Preview of top Diamondbacks 2014 prospects with Director of Player Development, Mike Bell

Last year, I began the Dbacks on Deck blog which brings you a week-by-week update of the top prospects of the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system and how they are progressing through out the year.

As we begin the 2014 season, I went one-on-one with the Diamondbacks Director of Player Development, Mike Bell, who gave us a preview of 15 of the organizations top prospects and what he expects from them in the upcoming year.

1. Archie Bradley, Starting Pitcher.

-2013 Season (Mobile): 21 starts (12-5), 123.1 innings, 93 hits, 35 runs (27 earned), 59 walks, 119 Ks, 2.00 ERA

-2013 Season (Visalia): 5 starts (2-0), 28.2 innings, 22 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 10 walks, 43 Ks, 1.26 ERA

“I think we’ve got to get him up and running off to a good start. Manage his innings the best we can because we want him to have innings to work with when he gets to the big leagues. I think we all believe that he’s going to be a contributor there. He continues to improve from year to year and his confidence and maturity is off the charts. There’s certain guys that have that presence about them, that look in their eye and rise to certain challenges.”

2. Chris Owings, Shortstop.

-2013 Season (Reno): 125 games, .330 AVG, 180 hits, 104 runs, 31 doubles, 8 triples, 12 home runs, 81 RBI, 22 walks, 99 Ks, 20 stolen bases, .359 OBP

“We talk about that look, he’s got it. I go back a couple years ago when he repeated Visalia to start and I remember calling him into the office and he didn’t have a care in the world. He knew where he was going and what kind of player he was going to be and he knew who he would be in the end. I think he is going to contribute early in the big leagues.”

3. Braden Shipley, Relief Pitcher.

-2013 Season (South Bend): 4 starts (0-1), 20.2 innings, 14 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 8 walks, 16 Ks, 2.61 ERA

-2013 Season (Hillsborough): 8 starts (0-2), 19 innings, 30 hits, 18 runs (16 earned), 6 walks, 24 Ks, 7.58 ERA

“He’s been fun to watch. He’s an exceptional athlete, he’s got a quick arm, plenty of velocity, a plus change-up and his curve ball got better. In the instructional league, he may be a little slow to start the year but he’ll be out there pitching in a full season within a couple of weeks.”

4. Zeke Spruill, Starting/Relief Pitcher.

-2013 Season (Diamondbacks): 6 games (2 starts, 4 relief appearances), 11.1 innings, 17 hit, 11 runs (7 earned), 5 walks, 9 K, 5.56 ERA

-2013 Season (Reno): 16 starts (6-5), 92 innings, 98 hits, 48 runs (43 earned), 33 walks, 48 Ks, 4.21 ERA

-2013 Season (Mobile): 5 starts (0-3), 31.2 innings, 24 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 12 walks, 20 Ks, 1.42 ERA

“Zeke’s interesting because I think he is very versatile. I think he can start if you’d like him too. He’s also pretty intriguing the way his stuff plays in the bullpen. In the end, he might do a little of both this year but I think ultimately, we want to build him up so he’s ready to go to the big leagues in whatever role he’s asked at the time. I like the way he throws the ball, I like the way he competes. He’s got a good sinker. He trusts it. he works in the zone and goes right after hitters so he’s a lot of fun to watch pitch.”

5. Jake Barrett, Relief Pitcher.

-2013 Season (Mobile): 24 relief appearances (1-1), 14 saves, 24.2 innings, 18 hits, 4 runs (1 earned), 3 walks, 22 Ks, 0.36 ERA

-2013 Season (Visalia): 28 relief appearances (2-1), 15 saves, 27.1 innings, 21 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), 9 walks, 37 Ks, 1.98 ERA

“Another guy coming off of a monster year in a closer situation for him. I think the way we approach these guys is get them out to a city, get them in a spot where they are comfortable and they can continue to build on that confidence because once they regain the confidence they were riding so high on at the end of the year, they can go anywhere to pitch.”

6. Andrew Chafin, Starting Pitcher.

-2013 Season (Mobile): 21 starts (10-7), 126.1 innings, 118 hits, 46 runs (40 earned), 41 walks, 87 Ks, 2.85 ERA.

-2013 Season (Visalia): 6 starts (3-1), 31 innings, 32 hits, 16 runs (all earned), 14 walks, 32 Ks, 4.65 ERA

“Andrew will likely go back to Mobile and get his feet under him again. What he have like 14 wins? He was outstanding last year and it’s something we like to do with our young pitchers is have them repeat the level just to start, get their feet under them and then move them on.”

7. Stryker Trahan, Outfield.

-2013 Season (Missoula): 56 games, .258 AVG, 58 hits, 43 runs, 15 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, 32 RBI, 24 walks, 55 Ks, .335 OBP

“We moved him to the outfield now (previously a catcher). His bat is pretty far along and we felt comfortable moving him out there because of his athleticism. He’s done a great job in Spring Training out there and we’re going to get him out to a full season out there and see how the bat plays for him.”

