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.
As we have played a majority of the 2014 season, here is updated rankings which include some new names and have played themselves into the top 20 based on their performances this season.
1. Archie Bradley, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2014
Last week (Mobile): 1 start (Loss), 2.2 innings, 5 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 3 Ks, 23.62 ERA
Season (Mobile): 6 starts (1-1), 28 innings, 22 hits, 12 runs (all earned), 17 walks, 22 Ks, 3.86 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: Archie had his worst start quite possibly since being drafted by the Diamondbacks a little over three years ago. On top of the five hits and three walks he gave up in 2.2 innings, he also hit two batters and gave up his first home run all season. He has had trouble with his control before and after the injury he sustained. To be honest, it was only a matter of time before he got shelled like this because he has been pitching out of trouble in almost every start in Mobile since returning to the field. He walks are alarmingly high and his strikeouts are down. This was supposed to be the breakout year for Bradley at the big league level. Now it’s in question whether he gets the call up before season’s end.
2. Braden Shipley, RHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+), ETA: 2015
Last week: 1 start, 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 walks, 5 Ks, 1.29 ERA
Season (Visalia): 9 starts (1-4), 53.1 innings, 52 hits, 31 runs (26 earned), 20 walks, 59 Ks, 4.39 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 had his best start of July last week as he pitched through seven innings and surrendered just a single earned run. In his nine starts with the Rawhide, he has allowed three earned runs or less in five of them showing that his consistency has been up and down since getting called up. But his control has been very good as he has allowed more than two walks in a start just once. He has a 25:8 K:BB ratio in July.
3. Touki Toussaint, SP, AZL-Dbacks (Rookie), ETA: 2018
Last Week: 2 appearances, 1 start (1-0), 6 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 4 walks, 4 Ks, 3.00 ERA
Season (AZL-Dbacks): 6 appearances, 4 starts (0-1), 12 innings, 13 hits, 9 runs (5 earned), 9 walks, 15 Ks, 3.75 ERA
*Notes: Toussaint is gradually pitching more innings in each appearance and is getting used to many different roles. In the last two weeks he has had two relief appearances and has pitched at least two innings in his last four appearances. With a larger body of work with more innings pitched, it looks like he is battling some control issues at times. Not surprising considering just a couple months ago he was pitching at the high school level.
4. Aaron Blair, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last week (Mobile): 1 start (win), 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 run (earned), 1 walk, 7 Ks, 1.29 ERA
Season (Mobile): 2 starts (2-0), 13.2 innings, 8 hits, 1 run (earned), 1 walk, 16 Ks, 0.66 ERA
Season (Visalia): 13 starts (4-2), 72.1 innings, 70 hits, 37 runs (35 earned), 21 walks, 81 Ks, 4.35 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 has skyrocketed though the Diamondbacks farm system this season. He began with South Bend where he had just six starts before being called up to Visalia. He was very good in Visalia but not even close to how great he has been in Mobile over the last two weeks. In two starts now with the BayBears, he has given up a single run on a solo home run and sports a 16:1 K:BB ratio. He has been the organization’s leader in strikeouts all year and isn’t showing any signs of slowing. With the struggles of Archie Bradley and inconsistency or Braden Shipley, Blair can put a much better taste in the mouth of D-Backs fans who are longing for a new ace at the big league level.
5. Jake Lamb, 3B, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 10 games: .297 AVG, 11 hits, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 6 walks, 11 Ks, .378 OBP
Season: 101 games, .315 AVG, 116 hits, 59 runs, 35 doubles, 5 triples, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 47 walks, 98 Ks, .393 OBP
*Notes: Lamb has cemented himself as the top positional player in the farm system with a remarkable 2014 season to this point. It is the season that everyone imagined when seeing what Lamb did last year despite being on and off the field due to injuries last year. He took advantage of his time on the field last year, this year has been injury-free and to say he has taken advantage has been an understatement. Not only has he been the top position player, he might be the top player period in the farm system this season.
