D-backs happy with return from Draft picks at instructs

2014 selections Toussaint, Railey progressing steadily, give Arizona bright future

D-backs happy with return from Draft picks at instructs

With five picks in the first 100 selections of the First-Year Player Draft, the D-backs were busy in the early rounds of this year's event. They used all five of their top picks on players from the high school ranks, injecting several high-ceiling prospects into the organization.

That busy Draft in June has led to an important instructional league this fall, as the D-backs coaching staff has been able to work with the teenagers for an extended period. And player development director Mike Bell has been pleased with what he's seen from right-hander Touki Toussaint, the club's first-round pick, as well as outfielders Marcus Wilson and Matt Railey, left-hander Cody Reed and shortstop Isan Diaz.

The D-backs selected Toussaint with the 16th overall pick in June. Not long after, Bell saw him throw a side session in Phoenix.

"You can't help but to stop and watch and take notice of his three plus pitches," Bell said. "He has a quick arm, his athleticism is exceptional and his personality is terrific."

Toussaint signed with the D-backs on June 20, his 18th birthday, and spent the rest of the summer pitching in the Arizona League and Rookie-level Missoula in the Pioneer League.

"In instructional league, he's begun to take strides and take what he does so well in bullpens and applying it to game settings," Bell said. "He commands his fastball to both sides of the plate. His breaking ball has been sharp and he's throwing a good changeup too. He's a good young pitcher."

The D-backs have also been especially interested to see how Railey, their third-round pick, is progressing. The oldest of their top five selections, Railey, 19, went straight to Missoula after signing. But he played in just 13 games before a hamstring injury ended his season in late June.

Bell said Railey is healthy once again and, after a slow start in instructional league, has played better as he's gotten his timing back.

"He's developing nicely for the amount of time he's been healthy," Bell said. "We're anxious to see him in the spring."

• After a trying regular season, Stryker Trahan is still at work in instructional league. Trahan, the 26th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, began the year with Class A South Bend, where he was to make the transition from catcher to right field. But while learning the outfield, he struggled at the plate, hitting .198/.264/.367 with 13 home runs in 95 games. Hoping to get Trahan back on track, D-backs ultimately sent him to short-season Hillsboro in late July.

With Hillsboro, Trahan returned to catching. He also found more success at the plate, hitting .257/.344/.496 with six home runs in 30 games. He also helped the Hops win the Northwest League championship.

The D-backs had hoped moving to a less demanding position would help Trahan's offense and accelerate his progress through the Minor Leagues. Instead, Trahan seemed to be more comfortable as a catcher.

"He takes pride in helping others and when he's able to immerse himself into pitchers' strengths and weaknesses and game plans, he responds well to that," Bell said. "I think it was good for him. We learned a lot about Stryker this year."

The D-backs are continuing to work with Trahan on catching this fall. Bell said the 20-year old has continued to make progress defensively.

"Even when he transitioned back into that role, he really picked up where he left off," Bell said. "At Hillsboro he was making steady progress and now he's making big strides."

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.