'Massive power' leads D-backs to draft Yerzy

Lefty-swinging catcher, 17, put on show at Chase Field workout

'Massive power' leads D-backs to draft Yerzy

PHOENIX -- If the D-backs liked high school catcher Andy Yerzy before his pre-Draft workout at Chase Field, they loved him afterward.

Yerzy was the D-backs' second-round pick (52nd overall) in the MLB Draft on Thursday.

"I've been to a lot of workouts and his ranks right up there with the best I've ever seen," D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "For a 17-year-old kid to walk into the stadium and put balls into the upper deck is amazing. He did that consistently during our workout."

A left-handed hitter, Yerzy attended York Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto and has signed a letter of intent to attend Notre Dame. Ladnier, though, said he did not expect any issues in signing Yerzy.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. MST, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 10 a.m. MST

The D-backs used their first selection, No. 39 overall, on Auburn outfielder Anfernee Grier.

39th overall: Anfernee Grier

Yerzy has what scouts call "easy power," and he consistently squared up the baseball this spring during Team Canada's annual tour through Florida.

"He has massive power," Ladnier said. "We got a chance to meet him, talk to him personally. He's a really intelligent young man who has great character. His bat is very quick and it's extremely powerful. He hit balls out of our stadium to all fields many, many times during our workout."

Yerzy may need some refinement behind the plate, but scouts believe the tools are there. He has an accurate arm that would play even better with better footwork, and he has good hands for receiving. Catching has been a position of need in the D-backs' system.

"We believe he has tremendous upside," Ladnier said. "He does need work. Once again, he's 17 years old. He loves to catch. He's a bigger-body guy and we'll have to work some on his lateral movement, but to me, catching is the one position in this game, because they catch more and more, where they continue to get better. The obvious reason for us drafting him is the impact bat. We think he's a guy who could potentially hit in the middle of the lineup."

2016 Draft: Andrew Yerzy, C

Playing for Team Canada gave Yerzy a chance to match his skills against quality opponents. That helped him improve, but it also helped scouts be able to evaluate him.

"It's not like he's faced the high school competition that many of these kids have faced," Ladnier said. "This kid was facing Minor League pitchers with well above-average velocity and still able to get to his power and drive the ball to all fields."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.