Odds are the Diamondbacks will select a college pitcher in the first round of today's draft, with lefties David Purcey of Oklahoma and Bill Bray of William and Mary two possible choices.
D-Backs scouting director Mike Rizzo, who prefers college products over high school players, said the chance of Arizona taking a college pitcher with the 15th overall pick is “pretty good — unless something out of the ordinary happens.”
Last year, the Diamondbacks went after college power hitters to add some offense to the farm system (top three picks Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin and Jamie D'Antona have produced well at Class A Lancaster this year).
“I think we're going to go strictly on best player available” this year, Rizzo said. “The minor leagues are deep enough where we don't have any glaring weaknesses in the system that we have to address.”
And the best player available at No. 15, at least in Arizona's eyes, is very likely to be a college pitcher.
Rice right-hander Wade Townsend and Boston College right-hander Chris Lambert could be attractive choices for the D-Backs but seem likely to be gone by the time they pick.
Purcey — a 22-year-old, 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior — was a second-team All-Big 12 pick by conference coaches. Including a three-hitter Saturday against Central Connecticut State (his first career complete game) in the NCAA regionals, Purcey went 9-5 with a 3.11 ERA, 89 hits allowed and 130 strikeouts in 118 innings.
Bray was 4-4 with eight saves, a 2.44 ERA, 84 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 59 innings.
Other possibilities are Texas A&M left-hander Zach Jackson and New Orleans right-hander Thomas Diamond.
“The strength of the draft this year is that it's pretty deep in college pitching,” Rizzo said. “Beyond that it's a pretty deep college field. That works for us.”
Last year's No. 15 pick, University of Arizona outfielder Brian Anderson, received a $1.6 million signing bonus from the Chicago White Sox.