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 even though 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. Braden Shipley, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last week: 1 start (Loss), 6 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 2 Ks.
Season (Mobile): 5 starts (2-1), 24.2 innings, 19 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 3 HRs, 12 walks, 18 Ks, 2.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
*Notes: Shipley moves into the number one overall prospect position with Archie Bradley cementing his place in the big league rotation. Many think that Shipley is not far behind and could get the call at some point this summer depending on how things play out. The former Nevada standout and Diamondbacks first round pick got off to an outstanding start allowing just two total earned runs in his first four starts. But he got hit around his last time out taking his first loss of the season.
2. Aaron Blair, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last week: 1 start (No Decision), 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 6 Ks
Season (Mobile): 5 starts (1-1), 31.2 innings, 25 hits, 11 runs (all earned), 4 HRs, 12 walks, 24 Ks, 3.13 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
*Notes: Blair is another player that could get the call this season for the big leagues. Shilpey seems to be the one who gets a little more attention but Blair has been just as good, if not better since both were drafted to the organization in 2013. Blair has been steady to begin the 2015 season going almost six strong in each of his starts. His walks are up a little in the beginning but this past week, put together the stellar outing we got used to seeing last year throwing seven shutout frames with just two walks with six Ks. Opponents are hitting just .225 off of him so far this season.
3. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Missoula Osprey (Rook), ETA: 2018
Season: Missoula begins their 2015 season on June 24th.
*Notes: Toussaint showed flashes of brilliance but also displayed inconsistency since being drafted by the team last season. That is to be expected from a teenager making the jump to the pro ranks. He will begin the year throwin extended spring training games before reporting to Missoula in June and it is the hope that he will get his first full pro season under his belt. Toussaint has a fastball in the mid to low 90s that has a lot of movement and a curveball that going into the 2014 draft was the best among all high school players who were selected.
4. Yoan Lopez, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2016
Last week: 1 start (no decision), 5 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 3 walks, 2 Ks
Season (Mobile): 5 starts (1-2), 28.1 innings, 22 hits, 8 runs (7 earned), 3 HRs, 11 walks, 20 Ks, 2.22 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
*Notes: The Cuban sensation is getting used to life playing baseball in America and so far so good. In his last three starts combined he has allowed just two earned runs and has struck out 10 batters. Lopez has a fastball that reaches 96 and does a solid job keeping the ball in the strike zone. He has only pitched passed the fifth inning twice in five starts. That should begin to happen with more consistency once as mentioned, the comfort of living in America settles in.
5. Brandon Drury, 2B/3B, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2016
Last 10 games: .326 AVG, 14 hits, 7 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 7 Ks, 1 stolen base.
Season: 26 games, .255 AVG, 26 hits, 9 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 walks, 12 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .280 OBP, .653 OPS
*Notes: After being the best hitter on the Diamondbacks spring training roster during his time as a non-roster invitee, Drury believe it or not got off to a slow start over the first couple weeks of the season. It is all beginning to get back to normall for the stud infielder whose hot bat over the last ten games has gotten him over the Mendoza line in a hurry. The his ability to hit for contact and for power to all fields is the main reason why he has skyrocketed up the minor league ranks over the last two seasons since being brought over from the Braves organization in the Justin Upton trade.
6. Peter O’Brien, C/OF, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2015
Last 10 games: .324 AVG, 12 hits, 2 runs, 1 double, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 walks, 8 Ks
Season (Reno): 26 games, .367 AVG, 36 hits, 18 runs, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 3 walks, 18 Ks, .393 OBP, 1.107 OPS
*Notes: Peter O’Brien started the season playing in the outfield just to make sure his bat was in the lineup every day and boy, did the Aces benefit that being the case. O’Brien has bursted out of the gates with 8 home runs and 26 RBI in the first month of the season. This past week, he saw some action behind the pate as well. He dealt with throwing issues from behind home plate during spring training which lost him the opportunity to be on the opening day roster at the big league level but if he keeps hitting like this, it is only a matter of time before he gets the call up. The Diamondbacks signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Thursday day to add depth to the Catcher position with Tuffy Gosewisch hitting under .200 and Gerald Laird and Oscar Hernandez on the DL. Despite the signing, if O’Brien shows he can hold his own defensively behind the plate in Reno, the Diamondbacks might rush to call him up sooner rather than later to plug his bat into the lineup.
