The Diamondbacks are pleased that Jarrod Parker was available in the first round of the draft and believe the signing process will be relatively painless. But they want him to first concentrate on the business at hand.
“We told him to go win a state championship, enjoy that time, and we’ll begin negotiations after that,” D-Backs scouting director Tom Allison said after making Parker the ninth player taken in the draft, a slot for which he is certainly credentialed.
Parker, 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, will enter the Indiana state high school semifinals Saturday with a 10-0 record for Bluffton (Ind.) Norwell High, a 0.13 ERA, 101 strikeouts and comparisons to major leaguers Scott Kazmir and Roy Oswalt in body type.
“He has a very gifted right arm and an even more gifted mind,” Allison said.
Parker, clocked at 97 mph with his first pitch this spring, also has a slider in the 87 mph range.
Rumored to be the Chicago Cubs’ choice had high school infielder Josh Vitters not been available at No. 3, Parker called his selection “an overwhelming feeling,” adding “I heard rumors, but I’m just happy to be going in the first round.
“It’s every kid’s dream to play pro ball. This is a great opportunity.”
The D-Backs scouted all of Parker’s games and developed a close relationship with the family, all of whom — plus Parker’s friends and high school teammates, about 50 in all — were at the Parker house for the draft.
Both sides seemed optimistic a deal could be reached soon after Parker’s high school seasons ends, which would be a change for the D-Backs after protracted dialogue with previous No. 1s Max Scherzer, Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.
Allison said groundwork had been laid with the family and adviser Larry Reynolds, and believes Parker “wants to begin his professional career now.
“We set some guidelines and where we want to be with him, and he was real excited,” Allison said.
“You talk to kids and you talk to their advisers and you give them an understanding of where we are as an organization.”
High school outfielder Bill Rowell, the ninth player taken last season, earned a $2.1 million signing bonus from Baltimore. Baseball America has reported that the league office has recommended about 10 percent less this year.
“The Diamondbacks are a first-class organization and obviously I am very familiar with them,” said Reynolds, who represents Upton.
“You have a good framework to get something done because you have good people on both sides of the table — the Parker family and Josh Byrnes and the Diamondbacks.”
The D-Backs continued an emphasis on pitching by signing strike-throwing college right-handers Wes Roemer of Cal State-Fullerton and Barry Enright of Pepperdine around catcher Ed Easley of Mississippi State.
Right-hander Sean Morgan, a college teammate of Micah Owings at Tulane, was taken in the fourth round.
The final 45 rounds of the 50-round draft will be held today, and the D-Backs plan to use every pick, Allison said.
The D-Backs signed Scherzer, the 11th player taken overall, to a major league contract worth a guaranteed $4.3 million at last Wednesday’s deadline.
Parker, who pitched for Team USA in the Junior World Championships in Cuba last September, is the first high school pitcher the D-Backs have taken in the first round since their first draft, when they took California left-hander Nick Bierbrodt in 1996.
The D-Backs have taken only two other high school players, infielders Justin Upton (2005) and Sergio Santos (2002), in their drafts while concentrating on college players in the early rounds.