Dbacks on Deck: Cupboard Not Bare For LaRussa
Welcome to the Dbacks on Deck blog! We know what the Arizona Diamondbacks look like presently, but it is hard to keep up with the future because they don’t play here locally. However, most Minor League games are televised and can be viewed using the MiLB.TV package, including all Diamondback affiliates. Whether you can follow the teams or not, I will keep you up to date on what you need to know. Every week we take a look at the Diamondback’s farm system and a closer look at the top 20 prospects here in 2014 and their production throughout the season.
1. Archie Bradley, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: No starts. Listed on DL
Season: 5 starts (1-4), 24.1 innings, 26 hits, 14 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 23 Ks, 5.18 ERA
*Notes: Bradley tweeted that he threw for the first time this week since being sidelined with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. They have been bringing him along very slow since this injury arose. There is an outside chance that he could get the call up to the bigs at some point after the all-star but that hinges on how he recovers from this injury and how he pitches when he is back in action. 2014 has been rough to say the least. His ERA has skyrocketed compared to last season at this team where it was under 1, his walks are up, his strikeouts are way down and he hasn’t been able to get out of the fifth inning in three straight outings before heading to the DL.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 2 starts, 12 innings, 4 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 14 Ks, 3.00 ERA
Season: 7 starts (2-2), 39.2 innings, 34 hits, 20 runs (17 earned), 10 walks, 36 Ks, 3.86 ERA
*Notes: Shipley got himself back into his groove after one tough start last week. Two outings in a row going 6 innings with a 14:4 K:BB ratio is great for the starter. He has just 10 walks all year in just under 40 innings pitched. He also has been tough to hit off of as opponents are hitting just .224 off him this season and he has given up just one home run. A lot of great numbers to point toward when looking at a hopeful top of the rotation type of talent.
3. Aaron Blair, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last week (Visalia): 2 starts, 6.2 innings, 10 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 8 K, 8.71 ERA
Season (Visalia): 3 starts (0-0), 13.2 innings, 13 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 17 Ks, 4.61 ERA
Season (South Bend): 6 starts (1-2), 35.2 innings, 25 hits, 19 runs (16 earned), 14 walks, 44 Ks, 4.04 ERA
*Notes: Blair made his second and third starts with Visalia since being promoted two weeks ago and they didn’t quite go as smoothly as his first with the Rawhide, nor as smooth as how he pitched with South Bend to begin the season. He just threw 1.2 innings in the first start last week. He was not pulled because of an injury, the most likely reason was that he threw close to 40 pitches in the second inning alone. In the second outing he got knocked around as much as we’ve seen this season with batters hitting .348 off of him. Shaky start in Visalia for the right hander but one thing remains true, he is striking out a lot of hitters and rarely walking any.
4. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .189 AVG, 7 hits, 6 runs, 1 double, 6 RBI, 3 walks, 16 Ks, 1 stolen base, .256 OBP
Season: 40 games, .191 AVG, 30 hits, 21 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 11 walks, 56 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .243 OBP
*Notes: Trahan is working numbers back after a very sub-par first month and a half of the season. His average is getting closer to getting up above the Mendoza Line and he is hitting with more regularity (5 hits in last 7 games). But his strikeouts continue to be alarming. Yes most power guys like him with swing and miss more often but this strikeout problem points more to an issue of late of just making contact then it does with him just having big sweeping swings and misses. Just three walks in the last 10 games is a concerning stat as well.
5. Jose Martinez, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: No Starts, currently listed on 7-Day DL.
Season: 2 starts (1-1), 6 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 4 Walks, 3 Ks, 6.00 ERA
*Notes: Martinez is back on the DL after having just two starts with South Bend since coming off the DL. According to D-Backs Director of Player Development, Mike Bell, he sustained a stress fracture in his right elbow. He had surgery on Wednesday and expected to make a full recovery by the start of 2015 Spring Training. A tough blow for Martinez whos 2014 season looks to have ended before it really began having just appeared in two games this season after starting 2014 on the DL. No Tommy John Surgery here but another one of those elbow injuries this year in baseball that has a young and promising player sidelined.
6. Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last 10 games: .395 AVG, 15 hits, 9 runs, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 walks, 6 Ks, .465 OBP
Season: 43 games, .279 AVG, 43 hits, 23 runs, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 14 walks, 39 Ks, .360 OBP
*Notes: Lamb continues his fantastic month of May which has seen him .319 with six extra base hits and 10 of his 28 RBI with still another week left to play for the month. Each week, we have also seen his strikeout numbers decline so it is safe to say that Lamb is back to seeing the ball well. Lamb is a playmaker and nothing is more evident for that than his .349 average with runners in scoring position this season thus far.
7. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last 10 games: .225 AVG, 9 hits, 5 runs, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 walks, 6 Ks, .295 OBP
Season: 44 games, .276 AVG, 50 hits, 29 runs, 15 doubles, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 14 walks, 34 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .337 OBP
*Notes: Drury has slowed down in May after posting a truly fantastic April which saw him hit .296 with 17 extra base hits and 25 RBI. His average has lowered by 20 points and his on-base percentage by almost the same amount. But despite all of that, a bad week for him is still a very productive week for others in the organization and he continued to be one of the major bright spots in the farm system for the D-Backs.
8. Matt Stites, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week (Reno): 2 relief appearances, 1 save, 2 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Reno): 5 relief appearances, 2 saves, 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 run (unearned), 1 walk, 7 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Mobile): 12 relief appearances (0-1), 3 saves, 12 innings, 10 hits 5 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 8 Ks, 3.75 ERA.
*Notes: Stites is making the most of his first opportunities at the triple-A level now throwing five straight shutout innings consisting of just four hits and one walk thus far. He is also two-for-two in save chances. He could be on the fast track to get some significant big league reps after the all-star break. He was the key piece in the trade made with the Padres that sent Ian Kennedy to San Diego.
9. Jake Barrett, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances, 2 saves, 3 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 5 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 15 relief appearances (0-1), 6 saves, 15 innings, 12 hits, 4 runs (4 earned), 7 walks, 16 Ks, 2.40 ERA
*Notes: Barrett got back to his normal self this week which usually consists of perfect ninth innings. He notched two saves and has saved three games in his last four outings. Since he took his first loss of the season giving up two runs and three hits back on May 8th, he has thrown five shutout innings in relief giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. Barrett has been one of the models for consistency over the last two seasons and has shown that he can bounce back better than ever after having one rocky appearance.
10. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 2 starts (2-0), 13.1 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs (unearned), 0 walks, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 5 starts, 7 relief appearances (2-1), 1 save, 34.1 innings, 38 hits, 22 runs (18 earned), 9 walks, 27 Ks, 4.72 ERA
*Notes: Very, very happy for Spruill this week. In two fantastic starts, he lowered his ERA from 7.71 to 4.72. Two weeks ago, he gave up seven hits in his May 8th start which lasted three innings. Last week, he gave up seven total in last two starts which combined for 13.1 innings. And most notably, gave up no earned runs and didn’t walk a single batter in those two starts. Incredible work for anyone, but for him considering the struggles he has dealt with in 2014 so far both as a reliever and as a starter. The organization loves his versatility, now they just need his confidence and consistency to get back into form.
11. Sergio Alcantara, SS, AZL D-Backs (Rookie League)
Last week: The Arizona Rookie League does not begin until June 20th
*Notes: Sergio was born in 1996. Let that soak in a little bit. He signed with the Diamondbacks out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16. The organization likes his discipline at the plate as he walked more than he struck out last season in the Rookie League. The strength in his game at this point is defensively.
12. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 2 starts (2-0), 13 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 3 walks, 9 Ks, 1.38 ERA
Season: 9 starts (4-1), 55 innings, 49 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 19 walks, 41 Ks, 1.96 ERA
*Notes: Chafin showed that he was human two weeks ago with his first bad start of the year. But that didn’t stop him from getting back into superhuman shape in the two starts that followed last week. Chafin’s two gems got his ERA for the season back under 2.00. He has just seven walks this month in 25.1 innings pitched and for the season sports a stellar 41:19 K:BB ratio. He has been one of the most consistently productive starters in the organization this season.
13. Felipe Perez, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: No appearances
*Notes: Perez is currently listed as active but is yet to make an appearance in 2014 thus far. According to Diamondback Director, Player Development Mike Bell, “He is throwing in Extended Spring Training and we are still building him up.” Perez experienced some shoulder soreness at the end of Spring Training so they are taking every precaution possible. Perez has electric stuff. He threw two complete games last season, one of which was achieved in under 100 pitches. The organization loves his ability on the mound.
14. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances (1-0), 3 innings, 2 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 7 walks, 3 Ks, 9.00 ERA
Season (Mobile): 5 relief appearances (1-0), 5 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 8 walks, 7 Ks, 5.40 ERA
Season (Visalia): 11 relief appearances (2-0), 6 saves, 11 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 5 walks, 23 Ks, 3.27 ERA
*Notes: The call up to Double-A started well for Sherfy in week one, but week two he got away from what had made him successful thus far in 2014. He had to pitch himself out of some serious trouble in the two scoreless innings this week. In those two outings, he issued out three walks in both of them but escaped without any damage. The appearance in between which saw him surrender three earned runs only consisted of one walk but two hits instead. Sherfy walked just five batters total in his 11 innings of work in Visalia. Regaining that control is priority number one at this new level of play.
