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Dbacks Select RHP Braden Shipley in 1st Round

The Dbacks selected Nevada RHP Braden Shipley with the 15th overall selection in the 2013 Rule IV player draft. Shipley was originally recruited to Nevada to play shortstop but had such a good arm that they tried him out at pitcher where he excelled.

According to Baseball America Shipley has a mid-90s fastball that can hit the upper 90s on occasion, which he pairs up with an advanced changeup that projects to perhaps a plus-plus pitch. He also has a developing curveball which he hasn't used much to date but scouts say he has a good feel for it and think he can develop it into at least an average pitch.

What scouts like most about Shipley is his competitiveness for someone so new to pitching. He doesn't back down, commands the inside of the plate aggressively and has one of the freshest arms in the draft. He is extremely athletic playing shortstop most of his baseball career and will be a plus defender on the mound. His cousin is Jordan Shipley, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.

He has progressed rapidly as a pitcher when he posted a 2.12 ERA as a sophomore, then went to the Alaska League and just dominated as a reliever. His development continued this year with a 2.77 ERA with 102 Ks in 107 innings and just 38 walks.

Shipley has tremendous upside and while he doesn't have the hype of the college arms taken at the top of the draft, he could be just as good as them when it's all said and done. Yet another high upside arm to add to the impressive pitching depth in the Dbacks organization.

Shipley told the MLB Network,"When I talked to coach after my freshman season, I was just trying to do what was best for the team and we felt like that was going to be on the mound. I went into his office and told him I wanted to be the Friday night starter so he kind of laughed and said ‘You have to earn it,' and that's what I did. After my sophomore season, I went to Alaska and played in that league and made it a goal of mine to get stronger, gain some weight and work hard up there and the velo jumped up for me and it was just good things for me. Coming back in the fall, I was really excited to show what I had and there was some hype. I'm just really blessed and it's an exciting time for me and my family."

Dbacks Scouting Director Ray Montgomery on Braden Shipley
"Our philosophy of drafting athletic middle of the field players applies to pitchers too. Our Northwest scouting director called me after watching Shipley and said he just saw the most athletic pitcher in the area in Shipley."

"He's made exponential improvement since getting on the mound. He's a premium athlete who happens to pitch. He and Blair are strike-throwers, and real innings eaters."

"I still don't think we've seen what he's capable of. He's a rare college starter with some ceiling left. Both he and Blair have thrown around 100 innings and they still have room to pitch this year, whether that's with our short season squad or elsewhere."

On whether they expected Shipley to be there are 15.
"Let's say I was pleasantly surprised he was still available. I didn't think he'd be there."

Braden Shipley
Reaction on being drafted by the Dbacks.
"Very excited. There's no greater feeling seeing all your hard work pay off. I wasn't actually expecting to get taken by the Diamondbacks."

On how much he knows about the Dbacks and their record developing power pitchers.
"I've heard good things about the Dbacks from a friend of mine who works with them. We got to play the Reno Aces this year so I got to see Tyler Skaggs and I've watched Patrick Corbin, and I'm just excited to add on to that."

On what kind of pitcher he is.
"I have a good fastball and I have three pitches that I can command well. I feel I'm just going to get better, get stronger, hopefully gain more velocity. I have two above average pitches now, and I feel my curve ball is really coming along to have three plus pitches."

On when he knew he wanted to focus on pitching.
"Coming out of high school I got a few looks as a pitcher but I just played shortstop my freshman year. After that year I went to the coaches and I knew we were losing a lot of guys and told them I wanted to be the Friday guy. I always loved pitching and I want the ball. The coaches agreed and so I worked hard and it paid off and I'm just thrilled."

On the transition to pitching
"I was really looking forward to pitching as a sophomore and I was a little disappointed I didn't get to pitch as a freshman. I was kind of planning on being a 2-way guy but I didn't get the chance as a freshman. But the transition was pretty easy and I really wanted to do it. I had to work harder because I had gone a year without doing it."

On if he thinks he has the body to be a work horse.
"I feel really strong right now. I'm able to pitch bullpens and I feel I have a ton left in the tank. I'm a big competitor and I'm able to handle workloads. My teammates joke that I have a rubber arm because my arm never gets sore, even after I pitch, except in good places. I'm able to pitch."

On his easy delivery.
"The ball explodes out of my hand. When I played shortstop people commented that I was able able to get it across the diamond with good zip."