Diamondbacks Feel They Did Well In Huge 2009 Draft

PHOENIX—The plan was straightforward enough: Rather than re-sign their Type A and Type B free agents after the 2008 regular season, the Diamondbacks opted to permit many of those players to sign elsewhere in order to land a bounty of high picks in the 2009 draft.

That part was simple math, and it worked. With compensatory picks in the first and second rounds, and three sandwich picks, Arizona made seven of the top 64 selections last June, and eight overall in the top 95.

The Diamondbacks have gotten even more satisfaction out of watching their newcomers prove the validity of the plan.

"It's one of those drafts you want to get right . . . you have to get right," one member of the organization said.

Early returns indicate they did. Starting with No. 1s Bobby Borchering and A.J. Pollock, Arizona's strong class made a big splash in its first season in pro ball.

Borchering, 19, signed late and played in only 22 games, but he had 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in the final month of the regular season before saving a spurt in the postseason, when he hit .321 as Missoula reached the Rookie-level Pioneer League championship. He doubled, tripled, homered and drove in five runs in a 13-10 loss to Orem in the final.

A third baseman drafted 19th overall out of Bishop Verot High in Fort Myers, Fla., Borchering could start the 2010 season at low Class A South Bend, although he may not stay there for long. Arizona has a history of quickly moving successful players.

He is hardly alone. Pollock (17th overall/Notre Dame), whose character was rated "80 on an 80 scale" by one member of the organization, hit .271/.319/.376 with 12 doubles, three homers, 22 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 255 at-bats with South Bend. He showed more than enough arm, accuracy and range to play center field, defying some scouts' thoughts that he might be better suited to second base.

High school shortstop Chris Owings, 17, a sandwich pick who also signed late, hit .306/.426/.750 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 108 at-bats. Sandwich pick Michael Belfiore (Boston College), was 2-2, 2.17 at Missoula. The 21-year-old lefthander struck out 55 in 58 innings and walked only 13. Outfielder Marc Krauss, 22, a second-round pick from Ohio hit .304/.478/.855 at South Bend with two homers and 17 RBIs in 115 at-bats.

Snake Bites

• The Diamondbacks will return to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico for the third straight spring with an exhibition game against the Rockies on March 14 at Hector Espino Stadium.

• Arizona avoided arbitration by signing righthander Edwin Jackson to a two-year, $13.35 contract.