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.
First off, the Diamondbacks just completed their 2014 MLB Draft headlined by their first round selection Touki Toussiant, a RHP high school prospect out of South Florida. Below is video plus reaction from Kevin Towers and Director of Scouting, Ray Montgomery on their first round selection via MLB.com:
Toussaint, along with most of the other draft picks, will most likely begin his venture in the Diamondbacks organization in the Arizona Rookie League which is set to begin on June 20th.
Now to the current top 20 prospects in the organization:
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 continue to work his way back into shape after being sidelined for a few weeks. About two week ago he mentioned that he had a “pain free” flat ground throwing session and later that week, threw his first bullpen session. More good news came down on the rehab front late last week as well…
It was great to throw to hitters today! Felt strong and healthy! Excited with the way things at going!
— Archie Bradley (@ArchieBradley7) June 6, 2014
The prized pitching prospect has been battling through a mild flexor strain in his right elbow and has not started a game since April 26th.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last week: 1 start, 6 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 4 walks, 8 Ks, 1.50 ERA
Season (Visalia): 2 starts (0-0), 12 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 6 walks, 15 Ks, 3.75 ERA
Season (South Bend): 8 starts (4-2), 45.2 innings, 46 hits, 22 runs (19 earned), 11 walks, 41 Ks, 3.74 ERA
*Notes: Shipley throws six strong in his first two starts since being called up to Visalia from South Bend. However, his last start was more the Shipley we came to know at the start of 2014 allowing just three hits and one earned run over six innings. He did however walk four batters in the game and his six walks total already in Visalia in two starts. He had 11 total walks in eight starts combine with the SilverHawks. Balancing out the walks however is the fact that hitters are having trouble hitting off the right-hander thus far. They have just a .214 average off of him in the two starts. If he can limit the walks and continue to pitch aways from contact, he can really be something special.
3. Aaron Blair, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last week (Visalia): 2 starts, 12.1 innings, 17 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 14 K, 5.21 ERA
Season (Visalia): 7 starts (0-2), 37.1 innings, 40 hits, 19 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 43 Ks, 4.58 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 in a flash has already had seven starts with Visalia since being called up and looking at the full body of work there are some highs but also some concerns as he gets acclimated to this new level of competition. The negatives first, he has given up quite a few hits a the high-A level. hitters have hit .300 or better in four of his seven starts. He is a strike thrower and doesn’t walk many which is great, but needs to do a little better limiting the damage. His ERA is 8.62 with runners on base in those seven starts. On the positive side, his stuff is electric and it is proven with the amount of strikeouts he continues to wrack up. In his first of two starts last week he K’d 10 batters in 6.2 innings while walking just one. That’s an incredible ratio. He has been the organizations top strikeout pitcher for all levels combined for much of the season.
4. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .175 AVG, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 double, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 walks, 17 Ks, .233 OBP
Season: 58 games, .199 AVG, 45 hits, 29 runs, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 19 walks, 81 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .266 OBP
*Notes: Trahan just can’t seem to get into a rhythm in 2014. Most of the year has been a struggle. He will show flashes like he did on June 4-7 where he had 7 hits in 17 at-bats including a home run, a double and three RBI. But since that great stretch, he is 0 for his last 12 and his average has dipped back below the Mendoza Line. Patience and goot contact continues to be his biggest area of needed growth. 17 strikeouts and just two walks over the last 10 games doesn’t point in a positive direction.
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 two weeks ago and expected to make a full recovery by the start of 2015 Spring Training. A tough blow for Martinez whose 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: .452 AVG, 19 hits, 13 runs, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 walks, 8 Ks, .477 OBP
Season: 62 games, .314 AVG, 72 hits, 38 runs, 23 doubles, 4 triples, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 22 walks, 56 Ks, .386 OBP
*Notes: Hows this for video game stats, after hitting .321 in May, Lamb has clubbed through Double-A by hitting a stupid .447 with 17 hits in 28 at bats including 11 extra base hits and 11 RBI while striking out just eight times thus far in June. I am thinking Lamb’s time with the BayBears are nearing an end and Reno could be in the very near future. The Diamondbacks do have a history of calling up players out of Mobile before they get a crack at triple-A. They did that with a player named Mark Reynolds. I don’t know I see that being the case for Lamb as he is just 23. But if a guy hits like this, who knows what can happen!
7. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last 10 games: .237 AVG, 9 hits, 7 runs, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 walks, 6 Ks, .356 OBP
Season: 64 games, .275 AVG, 71 hits, 43 runs, 21 doubles, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 23 walks, 47 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .343 OBP
*Notes: Congrats to Brandon Drury who was named to the California League All-Star game last week and man is it ever deserved. Drury has seen his average dip from .300 since his blazing hot start to the season, but his production has not diminished in the slightest being amongst the best in the organization in doubles, home runs, RBI and on-base percentage. And of course one of my favorite stats of Drury’s is his just 47 strikeouts in 258 at-bats. In my opinion, an incredible number for a power hitter.
8. Matt Stites, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week (Reno): 2 relief appearances, 1 save, 2.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 4 Ks, 12.86 ERA
Season (Reno): 13 relief appearances, 9 saves, 12.2 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 6 walks, 14 Ks, 2.13 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 for the first time since getting the call up to Reno showed that he was human. After 11 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run, the closer had some trouble closing things out in both his appearances last week giving up three earned runs combined in the two outings. Only in one of those outings however, did he fail to complete the save. Despite his ERA bing over 12 this week, his total ERA for his month long tenure in Reno is still at a stellar 2.13.
9. Jake Barrett, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances (1-1), 1 save, 3.1 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 2 Ks, 8.71 ERA
Season: 22 relief appearances (1-2), 10 saves, 23 innings, 22 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 9 walks, 21 Ks, 2.74 ERA
*Notes: Like Stites, it was a rocky week for Barrett as well. He appeared in three games and blew two saves. One of which resulted in a loss for Mobile. He has given up 22 hits in 23 innings pitched which is not terrible but quite a bit when talking about this former Sun Devil. Last season in Visalia and Mobile combined, he gave up 39 hits in 52 innings pitched. But what has been evident over the last two seasons now which I personally love in a closer is that he makes the hitters beat him. The free passes are rare and the appearances involving runs scored on him are even more rare. Two of them just happened to come in the same week last week.
10. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 2 starts (1-0), 13 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 13 Ks, 2.08 ERA
Season (Reno): 8 starts, 7 relief appearances (3-2), 1 save, 51.1 innings, 54 hits, 33 runs (29 earned), 13 walks, 44 Ks, 5.08 ERA
Season (Diamondbacks): 1 start (0-1), 5.1 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 3 Ks, 5.06 ERA
*Notes: Spruil had one of his most productive weeks of the season after a tough appearance with the Diamondbacks followed by being lit up for eight runs in his return to Reno. Since being moved from the bullpen to the rotation, Spruill only pitched six innings or more in a start twice. He did so in both starts last week which is a very good sign. The hope is now that he can anchor down just a little bit better consistency.
11. Sergio Alcantara, SS, AZL D-Backs (Rookie League)
Last week: The Arizona Rookie League does not begin until June 20th
*Notes: The Arizona Rookie League is just around the corner and spotlighting the team will be Alcantara at short. He signed with the Diamondbacks out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16 and based on intangibles that he has being a switch hitter that hits great for contact plus being a great defender with a cannon for an arm according to scouts, the organization is eager to see him hit the field. I too am very eager to monitor him as well.
12. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 1 start, 4.2 innings, 11 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 4 Ks, 11.57 ERA
Season (Reno): 4 starts (1-1), 20.1 innings, 32 hits, 19 runs (14 earned), 8 walks, 13 Ks, 6.20 ERA
Season (Mobile): 9 starts (4-1), 55 innings, 49 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 19 walks, 41 Ks, 1.96 ERA
*Notes: Chafin’s adjustment to the Triple-A level has been slow and frustrating. After throwing seven strong in his first start for the Aces, he has failed to get through the fifth inning in three consecutive starts now and it looks to have all come to a head in his lone start last week as he gave up a season high six earned runs. PCL hitters are hitting .352 off of him which more than 100 points higher than the Double-A level. Chafin had been the most reliable and consistent starter in the system through the first month of the season. But now looks like he will have to get back to the drawling board to get through the adversity he has faced in the last two weeks or so.
