Day three of the 2014 Rule 4 Draft has come to a close, meaning that the draft has as well. The Diamondbacks took every selection available to them, not skipping any rounds as some other teams did. There were a number of questions going into the third day of the draft. Chief among these questions were:
- What "signability" target would the Diamondbacks select in order to take advantage of the previous day's apparent cost savings?
- Would the Diamondbacks continue to remain focused primarily on pitching the way they were in day two, or would they start to lean more towards position players?
The complete results for the draft can be found here, along with scouting video for seven of the players selected.
The highlights of the draft however, are as follows:
- The first ever Cory Hahn pick at #34 was used to select Jake Peevyhouse, the left fielder out of Arizona State University.
- Only four high school talents were taken in the entire draft, this includes the signability target, Wesley Rodriguez.
- Five catchers were selected
- Only 11 of the final 30 picks were spent on pitchers
So what did the team accomplish in the final day of the draft? There are five names that stick out for one reason or another. The first one is Austin Byler.
DOB: 15 October 1992 (22)
6' 3" 225 lbs.
Nevada (NV) Senior
Byler was a 9th round selection by the Washington Nationals last season, but elected to return for his senior year. Nis Nevada Wolf Pack was bounced from the season when they lost the Mountain West Conference tournament. Having started off as a third baseman and left fielder, Byler's 7.0 second 60-yard time helped inform the decision to move him over to first base, where he ranked fifth on Baseball America's list of prospects by position. Byler ranked second in the nation in walks, third in runs and fifth in OBP. He hit 14 home runs for the second straight year, while putting up a triple slash of .328/.507/.652. Byler's defense at first base proved to be less that average, and there is some speculation that he will have to either move back to left field if he is unable to improve his defense. Byler's bat is obviously his calling card. If he can hit for power while displaying advanced on-base skills, he will move up through the ranks.
With the 12-1 pick, the Diamondbacks took high schooler, Wesley Rodriguez.
DOB: 4 December 1996 (18)
5' 10" 200 lbs.
George Washington HS (NY)
A two-way player in high school, Rodriguez's future is entirely in his pitching and not playing third base. Rodriguez is one of the power arms that Deric Ladnier was happy to tell everyone about. Rodriguez throws his fastball consistently sits between 92-95, and has reportedly touched as high as 98 when letting it fly. His curveball also rates as a plus pitch, having 11-to-5 movement with tight spin that he throws in the upper 70s. Rodriguez's third pitch is a change-up, which he has feel for how to use, but not much in the way of execution. This leaves Rodriguez with two pitches that are already plus pitches and one still developing, with hope for an average offering. There are concerns with Rodriguez though. He has a pronounced cross-body finish that will need to be cleaned up. This will have to happen as Rodriguez undergoes some significant conditioning, as his weight and frame are not conducive to long-term success.
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With the 32nd pick, the Diamondbacks rolled the dice somewhat. There is a strong chance that this young man will not sign, but will instead honour his commitment to Louisviille.
DOB: 19 October 1996
6' 6" 200 lbs.
Batesville HS (IN)
Bryan Hoeing is a two-sport athlete, excelling in both basketball and baseball. On the mound Hoeing has a very projectable frame that fits the preferred mold for right-handed pitchers. Still developing as a pitcher, Hoeing has an easy arm action on his sinking fastball which currently sits 88-91, but has been seen to be sustainable at 94. He pairs this with a somewhat loose curveball that he throws in the mid-70s, a pitch that with some tightening up could be at least average. His third offering is a change-up, but this is still a new pitch to him and there is no indication yet as to what he will be able to do with it. There are a number of concerns surround Hoeing though. First is, he tore his ACL late last year playing basketball. Only four months later (instead of the normal 10-12), he was on the mound and regaining velocity and form when he tore his UCL, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery. That surgery was performed just this spring. Given that he has future first-round stuff, and injuries seriously hurt his draft stock, it is difficult to see him passing on his strong commitment to Louisville.
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It will probably be some time before the Diamondbacks start announcing too many signings, since no player still in the CWS is allowed to negotiate a professional contract until the end of play. That means Dansby Swanson and Alex Young, picks one and two cannot sign yet. The deadline for players to sign this season is July 18th.