Dbacks on Deck: Ahmed gets the call, Blair mows em’ down, Chafin returns to form

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 (Mobile): 1 start, 4 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 4 walks, 1 Ks, 2.25 ERA

Season (Reno): 5 starts (1-4), 24.1 innings, 26 hits, 14 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 23 Ks, 5.18 ERA

Season (AZL): 1 start, 4 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 6 Ks, 4.50 ERA

*Notes: Bradley’s rehab assignment last week took him to where I was an absolutle monster a season ago, Mobile. It was his second rehab start since returning to the field from a mild flexor sprain in his throwing elbow. Bradley only gave up an earned run in four innings of work but walked four batters while striking out just one. When the walks are high, everything else seems to come unraveled. When he is under control, the strikeouts are up and we see how dominant he can be. Despite the shaky outing, Bradley should be back up to Reno in a week or so barring any set-backs.

2. Braden Shipley, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)

Last week: 1 start (0-1), 3.1 innings, 7 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 0 Ks, 21.60 ERA

Season (Visalia): 5 starts (1-2), 29 innings, 28 hits, 18 runs (16 earned), 12 walks, 34 Ks, 4.97 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: Coming off his best start since being called up to Visalia throwing seven shutout innings, Shipley was rocked for his worst start of the season at any level. He couldn’t get out of the fourth inning before giving up eight earned runs and not striking out a batter. Opponents hit .467 off of him in the game which included two home runs. His ERA bloomed from a very solid 2.81 to 4.97 from just this one start alone. The ironic part of this was the last start (arguably his best and then his worst) were both against San Jose. A great learning experience for the young starter on how you can’t go into a start at any level over confident.


3. Aaron Blair, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)

Last week (Visalia): 1 start (1-0), 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run (earned), 1 walks, 7 K, 1.50 ERA

Season (Visalia): 10 starts (2-2), 57.1 innings, 53 hits, 23 runs (all earned), 15 walks, 68 Ks, 3.61 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 continued his stellar ways going at least six strong in now four of his last five starts and now earning the win in his third start in a row. Blair is by far and away the organization’s leading in total strikeouts this season but the most impressive part of all that is his ratio of those K’s to walks. In those last five starts mentioned before, which is all of his starts for the month of June, his K:BB ratio is a dazzling 39:6. He finishes the month 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA as well.

4. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)

Last 10 games: .184 AVG, 7 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 walks, 18 Ks, .279 OBP

Season: 73 games, .196 AVG, 56 hits, 36 runs, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 24 walks, 107 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .262 OBP

*Notes: In the last week, Trahan already went over 100 strikeouts for the season and we are only through June. We know that Stryker is a guy that will get fanned often but the problem, he is not making up for it in the at-bats where he doesn’t. The whole season has been a struggle from the plate but June was his worst statistically where his average, runs scored, RBI’s and on-base percentage was worse than April and May as well as his 18 hits tied with April for his worst output in a month. The left handed hitting Trahan has become a liability at the plate when lefties are on the mound. This season he is hitting just .118 in 67 at-bats against South Paws with 33 Ks.

5. Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears (AA)

Last 10 games: .282 AVG, 11 hits, 5 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 7 RBI, 4 walks, 11 Ks, .341 OBP

Season: 78 games, .315 AVG, 90 hits, 47 runs, 28 doubles, 5 triples, 11 HR, 63 RBI, 30 walks, 73 Ks, .387 OBP

*Notes: Jose Martinez was listed as the number five prospect but seeing as his 2014 season is done because of an elbow injury, Lamb moves up to the number five spot. And what a month of June it was for him. He hit .368 with 35 hits, 20 runs, 19 extra base hits and 27 RBI. He is hitting an incredible .381 this season with runners in scoring position and the best news of all, he continues to play injury free. We saw similar numbers to this last season from Lamb when he managed to stay on the field but he missed considerable time due to injury. In 2014 we are getting a chance to see what Lamb is capable of when he can be out on the field each and every day.

6. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+)

Last 10 games: .372 AVG, 16 hits, 7 runs, 5 doubles, 4 RBI, 1 walks, 5 Ks, .386 OBP

Season: 78 games, .293 AVG, 92 hits, 52 runs, 28 doubles, 1 triple, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 28 walks, 55 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .357 OBP

*Notes: I call out Drury’s numbers with runners in scoring position last week and since, he has raised his average in that situation by seven points. Glad to see I can help! To be serious, Drury has been special this season and to knit-pick one area where he hasn’t been outstanding really isn’t fair. Through June, he is just two home runs, 32 RBI and 26 runs scored from passing his 2013 marks in South Bend. Those stats put him on everyone’s radar and if he can continue to one-up himself, you have to love that progression.


