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D-backs have need for speed with fourth-round pick

D-backs have need for speed with fourth-round pick

D-backs have need for speed with fourth-round pick

PHOENIX -- Riverdale Baptist High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., has long been a hotbed for talented baseball players, and center fielder Matthew McPhearson could be the next big one for the D-backs, who tabbed the 18-year-old with the 120th overall pick in the fourth round on Friday.

Small but athletically built, McPhearson's speed is the first thing that stands out. He can flat-out fly, with the kind of speed that can be a game-changer. He's aggressive on the basepaths and plays a good defensive outfield. He recorded a 6.22 60-yard dash at the Perfect Game National Showcase.

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The 5-foot-8, 164-pound lefty has some bat speed and should be a solid hitter moving forward, though power isn't a part of his game. His arm is accurate but not strong, and it might limit him to left field in the long term.

"He profiles as a leadoff guy, because he might be the fastest guy in the Draft," said D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery. "If he's not, he's certainly one of them. We consider him an 80 guy on the scale for speed. Other than that, he's smaller in stature, but he's plenty strong enough. He's actually a compact, physical build for his size."

In 2012, McPhearson was one of just 38 players invited to play in an All-Star Game at Wrigley Field.

The University of Miami commit has the chance to be a real sparkplug at the top of a big league lineup in the future.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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