The Arizona Diamondbacks looked to bolster their pitching staff with the selection of Bryce Jarvis in the first round of June’s Major League Baseball draft.
The 22-year-old right-hander was selected with the 18th overall pick, having pitched a short but tremendous career for Duke University’s baseball team. In his junior year, Jarvis was named to the Collegiate Baseball All-American First Team as a junior before the college baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jarvis, who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 37th round in 2019 but did not sign is excited about both selections.
“I was thrilled. It’s been a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Jarvis says. “Obviously, it was awesome to be surrounded by friends and family and longtime supporters. So, definitely very validating.”
He was off to an excellent start in his 2020 season, ranked third in the nation in WHIP with a mark of 0.48 and first in the ACC in walks allowed per nine innings (0.67). He even pitched a perfect game on February 21 in a win against Cornell. Even still, there was a lot of baseball left on the table taken away by the pandemic.
While excited for Jarvis’ future and their projection of him as a great player down the line, D-backs management did admit any draft choice would be made without seeing the players perform for a significant amount of time.
“We probably got four or five starts out of them this year. So it was enough,” says Mike Hazen, the D-backs’ general manager. “Obviously, we had scouted them. We’d seen them a few times each and we had history with them. But it’s a lot less than we used to. And I think that was probably the most challenging thing.”
What Jarvis boasts, even with less of a 2020 season, is a lifetime full of baseball experiences and memories with his family. Jarvis is the son of MLB-veteran player and scout Keith Jarvis.
Thus, the new Diamondbacks prospect saw firsthand that a pro career could be more than just a dream given the right effort.
“I think it gave me a very unique insight into baseball as a profession and not just a hobby or a sport you like to play after school,” Jarvis says. “And I was able to take those experiences into how I went about developing myself as a player and how I set my goals on attaining the same status. I think it definitely helped me become the player I am today.
“The last couple of years, he took a step away from baseball to be a full-time fan and follow my career. I’m very thankful that he’s been in the situation to be able to do that and be at a lot of games. He was at the Cornell game this past season when I threw a perfect game, and that was a special moment to have him there and my mom there as well and be able to share that with them.”
Jarvis adds depth to the Diamondbacks’ stable of pitching prospects, something Hazen says the team wanted. The top end of the draft, Hazen says, was heavy with quality pitchers, and Jarvis was high on the team’s board of potential picks but fell to them at the 18th spot.
While excited for their new draftee, the Diamondbacks, like other organizations, will have to onload their incoming players in an unprecedented way. While Major League Baseball is in disarray over contracts and the length of its 2020 season, there is no set minor league to guide the development of new players into the system.
Hazen says he is unsure exactly what the future holds for draft picks but is optimistic that there will be a chance for Jarvis and other acquisitions to get to know the team.
“I’m hopeful that there will be something that we will be able to engage with them this year, whatever form or fashion that may take. Um, but right now I don’t really have one,” Hazen says.
“And then, even if there’s nothing to connect us on a field here in Arizona or wherever, we can certainly start the integration and the education into the system. But I just don’t have that answer right now.”
Even in the current situation—baseball games outside of South Korea have been on a long-term hiatus since the outbreak of the pandemic—and the lack of pre-draft ceremonies that the players and staffs have become accustomed to, Jarvis is excited for his future with the franchise.
“It’s definitely still sinking in. I think it’ll take a couple of days, if not weeks, to fully grasp what happened tonight. But I’m looking forward to the time it takes to set in. And like I said, it’s really special to be able to share it with my family,” Jarvis says.
“I know circumstances aren’t normal at all, but you’ve got to look at the bright side, and that’s just being able to spend it with my family.”