When the New York Yankees drafted Bryce Harper with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the expectation was that he would be a dominant hitter for a team in need of a solid hitter.
The fact that the 22-year-old hit just .239/.333/.333 in 468 plate appearances last season, with just 17 homers and 19 steals, did not help.
What Harper did do was strike out a career-high 40 times and pick up a lot of walks, but that was hardly a recipe for success.
Even when the Yankees traded their top draft pick in 2019 for a first-round pick in 2020, they took a closer to a two-time All-Star and a future Hall of Famer with their pick.
But when the New Jersey Devils selected Hunter Pence in the first round, it wasn’t because they were concerned about the power-hitting, power-speed combination he brought to the table.
Rather, it was because they wanted to get a second baseman for the future.
This was a good decision, and if the Yankees were going to spend their first-rounder on a power hitter, it might be worth it to acquire a power-type first baseman to play alongside Andrew Miller.
The Yankees’ biggest need was a first baseman, and they should have taken a hitter who could help them fill that need.
The same can be said for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who could have used an outfielder in the second round, but instead chose a pitcher.
What happened in the Diamondbacks’ first round?
When the Yankees took Arizona first baseman Carlos Beltran in the third round, they were hoping to add another power bat.
That prospect was Alex Meyer, a 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter who had been drafted by the Tigers in the ninth round last year.
Meyer was expected to be a good hitter with plus power and a solid arm.
But in his first year, he was limited by injuries and was barely hitting the ball in the air.
While Meyer has all the tools, the Diamondback outfield has struggled, and it’s possible that his struggles could be a result of the way his new team was playing.
So they went with a pitcher in the seventh round, picking Aaron Loup.
While Loup has struggled to hit consistently since arriving in Arizona, he’s pitched well enough to earn his spot in the rotation.
He did get to pitch in Arizona’s World Series win over the Indians last season and has a 3.66 ERA, which is more than a full run higher than his ERA last season.
Loup’s best season was last year, when he had a 2.38 ERA with a 3-1 record and a 1.09 WHIP in 35 starts.
But he’s also had some struggles with control and has pitched only 18 innings this season, so he’s only pitched 17 games in the majors this year.
The good news is that Loup might be able to improve his control and his command in the long run, so the Diamondbases rotation could be able provide some relief.
It’s hard to know how Loup will fare in the big leagues, but there’s plenty of upside to the potential that could come from a pitching staff that has struggled with consistency.
The Diamondbacks had to do some research before they took Loup, and their scouting director, Alex Guerrero, is a former major league infielder who worked with some of the best pitchers in baseball at the time.
He knows what to look for in a player and the way they can make him perform, so that should help his decision-making.
The second-rounder in the Arizona draft, a right-hander named Lucas Giolito, was another pitcher who the Yankees had to look at before they went to the third pick.
Giolizos fastball velocity was down to 94 mph and he had an average delivery.
He had a high-90s fastball, but he had trouble finding the zone.
The team took a chance on him and he turned out to be an excellent pitcher.
He was also one of the most reliable pitchers in the farm system, having a 3,049 career innings pitched.
He also has the kind of stuff that can be used as a fourth outfielder, a role he’s excelled at this year and will have a lot to prove if he wants to be the everyday third baseman for Arizona.
Gollito has also been a big part of the Diamondbats bullpen this year, and he could fill in as a starter in Arizona.
If he can hit, Gollizos arm strength and command would allow him to handle his fastball well and he would give the Diamonds a fourth starter who could provide innings and value.
The Dodgers did not have much money for their big-league arms, but they could have gotten one if they wanted.
The Mets had a lot on their plate, so they selected outfielder Matt Kemp in the fifth round.
Kemp has struggled mightily this season in Arizona with an OPS