D-backs load up on bats in Draft
Borchering, Pollock rated among best hitters available
PHOENIX -- It was a busy but enjoyable Tuesday for the D-backs, who had eight of the first 95 picks on the first day of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
"That was fun to do," D-backs scouting director Tom Allison said.
The D-backs system lacks impact bats, so it was no surprise that the team selected hitters with its first four picks and with six of the eight overall.
With their first pick at 16, the D-backs nabbed infielder Bobby Borchering and with the 17th pick, which they got as compensation when the Dodgers signed Orlando Hudson, they chose outfielder A.J. Pollock.
Borchering was rated one of the best prep hitters, while Pollock was similarly ranked among college hitters.
Borchering, a switch-hitter, has power from both sides of the plate. He played third base in high school and while some scouts see his future at first base, Allison said he will start out at third in the Arizona system and be given every opportunity to stick there.
"I just kind of went about the day like a routine day and tried not to think about it too much," Borchering said. "Actually, I went to the gym in the morning and just tried to get things off my mind. As we went through the Draft, I started reading things and it started picking up and when I was called by the Diamondbacks, I was real excited."
The 18-year-old out of Bishop Verot (Fla.) High School is listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Florida. He has been likened to Braves star Chipper Jones and was named Gatorade Florida Baseball Player of the Year.
"Every time I hear the comparison, I'm really honored by it," Borchering said. "Me and Chipper also have some differences, too. I've had fun following his career and all the great things he's accomplished. It's definitely exciting to hear those things. I know there are a lot of similarities between us and it's exciting to hear that stuff."
Borchering's close relationship with Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan is one of the things that makes going to UF attractive.
"University of Florida is definitely a strong option there," Borchering said. "I'm really excited to be picked by the Diamondbacks and the possibilities that are there, but we'll see how things go."
There had been reports that he was seeking a $2 million signing bonus, but Borchering did not want to get into that. As of now, his parents are acting as his advisors.
Allison did not get into specific monetary figures, but did say that the information the organization had suggested Borchering wanted to get started on his pro career.
Pollock, a center fielder for Notre Dame, hit .365 with a .443 on-base percentage and slugged .610. He is a polished player who caught Allison's eye last year when he went to look at another Notre Dame player.
The 21-year-old has a good approach at the plate and does not chase pitches out of the strike zone. Pollock is a gap hitter and an above-average runner who has good instincts and can steal a base. Once a shortstop, Pollock can also play second base, but Allison said the club planned to play him in center.
Here is a look at the other players the D-backs selected on Day 1:
Compensation round, Matt Davidson, 3B, Yucaipa (Calif.) HS: Davidson has a lot of raw power, as he displayed in winning the home run derby at the Aflac Classic at Dodger Stadium. Been likened to Scott Rolen. Has committed to attend the University of Southern California.
Compensation, Chris Owings, SS, Gilbert (S.C.) HS: Some liken him to last year's top pick, Gordon Beckham, only with less power. Short to the ball with his swing and is more of a gap-to-gap hitter. Quick hands. Has average speed. Committed to attend the University of South Carolina.
Compensation, Mike Belfiore, LHP, Boston College: First pitcher taken by D-backs. Threw 129 pitches last week in 25-inning game against University of Texas. Throws in the 90-93 mph range with fastball. Has been a closer the last two years at BC, but will start out as a starter in Arizona system.
Second round, Eric Smith, RHP, University of Rhode Island: Hard-nosed competitor with a fastball that ranges from 89-93 mph. Listed at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, he has a slider and a change and throws the occasional curve.
Second round, Mark Krauss, OF, Ohio University: A performance-based pick and one of the better college hitters in the Draft, he led the Cape Cod League in RBIs and on-base percentage last summer and hit 22 homers this year for the Bobcats. Swings from left side of plate, and power should transfer from aluminum to wood bats. Has played third base, but will start out as left fielder in Arizona system.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.