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Baseball America Online - College

Diamondbacks Draft Preview

By Josh Boyd
May 13, 2003

Scouting Director: Mike Rizzo (first draft: 2000).

2000 Draft (First five rounds, picking 29th)
1. (Choice to Braves as compensation for free agent Russ Springer)
2. Mike Schultz, rhp, Loyola Marymount
3. Bill White, lhp, Jacksonville State
4. Josh Kroeger, of, Scripps Ranch HS, San Diego
5. Brad Cresse, c, Louisiana State

2001 Draft (First five rounds, picking 22nd)
1. Jason Bulger, rhp, Valdosta (Ga.) State
2. Mike Gosling, lhp, Stanford
3. Scott Hairston, 2b, Central Arizona JC
4. Justin Wechsler, rhp, Ball State
5. Richie Barrett, of, Ursinas (Pa.) College

2002 Draft (First five round, picking 27th)
1. Sergio Santos, ss, Mater Dei HS, Hacienda Heights, Calif.
2. Chris Snyder, c, Houston
3. Jared Doyle, lhp, James Madison
4. Lance Cormier, rhp, Alabama
5. Mark Rosen, lhp, Salisbury (Conn.) Prep

2003 Draft
Diamondbacks pick 29th in rotation (Gain first-round pick from Mariners for loss of free agent Greg Colbrunn.)

Scouting director Mike Rizzo has done a good job stocking the upper levels in his first three drafts, and he'll pick earlier than he has before with the selection the Diamondbacks received from the Mariners, 19th overall.

Even when the Diamondbacks' early selections have floundered, it's been players like Scott Hairston, Brandon Webb and Brian Bruney who have asserted themselves as top prospects.

Rizzo has adopted a college-first approach to the draft (69 percent college players in his three years), which is why their first-round selection of Sergio Santos was a surprise last year. A year earlier Santos' stock was in the same neighborhood as B.J. Upton's, who went second overall to the Devil Rays.

The Diamondbacks projected Santos to be gone in the top 15 picks, but he slipped after a mediocre senior season and questions about where he'd end up defensively. Rizzo says Santos can be an Alex Rodriguez-type offensive threat who can stay at shortstop because of his athleticism.

Without a significant player like that falling again, expect the Diamondbacks to focus on college talent. One possibility is Georgia Southern righthander Dennis Dove, who has reached the upper-90s and is similar to 2001 first-rounder Jason Bulger.

Ohio righthander Marc Cornell would be a strong consideration if he falls that far due to concerns about his medical history. With the pitching depth the Diamondbacks have accumulated in recent drafts, though, they may shift their attention to position players. It would be out of character for their approach, but Florida high school outfielder Lastings Milledge's athleticism and upside could be too tantalizing to pass up.