"Going into the Draft, even last January, we had identified it was a very pitching-heavy Draft, high school most heavy," D-backs director of amateur scouting Tom Allison said, a year removed from the organization using nine of its initial 11 picks on infielders and outfielders. "We weren't going to walk by a position player that was very high-end for us, but if they were very similar, we were going to target the pitcher."
Allison said he and his staff began compiling check lists containing the qualities most big league starting pitchers share, both physical (size and athleticism, pitch delivery and arm action, as well as current and potential repertoire) and mental (smarts on the mound, "controlling the strike zone" and dealing with failure).
Preps James Bradley (57th overall) and Robert Rowland (88), the D-backs' first two selections Tuesday, had enough of each.
Bradley, out of Nitro High School in West Virginia, posted a 12-0 record with a 0.67 ERA and 102 strikeouts over 63 innings. Having a West Virginia connection must have helped, too. D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick was born in Princeton and attended West Virginia University. And Rowland, from Cloverdale High School in California, not only has the pedigree (dad, Rich, played six Major League seasons), but the athleticism (he also starred for his school's basketball team). His perfect game on April 14 showed at least a flash of his potential, too.
Allison expects each teenager to become even better prospects once they grow into their lanky frames.
"They're certainly a little farther away in their timeline from the Major Leagues, but they do many of the same things [as Loux]," Allison said. "Do they have a lot to learn about pitching? Absolutely. But they've been successful and dominant at their level, and that's important. They know how to win.
"We expect that they're going to be Major League starters. Certainly, anytime you take high school starting pitching, there are risks, but these guys checked off a lot of boxes and they're both truly very excited to start their careers."
Other notable pitchers selected include fifth-rounder Cody Wheeler (Coastal Carolina) and 12-rounder Blake Cooper (South Carolina), who will face off against one another in the NCAA playoffs on Saturday.
Here is some information on each of the D-backs' 29 Day 2 selections:
Round 2, James Bradley, RHP, Nitro High School (West Virginia): The 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound Bradley also played shortstop as a prep, but totes a low-90-mph fastball on the mound. He is a North Carolina State signee.
Round 3, Robert Rowland, RHP, Cloverdale High School (California): The young right-hander tallied a 0.32 ERA in 65 innings pitched this past season and has drawn comparisons to former Florida Marlins prep pick Josh Johnson. He's committed to the University of Oregon. Rowland's father, Rich, played parts of six seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.
Round 4, Kevin Munson, RHP, James Madison University (Virginia): Munson was a dominating closer in college -- he went 8-1 with 10 saves in his junior season -- but is open to becoming a starting pitcher in the Minor Leagues. He often recorded three- and four-inning saves for JMU by relying on his fastball/slider combo; his changeup needs more polishing.
Round 5, Cody Wheeler, LHP, Coastal Carolina University (South Carolina): The lone lefty among Arizona's early run on pitching prospects is currently trying to lead his team into the College World Series. Through 17 2010 appearances, Wheeler was 12-0 with a 3.59 ERA. His fastball is an above-average pitch.
Round 6, Blake Perry, RHP, The Pendleton School (Florida): Perry was named a Rawlings Honorable Mention and All-Florida Region Preseason All-American.
Round 7, Jeffrey Shields, RHP, Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Alabama): The Lawrenceville, Ga. native went 12-1 with a 1.37 ERA in 13 games this past season; he struck out 92 batters in 85 1/3 innings.
Round 8, Tyler Green, RHP, Brazoswood High School (Texas): The 18-year-old Green has committed to play at Texas Christian University, giving him leverage in negotiations with his potential employer.
Round 9, Zachary Walters, SS, University of San Diego (California): After a torrid sophomore season in 2009 -- he batted .377 in 52 games -- Walters suffered an injury-plagued junior season this year; he batted just .252 in 36 games.
Round 10, Kawika Emsley-Pai, C, Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho): The University of Texas transfer burst onto the scene in 2010: In 40 appearances (33 starts), Emsley-Pai batted .342 with a team-best .494 on-base percentage.
Round 11, Michael Freeman, SS, Clemson University (South Carolina): The D-backs drafted Freeman in the 2009 Draft's 36th round, but he elected to stay at Clemson for his senior season. The decision paid off as Freeman batted .330 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs in 62 games, he is guiding his team in the NCAA playoffs and Arizona came calling a second time.
Round 12, Blake Cooper, RHP, University of South Carolina: Another senior, who is hoping his collegiate club reaches the College World Series, Cooper was 11-1 with a 2.75 ERA through 16 starts. He whiffed 100 batters through 111 1/3 innings.
