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Diamondbacks Have To Wait Before Getting Grier, Yerzy



[caption id="attachment_137817" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Anfernee Grier Anfernee Grier (Photo courtesy Auburn Athletics)[/caption] PHOENIXNot having a first-round pick created some unwanted stress for Diamondbacks scouting director Deric Ladnier, but he said his club landed a pair of players it had targeted for the first day of the draft.

“It was painful sitting there and watching all the names fly off the board and hoping and a praying a guy we targeted with a potential pick would be there,” Ladnier said. “We were sweating that one out.”


With picks at Nos. 39 and 52, the Diamondbacks came away with Auburn center fielder Anfernee Grier and Toronto prep catcher Andy Yerzy, respectively, a pair of players Ladnier described as having “tremendous upside.”

In Grier, the Diamondbacks are getting an athletic, toolsy player whom they believe is a lock to remain in center field. Ladnier said Grier has shown above-average power and an ability to hit, and while he exhibited some swing-and-miss, the Diamondbacks saw improvement as his junior season progressed, particularly against top-level competition.

“He was able to elevate his game,” Ladnier said. “That’s something you look for.”

Grier’s numbers improved dramatically from year to year at Auburn. He went from hitting just one home run in each of his first two years to hitting 12 his junior season, during which he posted .366/.457/.576 line.

“I worked real hard at a lot of stuff and it paid off year by year,” Grier said. “When I finally got to get my name called and get drafted by the Diamondbacks, it was an accomplishment from what I put my work into from all the years.”

The Diamondbacks believe they have another up-the-middle talent in Yerzy, whom Ladnier described as a potential “impact bat” who possesses “massive power.”

“We think he’s a guy who could potentially hit in the middle of the lineup,” he said.

Ladnier said Yerzy put on a show at the club’s predraft workout at Chase Field, a display he said might have been the most impressive performance he’s ever seen by a draft prospect.

“He too came into the stadium and made it look extremely small during batting practice,” Ladnier said. “His bat is very quick and it’s extremely powerful.”

Ladnier said the club is confident Yerzy’s bat will play after watching him perform against high-level competition while with Canada’s national junior team.

“He does need work (defensively),” Ladnier said. “He loves to catch. He’s a bigger-body guy and we’ll have to work some on his lateral movement. … The obvious reason for us drafting him is the impact bat.”

SNAKE BITES • Grier played high school baseball at Russell County High in Alabama. His coach was Tony Rasmus, the father of big leaguers Colby and Cory Rasmus.
jo_adell

2017 Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects

Jo Adell is the top prospect in the Pioneer League.

• After following last year's selection of Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the Grier draft, Ladnier joked about the reputation he likely is fashioning. “I think I’m getting a track record of liking SEC players with my first pick now,” he said. 

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