Since a barbecue at scouting director Tom Allison’s house Tuesday evening, the Diamondbacks’ scouting department has been in full preparation mode for Thursday’s draft.
Allison, his scouts and D-Backs’ front-office personnel have spent long hours daily debating and ranking available talent, which may be deeper in Arizona than it has been in recent years.
“It is one of the better crops of players in this area,” said Allison, who scouted the Southwest for years and was a national cross-checker with Milwaukee when the Brewers selected J.J. Hardy and Mike Jones.
“Both major universities have very good teams because they have very good players.”
ASU third baseman Brett Wallace and first baseman Ike Davis and Arizona relief pitchers Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth are considered the highest-rated players at each school. All are rated among the top 60 players in the country by Baseball America.
Scouts believe Wallace and Perry could be gone by the time the D-Backs make their first pick at No. 26. Baseball America projects Davis to be the 26th player taken.
ASU and UA “have players who are going to be selected in the mid-rounds, too,” Allison said.
It is no accident that D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes, other members of the front office and Allison attended the NCAA regional at ASU on Friday, where Vanderbilt — and top-rated third baseman Pedro Alvarez — also appeared.
The D-Backs also got a chance to see Vanderbilt shortstop Ryan Flaherty, who is ranked No. 68 by Baseball America, and right-handed pitcher Brett Jacobson, ranked No. 159.
The top Arizona high school prospects include left-hander Kyle Lobstein of Flagstaff Coconino, outfielder Jaff Decker of Peoria Sunrise Mountain and infielder Riccio Torrez of Phoenix Brophy Prep.
Lobstein could go in the 16 supplemental-round picks between the first and second rounds, according to Baseball America. The D-Backs have the 43rd pick after losing Type B free-agent pitcher Livan Hernandez after last season.
“There is a lot of depth in the high school players,” Allison said.
“Junior-college players, too."
The D-Backs pick 26th because they won the NL West last season, a trade-off they will take every time.
“I’d take 26, preferably 30, most years,” Allison said.
“It does present some different issues. It gets you back to the core of scouting — you have to line them up correctly. You have more time to wait this year. You also have more good players off the board.”
Picking at No. 9, where the D-Backs selected high school right-hander Jarrod Parker last season, “you did have players you could focus in on more.”
They D-Backs lost three left-handed pitchers — Dana Eveland, Greg Smith and Brett Anderson — in the trade with Oakland that landed Dan Haren, and could look to add depth there. Schlereth and Lobstein are both left-handers.