|Jim Callis' Quick Take|
|The night before the draft, it looked like Indiana righthander Jarrod Parker would go No. 3 overall to the Cubs. Instead, the pitcher who showed the most electric arm of any draft prospect this spring got to the Diamondbacks at No. 9. Arizona also landed two of college baseball's most polished pitchers in Cal State Fullerton righty Wes Roemer (supplemental first round) and Pepperdine righty Barry Enright (second round).|
PHOENIX--The Diamondbacks were delighted when righthander Jarrod Parker fell into their lap at ninth pick in the first round of the draft Thursday.
Parker dominated the competition at Bluffton (Ind.) Norwell High with a fastball that started big--he was clocked at 97 mph on his first pitch of the spring--and stayed that way, as he topped out at 98 mph and pitched consistently in the mid-90s.
The Diamondbacks scouted all of his games and had director of pro scouting Jerry Dipoto at his latest start June 5.
“He has a very gifted right arm and an even more gifted mind,” said Diamondbacks scouting director Tom Allison, in his first his draft with the organization after having a hand in signing Milwaukee’s current crop of young major leaguers as a national crosschecker with the Brewers.
“He is very intelligent and athletic. He’s a proven winner and a quality character guy. Those are all things we look for.”
Parker, 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, was 10-0, 0.13 with 101 strikeouts at the time of the draft and was to start Norwell’s first game of a doubleheader in semifinals of the Indiana state tournament Saturday.
Parker, rumored to be a possibility for the Cubs with their third choice overall, called his selection “an overwhelming feeling,” adding, “I heard rumors, but I’m just happy to be going in the first round.”
Parker sounded as if he were eager to join the pro ranks, and Allison also seemed optimistic that talks would move in a satisfactory fashion while saying the Diamondbacks’ slot might be different than that suggested by major league baseball. The ninth pick in 2006 received a $2.1 million signing bonus.
“We told him to go out and win a state championship, and we’ll begin negotiations after that,” Allison said.
Parker pitched for the silver medal-winning U.S. team in the Junior World Championships in Cuba last September, and Allison said he had been on the Diamondbacks’ radar dating to last summer’s all-star showcase games.
The Diamondbacks have added two starting pitchers in the eight days after signing 2006 draftee Max Scherzer, the 11th player taken overall, to a major league contract worth a guaranteed $4.3 million at the May 31 deadline.
Parker is the first high school pitcher the Diamondbacks have taken in the first round since their first draft, when they took California lefthander Nick Bierbrodt in 1996, although they have had great early success with Brett Anderson, their second pick last year out of Stillwater (Okla.) High.
The Diamondbacks have taken only two other high school players, infielders Justin Upton (2005) and Sergio Santos (2002), in their drafts since while concentrating on college players in the early rounds.
They took college players with four of their next five picks in the draft, including Cal State Fullerton righthander Wes Roemer and Mississippi State catcher Ed Easley in the sandwich round as compensation for lost free agents Craig Counsell and Miguel Batista; Pepperdine righthander Barry Enright in the second round; and Tulane righthander Sean Morgan in the fourth round.