15. Daniel Gibson, LHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 4 relief appearances (1-0), 3.1 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 2 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 19 relief appearances (3-2), 3 saves, 18 innings, 15 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 9 walks, 20 Ks, 2.50 ERA.
*Notes: The opposition is 0 for May against Gibson. Meaning he had run his scoreless month through this last week consisting of 7.2 shutout innings. He has given up just three hits and four walks in that span. He got off to a shaky start to the season but any struggles this season were apparently shaken out of him at that point as he has been Mr. Reliable since. Hitters are hitting just .103 off of him in his last 10 appearances.
16. Justin Williams, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: Yet to appear in a game so far in 2014
*Notes: Williams has not appeared in a minor league game yet this season but is not injured. He continues to participate in extended spring training games according to D-Backs Director, Player Development Mike Bell. Since being selected in the 2nd round of last year’s draft, Justin Williams has been a lightning rod in this organization. He was first placed in the rookie league where he hit .345 with 32 RBI in 37 games. He was then called up to Missoula where he hit .412 with 21 hits 11 games. Ultimately finished his season with South Bend. This guy can be a future star and an important playmaking left handed bat in the farm system.
17. Joe Munoz, SS, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 1 game, .200 AVG, 1 hit, 1 K. Currently listed on DL
Season: 30 games, .310 AVG, 35 hits, 22 runs, 5 doubles, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 walks, 29 Ks, .376 OBP
*Notes: The second tough break of the year for Munoz. He sustained a concussion a little under a month ago which held him out a week and now this week, finds himself injured but will be sidelined for a much longer period of time. According to Mike Bell, Munoz ” has as a forearm strain and will be back at some point later in the season.” This comes as very unfortunate news because Munoz was crazy hot going into last week having hit safely in each of his last 10 games including a three-hit and four-hit game in the process. Before the season, Bell told me how much he loved the growth and maturity Munoz gained last season and we were definitely seeing that so far in 2014. But injuries will hold him back for what looks like a bulk of this season.
18. Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last 10 games: .414 AVG, 12 hits, 7 runs, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 6 walks, 3 Ks, .528 OBP
Season: 43 games, .302 AVG, 42 hits, 18 runs, 5 doubles, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 18 walks, 18 Ks, 5 SB, .388 OBP
*Notes: Ahmed continues his sizzling month of May having now raised his batting average from .234 to .302 in just two weeks. He is over the .300 mark for the first time since joining the organization last season and has really settled in as the primary shortstops for the Aces. The organization loves what Ahmed brings to the table. Mike Bell called him one of the most athletic guys you will see on the field in any sport. May favorite stat for him. After drawing a total of five walks last week, he now has the same amount of walks as he does strikeouts on the season.
19. Kevin Munson, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances (0-1), 3.2 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 1 K, 8.44 ERA
Season: 18 relief appearances (1-1), 18.1 innings, 19 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 6 walks, 18 Ks, 3.93 ERA
*Notes: Munson has been fantastic this season. The only problem is amongst a long list of scoreless innings, he has a few where he has been crushed for three or four runs which has totally blown up his ERA to close to 4.00. It is never about Munson beating himself however. When he does get tacked for runs, it is because the opposition is getting hits. It is never about him issuing walks or anything like that. Good think for Munson, those outings where the hitters see his pitches well are few and far between. Despite the rocker relief outings here and there, he has been very consistent this season as a whole.
20. Evan Marshall, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
Last Week: 2 relief appearances, 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (unearned), 0 walks, 1 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (D-Backs): 5 relief appearances, 5 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (unearned), 0 walks, 5 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Reno): 14 relief appearances, 1 save, 16.2 innings, 10 hits, 1 run (earned), 5 walks, 19 Ks, 0.54 ERA
*Notes: Marshall got hit around for the first time in his major league career in that last weekend series with the Dodgers but the two runs that came across happened to be unearned. What will allow him to continue success and have some staying power in the big leagues is the fact that he has not walked one batter since being called up. Make the guys at this level beat you with their bats and don’t beat yourself. That will continue to be the biggest the key.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Mike Jacobs – 60 hits
-Home runs: Nick Evans, Reno, 1B & Alex Glenn, Visalia, OF – 10
-Runs batted in: Nick Evans, Reno, 1B & Mike Jacobs – 41
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair, South Bend, RHP – 61
-Earned Run Average: Andrew Chafin, LHP, Mobile BayBears – 1.96
-WHIP: Aaron Blair, South Bend, RHP – 1.11