The new front office at the Arizona Diamondbacks regime had another first Monday night: Conducting their first draft.
They held the precious #1 overall pick and selected Vanderbilt short stop Dansby Swanson. Swanson, a Golden Spikes Award finalist, who is currently helping the Commodores in their repeat run as national champions. The shortstop out of Marietta, GA hit a home run to help the team advance out of the Champaign Super Regional to the College World Series.
For Diamondbacks Senior VP of Baseball Operations De Jon Watson and scouting director Deric Ladnier, Swanson’s performance Monday was a perfect representation of the player they are getting.
“It was a perfect stage for him. And everybody got a chance, for this town and this organization, to witness what we just selected live basically,” Ladnier said.
This year’s draft did not have a clear-cut #1 pick. There weren’t any Bryce Harpers. There weren’t any Alex Rodriguezs. Mix that with the Diamondbacks’ commitment to secrecy for their top pick plans and no one knew who would lead off the draft. Even though Swanson had emerged as a likely choice for the top pick, it was not a foregone conclusion.
Except for the Diamondbacks…behind closed doors, of course.
“We talked with everyone who was involved in the decision making process,” Watson said. “I would say in the last week we were pretty comfortable with where we were going, the type of player we are looking at, and what he brings to the table.”
Swanson brings the ability to hit, both for average and power, a stellar glove, the ability to play both middle infield positions, and a resume that has shown he can play with the best of the best in crunch time.
“He’s a solid player. You really can’t knock anything about him. We feel he is going to hit. We feel he will have occasional power. We feel he will stay at shortstop and be good there. He’s basically checking all the boxes,” Ladnier said.
Once Swanson’s College World Series run is over, the next box Watson and Ladnier hope to check is “Signed”.