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: 1 start (0-1), 4 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 4 walks, 3 Ks, 11.25 ERA.
Season: 5 starts (1-4), 24.1 innings, 26 hits, 14 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 23 Ks, 5.18 ERA
*Notes: It was announced on Tuesday that Bradley has been placed on the 7-Day Disabled list retroactive to April 27th. It was announced that he has a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. Bradley is scheduled to start a throwing program after 2 weeks of rest. He continues to sputter in this first month of the season having now lost four consecutive starts and they are entirely on him. 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. It’s good he is taking these lumps in triple-A and not the big leagues so it’s not messing with his confidence as much. But this undoubtedly delays his call-up date despite the starting rotation troubles with the big league squad.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week/Season: 1 start (0-1), 6.1 innings, 2 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 0 walks, 6 Ks, 1.42 ERA
*Notes: Shipley started off 2014 on the DL but has made two starts since and they have both been gems. Hitters are batting .175 off of him thus far and has only given up one walk in the two starts combined. Meaning base runners have been few and far between. The organization has to love the continued progression of their top overall pick from the 2013 draft.
3. Didi Gregorius, SS/2B, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last 10 games: .189 AVG, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 8 Ks, .262 OBP
Season: 25 games, .269 AVG, 25 hits, 15 runs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 10 walks, 17 Ks, .343 OBP
*Notes: Chris Owings is listed as the organizations number three prospect but since he is up in the bigs, I want to keep an eye on the guy that lost that spot in spring training. Gregorious has seen his numbers begin to fall somewhat in the last week. He is just three for his last 20 with 0 extra base hits, 0 RBI, 1 run scored, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. We saw this with Didi with the Diamondbacks last year where he would go through stretches where you couldn’t keep him off the base paths and then stretches where you couldn’t get him on them. It is how he rebounds from slumps that the Diamondbacks want to keep an eye on because once he got into a rutt last year, he never really got ut of it.
4. Aaron Blair, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 2 starts (1-0), 14 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 5 walks, 18 Ks, 0.64 ERA
Season: 5 starts (1-1), 31.2 innings, 17 hits, 11 runs (9 earned), 10 walks, 43 Ks, 2.56 ERA
*Notes: Wow is enough to describe what the 36th overall pick of the Diamondbacks from the 2013 draft accomplished in his two starts last week. He was virtually un-hittable, especially in his last start on Sunday where he threw seven shutout innings giving up just one hit and striking out 12. Blair allowed five earned runs in his first start but hasn’t allowed more than two in a start since and has pitched into the sixth inning in each and every start this year.
5. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .263 AVG, 4 runs, 10 hits, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 5 walk, 12 Ks, 2 Stolen Bases, .349 OBP
Season: 21 games, .220 AVG, 18 hits, 11 runs, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 6 walks, 26 Ks, 2 Stolen Bases, .267 OBP
*Notes: It’s pretty easy to see what Trahan needs to do to be successful at the plate and that is patience. Easier said than done but in the last week, he walked four times after drawing just two walks combined in the three weeks prior. The result, less strikeouts and seeing his average climb up from around the Mendoza line from last week. He has been spectacular with runners on base with all of his RBI, six of his nine extra base hits totaling a .325 average in those situations.
6. Jose Martinez, RHP, Hillsboro Hops (A short)
Last week: No appearances yet in 2014
*Notes: Martinez was originally signed by the Diamondbacks as a non-drafted free agent on June 29, 2011. His stats may not blow you away as his stats in 10 starts for Hillsboro last season included a ER over 4 and 30 Ks to 25 walks. But the organization is in love with his stuff. He can touch the high 90s with his fast ball and has an above average curve. The Dominican Republic native just turned 20 on the 14th and has tremendous upside.
7. Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last 10 games: .267 AVG, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 4 walks, 5 Ks, .378 OBP
Season: 24 games, .231 AVG, 18 hits, 9 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 7 walks, 23 Ks, .322 OBP
*Notes: Lamb has rounded himself back into form and just like we have seen with Trahan, patience has been key for Lamb as his numbers begin to climb. The walks are up and the strikeouts are down. The result, his average went from .203 to .231 in the last week including four doubles and five RBI. He has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games.
8. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last 10 games: .333 AVG, 13 hits, 7 runs, 3 doubles, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 5 walks, 8 Ks, .400 OBP
Season: 24 games, .293 AVG, 29 hits, 19 runs, 8 doubles, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 9 walks, 19 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .355 OBP
*Notes: Drury continues his quest toward stardom which really began over the course of last season and has continued here in 2014. In the middle of last week he had back-to-back three hit games which included three home runs, seven RBI and four runs scored. This former 13th round pick of the Braves has been the brightest spot in the farm system and is showing no signs of slowing any time soon.
9. Matt Stites, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances, 3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 0 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 10 relief appearances (0-1), 2 saves, 10.1 innings, 8 hits 3 run (all earned), 2 walk, 8 Ks, 2.61 ERA.
*Notes: Stites has been very solid out of the pen in Mobile. He has not been scored upon in five consecutive outings and has given up just three hits combined in those five appearances. The other thing I continue to harp on with Stites is the fact that he just does not walk batters which is one of the best traits you can have in a pitcher in the back end of the bullpen. He has just the two walks in his 10.1 innings pitched.
