The three-day slog called the MLB draft is now complete (remember when this thing was 40 rounds?), and the Diamondbacks draft brought in 21 players, including nine pitchers, four outfielders, five shortstops, two catchers and one first baseman.
You have probably already heard about Druw Jones by now, let’s focus on the rest of the pack. It’s important to note that, while Jones has reportedly signed, the D-backs have yet to ink deals with the rest of their class and it is very unlikely they’ll be able to do so with all of them.
The D-backs made three highly ranked prep picks in the last three rounds of the draft, namely shortstop Aiva Arquette in the 18th round, outfielder Gavin Turley in the 19th round and pitcher Riley Kelly in the 20th round. Turley has already made it clear he intends to continue with his commitment to Oregon State rather than signing with the D-backs.
That’s not surprising, given that Turley was viewed as a possible top-100 talent by some, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Arquette and Kelly’s commitments to Washington and UC Irvine, respectively.
That said, eight of the D-backs’ first 10 picks (not including Jones) were college kids, many of whom are later in their college career. The D-backs may be able to save enough on that group to have money left over to try to make a play for Turley, Arquette or Kelly.
With that discussion out of the way, here is an overview of every D-backs draft pick through the 10th round.
Competitive Balance Round A (Pick 34): Landon Sims, RHP
Mississippi State | Age 21 | Four-year junior
If you like flashy, you will like Landon Sims. The Mississippi State senior has drawn comparisons to Craig Kimbrel, and he throws a high-spin fastball that sits between 94-96 and touches 98. He also has a wipeout slider that scouts say works against both lefties and righties.
Sims was the closer for the 2021 Bulldogs team that won the College World Series. In 25 appearances and 56.1 innings, Sims posted a 1.44 ERA and .149 opponent batting average with 100 strikeouts and just 15 walks.
In 2022, the Bulldogs moved him into the rotation, where he posted a 1.15 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. Based on the usual recovery time, Sims figures to be ready to pitch again some time next spring. Prior to the surgery, Sims was widely regarded as a first-round talent.
With a changeup in the works, Diamondbacks scouting director Ian Rebhan said that Sims has a chance to start in the majors.
“He was doing it already at the beginning of this year,” Rebhan said. “He’s a really good strike-thrower, he’s a really good athlete and he’s already got two plus pitches.”
When it’s all said and done, it may be more practical to use Sims as a reliever out of the gate. If that happens — and if Sims’ recovery progresses smoothly — he could move quickly through the system as a potential backend reliever.
As a junior taken in the competitive balance round, Sims seems very likely to sign.
Round 2 (Pick 43): Ivan Melendez, 1B
Texas | Age 22 | Four-year senior
Speaking of flashy, the Diamondbacks used their next pick on Ivan Melendez, who hit 32 homers last year with the Longhorns, setting the record for most home runs in a season by an NCAA Division I player since 2003. Melendez also nabbed the Golden Spikes Award in the process — an award that goes to the best amateur player in all of baseball in the United States. He also owns one of the best nicknames in sports: “Hispanic Titanic.”
As shown in the video, Melendez has a sweet power stroke to all fields and a propensity for glorious bat flips. On the whole, he slashed .387/.508/.863 with more walks (52) than strikeouts (51) in 2022 with the Longhorns. His strikeout rate plummeted from 26.1 percent in his junior year to just 16.2 percent in his senior year.
While Melendez only made one appearance at third base in college, Rebhan said the 22-year-old is capable of playing there.
“He moves around [first base] well and he’s got a plus arm, so he could play third base as well,” Rebhan said.
It is unclear whether Melendez would start in the minors at first or at third, according to Rebhan. MLB Pipeline’s scouting report pegs Melendez as a first baseman or possibly a DH, citing limited range and an average arm. The report also warns that his bat speed was non-elite, which suggests Melendez may struggle against higher velocity.
Right-handed hitting first basemen don’t go in the second round often. The fact that the Diamondbacks took him there says a lot about how much they believe in his bat.
As a college senior, Melendez is a candidate to sign below slot value, which might allow the D-backs to make a play for one of their high school picks near the end of the draft. More on that later.
Round 3 (Pick 82): Nate Savino, LHP
Virginia | Age 20 | Four-year junior
Ranked 116th by MLB Pipeline, 20-year-old lefty Nate Savino has a three-pitch mix that includes a sinker, slider and changeup. Last year at the University of Virginia, Savino posted a 3.69 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with 79 strikeouts and 32 walks over 78 innings.
Rebhan said the Diamondbacks have a “ton of history” with Savino, scouting him back to his high school days when he was viewed as a potential first-round talent for the 2020 draft. His stock has lowered since he decided to attend college, but he showcased better stuff, albeit with occasional drop-offs, in his last year at Virginia.
“It’s in there because we’ve seen it before,” Rebhan said. “There’s pretty significant upside there and [we are] buying the upward trend.”
The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Savino 85th on his MLB draft prospect board, complimenting Savino’s low-effort delivery but raising concerns about a fringy changeup that may be more effective if thrown harder.
As a junior out of Virginia, Savino seems likely to sign. The Diamondbacks believe he has a chance to start at the big-league level, though he figures to project as more of a backend starter if he does.
