08/17/10 1:52 AM ET
Three prep stars complete D-backs' class
Perry, Green and Linton forgo college commitments
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
That doesn't mean that the D-backs had a stand-still Monday.
While the club did not come to terms with sixth-overall selection Barret Loux prior to MLB's league-wide 9 p.m. MT deadline, it did dole out $2.5 million to lure a trio of prep prospects away from their collegiate commitments.
Right-handed pitchers Blake Perry (sixth round) and Tyler Green (eighth) received bonuses of $500,000 and $750,000, respectively, while another $1.25 million was required to lock up corner outfielder Tyler Linton (14th).
"The one thing that this organization has shown," scouting director Tom Allison said, citing the financial support of ownership, "is that whether that's Justin Upton or Stephen Drew or Max Scherzer or some of the players [drafted in recent years] ... all of these guys have been above the recommended slot. But our organization has stepped forward to bring in the right talent as identified by our scouting staff."
The suggested slot Allison alluded to starts at $150,000 for post-fifth-round choices, though Arizona ostensibly spent more freely after deciding to leave Loux out of its Draft haul. The junior starting pitcher from Texas A&M University reportedly agreed with the D-backs on a $2 million deal before failing his physical in early-to-mid July. Negotiations afterward were nonexistent, according to reports.
Interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said the organization will break its long-held silence on the Loux situation on Tuesday.
The D-backs, which had signed their top pick every year since 2000, will receive as compensation the seventh pick in the 2011 Draft, which most experts consider to include an especially deep pool of players.
Though Dipoto was awfully high on the 2010 crop, noting that Perry, Green and Linton were a microcosm of its best trait.
"There were a lot of really talented high school kids in this Draft who present the belief that there's something greater down the road for them because of the physical build, the quality of the pitches and/or the tools that they bring to the table," he said. "I personally felt that the most appealing part of this Draft was the upside high school players, and we got quite a few of them."
And Perry, a University of Kentucky commit, was the first of the three to agree to terms on Monday. The 6-foot-5-inch hurler out of Florida has the body type that Arizona's brass likes to project. He, along with Linton, will begin his pro career at Class A Missoula.
Green, who throws a mid-90-mph fastball and power curveball and had planned to play in his home state and pitch for Texas Christian University, will report one level higher, to Class A Yakima. This past season for Brazoswood High School (Texas), he went 10-1 with a 0.93 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 75.2 innings.
"One of the things that you get with Tyler is you get a guy who goes out there with three average-to-plus Major League pitches today, and he's out there to win," said Dipoto, a former MLB pitcher himself, who saw Green pitch in person. "He was among the better competitors that we saw all spring."
While Perry and Green add to the D-backs' newfound wealth of young pitching -- in addition to the Draft, the club acquired five young arms in exchange for veterans Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline -- Linton is regarded as a five-tool player in the making. In fact, Linton was slated to play both baseball and football at the University of North Carolina. He batted .448 with 10 home runs in his senior campaign.
"He wants the opportunity to find out how good he can be at this game if he focuses 100 percent of his attention on it," Dipoto said, "and we're going to give him the opportunity to do that."
Linton has immense power potential, though scouts remain concerned about his lengthy swing, according to MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo, who first reported his signing less than an hour before the deadline.
"We feel," Allison added, "he'll have every opportunity to be a middle-of-the-order run producer."
All told, Arizona signed nine of its top 10 Draft choices and 23 of its initial 27. (Allison said talks with 13th-rounder Kevin Ziomek, a Vanderbilt University commit, went well, just not well enough.)
"Quite frankly, when the sun rises, you don't have the talent that these guys bring to your system," Dipoto surmised, "and when the sun sets, you got three high-upside high school kids that are entering your system, and that's exciting."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.