The Arizona Diamondbacks were in a great position going into the 2019 draft. They had a lot of money to spend ($16M) and 8 of the top 100 picks, including 4 in the first round. Their 2018 record earned them the #16 pick. Failing to sign 1st rounder Matt McLain last year gave them the #26 pick this year. Letting Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock leave via free agency netted them picks 33 and 34. They also collected pick #76 from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade.
The consensus opinion on the 2019 draft class is that it’s a little bit of a down class, but with so many early picks and so much money to spend the expectations for the Diamondbacks were high. They had the money to take shots on some high upside guys, and enough picks to still get higher floor college players close to the majors. Let’s rundown some of the most significant Dback picks.
1.16 Corbin Carroll, OF L/L Lakeside High School, Seattle Washington
Carroll was said by some to be the most polished prep bat. The reports on him note his plus contact, plus approach, double plus speed, and good defense in CF. He is small, but I think he could develop acceptable power. Presumably he fell because some organizations are still down on shorter/smaller players. Good get at #16. Arizona is assembling an army of Adam Eaton clones in their outfield with Carroll and recent picks Jake McCarthy and Alek Thomas. All are smallish left handed hitters with good hit tools, plus speed, the defensive chops for CF, and a chance to hit for some pop.
Corbin Carroll (2) CF AZL D-Backs 2019 1st round Many more on my FB page#baseballprospect #MLBDraft#dbacks #RattleOn #losdbacks #diamondbacks #godbacks #arizonadiamondbacks #azdiamondbacks #dbacknation #dbackswin #letsgoDbacks@dbacks @milb @mlbdraft
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1.26 Blake Walston, LHP New Hanover High School, Wilmington NC
Walston drips upside. He’s 6’4″ with tons of physical projection and room to add strength. Uber athlete with clean delivery. Was under the radar from splitting his time playing QB, but his baseball ceiling is off the charts. At the moment touches low 90s with a great curve. In my opinion he’s a big upgrade from “missing out” on signing McLain in 2018.
1.33 Brennan Malone, RHP IMG Academy, Bradenton FL
Malone is another high schooler with risk but huge potential reward. The Dbacks drafted him out of IMG like Blaze Alexander and Levi Kelly the year before. He’s already 6’3″ 220, and owns an easy delivery and sick fastball in the mid 90s with a good chance of one day hitting 100 MPH. Has a curve and change in his arsenal as well. Walston and Malone are a long ways away, but being among the top pitching prospects in the game is within a reasonable range of outcomes.
1.34 Drey Jameson, RHP Ball State University
Jameson was the first college player taken by the Dbacks. He packs an electric 100 mph heater and a plus slider. He fits the profile of a reliever with his velocity and small build, but he has an interesting five pitch arsenal and will get chances to develop as a starter.
2.56 Ryne Nelson, RHP University of Oregon
Another college right hander with a 99 MPH fastball and plus slider. A team can’t have enough of those. Probable fast moving reliever.
2.74 Tommy Henry, LHP University of Michigan
Hasn’t signed yet as he was busy helping Michigan notch wins in the College World Series. He’s the prototypical big college left handed workhorse. Velocity slipped some throughout this year, but he’s shown top tier stuff in his career.
2.75 Dominic Fletcher, OF L/L University of Arkansas
I’ve seen reports all over on Fletcher. Some say he was best defensive outfielder in the draft, others say he was OK. Some say he could max out at 15-20 HR with a poor batting average. I’m not too interested, sounds like a 4th OF type.
3.93 Tristin English 1B, R/R Georgia Tech
Typically the right-handed hitting 1B is not an exciting profile but lately it’s experiencing a bit of a renaissance at least in terms of getting drafted higher and more often. English was a two way player at Georgia Tech, but as a hitter he got on base a ton, didn’t strike out much and had big power.
4.122 Glenallen Hill Jr., SS, S/R Santa Cruz High School, Santa Cruz CA
The Dbacks flexed a bit of their high bonus pool and signed Hill Jr. over slot for $850,000. He’s got 70+ speed, with some pop, and could play CF as well. His dad was a bad man:
12.362 Avery Short, LHP Southport High School, Indianapolis IN
Short was lured away from his Louisville commitment with a $922,ooo bonus from Arizona. Not much physical projection left for Short. His velocity is underwhelming, but he has a consistent delivery and decent secondary pitches.
Overall, I like the AZ draft especially early. I think Carroll was the best bat available when he was picked at #16. I love the high upside pitching selections of Walston and Malone. Even though they are far away, they are exactly what the Dbacks need in a system devoid of any upper echelon arms. I think the run on college arms in Jameson, Nelson, and Henry are good bets to make the majors and contribute. Guys later in the draft like English, Hill Jr. and Short are intriguing for their upside as well. Should be fun ranking the prospects in my upcoming midseason Dbacks top 50 list.
Matt Hammerling covers the Arizona Diamondbacks prospects for Prospects1500. Hailing from Southeastern Wisconsin, he plays in 20-30 fantasy baseball leagues a year including multiple dynasty leagues. Besides fantasy baseball, he enjoys tailgating, growing his beard, getting into bands 8 years after they're cool, and hanging out with his dog Monk. Follow him on Twitter at @AZdbProspector.