The Arizona Diamondbacks have officially announced they have agreed to terms with infielder Pavin Smith, the seventh overall selection in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft, and catcher Daulton Varsho, the 68th overall pick. Both players will report to Short-Season A Hillsboro. Nick Piecoro reports that Smith will get a bonus of $5,016,300, which is exactly the slot value for a #7 pick. Jim Callis tweeted yesterday that Varsho will receive $880,100, which again is the expected price for a player at that position.
There was some concern among fans about the team drafting Smith, because he is a first-baseman - you might have noticed, we have one of these. However, Mike Hazen and the new front-office simply went with a policy of drafting the best player available, regardless of position . Scouting director Deric Ladnier said GM Mike Hazen had one directive: “Line the board up according to the ability and to select whoever that best player is... We’re not going by position or by strength or weakness of the draft or anything like that.”
Smith, 21, hit .342 (78-for-228) with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, 77 RBI and 38 walks in 59 games as a junior for the University of Virginia. His 77 RBI were a single-season Cavaliers record, second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and fourth nationally. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder was rated as Baseball America's No. 7 prospect in the 2017 draft, and was a Preseason First-Team All-American by both Baseball America and Perfect Game, a semifinalist for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award and First Team All-ACC at first base.
Varsho, 20, hit .362 (72-for-199) with 11 doubles, 6 triples, 11 home runs, 39 RBI and 46 walks in 54 games for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a junior in 2017. He led the Horizon League in average, slugging percentage (.643), on-base percentage (.490), triples and walks, while ranking fourth in total bases (128), fifth in hits, sixth in home runs and seventh in runs scored (47), en route to being named a Baseball America Third-Team All-American and a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award.
The team has now agreed to terms with 22 of their 40 draft selections, though most of these are in the lower rounds. Smith and Varsho are the only picks through rounds 1-5 to have been inked to this point.