The Arizona Diamondbacks selected right-handed pitcher Braden Shipley of Nevada with the 15th pick in MLB’s 2013 First-Year Player Draft Thursday.
In doing so, they landed a player many thought would be long gone by the time they were on the clock.
D-backs’ Director of Scouting Ray Montgomery said the addition of Shipley will continue to strengthen the team’s pipeline of pitching.
“We’re looking for starting pitching and it is something you can never have enough of,” said Montgomery. “Braden has three plus pitches and he’s one of the best overall athletes in the draft. He’s a great kid with a great family and a great pick for us at 15.”
At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Shipley is a converted shortstop who went 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA for the Wolfpack in 2013. He struck out 102 in 107.1 innings of work, while walking 34.
“After my sophomore season I went up to Alaska and played in that league and just made it a goal of mind to get stronger and gain some weight and worked hard up there,” Shipley told the MLB Network shortly after being drafted. “It was just good things coming back in the fall; I was really excited to show what I had, and there were some highs.
“I’m just really blessed, it’s an exciting time for me and my family.”
Shipley was also named Mountain West Pitcher of the Year in 2012, and was co-winner of the award in 2013.
According to Baseball America, Shipley has “electrifying” stuff.
Scouts have seen his fastball up to 98 mph, and he sits consistently at 93-96 even in a starting role, with minimal effort. He also owns a true out pitch in his changeup, which he throws with the same arm speed and arm action as his fastball. He’ll throw it any time against any hitter, righthanded or lefthanded.
“He’s got arguably one of the best righthanded changeups in the country—and that’s including the major leagues,” a National League area scout said. “It’s a devastating pitch, a separator. And I think his breaking ball could be a plus pitch in the future. It’s a true curveball, late and hard, and I’ve seen it up to 79-80 (mph), but there are also times you see it floating in at 74-75.”
Baseball America also rated Shipley has the nation’s third-best college pitcher. The right-hander was ranked as the No. 9 prospect by MLB.com.
Shipley is the 11th college player taken in the first round by the D-backs.