Round 13, Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Amherst Regional High School (Massachusetts): The Vanderbilt signee threw a two-hit shutout on Monday, the day before he was drafted. Allison admitted it will be difficult to sign Ziomek, whose contract demands caused other clubs to shy away from picking him in Monday's portion of the Draft.
Round 14, Ty Linton, CF, Charlotte Christian School (North Carolina): Like Ziomek, Linton represents the so-called tough-sign. Linton has committed to play linebacker on the football team and a corner outfield spot on the baseball team at the University of North Carolina.
Round 15, Michael Bolsinger, RHP, Arkansas: Bolsinger, a senior who was drafted for the third time, made the bullpen-to-rotation transition prior to the 2010 season. In 12 starts (22 overall appearances), he went 6-5 with a 4.77 ERA.
Round 16, Westley Moss, CF, University of Nevada: Moss actually had a statistical drop-off during his senior season; he batted .283 but still stole 21 bases. The lanky but speedy outfielder swiped two bags in one game three times in his two-year career at Nevada. "We're excited to inject some of that speed into the organization," Allison said.
Round 17, Derek Eitel, RHP, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana): Eitel not only pitched for the baseball team, but he also quarterbacked the football team. He won 29 games over his four-year collegiate career.
Round 18, Jimmy Comerotta, 1B, Rice University (Texas): Comerotta, a senior nicknamed "Jimmy Baseball" by his teammates at college powerhouse Rice collected career bests in batting average (.329), home runs (6) and RBIs (47) in 63 games this season.
Round 19, Adam Eaton, OF, Miami University (Ohio): The diminutive Eaton led the Mountain Athletic Conference in triples (9) and stolen bases (30). In 55 2010 starts, he led Miami in hitting (.368) and drove in 55 runs.
Round 20, Michael Hur, LF, University of California at Riverside: The 22-year-old outfielder batted .329 in 52 games this season. He also racked up 24 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs.
Round 21, Raoul Torrez, 2B, Arizona State University: Torrez, another senior drafted by the D-backs, was selected in the 32nd round of the 2009 Draft. The Phoenix Brophy Prep alumnus, who has the ability to fill-in at all four infield positions, was batting .283 in 49 games (47 starts) this season. His Sun Devils remain in contention in the NCAA playoffs.
Round 22, Jeremy Erben, RHP, University of Oklahoma: Erben overcame an elbow injury in 2009 and excelled in '10. In 29 appearances (27 out of the bullpen) the right-hander went 7-1 with a 3.90 ERA and struck out 71 batters in 64 2/3 innings.
Round 23, Robert Padilla, LHP, Ohlone College (California): The 6-foot-2-inch, 180-pound lefty threw six no-hit innings in a postseason start on May 21, helping his team secure its first CCCAA 2010 State Championship.
Round 24, Steven Cardullo, 3B, Florida State University: Cardullo batted .376 with 10 home runs and 20 doubles as a junior in 2009. After that degree of success, his fourth and final season with the Seminoles can only be considered disappointing. His batting average fell to .277, and he committed 19 errors.
Round 25, Matthew Talley, LHP, The Citadel (South Carolina): The 6-foot-6-inch lefty went 8-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 16 starts (two complete games) this season.
Round 26, Yazy Arbelo, 1B, Keystone College (Pennsylvania): This past season, the 6-foot-4-inch Arbelo decimated Division III pitching. He batted .389 (49 hits in 126 at-bats) and slugged .849 (15 home runs and 11 doubles).
Round 27, Niko Gallego, 2B/SS, UCLA: The son of 13-year Major Leaguer and current Oakland A's third-base coach Mike Gallego, Niko is in the midst of his third season for the Bruins, who remain alive in the NCAA playoffs. Through 58 games, the junior infielder batted .261 with 13 doubles.
Round 28, Keith Hessler, LHP, Coastal Carolina University (South Carolina): Hessler went 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 15 appearances this season. He whiffed 25 in 29 1/3 innings.
Round 29, Christopher Floethe, RHP, Cal-State Fullerton: His dad, Chris, played in the Oakland Athletics' Minor League system, but didn't reach the big leagues. His cousin, Taylor Twellman, plays soccer for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.
Round 30, Ryan Zimmerman, RHP, Northwester State University (Louisiana): If his name is any indication -- see the Washington Nationals' slugger -- things are looking up for Zimmerman. He went 6-5 this season with a 3.74 ERA. He completed two games, one of which was a shutout.