The Diamondbacks find themselves in unfamiliar territory this year as they own the No. 1 overall selection in the upcoming First-Year Player Draft, which begins Tuesday, June 7.
Arizona picked as high as fourth in 1999, but other than that its highest pick was 15, which came last season.
Not only do they have the No. 1 overall pick, but the D-Backs will have five of the draft's first 85 picks -- six if they don't sign last year's No. 1, Stephen Drew, by May 31. That means the team has an opportunity to really bolster a farm system that has drawn high praise recently.
Scouting director Mike Rizzo will once again be running Arizona's draft room. Rizzo has drawn raves for his drafts -- the first of which was in 2000 -- and agreed to discuss Arizona's draft preparations in a three-part first-person series, as told to Diamondbacks reporter Steve Gilbert.
We own the first pick in the draft and I think we took a little different approach to it than a lot of the other clubs in that we didn't change one thing that we did. We scouted the exact same way we've scouted every other year.
The way I attacked it this year was that we liked the way we've been drafting since 2000. We have a very good procedure that we follow to get it done and even though we are picking first I thought we should just do everything the same way we've been doing it. We feel like we've been successful doing it so why mess with it?
I think the thing that is different is maybe the importance of the pick. Obviously picking first in the draft, all players are available to you. That's the one change. We haven't drafted high very often. In 2000, we didn't have a first-round pick. Our first pick that year was 67 and we usually pick 27 through 29 the rest of the years we've been here.
The one thing that I've done is given a mindset to our people to really embrace that we have the first pick. Have some fun with it. Don't be intimidated about it. We're going to put the names on the board and take the guy we feel is the best player, the player that will impact a Major League club in the future and that's the way we've attacked it.
We trust our people here and we think we have the best scouting staff in baseball and we really have had fun with it. We're very intense about the pick, but we're looking at it with open eyes. We get to decide who the No. 1 player in the draft is and I like having the opportunity to do that.
Not only do we have the first pick in the draft, we have several supplementary picks too. That has really energized the staff and really given us a new focus on trying to make an impact with this year's draft. We have five picks in the first 85 and if we don't sign Stephen Drew we'll have six in the first 85.
We think that we have a great challenge, but also a great opportunity to really make some headway and to really get a lot of depth in the organization, to get some impact players.
We've narrowed it down to three or four guys that we're really zeroed in on. It would surprise me at this juncture if our pick came from outside of those three or four players we've identified. As we get closer, I'll talk about who those players might be.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.