D-backs agree to deal with first-rounder Shipley
Right-hander out of U. Nevada-Reno to join Class A Hops on Wednesday
PHOENIX -- Right-hander Braden Shipley, the D-backs' No. 1 pick in this month's First-Year Player Draft officially signed on Tuesday and will fly out to Hillsboro, Ore., to join the Class A Hops on Wednesday to begin his professional career.
"If it was up to him he'd be headed out today," D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery joked at the press conference to announce the signing.
Shipley, the No. 15 overall pick, was 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA, 102 strikeouts and 34 walks this past year for the University of Nevada-Reno.
"It's exciting," Shipley said. "It finally kind of hit me. On Draft day I was excited, but it didn't really hit me and today it's finally kind of soaking in, and now it's just time to go do what I need to do and perform."
The D-backs signed Shipley for $2.25 million, which is under the slot for that pick, which was $2,434,500, and that means the team can apply the savings towards other picks if they choose.
Shipley was given a tour of the clubhouse and got to meet several Arizona players, including catcher Miguel Montero.
"They were pretty nice guys and didn't give me too much guff about my suit," he said. "Everyone seemed pretty nice, so just a good atmosphere."
An Oregon native, Shipley will get to make his professional debut close to his friends and family.
"Definitely, I'm excited about it," he said. "I think the people of Hillsboro are pretty excited about it, too. Being close to home, that's just a bonus for me. Obviously I want to do well and just improve. I want to just keep getting better every day and progress towards getting to the big leagues."
While Shipley was anxious to get started, the D-backs will make sure to take things slowly with him given his college workload.
"With the layoff, after the [college] season ended I think the plan is to kind of get him slowly back in," Montgomery said. "We don't want to put him in harm's way by any stretch. I know he's anxious, I know he's fired up and that speaks to the competitor. We don't ever want to shackle anybody and make them feel like they can't push the envelope a little bit, but in the same breath we have to exercise good judgment and good care for him and his long-term future with us."
Initially Shipley will be on a pitch count, so his first few outings will likely be short ones.
"That's fine with me," Shipley said. "They're just looking out for my best interests. I definitely want to make sure I stay healthy and get better. They'll get me where I need to be, and I'll get my opportunity to pitch this summer."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.