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: 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 has a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. Bradley and is scheduled to start a throwing program after 2 weeks of rest. Bradley’s 2014 has been rough to say the least. 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 before heading to the DL. With good reason, the D-backs are bringing him along slowly.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 1 start (1-0), 5.1 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk, 4 Ks, 6.75 ERA
Season: 5 starts (2-2), 27.2 innings, 29 hits, 16 runs (13 earned), 6 walks, 22 Ks, 4.23 ERA
*Notes: Shipley bursted onto the scene over the last two weeks after starting the season on the DL but last week came back down to earth. He has given up four earned runs and at least six hits in each of his last three starts. The good news over his last two starts is that his walks are down which means it is only a matter of missing some bats again like he was after his first couple of starts. Getting the backing from his offense in his last start to earn the win despite the rocky start is always good for the confidence.
3. Aaron Blair, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last week (Visalia): 1 start, 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 walks, 9 K, 1.29 ERA
Season (South Bend): 6 starts (1-2), 35.2 innings, 25 hits, 19 runs (16 earned), 14 walks, 44 Ks, 4.04 ERA
Season (Visalia): 1 start (0-0), 7 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 walks, 9 K, 1.29 ERA
*Notes: Blair is already getting in the habit of being promoted as after just six starts in South Bend at the A level, he was called up to high-A Visalia and got off to a fantastic start for the Rawhide throwing seven shutout innings. He has been lights out so far in 2014 minus maybe one start. His K:BB ration tells you everything to know about his command and presence on the mound. Opponents of his in South Bend were hitting .188 off of him before he was called up.
4. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .163 AVG, 7 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 walks, 17 Ks, .200 OBP
Season: 33 games, .189 AVG, 25 hits, 16 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 9 walks, 47 Ks, 2 Stolen Bases, .238 OBP
*Notes: The numbers on Trahan continue to look very sub-par. He had five hits, including one home run, and five RBI last week in South Bend however you pair that 11 strikouts and just one walk. It is all about patience for Stryker. He has shown signs of it. When he can draw walks or at least put the ball in play, you see that on-base percentage climb. But when he consistently falls victim to the strikeout, that’s where his struggles come into play. The lefty is also being dominated by left handed pitchers thus far this season with just a .086 average in 36 at-bats with 14 strikeouts.
5. Jose Martinez, RHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 1 start (0-1), 1 inning, 3 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 0 Ks, 18.00 ERA
Season: 2 starts (1-1, 6 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 4 Walks, 3 Ks, 6.00 ERA
*Notes: Martinez is being brought back slowly after starting the season on the DL. So slow that when he faced some adversity in his start last week in the first inning, they just decided to shut him down after the one inning. He threw five strong innings in his first start which about how deep they want him to go into games at this point. The organization loves the upside for this Dominican. His biggest thing is to limit the walks which will be something to keep an eye out for this season.
6. Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last 10 games: .302 AVG, 13 hits, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 walks, 11 Ks, .333 OBP
Season: 36 games, .266 AVG, 34 hits, 18 runs, 9 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 10 walks, 34 Ks, .340 OBP
*Notes: Jake Lamb looks to have reached his mid-season form after getting off to a bit of a slow start. His average in the last week climbed from .238 to .266 after four, two-hit games. But that isn’t even the best stat to make note of, he had just one strikeout in the last week. The K’s were one of the main reason’s behind Lamb’s struggles in the early going. But he has almost eliminated that problem completely and as a result, the average and on-base percentage continue to climb.
7. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+)
Last 10 games: .263 AVG, 10 hits, 7 runs, 2 doubles, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 8 Ks, .349 OBP
Season: 37 games, .285 AVG, 43 hits, 27 runs, 13 doubles, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 13 walks, 29 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .347 OBP
*Notes: Relatively slow week for Drury, especially by his standards. No home runs, no RBI, one walk and six strikeouts. But he did sprinkle in a couple multi-hit games in there, one of which included two doubles. Drury is the reining Diamondbacks Minor League player of the month and has quickly become one of the organizations top prospects. You can look at his average as a whole and find that it is slipping compated to where it was to begin the season, but if you break it down, he has at least one hit in seven of the last ten games.
