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ESPN: Diamondbacks could add a pitcher in MLB draft

(Photo by Bill Mitchell)

The 2016 season has not gone according to plan for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The acquisitions of Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have not lived up to expectations, and the team’s dominating offense from spring training has shown only flashes during the regular season.

Despite the slow start for the team, however, the Diamondbacks are still within striking distance in an under-performing National League West Division.

But, that doesn’t mean we can’t peek ahead to the 2016 draft and what areas the team will look to improve.

Picking at No. 39, ESPN’s Eric Longenhagen lists possible selections for Arizona could be Kent State’s LHP Eric Lauer or St. Mary’s RHP Corbin Burnes. The Diamondbacks do not have a first-round pick, due to the team signing Greinke in the offseason.

Lauer helped his draft stock recently, throwing a no-hitter on May 13 against Bowling Green. Lauer’s no-hitter is a small sample of his dominating 2016 campaign: through 13 starts, the 20-year-old has a 0.81 ERA and is holding hitter’s to a .145 batting average.

Burnes has also picked up steam heading into the draft after starting the season on the wrong foot. During the first three weeks of the season, the St. Mary’s pitcher posted a 3.91 ERA in 16 innings before making an adjustment to his mechanics. Since the adjustment, Burnes has allowed only six earned runs in 58 innings.

Longenhagen also highlights Arizona’s ability to discover talent where other teams don’t.

The Diamondbacks send personnel to games at the lowest levels of the minor leagues — something a lot of organizations still aren’t doing — which allows them to identify breakout prospects sooner than other teams would. There are a number of interesting arms throughout their system, though many of them likely will end up as relievers.

While Arizona has shown that the team sends scouts deep in minor league levels, Longenhagen says the team’s talent valuation is the Diamondbacks’ downfall.

Minor league talent valuation in general seems to be an issue. Their trade of 2015 first pick Dansby Swanson was evidence of that.

Swanson was the centerpiece of the Miller trade with the Atlanta Braves, and the second first-round pick Arizona has sent to Atlanta.

The 2016 MLB Draft will take place June 9-11. Arizona has four total draft picks.

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