6. Brandon Drury, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (A+), ETA: 2016
Last 10 games: .357 AVG, 15 hits, 10 runs, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 7 walks, 7 Ks, 1 stolen base, .449 OBP
Season: 104 games, .299 AVG, 125 hits, 69 runs, 34 doubles, 1 triple, 19 HR, 80 RBI, 50 walks, 74 Ks, 4 Stolen Bases, .366 OBP
*Notes: If Lamb has been the number one positional player, Drury has been 1a. He has had an incredible month of July which has seen him hit .317 (best of any month), with six home runs (second most of any month) and 27 RBI (most of any month). Since the all-star break he is hitting .333 in 150 at-bats. To think this was not a top 20 prospect at the start of 2013. At the end of 2014, he could be top five.
7. Marcus Wilson, OF, AZL D-Backs (Arizona Rookie League), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .121 AVG, 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 RBI, 5 walks, 11 Ks, .237 OBP
Season (AZL): 24 games, .207 AVG, 17 hits, 12 runs, 1 double, 1 triple, 12 RBI, 13 walks, 27 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .323 OBP
*Notes: We welcome Marcus Wilson to the Dbacks on Deck blog for the first time. The D-Backs selected Wilson 69th overall in the second round in this past MLB Draft. The organization wanted to address it’s outfield depth and the selection of Wilson was their first attempt of the draft to do just that. Wilson will be 18 next month and was one of the youngest players selected. He is tall and skinny now standing 6-3, 175 and is very raw. But scouts believe he already shows some ability to make hard contact with some bat speed. The power will come as he trains and develops with the organization.
8. Jake Barrett, RHP, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2014
Last Week (Reno): 3 relief appearances, 2 saves, 3 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Reno): 14 relief appearances, 5 saves, 13.2 innings, 14 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 10 walks, 10 Ks, 5.27 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: Matt Stites and Nick Ahmed are ranked the eighth and ninth prospects in the system but seeing as they are currently up with the big league club and aren’t showing signs of being sent down any time soon, Barrett moves up to number eight. Barrett has been one of the top, if not the top closer-esk prospects in the system for the last two seasons. The former Sun Devil is knocking on the door for a call up to the big leagues with his stellar play. His time in Reno has seen him face the most adversity but he is growing and battling through it.
9. Andrew Velazquez, SS, South Bend SilverHawks (A), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .154 AVG, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 double, 3 RBI, 3 walks, 15 Ks, .214 OBP
Season (South Bend): 101 games, .291 AVG, 120 hits, 67 runs, 14 doubles, 14 triples, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 49 walks, 102 Ks, 40 stolen bases, .370 OBP
*Notes: A remarkable 2014 season has Velazquez not only in the top 20 but now in the top ten. The small speedy shortstop is an absolute threat every time he hits the base paths as seen with his 40 stolen bases and 67 runs scored in 101 games and that just tells a small part of the story. Velazquez set a minor league record for most consecutive games getting on base. He passed former Red Sox teammates Kevin Millar and Kevin Youkilis by reaching base more than 71 games in a row which started back on April 22nd and ended on July 18th.
10. Sergio Alcantara, SS, Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .237 AVG, 9 hits, 12 runs, 1 double, 1 RBI, 8 walks, 8 Ks, .370 OBP
Season: 38 games, .232 AVG, 35 hits, 22 runs, 4 doubles, 9 RBI, 26 walks, 35 Ks, 4 stolen bases, .348 OBP
*Notes: Alcantara may not hit as often as he would like but man he is the prototypical lead-off hitter by every stretch of the word. Only a lead-off hitter can have more runs than hits in his last ten games plus walking as many times as he strikes out.
His fielding as of now is what makes him a top ten prospect but his ability at the plates looks like it is developing nicely.
