Attempting to predict the baseball draft is an inexact science, to say the least. Especially once you get outside the first handful of picks, things become increasingly chaotic, as expected picks slide, teams pick based on need rather than "best available", and opinions differ as to the qualities of players X, Y and Z. But that's half the fun of these things, and naturally, hasn't stopped various pundits from offering up their opinions. The Diamondbacks have got a sold number of picks in the early stages, with picks #16, #54, #69 and #70, but for purposes of this article, we'll be concentrating on the first round pick.
MLB.com, Jim Callis - Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
"This represents a worst-case scenario for Pentecost, who has a good chance to go No. 4 to the Cubs or No. 12 to the Brewers. Arizona gets mentioned with a lot of the college bats (Zimmer, Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie, Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino) but also with players from all of the other demographics such as Freeland and Howard, Sprayberry High (Marietta, Ga.) shortstop Michael Chavis and Tullahoma (Tenn.) High left-hander Justus Sheffield."
CBSSports.com, Jon Heyman - Bradley Zimmer, OF, University of San Francisco
"Experts see them considering "toolsy" outfielder Bradley Zimmer, the brother of Royals pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer. That would thwart KC, which picks next. Like his brother, Bradley Zimmer has big arm strength. He's also a fine line-drive hitter who's a nice fit in right field."
Baseball America, John Manuel - Bradley Zimmer, OF, University of San Francisco
"Arizona remains in play with prep outfielder Monte Harrison of Missouri. In this scenario, though, taking him instead of some of the other talent on the board looks a bit risky. San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer, who slumped a bit late, still fits in the middle of the first round."
Minor League Ball, Matt Garrioch - Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway SC HS
"A pitcher that has as good of stuff as anyone in the draft would be a steal here. I don't see him sliding any further than this."
Sporting News, Ryan Fagan - Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
"A 6-5 junior who works in the low 90s and reaches the mid-90s at times, Newcomb has held opponents scoreless in nine of his 12 starts for Hartford this season (oddly, he’s given up exactly four earned runs in each of the other three starts). If a team higher in the draft decides it wants a college lefty, though, Newcomb might not actually be here for Arizona."
Sports Illustrated, Dave Perkin - Michael Chavis, 3B, Sprayberry GA HS
"A woeful start to their 2014 season means the Diamondbacks are looking at a very high pick in next year's draft. That could help trigger a rebuild that would be jumpstarted by having Chavis in their system. He emerged this spring as perhaps the premier high school bat available in the draft. He has a compact, powerful swing and is short to the ball. He also has a high-finish swing in which hands end up above his head; most teams try to teach that after a player has already been drafted."
ESPN (subscription required), Keith Law - Monte Harrison, OF, Lee's Summit (Mo.) West HS
"The mandate seems to be power bats or polished college arms, as they are considering Harrison, Jacob Gatewood, Michael Chavis, Bradley Zimmer, Tyler Beede and Brandon Finnegan."
College Baseball Central, Josh Vadeboncoeur - Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Texas Christian
"With Archie Bradley on the disabled list, strengthening their starting pitching may be of importance for the Diamondbacks. Finnegan is a power pitcher and has the ability to move quickly, although he may be more suited to a bullpen role. If Arizona desires to keep him in a starting role, a potential rotation with Bradley, Shipley, and Finnegan is quite desirable."
DraftSite.com, RHP, Conway SC HS
"Holmes is a strong kid who isn't likely to grow but has the frame (6-2, 205 pounds) and attributes to produce on the mound. He has a heavy fastball and hard curveball in the low 80s, a great combination."
Through the Fence, Dan Kirby - Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway SC HS
"At 6’-2" and 200 pounds, Holmes has three pitches that are present above-average to plus offerings. His fastball has touched 98 mph but has been sitting around 92-94, and he adds a plus curveball that sits 79-81 with late bite and great depth. His change-up is already an above-average offering, sitting 84-86 mph. The talk always revolves around his projection, or lack thereof. With his current stuff, however, he doesn’t need it. Committed to Florida."
MyMLBDraft - Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
"Beede was considered a projectable right-hander when he was taken by the Blue Jays in the first round of 2011, and he certainly has picked up a few miles on his fastball, sitting 90-93 and will occasionally touch 95. Right now, Beede’s command isn’t where it needs to be for him to be a frontline starter."
As you can see, there's a wide spectrum of opinions. Names mentioned more than once include Bradley Zimmer, and Grant Holmes, the latter getting three nominations, so is perhaps the closest thing available to a consensus pick. But will he still even be available when it comes time for the Diamondbacks to make their selection? Odds are probably less than 50% that he'll be taken, but we'll find out round about dinner-time, who the team thinks is the best bet to help their stock down the road.