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Diamondbacks Draft Report Card

Best Pro Debut: Players almost never make all-star teams in high Class A in their draft year, but 3B Brian Barden (6) was an exception after hitting .335-8-46 in the California League. LHP Jared Doyle (3) went 4-4, 2.87, limiting hitters to a .198 average and earning all-star honors in the short-season Northwest League. RHP Dustin Nippert (15) went 4-2, 1.65 with a 77-9 strikeout-walk ratio in 55 innings in Rookie ball.

Best Athlete: Barden is the best from Arizona’s 2002 draft crop, but he’s not in the class of OF Marland Williams, a 2001 draft-and-follow who’s exceptional.

Best Pure Hitter: Highly touted as a high school sophomore, SS Sergio Santos (1) saw his stock dip as a senior. He got a rap for being a hot dog and unsignable, but the Diamondbacks couldn’t be more pleased after he hit .272-9-37 in Rookie ball. His bat gets through the strike zone in a flash.

Best Raw Power: Santos drove balls out in every direction during a workout at Bank One Ballpark. The Diamondbacks believe his power with wood grades out as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Fastest Runner: Williams is a pure basestealer who’s capable of running the 60-yard dash in 6.25 seconds. Arizona didn’t get any blazers from the draft; Santos is the best runner at 6.8 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: The Diamondbacks rated Chris Snyder (2) as the best defensive catcher in the draft. He also has some pop and hit .258-9-44 in the Cal League.

Best Fastball: Nippert pitched his way out of West Virginia’s rotation, but area scout Greg Lonigro stayed on him because he’s 6-foot-7 and was throwing in the low 90s. After signing, Nippert’s command improved and his velocity jumped to 98 mph. He regularly worked at 93-96. Doyle topped out at 95, while LHP Mark Rosen (5) has reached 94–exceptional for a 17-year-old southpaw.

Best Breaking Ball: Rosen and Nippert both have power curveballs.

Most Intriguing Background: RHP Sam Smith’s (19) grandfather Bob Smith pitched for four years in the majors. Doyle and his twin brother Nathan, a shortstop, helped James Madison to a school-record 43 victories in the spring.

Closest To The Majors: Snyder, because of his defensive skills and bat, plus Arizona’s need for catching help. Santos could move quickly for a high school hitter and may move to high Class A in 2003.

Best Late-Round Pick: Nippert.

The One Who Got Away: C Ryan Mahoney (8) has a strong 6-foot-4 frame and offers lefthanded power. He’s attending South Carolina, which has the top college catching prospect for 2003 in Landon Powell.

Assessment: The Diamondbacks signed just two high school players for the second straight year, but this time they landed premium talents in Santos and Rosen. They continue to focus on collegians to boost a thinned-out system, and Snyder, Doyle and Barden could rush through the minors.

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