Two top 10 picks yield righties for D-backs

Two top 10 picks yield righties for D-backs

Two top 10 picks yield righties for D-backs
PHOENIX -- All along, the D-backs said that with their bounty of first-round picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft -- Nos. 3 and 7 overall -- they were going to pick the best players available on their board, not ones they felt would be easy to sign.

On Monday, they followed through, selecting UCLA right-hander Trevor Bauer and Oklahoma high school righty Archie Bradley.

"Finances are always a part of what we do, but we're prepared to sign these players," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "We picked the best players that we thought were out there at the time our picks came and we'll do what we need to do to get them signed and make them Diamondbacks."

In 16 starts for the Bruins this year, Bauer was 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA. The 20-year-old tossed 10 complete games and held opponents to a .154 batting average. In 136 2/3 innings, he struck out 203 and walked just 36.

"There are basically are no flaws in what he does," D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery said.

D-backs area scout Hal Kurtzman had been scouting Bauer since he was 12 years old, and the D-backs had someone at each of his starts this year.

D-backs senior vice president of scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto, a former big league pitcher who has a tremendous passion for the game and has spent his life studying the game, wrote the following on his report after his most recent trip to watch Bauer: "Every time I watch this guy pitch, I feel like I learn something more about pitching."

At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Bauer has drawn comparisons to Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and he has patterned his mechanics after him.

Bauer uses long toss from great distances, and he has thrown baseballs soaked in water to help build his arm strength. A cerebral pitcher, Bauer is constantly looking for ways to improve.

While his somewhat unorthodox pregame routine may have scared some teams away, the D-backs have no concerns.

"I love it, I think it's great," Montgomery said of Bauer's rituals. "I think with someone like Trevor, I think he's just going to get accustomed to the professional lifestyle and the five days vs. the seven. I'm very confident he's not going to have any issues with that."

For his part, Bauer said he was hoping all along that the D-backs would call his name.

"I think it's a combination of things," he said. "Obviously the organization is pretty close to home, it's in the National League West with good competition, it's a warm weather climate and I love pitching in the warm weather. I got a really good feel for the people that were in the organization and that they really knew what they were talking about, and I just felt really comfortable talking to them. Organizational philosophies as far as training and pitching sequencing and player development and stuff like that just happened to fit in with the ideas I kind of already had on my own."

Bradley, 18, was 12-1 with a 0.29 ERA in leading Broken Arrow High School to the Oklahoma 6A state championship this year. He developed a friendly rivalry with fellow Oklahoma prep hurler Dylan Bundy, who was picked fourth overall by the Orioles.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Bradley, who also starred at quarterback in football, can touch 96 mph with his fastball. He also throws a power curve and a change and has plus command.

"We're getting one of the most advanced high school pitchers in the country," Dipoto said.

They are also getting someone who has committed to playing football at the University of Oklahoma, which could increase his leverage in contract negotiations.

"We've had good conversations with Archie and his family," Montgomery said. "They're receptive -- they know what they want to do, so I think we'll be fine."

"I've always seen baseball as my future," Bradley said. "I'm looking forward to talking to the owner, talking to the GM, talking to those guys and seeing what they have to offer, and then I'll base my decision off that. I love football with a passion and I would love to go play at OU, but at the same time, the frontrunner has always been baseball."

The D-backs obtained the seventh pick by virtue of not signing the sixth overall pick last year, Barret Loux. Because it was compensation, it is unprotected, meaning the D-backs will not get a compensation pick if they fail to sign Bradley.

"We do need to sign the kid, and we'll do that," Kendrick said. "We'll get him signed."

The two picks add to the already deep Arizona system when it comes to pitching, and the wait to see Bauer in the big leagues is not expected to last longer than next year.

"We're going to hopefully get him signed, get him out there and put him in a circumstance where we allow him to move toward the big leagues as quick as he's able," Dipoto said. "Our plan is not for Trevor Bauer to go out and carve through the Minor Leagues one year at a time."

As a high school pitcher, even an advanced one, Bradley's road to the Majors will take some time.

"To put in the Archie in the system and allow him progress at his own rate is what we plan on," Dipoto said.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.