7. Matt Stites, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Last week (Dbacks): 3 relief appearances, 3.1 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 5 Ks, 0.00 ERA

Season (D-backs): 6 relief appearances, 5.1 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks, 5 Ks, 0.0 ERA

Season (Reno): 17 relief appearances, 12 saves, 16 innings, 13 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 6 walks, 15 Ks, 2.25 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 continues to be used very frequently since his call up to the bigs and is taking advantage of each time he steps onto the mound. He has walked a few more batters then I am sure he would like but it is starting to look like he is settling in nicely wracking up more strikeouts in each outing. He faced the team that drafted but then traded him in the Padres last weekend and pitched lights out in two appearances allowing just one hit, on walk and three strikeouts. Stites looks to have cemented a place for himself in the bullpen which means his days here on the Dbacks on Deck blog are numbered.


8. Jake Barrett, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)

Last Week (Reno): 2 relief appearances, 1 save, 2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 0 walks, 2 Ks, 4.50 ERA

Season (Reno): 5 relief appearances, 5 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 walks, 4 Ks, 3.60 ERA

Season (Mobile): 25 relief appearances (1-2), 12 saves, 26.1 innings, 25 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 24 Ks, 2.39 ERA

*Notes: Barrett earned his first save at the triple-A level in his last outing last week. As mentioned last week, with Stites being called up to the bigs and out of the closer role in Reno, it was only a matter of time until Barrett got his shot to close out games for the Aces. He has however already given up two earned runs in his first five appearances at this level. He gave up just seven runs in 25 appearances in Mobile to start the season.


9. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)

Last week (D-Backs): 1 start, 4 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 4 Ks, 4.82 ERA

Last Week (Mobile): 1 start (0-1), 5 innings, 6 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 1 walk, 6 Ks, 9.00 ERA

Season (Reno): 10 starts, 7 relief appearances (3-4), 1 save, 57.1 innings, 70 hits, 47 runs (43 earned), 16 walks, 45 Ks, 6.75 ERA

Season (Diamondbacks): 1 start (0-1), 5.1 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 3 Ks, 5.06 ERA

*Notes: Spruill just can’t really seem to get it together in Reno. He gets called up last week for a spot start with the Diamondbacks and actually fared pretty well through four innings. But then returns to Reno and gets lit up once again over the weekend. In his last three starts in Reno, he has given up seven runs, seven runs and five runs. He finishes the month of June with a dismal 8.25 ERA for the month giving up 22 earned runs and 31 hits in 24 innings pitched. It is unfortunate because Spuill if he were pitching better might not be the spot start guy for the Diamondbacks and could have cemented some sort of role with the big league club seeing the struggles in the Diamondbacks’ struggles and injuries in their starting rotation. Instead, Josh Collmenter moves into the rotation from the pen and Mike Bolsinger is part of the rotation in his place.


10. Sergio Alcantara, SS, Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

Last 10 games: .295, 13 hits, 3 runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, 4 walks, 9 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .367 OBP

Season: 14 games, .293 AVG, 17 hits, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, 8 walks, 15 Ks, 4 stolen bases, .388 OBP

*Notes: Alcantara is off to a very good start to the season with four multi-hit games in his first ten and at least on hit in seven of those games. With the great speed of Sergio, you like seeing him getting on base as often as he has so far and hope it continues. He has only been caught stealing once in five tries and the fact that he has six runs scored in 14 games shows how dangerous he can be when he is on the base paths. He is known for his elite glove, but if he hits like this, he will be know as just elite.


11. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Reno Aces (AAA)

Last week: 1 start (1-0), 8 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA

Season (Reno): 8 starts (2-2), 42.2 innings, 57 hits, 32 runs (27 earned), 19 walks, 32 Ks, 5.70 ERA

Season (Mobile): 9 starts (4-1), 55 innings, 49 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 19 walks, 41 Ks, 1.96 ERA

*Notes: Chafin got it together for one fantastic start last week. By far his best since getting the call up to Reno. Going eight shutout innings with just one walk and nine strikeouts and in the process, lowering his ERA from 7.10 to 5.70 because of it. Chafin was absolutely stellar to start the season in Mobile and it was great to see some of that version of Chafin again at the triple-A level. Hopefully he gain some very positive momentum from this as the month of July begins.


12. 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.


13. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)

Last week: 3 relief appearances, 3 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 walks, 5 Ks, 6.00 ERA

Season (Mobile): 18 relief appearances (1-0), 1 save, 18 innings, 19 hits, 13 runs (all earned), 11 walks, 24 Ks, 6.50 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: You really cant make this stuff up. The trend of Sherfy alternating appearances without giving up a run and then giving up at least a run continues. It has gone on for over a month now. There was one small stretch of two consecutive outings without a run surrendered in the middle of June but that is as long as it went. In the outings where he is not scored upon, he has allowed more than one base runner in the inning just twice in the last month. He is very good when the base runners are limited (which is the case for every pitcher) but has had a lot of trouble getting himself out of a jam. Sherfy continues to search for some consistency.


14. Daniel Gibson, LHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)

Last week: 3 relief appearances, 4 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 0 walks, 4 Ks, 4.50 ERA

Season: 34 relief appearances (3-2), 3 saves, 33.1 innings, 25 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 14 walks, 43 Ks, 2.16 ERA.