13. Felipe Perez, RHP, Hillsboro Hops (A short)
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: 1 relief appearance, 1 inning, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Mobile): 11 relief appearances (1-0), 1 save, 11 innings, 12 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 8 walks, 14 Ks, 6.55 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: A weird note about Sherfy, Since a scoreless outing on May 14th, he has followed each scoreless appearance with one that consisted with him giving up a run. This last week was an easy one for Sherfy as he followed a tough appearance in which he gave up two runs with a scoreless outing. Now we will see if he can buck the trend and go two consecutive outings without surrendering a run for the first time since he did so on May 11th and then May 14th. After being very productive starting the 2014 season as the closer in Visalia, the jump up to Mobile has been an adjustment to say the least as he has giving up double the hits, three more walks and nine less strikeouts in the same amount of innings pitched between the two levels.
15. Daniel Gibson, LHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 3 relief appearances, 3 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 27 relief appearances (3-2), 3 saves, 25.1 innings, 17 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 32 Ks, 1.78 ERA.
*Notes: Gibson didn’t allow a run in all of May and so far is also 0 for June. In 4 appearances this month he has allowed just one hit and one walk. A whole two base runners. It’s somewhat boring to find new things to talk about with Gibson now because he has been as dominant as they come. But hows this for something new as I dig deep to say something different about Gibson other than the fact that he has been great. He has not allowed a home run yet in his minor league career. That includes the 28.1 innings pitched in relief for Hillsboro and South Bend combined in 2013 and now the 25.1 innings for South Bend in 2014. In that same span he has allowed just seven earned runs.
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: 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 finds himself injured again. This time he 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 prior to the injury 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: .311 AVG, 14 hits, 5 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 6 RBI, 2 walks, 10 Ks, 1 stolen base, .340 OBP
Season: 61 games, .305 AVG, 65 hits, 30 runs, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 1 HR, 26 RBI, 25 walks, 35 Ks, 7 SB, .384 OBP
*Notes: Ahmed has followed up his masterful month of May where he hit .347 with the same pop in his at in June going 12 for 35 to starts the month with two doubles and an exciting three triples. Ahmed is an incredible athlete and is having his best season yet as a minor leaguer. He had 158 total bases in 136 games for what was a rocky 2013 season and already in 2014, he has tallied 86 total bases. He is sure coming into his own and is laying the ground work to make a push for the bigs at some point in 2015. The only problem is Chris Owings, the 2013 PCL MVP, is looking pretty good ahead of him at short stop for the Diamondbacks right now. Ahmed showed off a little of this athleticism in this web gem he had which was up for MiLB.com play of the week:
19. Kevin Munson, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 4 relief appearances (0-1), 4 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 3 walks, 11 Ks, 4.50 ERA
Season: 26 relief appearances (1-2), 25.2 innings, 26 hits, 11 runs (10 earned), 9 walks, 29 Ks, 3.51 ERA
*Notes: It’s not easy being a reliever. Some times you get to start an inning yourself but a lot of the time, you come in to clean up someone else’s mess. That was the case in three of his four appearances last week. Two of the four included him giving up his first runs in quite some time and the first home run was hit off of him since the very beginning of May. Munson still as been as reliable as they come in Reno this season.
20. Jamie Westbrook, 2B, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .231 AVG, 9 hits, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 4 walks, 6 Ks, .318 OBP
Season: 60 games, 64 hits, 39 runs, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HRs, 25 RBI, 48 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .316 OBP
*Notes: Evan Marshall was the man in the number 20 spot but since he is now up with the Diamondbacks for more than just a short stint, we introduce a hometown hero to the Dbacks on Deck blog. Former Basha High School star Jamie Westbrook is having a head turning start to 2014 down in Class A South Bend. He is coming off of the month of May where he hit .267 with 31 hits, three doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI while sporting a .321 on-base percentage. Mike Bell told me before the season that Westbrook was wise beyond his years and man can he hit a fastball. It is just been a year since he was drafted out of high school and has already cemented himself as one to watch coming up the system for the Diamondbacks.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears for the second consecutive week.
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Mike Jacobs, 1B, Reno Aces – 82 hits
-Home runs: Brandon Drury (Visalia), Alex Glenn (Visalia) and Jon Griffin (Mobile) – 13
-Runs batted in: Mike Jacobs – 55
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair, Visalia and South Bend, RHP – 87
-Earned Run Average: Andrew Chafin, LHP, Mobile and Reno – 3.11
-WHIP: Blake Perry, RHP, South Bend – 1.20