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Arizona Diamondbacks

D-backs' Director of Scouting ‘excited about' pitching prospects

If the three laws of real estate are location, location, location; then the three laws of baseball may very well be pitching, pitching, pitching.

You can never have enough arms; and in the case of the Diamondbacks, power arms.

The D-backs selected right-handers Braden Shipley of Nevada (15th overall) and Aaron Blair of Marshall (36th overall) on day one of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"I don't know that there is any organization in baseball that ever feels like, ‘We're good on the mound. We don't need anybody," Diamondbacks Director of Scouting Ray Montgomery said. "To add these two guys behind what we already have in the Corbins and the Mileys and the Skaggs and the Holmbergs and the Chafins and the Bradleys, yeah, I'm excited about it."

Shipley, 21, is a converted shortstop who went 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA (33 ER in 107.1 IP) with 102 strikeouts and 34 walks, while being named Mountain West Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season.

He was rated by Baseball America as the nation's third-best college pitcher and tabbed by as the No. 9 prospect in the draft.

"If you had asked me in February and March if I thought he would've been there at 15, I probably would've told you, ‘no'," Montgomery said. "So in that regard, happy that we had the opportunity to select him there."

Blair, 21, went 5-5 with a 2.85 ERA (26 ER in 82 IP) with 84 strikeouts and 36 walks. A first-team All-Conference selection, he ranks sixth all-time at Marshall for career strikeouts.

Blair was previously drafted by the Houston Astros in the 21st round of the 2010 draft, but did not sign.

"They're strike throwers. They eat innings," Montgomery said of the two right-handers. "For us to get guys like that: Big, physical guys on the mound, that's what we're looking for."

In the second round, the D-backs drafted shortstop Justin Williams out of Terrebonne High School in Louisiana with the 52nd overall pick. The 17-year-old, who has committed to LSU, batted .333 (22-for-66) with seven doubles, four home runs, 13 RBI and 18 runs scored this season.

"There's unteachable tool in there," Montgomery said. "He's young. He has a lot of baseball ahead of him. He's certainly not, I would say, as advanced as obviously two college right-handers, but I'm excited to add that type of power. It's getting harder and harder to find, so it's good to add that to the system."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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