D-Backs offered slot ($2,636,400) to top pick Matt McLain (No. 25 overall) but he has informed them he will be going to UCLA. a top HS infielder out of Calif.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 6, 2018
Not what we were hoping to see. While the report is unconfirmed, and he still has until 5 P.M. ET to change his mind, this looks like another first round fail for the team. Assuming he does not sign, in addition to their regular 1st round pick next year, the team should also have the #27 overall pick as compensation. (Updated from 26th, as the Braves did not sign their pick either)
It’s been a rough go for the team in the first round this decade. The last time the Diamondbacks had success in the first round was 2011, when they drafted Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. While Bauer got traded for Didi Gregorius, who was then traded for Robbie Ray, the Dbacks ultimately got value from that pick. Archie Bradley didn’t make it as the front line starter we had hoped for, but is one of the better relievers in the game. While not quite what you hope for when you draft starting pitchers with the #3 & #7 picks overall, not bad either.
Since then though? The track record has simply been poor. No other way to describe it. Three different Baseball Operations groups have contributed to this situation
2012 #26 Stryker Trahan, Catcher: After a promising debut in Rookie ball, failed to progress and flamed out by 2016
2013 # 15 Braden Shipley SP, now 26, has failed to establish himself as either a starter or a reliever in the majors.
2014 #16 Touki Toussaint SP: Drafted out of H.S., Sent to Atlanta so the team could dump Bronson Arroyo’s salary just 1 year after drafting him. Now having an excellent season at age 22 and knocking on the door of the Braves rotation.
2015 #1-1 Dansby Swanson SS: Sent to Atlanta in the Shelby Miller trade. While not setting the world on fire with his bat in this his age 24 season, he’s been competent this year, (89 OPS+) and is playing great defense, posting up +12 rDRS and 2.1 WAR while playing everyday shortstop for a 1st place team.
2016 # 39 Anfernee Grier OF (No true #1 pick that year) Toolsy 22 years old, failing to develop as a hitter in the CAL league. Has been a low average / low obp guy with no power since being drafted. Still some possibility here, but a long way away.
2017 #7 Pavin Smith 1B Supposedly mature college bat, the 22 yr. old first baseman has a .224/.329/.354 triple slash with just 7 HR in 304 PA in the hitter friendly CAL league. Too early to declare bust, but the concerns are real. At the very least, he does not look like he will be ready to take over from Paul Goldschmidt in 2020
2018 #25 Matt McClain 2B, High School second baseman, reach pick, (should have gone around 50) Fails to sign….goes to UCLA instead after being offered full slot 2.6M
So when you hear people say the D Backs have a weak farm system, and there are no impact players on the horizon, this is why. Nobody expects a team to hit on every first round draft pick. But a 7 year run of failure like this has put the team in a really difficult situation.