Teams are inching ever closer to the MLB Amateur draft on June 9.
Last year’s draft class was the Diamondbacks’ first draft class under GM Dave Stewart and Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa. The team had the rare opportunity to pick first overall in 2015. They used the pick on Dansby Swanson, who was shipped to Atlanta in the Shelby Miller deal. We all know that. But how about everyone else?
In the second round, with the 43rd overall pick, came Alex Young, a left-handed pitcher out of TCU. He’s done well in the minors so far, compiling a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched for the rookie-level D-Backs of the Arizona League, in short season A-ball with The Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League, and more recently the Kane County Cougars in the full-season high-A ranks. Look for him to advance quickly, with a possible promotion to Double-A Mobile before the season’s end.
Next with the 76th overall pick, coming in the third round, came a pitcher out of The College of Charleston, right-handed pitcher Taylor Clarke.
Clarke was given a bullpen role in his introduction into pro ball last year. He did not allow a single run over 21 innings pitched in 13 games, to go along with three saves and a .114 batting average against. It was most likely due to this level of production that the organization bumped him into a starting roll in 2016, where he has performed to the tune of a 2.83 ERA over six starts.
The next right-handed pitcher taken was Missouri’s closer Breckin Williams in the fourth round . The D-Backs quickly signed him on June 12th, and had him in a Hillsboro uniform by the 16th. In 2015, he pitched in 12 games with a very respectable 2.92 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. He has yet to pitch so far in the 2016 campaign.
The Diamondbacks’ fifth selection was another right-handed reliever, former ASU pitcher Ryan Burr, who was taken in the fifth round.
Burr has so far absolutely dominated the lower minors with the Hops and Cougars. Right out of the chute in 2015, Burr struck out a whopping 49 batters in 34 innings. His power numbers weren’t the only stats to brag about, given that he only allowed four earned runs and 19 hits during that span. Even with 11 walks, his WHIP only came out to 0.88.
While only having pitched in one game in 2016, we can still surely expect yet another fast riser coming up through the system.