8. Matt Stites, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week (Reno): 3 relief appearances, 1 save, 3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (unearned), 1 walk, 4 Ks, 0.00 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.
Season (Reno): 3 relief appearances, 1 save, 3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run (unearned), 1 walk, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
*Notes: Another player called up last week is Matt Stites. He was really the key piece in the Ian Kennedy trade last season coming over from the Padres organization along with lefty specialist Joe Thatcher. Many thought that Stites could get a shot with the big league squad as soon as this year before the season began and now with his call up to Reno after a little over one month, that could become a reality. Stites has closer potential and is one of the many players in the organization that could take on that role in the future. Especially if Addison Reed continues to struggle. Stites looks to be the one out of that group that includes Barrett and Munson that can make the jump up the fastest.
9. Jake Barrett, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances, 1 save, 3 innings, 4 hit, 2 runs (both earned), 3 walks, 4 Ks, 6.00 ERA
Season: 12 relief appearances, 4 saves, 12 innings, 10 hits, 4 runs (4 earned), 6 walks, 11 Ks, 3.00 ERA
*Notes: Now it is rare that Barrett gives up a run in an inning. It is even more rare to see him give up more than one run which is what he did in one of his appearances last week. Barrett is human, he is allowed miss haps every so often. Now when you look deeper than the runs scored, what has made Barrett any less dominant than he was last season? Well in his last ten appearances which goes back to mid-April, he has given up at least a hit or a walk in an outing in all but two of his relief outings. Opponent batting averages are up to .244 in 2014 compared to .197 in 2013. He gave up a total of 12 walks in 52 games in 2013, he has already given up six walks in 12 games for 2014. Now he is still doing a good job of closing out games and tallying scoreless innings, but it hasn’t been in as dominant fashion as it was last year thus far.
10. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 1 start, 3 innings, 7 hits, 8 runs (7 earned), 2 walks, 1 K, 21.00 ERA
Season: 3 starts, 7 relief appearances (0-1), 1 save, 21 innings, 31 hits, 20 runs (18 earned), 9 walks, 18 Ks, 7.71 ERA
*Notes: Spruill’s disappointing start to 2014 continues to take a turn for the worst. He started off the year in the bullpen where he got off to a good start in a long relief role, but then put together a couple appearances where he got shelled. So Reno Manager Phil Nevin moved him into the starting rotation to turn his confidence around. His first start was ok as he pitched 3.1 scoreless innings out of the gates. But since, it has not been pretty giving up a total of 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings in his last two starts. It’s back to the drawing board for Spruill who will try to figure something out to turn around his season.
11. 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.
12. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week: 1 start (0-1), 5.1 innings, 11 hits, 5 run (all earned), 2 walks, 4 Ks, 8.44 ERA
Season: 7 starts (2-1), 42 innings, 40 hits, 12 runs (10 earned), 16 walks, 32 Ks, 2.14 ERA
*Notes: Well Chafin proved to be human for a change. For the fast time all season, he gave up more than two earned runs in an outing and gave up double-digit hits. Hitters just came out and attacked Chafin. They hit .458 off of him in has last start. Just water under the bridge for the lefty who had a sub-2.00 ERA going into the start and all that last start did was move him up over 2.00. He will look to get back on track this week.
13. 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.
14. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last week (Mobile): 2 relief appearances, 2 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walks, 4 Ks, 0.00 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
Season (Mobile): 2 relief appearances, 2 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walks, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
*Notes: A third player of the top 20 prospects to get the call up in the last week. This one in particular could be a direct result of Stites getting called up to Reno from Mobile. Sherfy got the call to Mobile from Visalia. And oh what it ever deserved. He had one bad outing at the start of the year which is most of the damage caused by the 3.27 ERA. But he was stellar in most of his appearances and was rewarded by being promoted. This is a back of the pen guy that has electric stuff and mows batters down. 23 strikeouts in just 11 innings pitched in Visalia and already four K’s in two innings for Mobile. Excited to see how the former Oregon Duck fares at a new level of competition.
