamondbacks as the number seven pick was not protected meaning if the Diamondbacks were unable to come to terms with that selection they would lose it and have no recourse next season. In terms of negotiations that gives the player a lot more leverage.
The number seven pick this year was high school RHP Archie Bradley from Broken Arrow High School. Bradley was not only a tremendous baseball talent but also had a scholarship offer to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma. As expected the negotiations between the Diamondbacks and Bradley went up until the final moments before the deadline before agreeing to terms on a contract.
Besides Bradley, the Diamondbacks also worked on several other players signing compensation round LHP Andrew Chafin, RHP Anthony Meo, and catcher Michael Perez on the final day before the deadline. Of the top 10 selections by the Diamondbacks they were able to sign 8. Only sixth round pick RHP Matthew Price and seventh round pick OF Benjamin Roberts failed to sign.
By all intents the Diamondbacks draft was highly successful. Today young players are finishing up final pieces before boarding planes to fly to Phoenix to begin the process of becoming professional baseball players.
Hopefully it won’t be too long before names such as Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, Anthony Meo, Justin Bianco, Evan Marshall, and Michael Perez will dot the roster and fans at Chase Field will be standing and cheering as their names are announced when they enter their first big league game. The future is suddenly looking a lot brighter as far as the Arizona Diamondbacks are concerned.