11. Justin Williams, OF, Missoula Osprey (Pioneer Rookie League), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .500 AVG, 22 hits, 9 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 6 RBI, 4 walks, 8 Ks, .531 OBP
Season: 41 games, .402 AVG, 68 hits, 29 runs, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 16 walks, 40 Ks, 1 stolen base, .449 OBP
*Notes: This guy can flat hit. You read that right, he is batting .500 in his last ten games. He has 22 hits in 44 at bats. That’s just ridiculous and has his season average up to over .400 though 41 games. He may not be hitting for as much power but man that is really nit-picking. Williams hit .345 in 37 games for Missoula last season before being called up to South Bend to play three games before 2013 came to a close. Do not be surprised to see him get the call back up to South Bend or maybe even Visalia in the very near future.
12. Stryker Trahan, OF, South Bend Silver Hawks (A), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .229 AVG, 8 hits, 2 runs, 4 doubles, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 17 Ks, .308 OBP
Season: 95 games, .198 AVG, 73 hits, 47 runs, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 30 walks, 146 Ks, 3 Stolen Bases, .264 OBP
*Notes: Trahan has seen him go from the number five prospect in the organization to number 12 because of his lack of hitting this season. He has been below the Mendoza Line all year and continues to struggle to get above it. July believe it or not has been hit best hitting month of the season but it’s not saying much. July has seen him hit .207 with 11 extra base hits. A small streak Stryker is currently riding should definitely be noted however. He has hit safely in four straight games going seven for 16 in that span. One of the best stretches of games he has had all season.
13. Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last week: 2 relief appearances, 2 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 2 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Mobile): 26 relief appearances (2-0), 1 save, 26 innings, 23 hits, 13 runs (all earned), 14 walks, 30 Ks, 4.50 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: After getting off to a fantastic start to the year in Visalia, his start in Mobile in May in June making 18 appearances wasn’t exactly pretty. He had an ERA of 6.00 in May and then 7.00 in June. But July has been another story. In eight appearances in July, he has not given up a single run while just giving up four hits, three walks and striking out six in eight appearances. He has been lights out and riding quite the hot streak.
14. Matt Railey, OF, Missoula Osprey (Rookie League), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .324 AVG, 12 hits, 6 runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 walks, 4 Ks, 1 stolen base, .359 OBP
Season (Missoula): 13 games, .267 AVG, 12 hits, 7 runs, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 walks, 7 Ks, 1 stolen base, .327 OBP
*Notes: I mentioned drafting outfield was a big desire for the Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft. We already talked about the first one they selected in Marcus Wilson. Well, the second was Matt Railey in the third round, 89th overall out of North Florida Christian Academy. The 19 year-old impressed scouts with his natural hitting ability having an easy, loose swing and uses his quick hands and strength to drive the ball. He squares the ball up well and hits plenty of line drives. He has solid power, but is at his best when he is driving balls into the gaps and not looking for home runs.
15. Cody Reed, LHP, AZL D-Backs (Arizona Rookie League), ETA: 2018
Last week: 1 start (Loss), 2 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 0 Ks, 22.50 ERA
Season (AZL): 7 starts (0-1), 13.2 innings, 14 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 5 walks, 15 Ks, 3.29 ERA
*Notes: It’s a shame we introduce Reed, the 54th overall pick of the Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft after his worst start as a professional. In his first six starts, he did not give up a single earned run while sporting a 15:3 K:BB ratio. Three innings has been the max for the young lefty who just turned 18 last month. There was a buzz around big Reed during his senior year of high school as he elevated his fastball velocity from 88-90 mph to 92-95. That increase helped him jump into the second round, where the D-backs selected the 6-3, 245 pounder. He also has a very good slider that complements his fastball and loves to pound the zone.
16. Zach Borenstein, OF. Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 10 games: .182 AVG, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 double, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 walks, 7 Ks, .300 OBP
Season (Mobile): 20 games, .250 AVG, 19 hits, 11 runs, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 10 walks, 16 Ks, 3 stolen bases, .337 OBP
Season (w/Angles org): 78 games, .262 AVG, 79 hits, 34 runs, 17 doubles, 2 triples, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 24 walks, 86 Ks, 6 stolen bases, .342 OBP
*Notes: It’s amazing when you look at from the first Dbacks on Deck blog to this one, there are now five outfielders listed compared to two at the beginning. Shows the focus of the organization as they selected two high in the draft and added one (Borenstein) via trade. Zach hasn’t hit for average as well as he did last season in the Angels organization earning him the minor league player of the year for them. But has still been very steady hitting for great power and driving in runs like his life depends on it. 13 RBI in 20 games for Mobile is very impressive.
