Updated Jun 18, 2013 - 10:51 pm
D-backs' first-round pick Braden Shipley: 'I'm ready to play baseball'
That seems to be the motto the Arizona Diamondbacks are following when it comes to developing young pitching talent in the farm system, and the organization added another prospect into the fold Tuesday.
The D-backs officially signed Nevada pitcher Braden Shipley, who they selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft on June 10, and the former Wolfpack standout told reporters before the team's game against the Miami Marlins that he couldn't be more thrilled to get the business side of the process out of the way.
"I wanted to do it when the team was obviously back in town and get a chance to see how everything operates," Shipley said. "Also, I'm ready to play some baseball."
Playing baseball is something Shipley did at a high level throughout his three-year collegiate career in Reno. During his final season in 2013 with Nevada, the right-hander went 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings of work.
Known for his fastball velocity (93-98 MPH), hard curve and athleticism, Shipley said becoming a Major Leaguer didn't fully hit him until he toured Chase Field Tuesday and met with a few of the players he hopes to call future teammates some day.
"It's exciting," said Shipley. "It finally kind of hit me here. On draft day, I was kind of excited but it didn't really hit me. Today, I'm kind of soaking it in, and now it's time to go do what I need to do and perform."
Shipley's first chance to perform down on the farm will take place with the Hillsboro Hops, the D-backs' Class-A Short Season affiliate. For the 21-year-old, the experience will be somewhat of a homecoming, as he grew up five hours away in Medford, Oregon.
"I'm excited about it, kind of a home state boy growing up and playing," said Shipley. "I think the people of Hillsboro are pretty excited about it too and being close to home that's just a bonus for me."
While the D-backs' first-round pick is anxious to begin his pro career, Ray Montgomery, the organization's Director of Scouting, reiterated that the focus will be on slowly integrating Shipley into the system, while also monitoring the health of his right arm.
"With the layoff after the college season ended, the plan is to slowly get him back in," said Montgomery. "We don't want to put him in harms way in any stretch. I know he's anxious, I know he's fired up, that speaks to the competitor. We'll build him up slow."
Shipley last pitched in a game on May 22 for Nevada in the Mountain West Tournament.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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