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On draft day, Diamondbacks face usual issue, talent versus need

Outfielder A. J. Pollock is the only Diamondbacks' number one draft pick currently on the roster.
Outfielder A. J. Pollock is the only Diamondbacks' number one draft pick currently on the roster.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On draft day, it’s the age-old question facing every team in any sport.

Do we choose talent over need? With the draft of high school and college baseball players to commence Thursday night and last for three days, that, too, is the issue facing the Diamondbacks.

Need versus talent.

Given the effect of general manager Kevin Towers, a pitcher by trade, he would likely select a pitcher at almost every round. Then again, the forecast for the 2014 draft is top-heavy on pitching, both at the high school and college levels.

The Diamondbacks select 16th in the first round and have five picks within the top 89 players to be selected. The other picks include number 54, number 69, acquired from San Diego in the Ian Kennedy trade last July, number 70 and number 89 in the third round. Selections 69 and 70 are part of the Competitive Balance Round B.

“It’s probably more pitching, heavy in the high schools and college,” D-backs’ director of scouting Ray Montgomery told MLB.com. “Pitching in general is usually the strength of the draft. I think you’ll get that from me just about every year, but this year probably more so.”

Over the last eight years, the Diamondbacks have selected pitchers on the first round seven times. That also includes a total 10 of picks on the first round.

Previous first round pitchers selected include Max Scherzer (2006), Jarrod Parker (2007), Daniel Schlereth (2008), Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley in 2011 and last year’s pick, Brandon Shipley, out of the University of Nevada. Barrett Loux, out of Texas A&M, was selected in 2010 but did not sign with Arizona.

Some projections have the Diamondbacks going for a position player. Baseball America predicted the D-backs will select San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer. The last outfielder taken by Arizona on the first round was A. J. Pollock as the 17th player overall in 2007.

Currently, only one former number one pick is on the Diamondbacks roster and that is Pollock. Of all number one picks dating back to Arizona’s first selection in the 1996 draft, six are on current major league rosters. They include Carlos Quentin with San Diego (2003), Stephen Drew with Boston (2004), Justin Upton with Atlanta (2005), Scherzer with Detroit (2006), Parker with Oakland (2007) and Bauer with Cleveland (2011).

The Houston Astros have the first pick and, according to Baseball America, they will select left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken from Cathedral High School in San Diego.

Among the top five selections, Baseball America predicts the Marlins, with the second pick, will select Alex Jackson, an outfielder from Rancho Bernardo High School in the San Diego area, the White Sox, with the third pick, will go after Tyler Kolek, a 6-5, 250 pound fire-baller (reached 99 on the radar gun) from Shepherd High School in Texas, with the fourth pick, the Cubs will select Carlos Rodon, a left-hander pitcher from North Carolina State, and with the fifth pick, the Twins will choose infielder Nick Gordon from Olympia High School in Orlando. Gordon is the brother of current Dodgers’ infielder Dee Gordon.

The draft begins at 7 p.m. Eastern time Thursday and live on the MLB network. On Thursday night, teams will pick through the Competitive Balance round B. On Friday, teams will draft players in rounds 3 through 10 and the draft concludes Saturday with rounds 11 through 40.

The entire three days can be seen on the MLB network and that’s from start to finish.