D-backs land hard-to-find talent in Draft

Scouting director Ladnier says club got some power bats and arms

D-backs land hard-to-find talent in Draft

PHOENIX -- The D-backs had to wait a while before making their first pick of the 2016 Draft, but after three days of selections they were pleased with where they wound up.

"We feel really good about the guys we got," D-backs scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "Everybody felt comfortable in the room stating their opinion not thinking they were doing something wrong. I was proud of our scouts. They really worked hard and their intensity level was outstanding, and we really didn't stop until the last pick."

The D-backs forfeited their first-round pick when they signed free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke in December, so their first crack at the amateur talent came with the No. 39 overall pick.

Auburn center fielder Anfernee Grier was who they took with that selection, and he is regarded as a "tooled-out player," according to Ladnier, who impressed the team with the way he chased down balls in the gap during a pre-Draft workout at Chase Field.

In all, the D-backs split their 40 Draft selections equally among pitchers and position players with an emphasis on power.

"Lots of power bats and I think we got some power arms, too," Ladnier said. "Those two things are hard to find."

Last year the D-backs went heavy on older college players as a way of filling in depth in their Minor League system; this year Ladnier had a little more freedom to draft for upside, and he wound up with eight high schoolers and eight junior college players.

"I really think we got younger and we got stronger as an organization," Ladnier said. "Last year we took a lot of college guys, and that was by design. This year we took who we felt like was the best player at every place that we took them and we got younger and more athletic."

One glaring organizational need was catching, and the D-backs worked to fill that early by taking Canadian high school backstop Andrew Yerzy with their second-round pick (52nd overall). Yerzy had what Ladnier called one of the best pre-Draft workouts he has ever seen when he blasted balls into the upper deck at Chase Field.

D-backs draft C Yerzy No. 52

In all, the D-backs selected six catchers, though not all will stay at the position.

The D-backs picked four players from Canada after having selected a total of seven in franchise history entering this year.

"It was just one of those years where the guys were really good," Ladnier said of the Canadian Draft class. "I've never done that before. When we started matching up their talent in comparison, they stood out. Doug Mathieson, our part-time scout up in Canada, did a tremendous job. He told me before we even started the season, he said this is one of the best Canadian Draft classes he's ever been associated with."

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.