06/07/2004 2:12 PM ET
D-Backs select Drew with first pick
Arizona surprised shortstop was available at No. 15
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
|Stephen Drew was the No. 15 selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. (Courtesy Florida St.)
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks vowed to take the best player available when their pick in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft rolled around and they did just that, nabbing Florida State shortstop Stephen Drew with the 15th overall selection.
"We were a little surprised that he fell to us," Diamondbacks scouting director Mike Rizzo said just after making the selection. "Obviously, we understand that there are reasons that that happened. He's a talented player at a premium position and we felt that he was the best player available at the time we selected."
Drew, the brother of Braves outfielder J.D. Drew, batted .353 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs in 55 games for the Seminoles this season. Drew's other brother, Tim, plays outfield for Triple-A Richmond in the Braves system.
"I'm excited that the Arizona Diamondbacks thought enough of me to take me in the first round," Drew told the Florida State Sports Information Department. "They are a great organization and I look forward to being a part of it."
A left-handed hitter, Drew uses an open stance at the plate and has a short, compact hitting stroke. A good baserunner, Drew stole 12 bases in 14 attempts. He also has a good eye at the plate, drawing 45 walks as opposed to 42 strikeouts.
"They are very similar," Rizzo said of Stephen and J.D. "They're the same body type, (they're both) left-handed bats, they both have good power, they both run well, they're both very instinctual players both on the bases and in the field. The difference for us is that Stephen plays a premium position at shortstop."
Rated by many as the best position player in the draft, Drew was named the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA's Tallahassee Regional this past weekend. He hit .353 in the four games to help the Seminoles gain a Super Regional berth.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Drew said about falling to pick No. 15. "You never know what's going to happen once the draft starts. I'm going to get a chance to play the game I love, hopefully for a long time. To get drafted in the first round is an honor."
Drew's agent is Scott Boras, who also represented J.D., who was drafted by the Phillies in 1997, but refused to sign and was then selected the following year by the Cardinals. Boras is known for his tough negotiating, but that didn't deter the Diamondbacks.
General manager Joe Garagiola Jr. is no stranger to negotiating with Boras. Pitcher Casey Daigle and infielder Carlos Baerga are Boras clients as was former infielder Jay Bell.
Position: SS B/T: L/R
H: 6-0 W: 185
Born: 1983-03-16 Class: SR
OPEN STANCE. SHORT COMPACT STROKE. MAKES CONSISTENT CONTACT AND USES ALL FIELDS. UNLOADS BALL QUICKLY W/ CARRY. INSTINCTS FOR GAME. VERY GOOD BASE RUNNING SKILLS. HAS ALL THE TOOLS TO BE FRONT LINE MAJOR LEAGUE SS. BROTHER OF J.D. DREW.
"I don't think we have any illusions about this," Garagiola said. "We've dealt with Scott Boras in the past. We've done business and I expect we will do it again. When a player of Stephen Drew's capabilities is there, you can't walk past him. We'll just have to get into the negotiations, but that's for another day."
The Diamondbacks had talked about drafting a left-handed pitcher in the first round, but when Drew was available, they grabbed him.
"Those kind of players don't come along every day," Rizzo said. "He's got solid tools. He's a great player and we felt it would be hard to pass him up."
What level Drew starts out at in the Arizona system will depend on how long Florida State stays alive in the postseason, as well as how long the negotiations take to wrap up.
"This is somebody who potentially will be a quick player to the big leagues," Garagiola said. "And in this day and age that's a good thing."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.