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MLB Draft Day Two Recap: Diamondbacks pick up some college bats early then finish with lottery ticket arms

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Kent State at Miami David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Diamondbacks had 10 picks on Day 2, with plenty of money to spread around. On the draft’s first night, the team selected Jordan Lawlar, who is expected to sign for no less than full slot and could require the team to go over slot.

2 (42) - Ryan Bliss, SS, Auburn University

Bliss will most certainly move over to the keystone position once turning pro due to the lack of arm strength necessary to stick to shortstop. While shorter in stature at 5’9” 165, he has added more lift to his swing as a junior and could project to average power down the road. Compared to Lawlar’s very smooth and effortless swing, Bliss has a big leg kick and really strides into the ball similar to Alek Thomas. Bliss likely profiles as a bottom of the order hitter in a good lineup and occasionally seeing time higher up against left handed pitchers.

With the presence of Lawlar, who is almost a lock to be signed considering his draft status, and Geraldo Perdomo in the system it makes sense to move him to 2B. His range, quick release, and ability to make off-platform throws with relative ease will profile well at the position. There’s a good chance he and Lawlar could form a very strong double play tandem in the short future. Like Lawlar, Bliss has high makeup grades and has the second best chance of being a MLB regular behind the guy selected in front of him.

CBB (67) - Adrian Del Castillo, C, University of Miami (FL)

Castillo entered the year in the conversation as a Top 10 pick, but ultimately fell to the Diamondbacks at the 67th overall pick. Castillo is an offensive-minded catcher with concerns about his ability to stick at the position. His arm is average at best with a need to improve footwork and his receiving skills to stick behind the plate. I’m not worried about his ability to stick behind the plate given that he can still be an everyday player at 1B in an organization that a litter of average regular at best players ahead of him.

Castillo has an above average feel to hit at the plate and I think more projectable power down the road. In college he showed solid extra base hit numbers and patience at the plate that led to more walks than strikeouts as a freshman and sophomore. His wasn’t able to seal the deal his junior year, which combined with an OK showing with wood bats in the Cape Cod League in 2019 led to his slide. He will require going significantly over the $976K slot value with the 67th pick to sign away from Miami.

3 (77) - Jacob Steinmetz, RHP, ELEV8 Baseball Academy

This may go down as the oddest draft selection done by the current regime. Steinmetz has some future projectability on his 6’5” 220-lb. frame to where he could easily add another 10-15 pounds without losing any of his solid athleticism. His arm action is very smooth and repeatable, which lowers the risk of injury on the mound. His overall stuff projects well as either a late inning arm or a bottom of the rotation starter, depending on if he can develop a third pitch. His fastball is about MLB average, sitting in the low 90s and a 12-6 curve with high spin rates and rates as a future plus offering and his signature pitch. The change-up is a distant 3rd pitch, but gets some good drop and fade so hopefully he develops a better feel for it in pro ball.

The key issue in Steinmetz’s development is the team will need to make accommodations for him. He is a practicing Orthodox Jew, which means he will not take any mode of transportation to games beside walking between Friday and Saturday nights to honor the Sabbath or Jewish holidays. He will pitch in those games, but it’s either a long hike or he has to book a hotel room within walking distance of where the team will play. It’s a bunch of weird quirks, but I think it’s an issue that could be problematic with the wrong kind of leadership. Should Steinmetz reach the majors, he will be the first known Orthodox Jew to reach the majors, as he’s already earned the honors of one of the highest drafted.

4 (107) - Chad Patrick, RHP, Purdue University Northwest

This selection is one of multiple picks the team will use to be able to cram Lawlar and Del Castillo into an $11.2MM signing bonus pool. Patrick was one of the top Division-II pitchers statistically and is the first player drafted out of that program. Patrick will being his pro career as a starter, but is on the shorter side at 6’1” 205 and no single dominant pitch could have him pitching out of the bullpen in the majors. If the team elects to develop him exclusively as a reliever, he could quickly catapult up the system in less than three full seasons and potentially making an impact on the bullpen.

5 (138) - Caleb Roberts, C, University of North Carolina

Roberts initially started in college as a right fielder but had recently moved behind the plate. He’s got decent tools to stick there with a solid arm and a solid enough left-handed bat to earn some development time. His junior season was pretty solid with a .270./.442/.476 slash thanks to patient at-bats and ability to sting the ball in the gaps with the occasional home run (10 in 55 games). As a converted outfielder he should have pretty solid athleticism for behind the plate, but his defense could take some time to develop.

6 (168) - Luke Albright, RHP, Kent State University

Albright should be a quick to the majors type arm with good pitchability and four average offerings on the mound. His ceiling is probably a bottom of the rotation innings eater, similar to Merrill Kelly. At his best he can throw a low 90s fastball with two distinct breaking balls and a change-up. Albright likely commands something close to the full slot value for the 168th pick, which is $301.6k.

7 (198) - Scott Randall, RHP, Sacramento State University

Randall is a senior sign guy who shouldn’t count much against the bonus pool. He was a 4-year starter at Sacramento State and is most noted for his stingy control. Since 2020, Randall has posted a 126/14 strikeout to walk ratio and a 2.63 ERA in 113 combined innings. Randall’s velocity bumped up into the low 90s as a senior, boosting his stock to a Day 2 selection. He changes speeds fairly well, but will need to develop a breaking ball to contribute at the MLB level in some capacity.

8 (228) - Gavin Conticello, SS, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Conticello played shortstop in high school, but his wiry frame and plus projectable power makes him a candidate to move to a corner infield spot. He has a very projectable frame and could bulk up to 215+ lbs. as he grows into the 3B position. Due to those long arms, his swing can get a bit long and cause some swing and miss concerns as he faces more advanced pitching. The gamble on the bat speed generated power and long frame is worth having this late in the draft, although the team will need to go well over slot to get him to sign.

9 (258) - Jake Rice, LHP, Kennesaw State University

Rice is another pick that should help the team pay for their over slot picks as well. As a 5th Year Senior, Rice will likely sign for whatever is left although he may be the first guy in this class to sign for roughly a 5-figure bonus. Rice was a graduate transfer to Kennesaw State and put up solid numbers in 2021 with a 1.93 ERA and a 79/24 K/BB and .181 opponent average against in 74 23 innings. Rice profiles as a matchup-based bullpen arm with a solid fastball-slider combination.

10 (288) Hugh Fisher, LHP, Vanderbilt University

After watching Fisher in the College World Series, I’m not surprised to see Arizona take him with their last pick of Day 2. The combination of a 6’6” frame, mid 90s fastball, wipeout slider, and low three-quarters angle arm slot makes him a tough matchup for opposing left-handed hitters. He lacks the control to ever get any run as a starter in pro ball, but if he can figure it out could be a big arm in the back-end of the D-backs bullpen in three years. There is a bit of troubling arm history, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020 and only appeared in 14 games as a junior with a troubling 13/10 K/BB ratio. Nice lottery ticket though.

Overall, I say it was a pretty solid day. As of last night, I thought Del Castillo would be a great pick for them at 42 and they landed him at 67. I’m not too worried about the team’s ability to sign their entire class as Lawlar and Del Castillo the only two guys I’m certain will exceed more than a million on their respective bonuses. With some of the pitchers, there are some lottery tickets and some safe bets. Fisher and Steinmetz are high octane arms with some control and competition concerns while the selection of Albright adds some starting pitching depth in the organization.