The Arizona Diamondbacks were a busy bunch on Monday night, with a trio of picks on the first evening of Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft. We’ve already covered their first round selection, a prep shortstop at no. 25 overall, but the Snakes also held the 39th and 63rd picks in the subsequent compensatory/competitive balance round, as well as the second round.
With the 39th pick, the Diamondbacks returned to the college of last year’s first pick, Pavin Smith, in selecting University of Virginia outfielder Jake McCarthy. I’ll let the video speak for itself (via Baseball America):
Now, McCarthy isn’t a big power guy coming out of UVA, but that sound coming off the bat is majestic. Here’s a bit from MLB Pipeline:
"Some scouts aren’t in love with his swing, which features a flat bat path, but others point to a pretty good track record of making consistent hard contact. He hasn’t hit for much power to speak of, but some changes to his mechanics could allow him to tap into his raw pop at the next level. He has a fringy arm, but has the speed and instincts to play center field."
The hard contact is evident there, albeit in batting practice. Nonetheless, his mechanics can be refined in the minor league system to make whatever tweaks the organization feels necessary. The speed and instincts are an intriguing element, though, and whatever adjustments that he needs to make can certainly be built on those.
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At no. 63, the Snakes looked at the outfield again in selecting lefty outfielder Alek Thomas, out of Mount Carmel in Illinois. A TCU commit, Thomas also plays centerfield and brings a somewhat similar skill set to that of McCarthy.
He doesn’t have too much power, but there’s some pop there. That pop comes thanks to his ability to regularly make solid contact. From MLB’s Prospect Pipeline:
"With his compact left-handed stroke, impressive bat speed and mature approach at the plate, Thomas smacks line drives to all fields. He has no trouble barreling quality fastballs and led gold medal-winning Team USA in hitting with a .361 average at the 18-and-under World Cup in September. Though he’s not very physical, his feel for the barrel and sneaky pop should produce at least 12-15 homers per year in pro ball."
There’s definitely a level of intrigue for the Diamondbacks with these two picks. This is especially true given their uncertainty in the outfield long-term. Thomas’ arm could move him out of center, but both of these players bring a lot of tools to the table that make them very enticing as prospects.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Diamondbacks proceed in the draft moving forward, but they’ve definitely given fans some exciting offensive talent to discuss and observe for the next couple of years.