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D-backs Scouting Director Deric Ladnier Interview

Lightly edited for clarity, and presented, (mostly) without comment, except I have chosen to highlight anytime Deric mentioned "winner", "winning" and the like:

Bert: Deric, you made it, the draft is over, how'd you do?

Deric: "We accomplished everything that we wanted to accomplish. We took the best player in the country in Dansby Swanson, and we wanted to address getting some power arms in the system, and guys that we thought could move through the system at a rapid pace, and we were able to accomplish that. That was our focus, we got 'em, we're excited to get 'em out and see what we got."

Bert: Diamondback fans may not be completely familiar with your background, but you basically ran the Royals' draft for about 8 years or so, and we watched them make that great postseason run, they're loaded with All Stars, a lot of the guys you brought in. How did your process with the Diamondbacks here compare to all those years in Kansas City?

Deric: "You know, very similar. I guess you could say the players are different because we did take a lot of high school players back then with the exception of Alex Gordon, who became an All-Star, but what we wanted to do was create a stopgap between some of the younger players we have in the system that we feel like are prospects and get some college guys we felt like could get into the middle of our system and basically put us in the situation where we have prospects from the bottom all the way up to the top, and there was a need for arms, and we took those. The thing that I tried to focus on not only was the ability, [but] was the character of the players. I mean, I truly believe that a winning player and a winning attitude is going to allow that player to create the same culture that we want to have in building a championship club, and all the players we took, not only did we feel like they had exceptional ability, but we felt like they were winners and had the character to basically, you know, create a brand of 'Diamondbacks baseball', and that's what we wanted. It's a grueling, long process, and it takes a long time to find out about these players, but we truly feel like the players we selected are those types of players, who can create that culture here."

Bert: It's interesting, Deric, that you mention that because as I went down the list here, all the way down to the last guy picked, it seemed every single guy was All-Conference or All-This or All-That or played on an All Star team or was a member of this conference championship team. There's a lot of credentials there with your draftees, it seems.

Deric: "Yeah, there is, and it's just one of those things where, when you're drafting a player that has been a winner, that then continues to be a winner, because they've got those character traits. And that's, you know, a lot goes into that, but I really, truly believe that these are ingrained traits, that, once they get into our system, they're not gonna go away, because once you've won, anything short of winning is failure, and we want these guys to continue the success that they've had as an amateur, and bring it into professional baseball and the Diamondbacks organization."

Brenly: Deric, along those lines, how tough is it to see a guy, maybe, that has all the physical skills, all the tools you're looking for, but he plays for a losing ballclub? Does that enter into it at all? A lot of the draft picks that the Diamondbacks picked over the last couple of days, as Bert [sic] said, were winners, played on winning teams. Is it tougher to identify a good player on a losing team?

Deric: "Sometimes it is, but I will say this, to give credit where credit is due, unfortunately, sometimes, those type players, that play for teams that aren't successful for whatever reason, and you try to look past that and try to look at the person as a whole, and try to figure out: 'is this guy a winner?' and it's difficult. If you've never won, how do you know how to win? It's always been a question that I've had in scouting, and if you have won, it makes it easier to look at that player and say, this guy's got a chance to be a winner because he's always been a winner. That's a difficult question, and you don't want to grade a guy down because they're on a losing squad, but it makes the process of selecting a player so much easier when you see them in that environment of winning, and to see how they handle -- are they a leader, which is another big thing of mine? Does the club gravitate around them? I mean those are the types of things that, quite frankly, that I did in Kansas City with the players that we selected, was, these guys were winners, and not only were they winners, but they were the leaders of winners, and that's very important to me."

Bert: I know you guys really did your legwork and your homework with Dansby Swanson but, he's out there, he's the face of a program, he's a CWS MVP, all that stuff, and you and the whole organization had said that's the easier part, the real work comes when you draft on day 2 and day 3, so could you give us, Deric, a little brief synopsis of how the DIamondbacks did in some of the middle and later rounds?

Deric: "Well, I think we did a great job, quite frankly. You said middle, but you look at [someone's name garbled by stadium noise], you look at Taylor Clarke, and Breckin Williams, Ryan Burr, Tyler Mark, all these guys are guys that have tremendous ability and really good upside. We took a kid out of a D2 school by the name of Jason Morozowski who put up, just, these gaudy numbers in a D2 school and I told people I selected Alex, um, Michael [something] out of a D2 school who ultimately ended up being a really good player who had similar numbers and when we saw him, I thought, wow, this is the type guy that we're looking for because he's got that kind of ability and he's put up these great numbers. So, I mean, every pick that we took was somebody. I mean, Zach Hoffpauir was a football player at Stanford, and he came to our workout, so, he's been part of winning cultures, and now he's gonna be playing baseball fulltime, and we hope he's gonna have more of the football mentality and become more of a baseball player. So there's upsides with him, those were the type guys that we were supposed to hit on."

Bert: Thank you, get some sleep, and congratulations.