Arizona Gets Offensive

D'backs add batters Borchering, Pollock in first round





Click here to see the complete Diamondbacks draft class of 2009 and track signings


PHOENIX—In Bobby Borchering, the Diamondbacks selected a true student of the game. As a junior high school student, he turned in one science project about the cost effectiveness of baseball bats. He wrote another about a batter's ability to anticipate the flight of a breaking ball without seeing the pitch.
QUICK TAKE
It's easy to like a draft that features seven of the top 64 selections. In a draft light on bats, the Diamondbacks kept grabbing talented hitters: 3B Bobby Borchering and OF A.J. Pollock in the first round, 1B Matt Davidson and SS Chris Owings in the sandwich round, and OF Marc Krauss as a steal in a second. Arizona also got the two of the best pitchers in the Northeast, LHP Michael Belfiore (sandwich round) and RHP Eric Smith (second).
—JIM CALLIS

"He's a guy who can impact a major league lineup with his bat. He has all the physical attributes that you think can stay at the corners," scouting director Tom Allison said.

Arizona took Borchering with its first first-round pick, the 16th overall selection. The Diamondbacks followed at No. 17 with Notre Dame outfielder A.J. Pollock, part of their record haul that included seven selections in the top 64 picks and eight of the top 95.

"Eight of the top 100—that's fun to do," Allison said.

Borchering, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound switch-hitting third baseman, hit .494 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs at Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, Fla., and has drawn comparisons with another switch-hitting Florida high school draftee: the Braves' Chipper Jones.

"Every time I hear those comparisons, I'm honored by it. I've had fun following his career. It's definitely exciting to hear those things. There are a lot of similarities between us," Borchering said.

Borchering had a .626 on-base percentage and he slugged 1.117 as a high school senior, winning Gatorade player of the year honors in Florida. He also went 4-4, 1.15 with a save in 14 pitching appearances.

He said he still will consider a scholarship offer from Florida, saying his relationship with coach Kevin O'Sullivan makes the Gators "a strong option."

"I'm excited to be picked by the Diamondbacks," Borchering said. "We'll see how things go."
 
The Diamondbacks believe signability will not be an issue. The 16th pick last year, Brett Lawrie, signed for $1.7 million.

Pollock, a center fielder, hit .365 with 10 homers and 52 RBIs at Notre Dame, adding 19 doubles and five triples. In his three seasons with the Irish, he hit .367 with 17 homers and 122 RBIs and stole 60 bases in 69 attempts. He was MVP in the Cape Cod League last summer, batting .377 and slugging .566.

Allison first noticed Pollock in 2008, when he was sitting on Notre Dame closer Kyle Weiland, a third-round pick by the Red Sox in 2008.

"He went to the Cape and exploded," Allison said.

SNAKE BITES

• The Diamondbacks took Yucaipa (Calif.) High first baseman Matt Davidson (35th overall), Gilbert (S.C.) High shortstop Chris Owings ( 41st overall) and Boston College lefthander Michael Belfiore (45th overall) in the supplemental first round. They finished a busy first day by selecting Rhode Island righthander Eric Smith (60th overall) and Ohio outfielder Marc Krauss (64th overall) in the second round and Santa Fe (Fla.) CC third baseman Keon Broxton (95th overall) in the third round.

• Borchering was the eighth high school player taken (in 14 drafts) in the first round by the Diamondbacks. The most recent was righthander Jarrod Parker, the ninth pick overall in 2007 who already has advanced to Double-A Mobile.

• The Diamondbacks admitted Arizona State righthander Mike Leake was high on their draft board. Allison said: "We are going to wish that righthander here all the luck." The Reds took Leake with the eighth pick.