Arizona will have the seventh pick in the MLB Draft, which takes place this season on June 12, which exactly one month away. The last time they chose in that slot was 2011, and the result was Archie Bradley, but who might they get this time? Below, you’ll find in chronological order, a selection of the mock draft results which have been going around over the past few weeks. Don’t worry too much if you don’t recognize the names yet, as between now and then, James will be bringing you a series of primers on the most-likely choices for the D-backs.
Of course, all mock drafts should be treated with skepticism in terms of predicting actual results. One unexpected pick near the top will typically have a domino effect, and the odds are than any given draft will likely have more hits than misses. The further down the list you go, the likelier reality is to diverge from prediction. So, bear that in mind, as you read what are little more than “best guesses” by the reasonably informed.
Hero Sports (Apr 12) - J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina. You could argue that Arizona has the worst farm system in baseball right now. You probably should. Whatever player makes it to the seventh pick is very likely to be the top prospect in the system, but Bukauskas would be more than a consolation prize with his ability to miss bats with two plus pitches.
Scout.com (Apr 18) - D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA), A new front office means this is a bit of a shot in the dark. Hazen comes from Boston, which does provide us with some information. Boston leaned a bit more towards prep players. Hall is considered the top prep left-hander in this class. Without a lot of information available, I’m going with the prep lefty, based on Boston’s recent history. Hall is the number two prep arm on most boards.
Baseball America (Apr 20) - MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (N.C.). Arizona has Amiel Sawdaye over from the Red Sox running its scouting and player development groups now, but it also still have veteran scouts in the Carolinas with deep ties and history with players such as lefty MacKenzie Gore, who is ahead of Greene as the top prep arm on many boards. He’s a supremely athletic pitcher with impressive polish for a prep.
MLB.com (May 1) - Jim Callis: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina. While most of the best college pitchers have gone at least a little backward this spring, Bukauskas is the lone exception and also has the loudest stuff in the group. Jonathan Mayo: Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia. It's possible teammate Smith goes above him, but Haseley does have more athleticism and the potential to play up the middle in center field, not to mention his very good performance at the plate this spring.
The Blog That Boredom Built (May 3) - Austin Beck, OF, North Davidson HS. Beck has climbed up draft boards since an impressive Perfect Game performance in which he showed off an elite arm (97 MPH exit velocity from the outfield) and elite speed (6.64 60-yard-dash) while being one of the best high school hitting prospects in recent memory. His tools haven't always emerged in game situations, however, which is why he's not a guaranteed top 10 pick despite his clear talent. He'll need to be coached up and developed like most high school outfielders, but the skills this kid has are incredibly rare.
the3rdmanin.com (May 5) - J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina. J.B. Bukauskas has performed well this spring, but his size is keeping him from being regarded as the top college pitcher in this year’s MLB Draft class.
Call to the Pen (May 10) - Royce Lewis IF/OF, JSerra Catholic HS (CA), The Diamondbacks love a raw athlete, and there may not be more raw athleticism in the draft this season than Lewis. He is a guy who has struggled compared to what some were expecting out of him this spring, but he does have a ton of talent that should play up the middle, whether that’s at SS, 2B, or CF in the end with his elite speed and power potential to go with it.
PerfectGame.org (May 10) - MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Whiteville HS (N.C.). A PG All-American last August, Gore has built upon his strong performance on the summer circuit with a standout spring, cementing his spot as one of the top arms in the class. The uber-athletic lefty boasts a low-to-mid-90s heater backed by a trio of secondaries – curveball, slider and changeup – all project as at least above-average. His combo of stuff, projection, polish, and ease of delivery/arm action make him a top-of-draft candidate.
ESPN, Keith Law (May 11) - Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia. Haseley leads the Cavaliers’ everyday starters in all three triple-slash stats (.399/.491/.680) and in walks (32) through May 2. He shows surprising power and the potential to stay in center field long term.
As you can see, even at #7, there is no clear consensus on who the D-backs will take, with the ten drafts above mentioning six different players. Those listed by more than one place are J.B. Bukauskas (RHP, North Carolina), who is on three drafts, while Adam Haseley (OF, Virginia) and Austin Beck (OF, North Davidson HS) each appear on two. With an almost entirely new front-office in place for Arizona, it is difficult to predict what the philosophy will be in terms of selections. But with a farm system sorely in need of restocking, this year’s event looks likely to be one of the more vital in team history. Stay tuned...