*Notes: Gibson was not scored upon in the entire month of May and then almost the month of June until he finally gave up a run on June 20th. He gave up two more runs in his final outing last weekend surrounding two on three hits in 1.2 innings. Despite those two measly appearances in June, he still finished the month with a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to just three walks. Gibson has been spectacular and could find himself called up in the coming weeks.


15. Justin Williams, OF, Missoula Osprey (Pioneer Rookie League)

Last 10 games: .286 AVG, 12 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 2 RBI, 6 walks, 11 Ks, .375 OBP

Season: 15 games, .306 AVG, 19 hits, 8 runs, 1 double, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 walks, 17 Ks, 1 stolen base, .377 OBP

*Notes: Williams had spent all of 2014 thus far playing in extended spring training games. Finally he got his 2014 season under way with Missoula in the Pioneer Rookie League and he is off to a good start. He is a very important playmaking outfielder in the Diamondbacks system that they really need and will be monitoring his progression very closely. He is doing a great job hitting for average thus far and the extra base hits will come over time.


16. Joe Munoz, SS, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)

Last week (AZL): 2 games, 3 hits, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 Ks

Last week (South Bend): 1 game, .250 AVG, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 K, .250 OBP

Season (South Bend): 31 games, .308 AVG, 36 hits, 23 runs, 6 doubles, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 walks, 30 Ks, .372 OBP

*Notes: Munoz had a short rehab stint in the Arizona Rookie League playing four games with them before finally returning to South Bend on Monday. Munoz has become this year’s version of Jake Lamb. He has been great when he has been on the field but has already been sidelined twice this season because of injury. Hopefully this return to the field will last for the rest of the season because he is really turning a corner with his progression this season and they organization would love to see that continue.


17. Nick Ahmed, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Last Week (D-Backs): 1 game, .250 AVG, 1 hit, .333 OBP

Last 10 games (Reno): .388 AVG, 19 hits, 7 runs, 6 doubles, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 walks, 4 Ks, 1 stolen base, .423 OBP

Season: 79 games, .324 AVG, 97 hits, 40 runs, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 2 HR, 36 RBI, 30 walks, 42 Ks, 10 SB, .390 OBP

*Notes: Ahmed has been so incredible this season in Reno that the Diamondbacks didn’t hesitate to bring him up to the Big Leagues for the first time after Chris Owings was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Ahmed followed up a month of May hitting .347 with a June where he hit .364. Ahmed has long been said the best defensive shortstop in the system but when you have him hitting like this, he becomes one of the best overall players in the system. We don’t know how long this stint will be for Ahmed. If he stays past Owings’ return from the DL, it will mean he is tearing the cover off the ball and they have to keep him up with the team. In case you missed it, here is his first ever hit at the big league level from Sunday’s game in San Diego.


18. Kevin Munson, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)

Last week: 2 relief appearances, 1 save, 4.1 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 3 walks, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA

Season: 33 relief appearances (3-2), 36.2 innings, 33 hits, 12 runs (11 earned), 14 walks, 48 Ks, 2.70 ERA

*Notes: Munson upped his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings and continues to be the most reliable arm in the Aces bullpen. He finishes the month of June with a stellar 1.62 ERA in 12 appearances.


19. Daniel Palka, 1B, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)

Last 10 games: .304 AVG, 14 hits, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 5 HRs, 12 RBI, 1 walks, 17 Ks, .319 OBP

Season: 78 games, .255 AVG, 78 hits, 41 runs, 16 doubles, 4 triples, 15 HRs, 63 RBI, 34 walks, 87 Ks, 5 stolen bases, .328 OBP

*Notes: You would like to see a few less strikeouts with Palka but when you look at the entire body of work, the Ks are really the only negative. He is currently riding a five game hitting streak and has a hit in seven of the last ten games. His power has been in display as well as he has four home runs in the last week. he finishes the month of June with a .255 average with eight home runs and 26 RBI.


20. Jamie Westbrook, 2B, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)

Last 10 games: .189 AVG, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 6 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .211 OBP

Season: 75 games, .242 AVG, 73 hits, 44 runs, 16 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HRs, 27 RBI, 20 walks, 56 Ks, 4 stolen bases, .293 OBP

*Notes: Even when Westbrook struggles a little from the plate, he still finds other ways to beat you. He added two stolen bases in the last week after having just two on the year coming in. Westbrook is a playmaker and it shows even if he hits aren’t coming with as much regularity. Overall, June was the least productive month of the season thus far for the former Basha Bear as he hit just .184 with seven hits and four runs in 23 games.


Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces


Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:

-Hits: Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces/D-Backs – 97 hits

-Home runs: Alex Glenn (Visalia) and David Palka (South Bend) – 15

-Runs batted in: Jake Lamb (Mobile) and David Palka – 63


Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:

-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair (Visalia and South Bend) – 112

-Earned Run Average: Nick Baker (Hillsboro) – 0.60

-WHIP: Nick Baker (Hillsboro) – 0.53