IHSB: It's the stuff like this that just confuses you about prospects... A guy gets shelled for all practical purposes and expectations in Rookie-ball, to the tune of a 4.21 ERA and 16 BB in 25.2 IP, but the organization just took him in the second round and is high on him, so they up him to Mid-A, and suddenly he only walks 6 in 16.1 innings and becomes a machine with a 2.76 ERA. Regardless of the details, that's a good number for a 21-year-old in his first professional season, and bodes well for this kid's future. The only thing stopping this kid from having a flawless first year was the Missoula numbers, and I tend to believe that the numbers against the highest level of competition are the ones you need to look at the most (despite having a few more innings pitched at Missoula). Grade: B (Short-term: B+ Long-term: B-)
Round 13, Pick 396 - Patrick Schuster
IHSB: Got a few save opportunities, and has some pretty darned good numbers to back up the claim that Robowski got a little shafted. 3.47 GO/AO is spectacular. And the K:BB ratio is good, although you'd hope that he could up the K's per inning while being able to keep the walks down, as 23 in 30 innings isn't great. Then again, if the guy can keep up that 3.47, it won't matter all that much if he can't increase those K's. Could be a good get, especially since our system is almost completely devoid of left-handed pitching, both starters and relievers. Grade: B (Short-term: B-, Long-term: B)
IHSB: Kind of an awful debut to be honest, particularly with 29 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. I don't see how a guy with that poor of a K-Rate makes any sort of career for himself. I honestly look at these numbers and have no idea how it worked. Either Wolcott is the most clutch pitcher in human history, or he's luckier than his FIP/ERA split would ever lead you to believe. Interesting, to say the least, but a move to the 'pen is probably his only hope, and by "only hope," I mean "his only chance to have anything approaching acceptable metrics, which he's going to need when he moves beyond Low-A." Grade D+ (Short-term: C, Long-term: D)
IHSB: A first quick glance at the metrics and personals screamed one thing to me: "minor-league closer." Hypothetical fan: "I mean, bejeezus, look at those metrics! How could this guy have not been picked so much higher?" Well, it's because he's 5'10''. He just did that in Missoula at 22, also, and doesn't have the size/quite as good of metrics as a guy like Cantwell. There are two scenarios for this guy. First is he pulls major-league stuff, a la 90 mph fastballs, out of that frame, which all but destines him for the DL. Second is that he is a soft-tosser who gets by on guile and better off-speed stuff than anybody in the Rookie-league is used to, in which case he'll find himself amongst rough company when he starts climbing to higher levels. Then again, there's always this, so you never really know... Grade: C (Short-term: B, Long-term: C-)
IHSB: There's actually some excitement to be had about Taylor, despite his low draft position in the 21st round. The guy was absolutely lights-out for Yakima down the stretch, and earned Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending August 16 with two wins in two starts, in the first of which Taylor went seven shutout innings with ten strikeouts and only two hits and a walk, and in the other of which he went six innings, giving up six hits, a walk, and only one run on a solo home run, while striking out eight. That adds up to one run in 13 innings, 18 strikeouts, two walks, and eight hits. He also throws left-handed, which is a plus. The frame is worrisome, as 6'0'' isn't exactly ideal size for a pitcher (one of the biggest conerns for Jarrod Parker was that his slight 6'1'' frame might lead to breakdown concerns...), and probably partially explains his draft position slide, but it's not completely unfeasible that he has major-league success. All of the in-depth numbers (WHIP, K/BB) are immensly in Taylor's favor, and we may have found ourselves an absolute steal - probably depending on whether or not he stays intact. Still one of my favorite picks of our entire draft, though. Grade: A+ (Short-term: A+, Long-term: A)
IHSB: Here's a guy whose metrics really tell the story. Didn't strike out enough guys, and walked too many. Doesn't appear to induce a whole lot of ground balls. The only real hope this guy has is that his frame, which is large, will support some significant growth and allow him to add velocity to become relevant, but for now you have nothing here. Grade: C- (Short-term: C-, Long-term: C)
Round 33, Pick 996 - Brad Wilson
Since the Diamondbacks' inception, the front office's drafting philosophy, when comes to pitchers, has been to draft almost exclusively college arms, especially in the higher rounds. From Bryan Augenstein to Brandon Webb to Clay Zavada, most, if not all of the pitchers that have come up through the Diamondbacks farm system in their short history have been drafted out of college. In this draft they continued that trend, with 16 out of the 18 pitchers drafted coming out of college. Very rarely do they make an exception to this draft philosophy, breaking the rule only for the highest caliber of high school pitchers, and/or later on in the draft. Big examples of the former would be Jarrod Parker and Brett Anderson, and both of those worked out pretty darned well, wouldn't you say? This year's exceptions are Patrick Schuster and Scott Allen. Patrick Schuster fits the former, having a superb high school career.
The debut seasons of the pitchers drafted in 2009 have been quite remarkable, with the majority of the pitchers posting ERAs or FIPs under 4. The team had a number of players put up some extremely impressive debut seasons: Michael Belfiore, Chase Anderson, Scott Allen, Charles Brewer, Adam Worthington, Brian Budrow, and Eric Smith all posted ERAs under 3. A number of pitchers were victims of bad luck, one example being Keith Cantwell (1.74 FIP, 44:5 K:BB ratio but had a 4.11 ERA due to a .390 BABIP). The defense in the lower levels of the minors was especially atrocious with multiple players with 10+ errors playing behind them, and some with as many as 20 errors. This lead to many of the players posting a better FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) than their ERA.
Looking back at totality of this draft, the players taken in it, and their debut seasons, the Diamondbacks had an excellent draft in 2009. They added a significant amount of depth and possibly high upside talent to the infield with players like Bobby Borchering, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings, David Nick, Brent Greer, Ryan Wheeler, and Paul Goldschmidt. They added some nice outfield talent with the additions of A.J. Pollock, Marc Krauss, and the high upside Keon Broxton. In addition, they added a ton of pitching depth to their system by spending nearly half of their draft picks on pitchers. In mine, IHSB, and several expert's opinions, this was one of the best, if not the best, drafts of 2009. I think in time, this may end up being the best draft in the Diamondbacks short 12 year history.
Before I close, I'd just like to say a few things. The adventure that has been writing these articles with IHSB has been long and arduous, having started when the season ended all the way until two days before Christmas. I have to say that it's definitely been one of the most enjoyable things I've done in my time on the Snakepit. I know that this project couldn't have been done without IHSB. I've had a great time working with him, arguing with him, and discussing all things prospect-related with him in the process of writing these articles. I'd also like to thank my lovely fiancée for her input, support and patience with me while writing these articles over the last two months. I'd like to thank Nick Piecoro for providing some very helpful information when we started writing these articles. In addition, I'd like to thank the folks over at the DBBP. The Bullpen proved its utility to me in the creation of these articles, providing the list of signed draftees, along with a multitude of scouting reports, signing bonus figures, et cetera. In addition, they've been very kind and appreciative of the articles, and provided some very helpful constructive criticism. I'd also like to thank all of you here on the Snakepit for your helpful comments and constructive criticism. Without the audience that the Snakepit provides, there wouldn't be a reason or a place for these articles. And finally, if I forgot anyone (which I'm sure I did), thank you.