D-backs get their man, HS righty Parker
Scout's time in Indiana well spent; hurler picked ninth overall
PHOENIX -- Jarrod Parker started 10 games this spring for Norwell (Ind.) High School, and at least one D-backs scout was there for each one of them.
They liked what they saw enough to make the right-hander Arizona's first pick (ninth overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
Parker had been rumored to go to the Cubs with the third overall pick, but the Royals threw a curve when they selected prep third baseman Mike Moustakas with the second overall pick. That left Josh Vitters for the Cubs who nabbed him and set things up nicely for the D-backs at No. 9.
"This morning when I woke up, I probably had different feelings," D-backs scouting director Tom Allison said. "But as I started getting calls and information started coming in from other organizations, I did have a strong feeling by draft time that he was going to be available."
The D-backs had scouted Parker for almost a year and saw him pitch not only against high school competition but international teams as well, when he was a member of Team USA's junior national team.
"I heard rumors or whatever about certain teams, certain picks, but I didn't really have any thoughts about any teams," said Parker, who watched the Draft at his home with around 50 friends and family. "I was just happy about going in the first round."
Parker, 18, has dominated for Norwell High this year going 10-0 with a 0.13 ERA and 101 strikeouts. D-backs scout Mike Daughtry, whose coverage responsibilities include Indiana, has gotten to know Parker well over the past year and a half.
"He was kid that we were obviously high on coming in," Allison said. "Mike Daughtry has formed a tremendous relationship with the player and his family. This is a strong kid with character, makeup, intelligence all of those things that are important for him as he starts his career besides his physical ability."
Indeed, for a club to take a high school pitcher that high in the Draft there are several questions it has to answer.
"Whether it's athleticism, character, developed pitches -- all those things need to be in place to make a big investment in him," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "And we feel like he has all those things in place. We had a lot of different people see him over a long period of time and we had a very consistent opinion on him. Every time out, he measured up and we're excited to get him."
|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|
While not big in stature, his build is similar to Houston's Roy Oswalt, the 6-foot-1, 175 pounder throws very hard with a fastball that registers in the 94-97 mph range. He also has a curve, slider and a changeup that scouts like and has good mechanics.
The D-backs don't anticipate prolonged negotiations with Parker, who is being advised by agent Larry Reynolds, who served in a similar capacity for Justin Upton two years ago.
Parker has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Georgia Tech University, but sounded Thursday like he was anxious to get his pro career started.
"I don't think it will be a tough decision," he said. "I think [the D-backs] kind of know. I've received text messages and calls from them all day, congratulating me and how nice it was to meet our family and get to know us. I've got my advisor and my dad taking care of that kind of [contract] stuff. I just go out and pitch."
The No. 9 pick in last year's Draft received a $2.1 million deal.
"Is he signable? Absolutely he's signable," Brent Parker, Jarrod's father, told the Indianapolis Star. "He wants to go pro and he wants to do it out of high school, if everything is right."
When Parker signs, he is expected to begin his pro career at Missoula of the rookie league.
Parker's team is still playing in the Indiana state tournament, which wraps up with the championship game a week from Saturday.
Right-handed pitching was the theme of the first day for the D-backs, who had seven picks in the first five rounds thanks to two compensation picks between the first and second rounds. Of their seven picks, four were right-handed starters. They chose four college players as opposed to three high schoolers.
Here's a look at the rest of the picks along with a comment from Allison:
RHP Wesley Roemer (Junior), Cal State Fullerton (50th overall): Obviously has pitched at a high level of collegiate baseball. Pitched on Team USA last year. His numbers as a sophomore were just unbelievable. This year got off to a little bit of a slow start but he really pitched well. Over the course of the season, our scout Mark Baca stayed on him and got an opportunity to see him pitch over the last few starts and he was outstanding.
C Edward Easley (Junior), Mississippi State Univ. (60th overall): He's a kid I had an opportunity to see when he was a junior and senior in high school and then watched his career unfold here at Mississippi State. A very athletic, talented player. The way he operates behind the plate is impressive. All the things that we feel are leadership skills to run a staff he brings to the field every day.
RHP Barry Enright (Junior), Pepperdine Univ. (73rd overall): Has been a Friday-night starter at Pepperdine University pretty much since he walked onto campus. He's been a proven winner at a major university. This guy was a high school quarterback and is a very good competitor. He's one of those character guys with know how and ability that we strive to find and give to our development people.
SS Reynaldo Navarro (Senior), Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School (103rd overall): This was a player that we identified last fall at some of the showcase tournaments and got an opportunity to see him in January. When we went over (to Puerto Rico), he was a guy that stuck out in our mind and then later on as the season unfolded, this guy just kept coming on and showed us exciting things in the middle of the field.
RHP Sean Morgan (Junior), Tulane University (133rd overall): Pitched on Friday nights in a major conference, strikes out a lot of people. Has had what I would consider a strong career. He's a guy that I knew in my days with the Milwaukee Brewers. We drafted him out of high school. He was a two-way player and wanted to go to college. He's a guy that we really view as a strong, big body that throws strikes and has a real nice slider. That's probably his best pitch.
CF Tyrell Worthington (Senior), South Central (N.C.) High School: He's very strong. This is an athletic kid that (scout) Howard (McCullough) has seen since he was a young man and really watched him develop as a football player and then got into the game of baseball and watched him really come forward this year.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.