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Final Pre-Draft Thoughts

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It’s draft day. Here are some last tidbits of information to mull over while we all wait to see who the DIamondbacks will select in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

Today is the big day. At 4:00 MST, the 2018 First-Year Player Draft will begin. Over the last few weeks, we have taken examined the Diamondbacks history in the draft as well as the organizational strengths and weaknesses. Since the draft is the best way to improve the talent in an organization’s pipeline, the first few rounds are looked to by teams as a way to bolster the upper reaches of their pipeline.

Below is a table of the current pipeline for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The table lists the top prospects and their rankings by both industry analysts and two of the Pit’s more active talent evaluators.

Arizona Pre-Draft Prospect Rankings

Player Name MLB Sickels BA James Michael Comp. Score Comp. Rank
Player Name MLB Sickels BA James Michael Comp. Score Comp. Rank
Jon Duplantier 1 1 1 1 1 150 1
Pavin Smith 2 2 2 5 3 141 2
Jasrado Chisholm 3 6 3 4 4 135 4
Taylor Widener 4 9 10* 6 6 120 7
Marcus Wilson 5 5 5 7 8 125 5
Daulton Varsho 6 4 4 2 2 137 3
Taylor Clarke 7 3 7 9 5 124 6
Drew Ellis 8 13 8 3 7 93 9
Matt Tabor 9 12 9 8 15 80 11
Gabriel Maciel 10 10 12 11 81 10
Eduardo Diaz 11 11 6 11 12 104 8
Kristian Robinson 12 10 10 61 13
Domingo Leyba 13 7 17 14 73 12
Jimmie Sherfy 14 14 20 17 59 14
Jhoan Duran 15 22 28 28 22
Cody Reed 16 18 16 16 58 15
Jared Miller 17 16 25 18 48 18
Andy Yerzy 18 8 15 51 17
Kevin Cron 19 19 25 30 21
Anfernee Grier 20 23 23 27 24
Jose Almonte 21 15 14 13 56 16
Alex Young 22 13 20 38 20
Brian Schaffer 23 21 22 27 24
Jack Reinheimer 24 7 29
Yoan Lopez 25 17 18 19 45 19
Elvis Luciano 26 5 31
Eudy Ramoz 27 4 34
Wei-Chieh Huang 28 30 4 34
Maason McCullough 29 29 4 34
Emilio Vargas 30 1 35
Socrates Brito 20 28 21 24 25
Matt Lemieux 24 7 29
Ryan Atkinson 26 5 31
Christian Walker 19 27 30 17 26
Ildemaro Vargas 26 29 7 29

*Baseball American has not updated their top-10 prospects since the Anthony Banda trade. In order to maintain the integrity of the other players already listed in the top-10, Taylor Widener was slotted in at #10 and everyone else was moved up one slot.

One of the first things that stands out is that, after Jon Duplantier, Arizona’s prospect rankings are pretty much a crap shoot. Across the five systems, there are two different prospects listed at number two. There are four at number three. Only John Sickels ranks Andy Yerzy in the top ten. Taylor Clarke ranges from three to nine. Drew Ellis ranges from three all the way down to thirteen. Four players outside of the composite top-10 received top-10 votes, including Andy Yerzy at #17, who received a vote for eighth-best prospect.

This volatility is to be somewhat expected for several reasons. The first is that, every evaluator has their own ideas of what is or is not more important in a prospect and also their own ideas as to how the prospect is likely to develop and help the team. The second is that the Diamondbacks have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. As such, prospects beyond number one or two are quite possibly non-prospects for teams with stronger systems. When a system is filled with prospects that have middling grades, it is almost impossible to reach much of a consensus on whom to place where.

Draft Possibilities

Looking at the talent depth in this year’s draft, the Diamondbacks should be able to add at least two prospects to their top-15 prospects.

Below are the final mock draft picks for industry analysts:

Mayo: Jordan Groshans, 3B, Magnolia (Texas) HS
Arizona isn’t sure Groshans will still be available, with his name coming up as high as No. 12 to the Blue Jays, and right in front of the D-backs to the Cubs. If he’s gone, the D-backs could look at another high school bat like Matt McLain or a college bat such as Steele Walker.

Callis: Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State
After taking college performer Pavin Smith last year at No. 7, Arizona may go down that road again with Clemson first baseman Seth Beer, Dallas Baptist outfielder Jameson Hannah, Larnach, McCarthy or Oklahoma outfielder Steele Walker. Though the D-backs may love California high school shortstop Matt McLain more than any club, this is probably too early to take him.

Sickels: Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi

Law: Matt McLain, INF, Beckman High School (CA)
I’ve had them linked to McLain a few times now, but also keep saying it’s possible they’re on him for Pick 39 in the competitive-balance A round instead.

Baseball America: Jake McCarthy, OF, Virginia
McCarthy was seen by many teams at the ACC Tournament last week and has hit .355 in his first seven games back from an injury that kept him out for most of his junior season. These late looks are critical for McCarthy, though he has an extremely impressive track record in the ACC and wood bat leagues to fall back on.

The Athletic (from Zach Buchanan): Ethan Hankins, RHP, Forsyth Central HS (GA)
It might be a surprise if Hankins gets to the Diamondbacks. He’s a big right-hander with a big fastball, and the Diamondbacks have a need to restock on pitching with Anthony Banda on the Rays, Patrick Corbin heading to free agency and only a few more years of control on Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller and Taijuan Walker.

Fansided: Matt McLain, INF, Beckman High School

Matching the state of the Arizona farm system, the projected picks are all over the place. Both pitchers and position players, prep talents and college players are all represented in the projections.

Other Players to Watch

In addition to the players above, there are a few other players to watch.

Steele Walker: An outfielder for Oklahoma, this is the name I have heard most often in connection with the Diamondbacks. He also happens to be a player I like with the 25th pick.

Noah Naylor: A prep star catcher out of Canada, Naylor might have the best prep-school bat in the draft. The young man’s draft stock is all over the place depending on how the various teams feel about his ability to stick behind the plate. If he falls to #25, he would be a heavy front-runner for best available talent on the board.

Sasha Sneider, Dustin Garcia, Blake Burzell: Players committed to Arizona State from the 2018 prep ranks.

Gage Canning, Lyle Lin, Connor Higgins: Junior starters for Arizona State who will likely be drafted.

Travis Moniot, Cody Deason, Alfonso Rivas III, Cesar Salazar: Juniors from the University of Arizona with a good possibility of being drafted, especially Moniot, who was already drafted in 2015 and has only improved since then.

Continue reading here at the Pit for complete draft coverage once the draft begins. Michael and I will be covering the draft live, both tonight and for the next two days, providing detailed scouting reports of each Arizona pick as it is made.