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Arizona Diamondbacks 2017 Day 1 Recap: Dbacks add bats

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The Diamondbacks added a lot of bats to the organization, although a couple of them might be positionally challenged.

The Diamondbacks started the day with the 7th, 44th, and 68th pick. They started it off by drafting Virginia 1B Pavin Smith, causing the 2nd worst knee-jerk reaction in AZ Snake Pit history after the Shelby Miller trade. Their 2nd pick was Louisville 3B Drew Ellis, who has plus home run power at 3B but a questionable glove. Their 3rd and final pick was Wisconsin-Milwaukee catcher Daulton Varsho, a player who has the athleticism to handle the job and a strong bat at the plate, but has a questionable arm. It’s pretty clear what the pattern was here and that was to add impact bats from the college ranks to an organization that lacks them.

Smith, Ellis, and Varsho all crack the Top 5 in my post-draft prospect rankings list although only Smith would be a Top 5 prospect in an average farm system. You look at each of the individual traits, all of them walked more than they struck out in their final years in college. Smith is arguably the most polished hitter in the draft class, with more home runs (13) than strikeouts (12) and a Goldschmidt-esque work ethic behind his game. Ellis provides plus power from the right side, although maximizing his value is contingent on him being able to stick to 3B. Minor League Ball ranked him as the 2nd best college 3B in the draft, so there is hope. Lastly Varsho has MLB bloodlines and dominated the competition despite the lower competition level compared to Smith and Ellis in the ACC.

Before this draft, there were maybe 1-2 impact bats in the organization between Kevin Cron and Marcus Wilson. Cron is blocked at 1B, more so than ever before with Smith added to the system. Wilson is 3-4 years away, with the earliest we see him at Chase Field being September 2019. This draft added 3 guys who could present the middle of the lineup in 2020. The only question is what position will they play? Smith needs a lot of work in the outfield, Ellis is a work in progress at 3B, and Varsho might not have the arm to stay behind the plate. However, their bats will afford them the opportunity to prove to everyone that they aren’t defensively challenged. Signability shouldn’t be a concern for any of these players and could set up the Diamondbacks for a well-over slot pick at 82 tomorrow.