Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft begins this Thursday, June 6, and the Arizona Diamondbacks appear undecided on who to make their first-round pick (No. 15 overall).
A scan of published 2013 mock drafts — produced by Baseball America, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, MLB.com respectively — doesn’t show common consent among the Diamondbacks’ projected first-round picks, even positionally.
In their third mock draft, released on Friday, Baseball America projected the Diamondbacks would pick right-handed college pitcher Alex Gonzalez of Oral Roberts University over Dominic Smith, a left-handed first baseman out of Serra High School in the Los Angeles area.
The mini-run on position players ahead of them probably will push Arizona toward a pitcher, unless it goes for Smith. Stanek and Gonzalez would be the most attractive arms, with Jacksonville righthander Chris Anderson and Clarkin perhaps in the mix.
Baseball America’s previous two mock drafts had the Diamondbacks picking Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Smith.
Gonzalez, known as “Chi Chi,” is the son of Cuban-born parents who has excelled against weaker competition in the Southland conference, with the stuff to carry that over to a higher caliber of baseball.
He’ll sit 91-94 mph with his fastball, stronger than he was in the fall, with solid command and good rhythm to his delivery, using it to set up all of his off-speed weapons, led by a slider-cutter that varies from a true slider at 84-86 to one closer to a hard cutter up to 89-90. He’ll flash a changeup as well, but rarely uses it, succeeding more with the fastball/slider/cutter combo.
His delivery is very simple, pushing off his back leg well for power, pronating his elbow very early as part of a short (but not too short) arm stroke. He might not have a huge ceiling due to his moderate build and lack of a huge fastball but could easily develop into a good No. 3 starter or even a No. 2 thanks to his feel for pitching and variety of offerings.
Law’s first mock up had the Diamondbacks taking the aforementioned Renfroe at No. 15.
Sports Illustrated’s Dave Perkin released his second mock draft on Thursday and, like Baseball America’s Mock Draft 2.0, he says Smith is the Diamondbacks’ guy:
Smith could provide the Diamondbacks with several desirable qualities: a high batting average, middle-of-the-order bat and Gold Glove-level defense at first base. The Snakes have been following Smith closely this spring, and he’ll be eager to sign with whoever takes him.
Perkin previously projected the Diamondbacks to take a different candidate altogether, Braden Shipley — a right-handed pitcher out of the University of Nevada.
Finally, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released a mock draft on Thursday that had the Diamondbacks taking shortstop J.P. Crawford out of Lakewood High School in Lakewood, CA.
Last June, General Manager Kevin Towers picked high school catcher Stryker Trahan with the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick, at No. 26 overall.
Here is a list of the possible picks mentioned above:
Alex Gonzalez, RHP, R/R, 6′ 3″, 200 lbs., Oral Roberts
Hunter Renfroe, OF, R/R, 6′ 1″, 216 lbs, Mississippi State
Dominic Smith, 1B, L/L, 6′ 0″, 195 lbs., Serra High School (California)
J.P. Crawford, SS, L/R, 6′ 2″, 175 lbs., Lakewood High School (California)
Braden Shipley, RHP, R/R, 6′ 3″, 190 lbs., Nevada