15. Daniel Gibson, LHP, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last week: 2 relief appearances, 2.2 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 1 K, 0.00 ERA
Season: 15 relief appearances (2-2), 3 saves, 14.2 innings, 14 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 7 walks, 18 Ks, 3.07 ERA.
*Notes: Gibson continues his lights-out pitching. He improved his scoreless innings streak to 10 innings and has given up just four hits and three walks in that span. We are talking about all of these relievers that are off to great starts and getting promoted. Gibson of all of them is having the best season. He got hit around a little at the start of 2014, but something clicked and he has been absolutely incredible since. I see him getting the call up in the near future as well.
16. 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.
17. Joe Munoz, SS, South Bend Silver Hawks (A)
Last 10 games: .357 AVG, 15 hits, 12 runs, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 4 walks, 6 Ks, .413 OBP
Season: 29 games, .315 AVG, 34 hits, 22 runs, 5 doubles, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 12 walks, 28 Ks, .383 OBP
*Notes: Munoz continues to be the hottest hitter in the Diamondbacks organization over the last two or three weeks. He has at least a hit in every game in May so far which include nine extra base hits, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored. Mike Bell was beaming when we talked about this guy before the season when talking about how much he has grown and matured. We are seeing what Bell was excited about will Munoz so far this season.
18. Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last 10 games: .417 AVG, 15 hits, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 3 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .475OBP
Season: 36 games, .292 AVG, 35 hits, 13 runs, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 13 walks, 16 Ks, 5 SB, .363 OBP
*Notes: Wow. Just wow. Ahmed in the last week raised his batting average from .234 to .292 in one week. He is riding a seven game hitting streak which include a total of 13 hits and four multi-hit games. And yes, what I have been harping on, the stolen bases. He is a guy that makes things happen when he is on-base. It was clear to me that he wanted to be aggressive on the base paths in the last week as he stole two in three attempts. Ahmed hung around the low .200s throughout the 2013 season. In 2014, he looks to crack .300 for the first time as part of the Diamondbacks organization.
19. Kevin Munson, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA)
Last week: 3 relief appearances, 4.1 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season: 15 relief appearances (1-0), 14.2 innings, 15 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 4 walks, 17 Ks, 3.07 ERA
*Notes: Munson started the month with a rocky appearance giving up three runs in an inning. Since he has thrown 4.2 scoreless innings giving up just two hits and hasn’t walked a single batter. Munson has been the model of consistency in 2014. Yes he has a couple rocky appearances which are few and far between. But his ability for the hitter to beat him and not beating himself by giving up walks is really impressive and the reason he has worked up the ranks on prospect boards.
20. Evan Marshall, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
Last Week (D-backs): 3 relief appearances, 3.1 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walk, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Reno): 14 relief appearances, 1 save, 16.2 innings, 10 hits, 1 run (earned), 5 walks, 19 Ks, 0.54 ERA
Season (D-Backs): 3 relief appearances, 3.1 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walk, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA
*Notes: Marshall’s fantastic start to the 2014 has landed him the opportunity to join the Diamondbacks with reliever J.J. Putz landing on the DL making him the fourth pitcher to be promoted in the organization this week. He had not given up an run all season until his last time out and has a 19:5 K:BB ratio in 16.2 innings pitched. Marshall has now carried that over to the big league squad taking advantage of his first opportunity at this level. He keeps this up and judging by the inconsistency of the D-Backs bullpen this season he may make this trip permanent.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Nick Ahmed, SS, Reno Aces
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Mike Jacobs – 49 hits
-Home runs: Nick Evans, Reno, 1B – 10
-Runs batted in: Nick Evans, Reno, 1B – 36
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair, South Bend, RHP – 53
-Earned Run Average: Chase Anderson, Mobile (Currenlty w/Dbacks), RHP – 0.69
-WHIP: Chase Anderson, Mobile (Currenlty w/Dbacks), RHP – 0.72