17. Daniel Palka, 1B, South Bend Silver Hawks (A), ETA: 2016
Last 10 games: .324 AVG, 11 hits, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 10 walks, 6 Ks, 1 stolen base, .477 OBP
Season: 102 games, .260 AVG, 102 hits, 54 runs, 22 doubles, 5 triples, 20 HRs, 75 RBI, 49 walks, 111 Ks, 8 stolen bases, .342 OBP
*Notes: Palka remains the cream of the crop in the Diamondbacks organization with his ability to hit for power. He leads the farm system with 20 home runs and has exactly 102 hits in 102 games. Pretty impressive feat. Yes he does strike out often which power hitters will do but he balances that out with his ability to draw walks. In fact over his last ten games, he has drawn more walks than he has been K’ed which is almost unheard of in baseball today.
18. Andrew Chafin, LHP, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2015
Last week: 2 starts (1-1), 14.1 innings, 15 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks, 10 Ks, 3.19 ERA
Season (Reno): 13 starts (4-5), 72.2 innings, 91 hits, 52 runs (45 earned), 28 walks, 56 Ks, 5.57 ERA
Season (Mobile): 9 starts (4-1), 55 innings, 49 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 19 walks, 41 Ks, 1.96 ERA
*Notes: Most of the runs Chafin gave up in the last week was from his most recent start. His first start was fantastic throwing 7.2 innings without surrendering an earned run or a walk to go with four strikeouts. They say the Pacific Coast League is a pitchers nightmare and judging by the number of long balls Chafin has given up since his call up to Reno, that definitely would seem to be the case. He has given up nine total home runs in his 13 starts with the Aces.
19. Daniel Gibson, LHP, Visalia Rawhide (A+), ETA: 2016
Last Week (Visalia): 4 relief appearances (2-0), 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 run (unearned), 0 walks, 7 Ks, 0.00 ERA
Season (Visalia): 10 relief appearances (3-1), 12.2 innings, 14 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 3 walks, 14 Ks, 5.68 ERA
Season (South Bend): 37 relief appearances (3-2), 3 saves, 33.1 innings, 25 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 14 walks, 43 Ks, 2.16 ERA.
*Notes: Gibson looks to have settled into a solid middle relief role with Visalia. It took him a while to get adjusted as he was shelled in three of his first six outings. But last week was his best week yet as he did not give up a single earned run in four appearances. You hope to see the success continue because he was special with what he was doing on the mound in 37 games for South Bend.
20. Joe Munoz, 3B, South Bend Silver Hawks (A), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .143 AVG, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 double, 4 RBI, 5 walks, 14 Ks, 1 stolen base, .262 OBP
Season (South Bend): 48 games, .257 AVG, 46 hits, 29 runs, 10 doubles, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 21 walks, 51 Ks, 1 stolen base, .340 OBP
Season (AZL): 4 games, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 3 Ks, .368 OBP
*Notes: Munoz looks to have returned to being the every day third baseman for South Bend after being brought back into the fold slowly following his second trip to the disables list this season. He was the shortstop at the start of the year but seeing what Andrew Valazquez has done, the only way to get him on the field with any regularity is at third. That right there tells the story of Munoz in 2014. Injuries have really hampered any rhythm or momentum for him. He has shown some incredible things at the plate when healthy, but that in itself has been hard.
Top 20 prospect outstanding performer last week: Justin Williams, OF, Missoula
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Brandon Drury (Visalia) – 125
-Home runs: David Palka (South Bend) – 20
-Runs batted in: Brandon Drury (Visalia) – 80
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Strikeouts: Aaron Blair (Visalia and South Bend) – 141
-Earned Run Average: Yefrey Ramirez (AZL D-Backs) – 1.93
-WHIP: Yefrey Ramirez (AZL D-Backs) – 0.80