Diamondbacks hope to strike in 2016 MLB Draft without 1st-round pick

Jun 9, 2016, 6:50 AM | Updated: 11:21 am
Arizona Diamondbacks' Max Scherzer throws against the New York Mets in the first inning of a baseba...
Arizona Diamondbacks' Max Scherzer throws against the New York Mets in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are going from riches to rags.

Really, that’s a harsh assessment comparing the team’s 2015 draft position to where it will be selecting in the 2016 MLB Draft on Thursday evening.

For the third time in team history and first since 2000, Arizona won’t have a first-round pick. The D-backs will wait until the 39th overall selection — a competitive balance lottery choice — after losing their first-round selection due to signing free agent Zack Greinke away from the Dodgers this offseason.

It’s a bit of a different perspective after Arizona had the first overall pick in 2015 and selected shortstop Dansby Swanson out of Vanderbilt. Diamondbacks scouting director Deric Ladnier said his team will put less scouting emphasis on the top 20-25 prospects this year.

Other than that, it’s business as usual.

“Lining up the board, no different than we’ve done in the past,” Ladnier said on a conference call Wednesday. “Obviously our situation is a little bit different than it was last year — but same process. I’ll say this: We’re not sure who we’re going to get like last year.”

For Thursday, the first of three draft days, the Diamondbacks need only to focus on their 39th choice and the 52nd overall draft selection in the second round. The good news is that Ladnier likes the depth of the 2016 draft crop.

Lacking a first-round choice may still be a disappointment. But for fans who want to dull that feeling, the last decade of first-round drafting by the D-backs has shown just how hard it is to hit a home run, even with a high draft position.

WHO PANNED OUT?

Justin Upton, 2005 (1st overall): Maybe his career with Arizona wasn’t lengthy, but the outfielder certainly has carved out a solid career which included two All-Star bids in six seasons with Arizona. Upton joined the major league club in 2007 and from the next season on never failed to produce until he was traded to the Atlanta Braves before the 2013 season.

A.J. Pollock, 2009 (17th overall): Pollock took several years to become a force but it was worth the wait. A first-time All-Star in 2015, the outfielder’s value might be more appreciated in the present as the D-backs struggle without him to begin the year.

GIVING UP TOO SOON?

Max Scherzer, 2006 (11th overall): Whoops. You know the story here. The D-backs apparently did not forsee Scherzer as a long-term starting pitcher, perhaps due to concerns over his injury history. Since he left following the 2009 season, the righty put together a 21-3 record for Detroit in 2013 and tied the MLB record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning performance last season, among other accomplishments.

Dansby Swanson, 2016 (1st overall): He wasn’t the type of first overall pick expected to make an immediate impact, but the shortstop being a trade piece before he could settle in with the D-backs has led to much criticism. Swanson has put together a .277/.361/.438 line after being promoted to the Braves’ Double-A team this season. Meanwhile, the man who he was traded for, pitcher Shelby Miller, is on the disabled list after struggling mightily in his first ten starts in Arizona.

TO-BE-DETERMINED

Archie Bradley, 2011 (7th overall): Bradley’s emergence has been delayed by poor production and injuries over the last three seasons but an opportunity due to Miller’s struggles this season have allowed the starting pitcher to put together the best performances of his young MLB career.

Trevor Bauer, 2011 (3rd overall): Bauer’s time with Arizona was, well, weird. Anyway, the Diamondbacks traded him because of it. Bauer has shown flashes of impressive pitching of late and is 4-2 with a 3.88 ERA for the Indians so far in 2016.

Braden Shipley, 2013 (15th overall): Shipley remains a valuable prospect for Triple-A Reno and at 24 years old, there’s still a positive belief the starting pitcher could be part of the parent club’s future.

Touki Toussaint, 2014 (16th overall): A piece of the 2015 trade with Atlanta that shed Bronson Arroyo’s contract off the books, the jury is still out on the 19-year-old pitcher who has a 5.66 ERA in two-plus Single-A seasons. All we know is he’s got dirty stuff — he’s yet to harness it.

BUST CITY

Jarrod Parker, 2007 (9th overall): Parker started just a single game for Arizona in 2011 before being dealt in exchange for fellow pitcher Trevor Cahill. While Cahill didn’t exactly pan out and Parker went on to start 61 games over the next two seasons for Oakland, Parker’s career projections since 2013 aren’t great. His throwing arm isn’t exactly healthy.

Daniel Schlereth, 2008 (26th overall): He appeared in 21 games for the D-backs back in 2009 and lasted two-plus seasons with the Detroit Tigers. The reliever hasn’t been in the majors since 2012.

Bobby Borchering, 2009 (16th overall): Since being drafted, the third basemen hasn’t advanced past Double-A and only appeared in 51 games at that level. He spent last season in the Detroit organization, playing 64 games for High-A Lakeland.

Barret Loux, 2010 (6th overall): After drafting the pitcher, a physical by the Diamondbacks revealed a labrum tear and elbow problems for the pitcher out of Texas A&M. Arizona didn’t even sign him.

Stryker Trahan, 2012 (26th overall):The outfielder remains in the D-backs’ organization with High-A Visalia but has never developed at the plate. He’s batting .167 this season and has struck out 421 times in 344 minor league games in his career.

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Diamondbacks hope to strike in 2016 MLB Draft without 1st-round pick