Round 4 (Pick 108): Dylan Ray, RHP
Alabama | Age 21 | Four-year sophomore
Rebhan said the Diamondbacks had a “lot of conviction” about Dylan Ray, who was a member of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League as recently as one week ago.
In six appearances in the Cape, Ray had an impressive 1.64 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 11 innings, striking out 17 and walking two.
Prior to that, he pitched his sophomore season as the closer for Alabama, tallying eight saves with a 4.60 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 31 ⅓ innings. Ray allowed just 23 hits and struck out 49, but the seven longballs he allowed are the primary reason for his relatively high ERA.
Ray missed the 2021 season with Tommy John surgery, which is the primary reason he worked as reliever when he returned in 2022. Ray actually hasn’t put much mileage on his arm as a whole, tallying only around 85 total innings in all four years of high school.
“Now that I feel like I’m healthy and ready to go, I can put the mileage on my arm now,” Ray told reporters on Monday.
Rebhan said Ray’s fastball has touched 96, and the Diamondbacks see the potential for him to be a starter in the future with his four-pitch mix that includes a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup and a curveball.
There Diamondbacks should be able to sign Ray without any issues.
Round 5 (Pick 138): Andrew Pintar, SS
BYU | Age 21 | Four-year junior
Rebhan described Andrew Pintar as a plus runner with good bat-to-ball skills who has the ability to play a lot of different positions, including center field.
Pintar played 17 games with BYU in 2022, slashing .209/.329/.284. His season ended early due to shoulder surgery that will keep him out until 2023.
Pintar took home freshman of the year honors in the West Coast Conference the year prior, slashing .333/.433/.556 with more walks than strikeouts and nine homers in 48 games. The Diamondbacks look at those numbers as a better indicator of his true talent level.
Pintar’s stock would be higher were it not for his injury that shut down nearly all of his 2022 season, but being selected on day two in the fifth round was a pleasant surprise in light of his injury.
“Talking with my agent, we were kind of planning on going Monday. Obviously [the fifth round] was a lot sooner than expected with my situation,” Pintar said in an interview with BYU Sports Nation. “Overall, me and my family, my wife, we’re super grateful for this opportunity.”
Round 6 (Pick 168): Will Mabrey, LHP
Tennessee | Age 21 | Four-year junior
Left-handed pitcher Will Mabrey put up impressive numbers as a reliever with the Volunteers in 2022, posting a 2.63 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 52 strikeouts compared to five walks over 41 innings.
“Anytime you can get a left-hander with the pitch mix that he has, and put up those numbers, that’s a really intriguing upside player,” Rebhan said.
According to an article by 247 Sports, Mabrey’s primary pitch is a cutter/slider hybrid that he learned from fellow Cookeville, Tennessee native Ethan Roberts, who pitched earlier this year for the Chicago Cubs. Mabrey also throws a fastball that sits 92-93.
Once again, there don’t appear to be any significant obstacles for the D-backs in getting Mabrey to sign.
Round 7 (Pick 198): Demetrio Crisantes, SS
Nogales HS (AZ) | Age 17 | High school senior
Rated by Perfect Game as the top high school shortstop in Arizona and the fourth-best prep player in the state, Demetrio Crisantes is the second-ever MLB draft pick out of Nogales High School.
Rebhan said he and his staff were intrigued by Crisantes’ bat and think he could grow into some power with his 6-feet, 178-pound frame. They also believe he could stick up the middle defensively.
In his senior year at Nogales, Crisantes slashed .485/.618/.929 with 15 doubles, four triples and seven homers in 136 plate appearances. He drew 32 walks and struck out just three times all season.
Crisantes has committed to the University of Arizona, but the D-backs should be in good position to sign him with the pick’s $247,000 slot value.
Round 8 (Pick 228): Adrian Rodriguez, SS
International Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico) | Age 18 | High school senior
The Diamondbacks have been in on Puerto Rican Adrian Rodriguez for a while; area scout Pedro Hernandez has a long-standing relationship with him.
Ian Rebhan called Rodriguez the “complete package,” with the ability to stick at shortstop and a chance for his bat to play as an everyday player.
Perfect Game pegs Rodriguez as having “quick hands with a compact swing” and an “athletic frame with wiry strength throughout.”
The D-backs’ long-standing relationship with Rodriguez suggests he is likely to sign.
Round 9 (Pick 258): Gavin Logan, C
Oregon State | Age 22 | Four-year senior
Gavin Logan was a member of the All-Pac-12 First Team in 2022, and Rebhan lauded his catch-and-throw skills and leadership ability behind the plate.
The Beavers’ left-handed hitting catcher also posted respectable offensive numbers last year with a .281/.370/.431 batting line and more walks (22) than strikeouts (21) in 196 plate appearances.
Logan had just one error throughout the season behind the plate. As a four-year senior, Logan seems likely to sign with the D-backs.
Round 10 (Pick 288): Brett Johnson, OF
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville | Age 22 | Four-year senior
Heralding from the small school of SIU Edwardsville, left-handed hitting outfielder Brett Johnson set his school record this past season with 23 home runs. He slashed .350/.453/.765 overall with 63 RBI in 55 games.
Rebhan described Johnson as an intriguing athlete and plus runner who plays good defense in center field.
With Johnson being a four-year senior at a relatively small school, it also seems likely that the D-backs can sign him.
Top photo: Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports