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Diamondbacks Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: C Brad Cresse (5) never stopped hitting. He led Division I in homers and RBIs, drove in the College World Series-winning run for Louisiana State, then went to high Class A High Desert and put up 17 homers and 56 RBIs in 48 games.

Best Athlete: Tim Olson (7), who played shortstop and center field at Florida, stood out at third base, center field and right field in instructional league. He runs well and has a well-above-average arm. The Diamondbacks clocked him at 92-93 mph when he pitched in junior college. Cedrick Harris (10) has similar tools and reminds Arizona of Marquis Grissom with his center-field defense.

Best Hitter: Cresse. Also keep an eye on OF Josh Kroeger (4), who hit .297 in the Rookie-level Arizona League at 17.

Best Raw Power: Cresse, easily.

Fastest Runner: OF Julius Foreman’s (15) game is his speed, which rates as a 65 or 70 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. He hit .288 at Class A South Bend and also showed a leadoff man’s eye at the plate.

Best Defensive Player: Olson makes great reads as an outfielder and has first-step quickness and plenty of range at the hot corner. At both positions, his arm is an asset.

Best Fastball: RHP Brian Bruney (12) tops out at 98 mph. RHP Mike Schultz (2) throws harder on a more consistent basis, regularly throwing 94-96 mph with plenty of life.

Most Intriguing Background: OF Andrew Wishy (47) is an accomplished pianist who opted to study at Arkansas rather than sign. Cresse’s father Mark was Tommy Lasorda’s bullpen coach with the Dodgers.

Closest To The Majors: Cresse ended 2000 in Double-A and should start there next season. The Diamondbacks have been pleasantly surprised by his catch-and-throw skills, and catching has been their weakest position at the major league level.

Best Late-Round Pick: Arizona thinks RHP Joe Ricciardi (35) could become another Bob Wickman. Ricciardi throws a heavy, 90-94 mph sinker and a good slider. We limit this category to the 10th round and below, but RHP Tanner Eriksen (9) deserves mention. He pitched just six innings at Southern California last spring because he showed no command. But the Diamondbacks signed him after he had a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Eriksen throws 92-95 mph with a power curve.

The One Who Got Away: C Creighton Kahoalii (48), who’s now at California.

Assessment: The Diamondbacks addressed a void in the upper levels of their system by focusing on advanced college players over high schoolers. Schultz, LHP Bill White (3) and RHPs Scott Barber (6) and Brandon Webb (8) all will open 2001 in high Class A or Double-A.

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