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06/08/07 11:00 PM ET

D-backs stay true to pitching roots

Arizona uses 29 of 52 Draft picks to select fresh arms

PHOENIX -- New year, new scouting director, same strategy.

For the second straight year, the D-backs targeted pitching in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, selecting pitchers with 20 of their first 31 picks, including six of their first nine.

"Every Draft that you go through, pitching is the lifeblood of an organization, and you've got to have pitching here at the big-league level," said D-backs scouting director Tom Allison after his first lottery with Arizona. "You see it from our Major League team, the strength is at the pitching level. We felt the guys that were best available on the board at that time or during that pick were that pitcher."

Overall, 29 of Arizona's 52 picks were pitchers, with 11 being left-handers, an area Allison identified as a strength of the Draft. He said the first lefty the D-backs picked, sixth-round pick Scott Maine, is a player the squad was especially excited to see at that spot.

Last year, Arizona put a similar emphasis on adding arms to its system, selecting pitchers with 13 of the organization's first 18 picks and 34 of its 54 selections.

"I think everybody realizes that when you have the chance to add pitchers like we did in the top 10 rounds and throughout the Draft," Allison said concerning the similarities between last year's Draft. "No question, [it's] always a need."

The pitching in Arizona's farm system will also be boosted by the addition of the first-round pick in the 2006 Draft, right-hander Max Scherzer, who signed a four-year, $4.3 million Major League contract with the D-backs on May 30, the deadline before the club would have lost his rights.

With Scherzer making his debut in the Minors on Thursday, in some ways it's as if he were added in this Draft class as well.

"No question," Allison said. "Having Scherzer on board early, that was just an added bonus going into this year's Draft."

Draft 2007 | Complete Coverage
Top MLB Draft Picks
Pick POS Name School
1. TB LHP David Price Vanderbilt U
2. KC SS Michael Moustakas Chatsworth HS (Calif.)
3. CHC 3B Josh Vitters Cypress HS (Calif.)
4. PIT LHP Daniel Moskos Clemson U
5. BAL C Matthew Wieters Georgia Tech
6. WSH LHP Ross Detwiler Missouri St U
7. MIL LF Matthew LaPorta U Florida
8. COL RHP Casey Weathers Vanderbilt U
9. ARI RHP Jarrod Parker Norwell HS
10. SF LHP Madison Bumgarner South Caldwell HS
Complete Draft list >

Starting with the 11th-round selection of right-handed pitcher Josh Ellis, 16 of Arizona's next 20 picks were college seniors. Players who have completed their collegiate eligibility can be attractive because they do not have the leverage in negotiations of being able to return to school.

"You get to a point in the Draft, too, where you're looking for players that have value based on their dollar sign on the muscle," Allison said, "And there are guys that they've gone through, they've been proven, successful players at a major college, and they're going to bring stability. They kind of know how to prepare when they go out and play, but more than anything it's based on their ability."

Toward the end of the Draft, the D-backs started drafting local high school prospects. Five of their last 11 picks prepped at a high school in the Phoenix area, including two each from Brophy College Preparatory and Notre Dame College Preparatory.

"You recognize your local talent," Allison said. "These are kids who have shown our scouting staff here that they're Major League prospects, and we recognize that."

Overall, Allison said he's very comfortable with the 52 players the D-backs selected, saying he made each pick for a specific reason. Now it's time for the signing process to begin.

"We need to get them into uniform and out there playing," Allison said.

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.