10. Jake Barrett, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 2 relief appearances, 1 save, 2 innings, 1 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 1 K, 0.00 ERA
Season: 8 relief appearances, 3 saves, 8 innings, 5 hits, 2 run (both earned), 3 walks, 6 Ks, 2.25 ERA
*Notes: There haven’t been a ton of save opportunities of late for Barrett because Mobile has been on fire winning seven of 10 in dominating fashion. But when Barrett’s name has been called upon, he gets it done and that is nothing new. The magic number is two with the former Sun Devil. The only two outings this season where he has allowed a run, he has given up either two hits or two walks. Every other inning that has consisted of less than two hits or walks has equaled zero runs coming across home plate.
11. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 1 start, 3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walks, 4 K, 0.00 ERA
Season: 1 start, 7 relief appearances (0-1), 1 save, 13.1 innings, 20 hits, 8 runs (7 earned), 6 walks, 13 Ks, 4.73 ERA
*Notes: A great call by Aces manager Phil Nevin this week. Spruill had really been struggling out of the bullpen through the first three weeks of the season. We have mentioned that one of the things that the organization loves most about Spruill is his versatility to be able to start and come out of the bullpen when called upon. He started in the pen and it hasn’t gone well, so Nevin gave him six days off and then brought him into start on Monday. In the end, the righty threw 3.1 shutout innings in a starting role which could be exactly what the doctor ordered to get his confidence back up. Now the question will be whether or not they continue him in the rotation or send him back into the long-relief role out of the pen.
12. 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.
13. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 1 start (1-0), 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 3 Ks, 3.00 ERA
Season: 5 starts (2-0), 29.2 innings, 23 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 12 walks, 22 Ks, 1.21 ERA
*Notes: The bad news this week, Chafin gave up the most earned runs in a game in a start this season his last time out. The good news, it was just two. He also just gave up four hits along with just one walk in the outing. The lefty from Ohio continues to be one of the brightest spots in the Diamondbacks farm system with his incredible consistency which he showed off last season as well.
14. 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. I will get to the bottom of this. According to Diamondback Director, Player Development Mike Bell, “Felipe is healthy now and we are taking things slow in building him up. His shoulder was a little sore at the end of Spring Training and we backed off of him as a precautionary measure.” 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.
15. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last week: 1 relief appearance, 1 save, 1 inning, 1 hit, 1 run (earned), 0 walks, 2 Ks, 9.00 ERA
Season: 9 relief appearances (2-0), 6 saves, 9 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 20 Ks, 3.00 ERA
*Notes: Sherfy has given up runs in each of his last two appearances and both have been because of home runs. In his only appearance last week, he gave up a solo blast, but that was the only damage that was done and he still managed to lock up his sixth save of the season. Sherfy had been virtually un-hittable through his first seven appearances but has began to come back down to earth a little bit. He is still showing some incredible stuff closing out games for the Rawhide.
16. Daniel Gibson, LHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 3 relief appearances (2-0), 3 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 6 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 10 relief appearances (2-2), 3 saves, 9.2 innings, 12 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 5 walks, 15 Ks, 4.66 ERA.
*Notes: Three relief appearances for Gibson last week, and three prefect innings. Since he was lit up back on April 14th for three earned runs, he has pitched five scoreless innings giving up two hits and one walk in the process. The lefty has looked spectacular and has settled in vert nicely since getting off to a bit of a slow start to the season.
17. Justin Williams, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: Yet to appear in a game so far in 2014
*Notes: Williams is expected to begin the year with South Bend but is yet to make an appearance so far in 2014. He is not injured but has just been participating 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.
18. Joe Munoz, SS, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: .300 AVG, 6 hits, 0 runs, 2 RBI, 3 walks, 9 Ks, .391 OBP
Season: .310 AVG, 18 hits, 8 runs, 1 double. 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 walks, 19 Ks, .365 OBP
*Notes: Munoz has not appeared in a game in over a week because of a concussion but was back in action last week. The shortstop has been getting on base with regularity hitting over .300 and drawing a solid amount of walks. He has the make-up for a leadoff-type hitter and strikes out a little more than one would like in that role. However, his leadership and maturity is something the organization loves.
19. Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last 10 games: .265 AVG, 9 hits, 4 runs, 1 double, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 walks, 4 Ks, 2 SB, .342 OBP
Season: 23 games, .257 AVG, 19 hits, 7 runs, 2 double, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 8 walks, 10 Ks, 3 SB, .325 OBP
*Notes: Ahmed is still getting hits and driving in runs but still for some bizarre reason, he has just 3 stolen bases and 7 runs scored through 23 games this season. That is coming off of a 2013 season where he had 26 stolen bases and 58 runs and a 2012 season in the Atlanta organization where he had 40 stolen bases and 84 runs scored. Im sure those numbers will even out eventually but thats just one small negative to what has been a very good start to the season. Ahmed is the type of talent that will put pressure on Chris Owings and Didi Gregorious to perform well in a hurry.
20. Kevin Munson, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 2 relief appearances, 1.1 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 1 K, 0.00 ERA
Season: 9 relief appearances, 7.2 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 4 walks, 9 Ks, 2.35 ERA
*Notes: Minus one outing this season which allowed two earned runs, Munson has been absolutely lights out in relief. If you take away that one appearance from his season stats, he has thrown six innings, six hits, zero runs, three walks and seven strikeouts. Everybody is human sometimes, he has been as close to robotic with how he has come out and pitched this season as they come.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Aaron Blair, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Mike Jacobs and Ender Inciarte of Reno – 33 hits
-Home runs: Nick Evans, Reno, 1B – 7
-Runs batted in: Brandon Drury, Visalia, 3B – 25
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Wins: 3 tied with 3 wins
-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair, South Bend, RHP – 43
-Earned Run Average: Chase Anderson, Mobile, RHP – 0.85