Next Diamondbacks prospect? Checking in on mock drafts 2 weeks from MLB Draft

Jun 25, 2023, 7:41 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2023, 10:44 am

(Twitter Photo/Colin Houck)

(Twitter Photo/Colin Houck)

It is draft season in several major sports, notwithstanding MLB with the first round set for July 9 in Seattle ahead of the All-Star Game on July 11.

The MLB Draft Combine concluded last week at Chase Field, with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ front office getting the opportunity to scout in its own backyard.

“Getting information about these guys, especially from a front office standpoint … we get to meet these guys to get to know who they are as players, its probably the biggest separator in guys when they’re drafted,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen told MLB Network.

“All these kids can play, they all have talent. For us to get to know what we want to get done with these players in the minor leagues, get to know who they are, how they work, we get so much more information with that. I think it benefits the players and benefits the clubs.”

Among players who attended the combine was Parkland High School shortstop Colin Houck, a popular mock draft pick for the Diamondbacks in the first round.

Arizona owns the No. 12 overall pick, and The Athletic’s Keith Law along with MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis had Arizona taking Houck in their latest projections.

Law wrote that Houck has been often associated with the D-backs in the pre-draft process.

Houck here has some legs, as the connection keeps coming up, and I think they’d be in the mix for (Arjun) Nimmala as well, or maybe his fellow Florida prep infielder Aidan Miller.

Houck is an 18-year-old, 6-foot-2 shortstop who has thrived in multiple sports. He is a three-star quarterback recruit, but he committed to Mississippi State baseball.

The righty has a smooth swing without much pre-stride movement, and he hit .487 with eight home runs in 151 plate appearances last season.

He has 55 grade (above average) hit and power tools and a 60 arm grade on MLB Pipeline, which ranked him the No. 14 prospect in the upcoming draft.

Hazen and Co. have picked high school bats in four of the last five first rounds, including OF Druw Jones (2022), SS Jordan Lawlar (2021) and OF Corbin Carroll (2019).

Mayo wrote that he sees the trend continuing even if it isn’t Houck.

This still feels like a landing spot for whomever the D-backs feel is the best high school bat available. That could be Nimmala if he doesn’t go higher, and could also include Aidan Miller or Colt Emerson. But Houck has been the guy most often associated with Arizona and I’m sticking with him.

Nimmala is a 17-year-old shortstop from Strawberry Crest High School in Florida. Pipeline ranked the Florida State commit No. 9 in the draft class.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel projected Nimmala to land with Arizona in his last mock:

Nimmala has some interest in the top 10 and has the highest upside (most current raw power, tied for best chance to stay at short, youngest) of this group of second-tier prep bats, but he also has the biggest question surrounding his hit tool.

Miller is a 19-year-old third baseman from J.W. Mitchell High School in Florida with 60 grade power from the right side.

Law had the D-backs going another route in his initial mock draft, with Arizona taking TCU infielder Brayden Taylor.

Taylor has had a decorated college career, playing in the College World Series this season. He was All-Big-12 First Team in 2023 with a 1.061 OPS and 23 homers in 67 games. The 21-year-old is No. 30 on Pipeline’s big board.

The D-backs have three picks in the top 64 this year with a Competitive Balance Round B selection. Arizona has $11,084,300 in bonus pool money, according to Callis.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Brandon Pfaadt...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Brandon Pfaadt and Corbin Carroll deliver vs. White Sox, magic number drops to 3

Rookies Brandon Pfaadt and Corbin Carroll led the D-backs to a victory over the White Sox on Wednesday, dropping Arizona's magic number.

3 hours ago

Longtime Arizona Diamondbacks radio announcer Greg Schulte smiles...

Arizona Sports

Touch ‘Em All: Special show to honor Diamondbacks play-by-play voice Greg Schulte

Arizona Sports will hold a special show Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. to honor Diamondbacks play-by-play announcer Greg Schulte.

7 hours ago

Zach Davies, Arizona Diamondbacks...

Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks designate Zach Davies for assignment, recall Justin Martinez

Veteran pitcher Zach Davies was designated for assignment Wednesday for the Arizona Diamondbacks with five games left in the season.

7 hours ago

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker...

Arizona Sports

Christian Walker shows staying power as D-backs push for 2023 playoffs

Christian Walker became the 10th Arizona Diamondbacks player to surpass 100 RBIs in a single season in a key win over the Chicago White Sox.

9 hours ago

Ketel Marte...

Arizona Sports

NL Wild Card standings: Diamondbacks fight for postseason berth

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a playoff hunt for the first time in years. After a cold July and early August, they are back in the race.

21 hours ago

Ketel Marte...

Alex Weiner

D-backs score 14 unanswered runs to beat White Sox, pick up game on Cubs

The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the White Sox, and the Cubs lost to the Braves with the NL Wild Card chase plowing toward the finish line.

22 hours ago

Next Diamondbacks prospect? Checking in on mock drafts 2 weeks from MLB Draft