7. Robby Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), ETA: 2015
Last week (Reno): 1 start (Loss), 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 walks, 8 Ks
Last week (D-Backs): 1 start (Win), 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run (earned), 0 walks, 5 Ks
Season (Reno): 5 starts (1-3), 24.2 innings, 25 hits, 12 runs (11 earned), 1 HR, 16 walks, 35 Ks, 4.01 ERA, 1.66 WHIP
*Notes:Ray got the call up to pitch game two of the Diamnodbacks Double-Header in Colorado on Wednesday and was absolutely fantastic. Did not walk a batter, displayed his high 90s fastball and really stunned the Rockies who have been one of the best hitting teams in baseball so far. Ray overall in his five starts in Reno has not looked like he did in Denver. He is getting a high volume of strikeouts but has allowed a lot of hits allowing 25 in 24+ innings. The lefty might get another starts before being sent down with Archie Bradley slated to miss one more game in the rotation. If Ray looks as good as he did in his debut, he will make it very hard on Chip Hale and company to send him back down.
8. Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS, Visalia Rawhide (A+), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .209 AVG, 9 hits, 3 runs, 5 RBI, 1 walk, 10 Ks, 2 stolen bases
Season (Visalia): 25 games, .264 AVG, 29 hits, 12 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 2 walks, 18 walks, 5 stolen bases, .273 OBP, .582 OPS
*Notes: Leyba was acquired from the Tigers in the Didi Gregorious trade. He tore up the Mid-West League last year and continued that hitting this spring at Salt River Fields. The organization is very high on him and Director of Player Development, Mike Bell, told me that he “does some things that make you think he is going to climb the ladder really quick.” He displayed some power this spring which has not translated just yet this season but if can begin to drive the ball out of the ball park with consistency, he could have the makings of a “five-tool” player out of middle infield position which is a rare commodity these days.
9. Jake Barrett, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2015
Last week: 4 relief appearances, 2 saves, 4 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 3 Ks
Season: 11 relief appearances, 5 saves in 6 opportunities, 12 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 4 walks, 13 Ks, 1.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
*Notes: Jake Barrett begins the 2015 season doing Jake Barrett things. He has blown just one save on the season and allowed just two runs in his first 12 innings of work. He has also been efficient. He has thrown more than 20 pitches in an outing just three tries in his first 11 appearances. With Evan Marshall struggling out of the pen at the big league level, Barrett’s shot to join the D-Backs could be around the corner.
10. Sergio Alcantara, SS, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .059 AVG, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 0 walks, 1 K
Season (Reno): 20 games, 8 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 17 Ks, .113 AVG, .169 OBP, .296 OPS
*Notes: Nightmare start to the season for the promising young 18 year old shortstop. His eye at the plate is one thing that he has prided himself on since being brought to the organization as someone who walks more often than he strikes out. That has not been the case so far this season as walks and even hits have been hard to come by. He has not hit the cover off the ball during his minor league tenure hitting just .225 for his career but this bad of a start is not something you were hoping to see. His ability on defense at shortstop however is said by many to already be major league ready. If he can work through the adversity at the plate, he could be a very good shortstop in the future.
11. Jeferson Mejia, RHP, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Last week: 2 appearances (1 start, 1 relief) 7.1 innings, 9 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 5 walks, 4 Ks,
Season: 5 starts, 1 relief appearance (0-1), 26 innings, 27 hits, 18 runs (17 earned), 1 HR, 20 walks, 13 Ks, 5.88 ERA, 1.81 WHIP
*Notes: Mejia was brought to the Diamondbacks organization in the Miguel Montero trade with the Cubs and I am sure he would like a mulligan for his first few outings as a member of the D-Backs. 20:13 BB:K ratio in his first six outings has seen him pulled from the starting rotation in Kane County to a long relief role. And then even in that role, he allowed a run. His last start before they made the move saw him allow seven runs on seven hits with four walks in 4+ innings of work. Walks have been an issue over the course of his minor league career and is something he will need to work to sure up.
12. Marcus Wilson, OF, AZL-Dbacks (Arizona Rookie League), ETA: 2018
Season (Mobile): Arizona Rookie League Begins in June
*Notes: The Diamondbacks needed to add outfield depth last season in their system and part of their way of doing so was drafting Wilson 69th overall in the 2014 draft. He played 39 games in the Arizona Rookie League last season which is where he will start this year. He is a long player standing 6-3 with long arms and actually had contact troubles last season because of his long swing. He has put on some bulk this offseason and looks to display some more power than we saw in 2014.
