On the surface, the Arizona Diamondbacks decision Friday to give their 34th-round draft selection in the MLB draft a name seems strange. But the unique move makes perfect sense with the name, the "Cory Hahn 34th Pick."
The 23-year-old Hahn was previously selected by the club in the 34th round in 2013. The selection was a ceremonial pick to honor Hahn, a once highly touted prospect who was paralyzed after fracturing his C5 vertebrae diving into second base during the third game of his freshman season at Arizona State.
But the club went beyond the ceremony. After Hahn graduated from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State in 2014, the Diamondbacks hired him as an assistant in the Scout Ahead Development Program, where he breaks down film and attends games searching for the next stud prospect like Hahn was coming out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.
Hahn was The Times Player of the Year in 2010 and named California's Mr. Baseball after a stellar senior campaign with the Monarchs. He compiled a 14-1 record with a 0.89 earned-run average on the pitcher's mound to go along with a .411 batting average, 10 home runs and 24 runs batted in. He and UCLA junior outfielder Ty Moore helped lead Mater Dei to the Southern Section Division 1 championship.
He was drafted in the 26th round of the 2010 draft by the San Diego Padres, but instead elected to accept a scholarship to play for the Sun Devils, where he wore the No. 34.
"When we drafted Cory two years ago, we did so with the intention of him being a part of this organization for many years to come," Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said in a team press release. "By naming our 34th pick after him, we ensure his place in D-backs history even as he just begins to make his mark in the front office. He has already made valuable contributions to the franchise and we look forward to keeping tabs on those who follow in his footsteps -- both on and off the field -- as our 34th-round pick each year."
"There aren't many times when I'm speechless but when Tony La Russa made the announcement in the draft room I was left speechless with a smile going from ear to ear," Hahn said in the release. "This is an extremely humbling gesture and an honor for not only myself but my family as well. I'm beyond grateful to be a part of the D-backs family."