With day one of the draft in the books, Arizona’s Director of Scouting made himself available for questions regarding the draft. Here are some of the takeaways.
The combination of solid tools is what stood out. McClain is an advanced high school bat with a short, compact swing that the team feels possesses hidden power. McClain’s speed rates as a 60-70, so comparisons to Chris Owings with regards to speed may not be fantasy. The team also feels that there is no real concern that McClain will need to shift to second base, but will have no issues sticking at short. The plus speed with the strong arm should serve him well at the defense-first position. McClain was targeted by Ladnier early in the scouting process.
McClain was targeted by Ladnier early on in the scouting process. The team does not feel he was a stretch at #25 and is convinced he would have been off the board by #39 if they had passed on him. He was a specific target of this front office entering the draft. The team does not see that signability will be an issue with him.
Jake McCarthy is looked at as a great defensive center fielder. McCarthy was actually being scouted by Arizona going back to before the draft last year. He was another player who was specifically targeted, partly because of that familiarity. His glove will allow him to stick in center field. His bat, mainly his on-base skills, should allow him to move quickly through the system.
Alek Thomas’ father is the strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago White Sox. The apple does not fall far from the tree as Thomas is very much into conditioning. Thomas’ bat lags behind McCarthy’s but this looked at as a bit of a plus as it will allow him to be slotted behind McCarthy instead of having the two vying for time in the same outfield.
Ladnier prefers to target bats as he feels the good ones fly off the board early, while good pitchers come from anywhere in the draft. He feels that there are fewer bats likely to click, but plenty of arms to be found in the mid and late rounds that will eventually make it to the majors.
A focus of this draft was to increase overall speed and athleticism in the farm. Ladnier looks at this year’s draft class as a great complement to last year’s corner heavy draft class. He feels the speed and raw athleticism taken so far help to create a more balanced farm system.