Arizona Diamondbacks 2021 MLB Draft Report Card

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Best Pure Hitter: The D-backs wound up with the top-ranked player on the BA 500 with the sixth pick of the draft in shortstop Jordan Lawlar (1). He has a chance to be a plus hitter despite some strikeout concerns early during his spring season, with above-average bat speed and lots of athleticism in the box. 

Best Power Hitter: In addition to his pure hitting ability, Lawlar has a chance to get to above-average power as he continues to add strength and mature physically

Fastest Runner: Lawlar has turned in 70-grade run times and should be at least a plus runner moving forward, who gets out of the box well, steals bases and has plenty of range as a defender at shortstop.

Best Defensive Player: That speed should allow Lawlar to get to plenty of balls at the game’s most premium non-catching position, and scouts like his hands, above-average arm strength and quick-twitch actions enough to put plus defensive grades on him. He was one of the best pure defensive shortstops in the 2021 draft class.

Best Fastball: Finally, a category that Lawlar cannot win! Arizona drafted righthander Chad Patrick (4) out of Purdue-Northwest (Ind.) and he pairs a fastball that gets into the mid-90s with impressive starter traits—though he appeared in just two games during his pro debut as a reliever this summer with Low-A Visalia. Lefthander Jake Rice (9) has been up to 97 with good control.

Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Jacob Steinmetz (3) has a hard curveball with tight spin and sharp biting action. The pitch has been in the 2,800 rpm range and has gotten up to 3,000 rpm at times, and while he is still working on consistently executing the pitch—it has obvious plus potential.

Best Pro Debut: Shortstop Ryan Bliss (2) played fairly extensively in his pro debut this summer, getting into 39 total games, mostly coming with Low-A Visalia. There, Bliss hit .259/.322/.443 with six home runs and nine doubles while going 11-for-14 (78.6%) on the bases and playing a sound shortstop.

Best Athlete: It was an incredibly deep class for high school athletes and Lawlar ranked right at the top of the class for athleticism and all-around toolset. He’s a fluid mover in the field with plenty of twitchy, explosive actions.

Most Intriguing Background: Steinmetz went through a huge growth spurt during his high school years, going from 5-foot-10 as a 14-year-old to 6-foot-5, 220 pounds currently. He also couldn’t play with his high school team this spring in New York, so he traveled south to Elev8 Academy in Florida where he was able to pitch. Catcher Adrian Del Castillo (3) entered the year as the top pure hitting college player in the class, but struggled during the spring and saw his draft stock fall significantly. If he gets back to his freshman/sophomore Miami form, he could be a steal. 

Closest To The Majors: The D-backs believe Bliss has the defensive ability and hitting prowess to move quickly. He showed more power than some scouts might have expected him to tap into with a wood bat during his debut, and should have the athleticism to play a number of infield positions.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Outfielder and second baseman Tim Tawa (11) hit .269/.374/.483 across two levels with six home runs, nine doubles and a perfect 14-for-14 on the bases. 

The One Who Got Away: With an extra pick and plenty of draft capital up top, the D-backs took a number of high-upside preps on day three. The first of those players was shortstop Davis Diaz (12) who has a solid all-around toolset and plays the game at a very advanced level in all phases. After not signing as a 12th round pick, Diaz will head to SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt.

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