8. Jake Lamb, Third Base.

-2013 Season (Visalia): 64 games, .303 AVG, 70 hits, 44 runs, 20 doubles, 13 home runs, 47 RBI, 48 walks, 70 Ks, .424 OBP

-2013 Season (AZL-Dbacks): 5 games, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 doubles, 5 RBI, 2 walks, 5 Ks, .381 OBP

“Jake has done a great job since we’ve had him. He played in 64 or so games last year and if you look at the numbers and add them up to a full season, it would have been a huge year for him. He had two injuries, a hamate and a hamstring and he was able to come back from both of those and do very well. So I think we are excited to get him out and see what he looks like for a full season because he’s got the chance to be a special player.”

9. Michael Perez, Catcher.

-2013 Season (Visalia): 47 games, .173 AVG, 31 hits, 21 runs, 9 doubles, 5 home runs, 24 RBI, 11 walks, 78 Ks, 1 stolen base, .223 OBP

-2013 Season (South Bend): 46 games, .247 AVG, 40 hits, 20 runs, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 14 RBI, 14 walks, 55 Ks, .303 OBP

“He’s a good looking catching prospect. He had a tough time last year. He came into camp, he had a hamate injury so he got off to a slow start and then in the middle of the year he got hit on a backswing and broke his nose. He had a little trouble breathing throughout the season so it was a little tough to gage and the numbers can be deceiving there. But he has had a nice spring, I look for him to have a nice, bounce-back year because he’s got all the ability.”

10. Nick Ahmed, Shortstop.

-2013 Season (Mobile): 136 games, .236 AVG, 115 hits, 58 runs, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, 46 RBI, 33 walks, 72 Ks, 26 stolen bases, .288 OBP

“He’s such a great athlete, he’s an exceptional shortstop. You can stand him on any field in the states or around the world at short in any game and he is going to stand out in a positive manner. He’s got athleticism, he knows how to hit, he’s going to be fine. He’s had a nice spring offensively and I think he is going to carry it over into the season.”

11. Joe Munoz, Shortstop.

-2013 Season (Missoula): 51 games, .272 AVG, 50 hits, 31 runs, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs, 30 RBI, 19 walks, 56 Ks, 5 stolen bases, .351 OBP

“Joe had a great year in Missoula. He got off to a slow start but he had a stretch where he really matured on and off the field. Great teammate, he’s a lot of fun to watch. I don’t see any reason why he can’t continue that progression. He’s got the size, ability and tools and the mindset to keep moving along.”

12. Brandon Drury, Third/First Base.

-2013 Season (South Bend): 134 games, .302 AVG, 159 hits, 78 runs, 51 doubles, 4 triples, 15 home runs, 85 RBI, 47 walks, 92 Ks, 1 stolen base, .362 OBP

“He’s a pretty special guy. You watch how he works, how he handles himself on the field, how he communicates with his teammates, all the intangibles are off the charts and the numbers speak for themselves. To do what he did at a young age in the Midwest League and defensively too. I think he only had 16 errors on that side of the field playing third base it good. And he’s been really coming on strong this last week of the spring.”

13. Aaron Blair, Starting Pitcher.

-2013 Season (South Bend): 3 starts (0-2), 17.2 innings, 19 hits, 10 runs (7 earned), 4 walks, 13 Ks, 3.57 ERA

-2013 Season (Hillsborough): 8 starts (1-1), 31 innings, 25 hits, 10 runs (all earned), 13 walks, 28 Ks, 2.90 ERA

“I really enjoy watching him. He’s a strong, durable right handed pitcher. He’s up to 92 to 95 and he attacks the zone, he looks for contact. He gets the ball in play and at times he’s got swing and miss secondary pitches. I think he’s just going to be that steady mover. Just every year he’s just going to keep chugging away and I think before long, we’re going to be talking about him at the upper levels.”

14. Matt Stites, Relief Pitcher.

-Did not pitch with D-backs organization after being acquired in Ian Kennedy trade. Had appendectomy surgery to end his season.

-2013 Season (San Antonio Missions): 46 relief appearances, 14 saves, 52 innings, 37 hits, 16 runs (12 earned), 8 walks, 51 Ks, 2.08 ERA

“I saw him in the fall league. He was coming back of the appendectomy surgery. Just steadily game, by game, by game he just improved. It’s a special arm. I don’t see why he couldn’t keep doing it with the stuff he’s throwing out there every night. It’s a power arm, lots of strikes and he’s a fun guy to watch at the back end of a game.”

15. Felipe Perez, Starting Pitcher.

-2013 Season: 14 starts (6-5), 2 complete games, 85 innings, 97 hits, 66 runs (44 earned), 19 walks, 44 Ks, 4.66 ERA

“Felipe is a young guy, he went to Missoula and got a couple of complete games under his belt. He’s a strike thrower. He controls his own very well, he converts his secondary pitches for strikes. His stuff because of his youth continues to improve. But he’s a fun guy to watch. He threw a complete game and threw 86 pitchers. You don’t see that at any level, let alone rookie ball.”

Other players that we will be spotlighting for the 2014 season include: RHP-Jose Martinez, SS-Sergio Alcantara, RHP-Jimmie Sherfy, LHP-Daniel Gibson, OF-Justin Williams and RHP-Kevin Munson.