13. Stryker Trahan, C/OF, Kane County Cougars (A) ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .222 AVG, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 doubles, 4 RBI, 3 walks, 11 Ks
Season (Kane County): 24 games, 17 hits, 10 runs, 6 doubles, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 7 walks, 23 Ks, .213 AVG, .276 OBP, .676 OPS
*Notes: 2014 was a year to forget for the former first round draft pick. He was moved to the outfield so that his bat could be in the lineup everyday with his defense behind the plate struggling in 2013 but then his bat struggled for much of 2014. In 2015 he is back at catcher but so far in 2015, the hitting hasn’t been there in the first month. His Ks are slightly down and walks up comparable to last years trends but still really having trouble hitting for average. He began to turn things around after being send down to A ball in the last month of last season and they are hoping he can find that rhythm once again.
14. Socrates Brito, OF, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .237 AVG, 9 hits, 5 runs, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 walk, 5 Ks
Season (Mobile): 26 games, 26 hits, 12 runs, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 3 walks, 14 Ks, 1 stolen base, .263 AVG, .279 OBP, .673 OPS
*Notes: Brito had a monster year for Visalia last season and because of it, he enters the Diamondbacks list of top-20 prospects. He really cut down on his Ks in 2014 and showed a lot more maturity at the plate. He has raw power which shows in his great ability to find the outfield gaps as he has been a doubles machine in his minor league career. For a gap hitter like him with a home run here and there, we would like to see the average elevate some but it’s still a big positive that strikeouts are going away which will help that average climb in a hurry.
15. Jimmy Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last week: .3 relief appearances, 2.1 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 hit batter, 1 walk, 2 Ks,
Season: 10 relief appearances, 0 saves in 3 opportunities, 10 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 HR, 4 walks, 13 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
*Notes: It has been closer by committee for Mobile to start the year and Sherfy got the nod to get the first save but blew it. He has had two more opportunities since and both of those he was not able to convert either. That’s the bad news. The good news in all other appearances, he has been lights out. He has allowed 0 runs and just 7 hits combined in his seven non save appearances out of the pen. That confidence will convert to saves eventually. Consistency has been Sherfy’s issue since day one and despite the 3 blown saves, this is as consistent as he’s looked.
16. Cody Reed, LHP, Missoula Osprey (Rook), ETA: 2018
Season: Missoula Begins 2015 season on June 24th.
*Notes: Reed was the second starting taken by the Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft. He was a little over shadowed by their first round pick Toussaint but really performed well on the diamond in his 14 appearances after being drafted in the second round. He has a mid to low 90s fastball and a sharp slider which made Alabama High School players nuts last year. The left has been known as an innings eater while being scouted and they are hoping that translates in his first full year as a pro.
17. Jose Herrera, C, Missoula Osprey (Rook), ETA: 2018
Season: Missoula Begins 2015 season on June 24th.
*Notes: Herrera was ranked the number one ranked international catching prospect when the Diamondbacks signed him in 2013. 2014 was his first year of American baseball coming from the Dominican Republic and he did not disappoint. He is known for his defense and ability to call a game while throwing out 35% of base stealers. His hitting just needs to catch up. Catching depth is no longer an issues around the big league level and upper minor leagues. This is the catcher of the future if players like O’Brien and Hernandez don’t pan out.
18. Oscar Hernandez, C, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
Season: Currently listed on Disables List
*Notes: Speaking of Oscar Hernadez! He was brought to the organization via the Rule 5 draft this offseason. He was competing with Tuffy Gosewich for the starting catcher job but then was forced to have surgery during spring training because of a broken Hamate bone in his catching hand. Tuffy hitting below .200 is a big reason for why the D-Backs signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This injury is unfortunate because Hernandez would have undoubtedly received his chance at this point. There is no time-table for his return..
19. Jose Martinez, RHP, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Season: No appearances in 2015
*Notes: Martinez was once a top 10 prospect with the Diamondbacks after a fantastic first year with the organization in 2012. 2013 was a big step back as he struggles with his control and dealing with injuries which saw him appear in just 10 games. His 2014 season ended just two games in to the year after sustaining a stress fracture in his throwing elbow. When healthy, Martinez has some electric stuff and they are hoping that could come to fruition in 2015. But he is yet to make an appearance in the first month of the season.
20. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last 10 games: .286 AVG, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 7 Ks
Season: 22 games, 13 hits, 7 runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 0 HRs, 8 RBI, 9 walks, 15 Ks, .232 AVG, .324 OBP, .681
*Notes: Haniger came from the Brewers last season when the Diamondbacks traded Gerardo Parra and had a very good couple of the months in the D-Backs system after being sent over. He is off to a bit of a slow start this season as he is hitting just ,232. He has been a minor league career .262 hitter with flashes of power but if he is going to make it up the the big leagues and have success, that number needs to go up. The organization is just looking for consistency as he has shown the ability to hit and drive in runs. In 2013 he lead the Arizona Fall League in RBI’s.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Jake Barrett, RHP, Reno Aces