D-Backs Director of Player Development Previews 2015’s Top 10 Prospects

Arizona Sports News online

Welcome to the D-Backs on Deck blog, 2015 Edition! 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 for 2015 and their production throughout the season.

To get started, we get a preview of the top 10 prospects to start the 2015 season from Diamondbacks Director or Player Development, Mike Bell.

1. Archie Bradley, RHP, ETA: 2015

2014 Season (Mobile): 12 starts (2-3), 54.2 innings, 45 hits, 27 runs (25 earned), 36 walks, 46 Ks, 4.12 ERA

2014 Season (Reno): 5 starts (1-4), 24.1 innings, 26 hits, 14 runs (all earned), 12 walks, 23 Ks, 5.18 ERA

2014 Season (AZL): 1 start, 4 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 6 Ks, 4.50 ERA

*Preview from Mike Bell: I think last year was a 21 year-old man getting his feet wet in that kind of setting. He probably tried to force it a little too much and it was not his best year. But I think he learned from it and we saw it this spring applying what he learned. I think he has show that he can get major leaguers out, it’s another year, he knows how to prepare better, he just has to keep pitching and learn from the experiences that are in front of him.

2. Braden Shipley, RHP, ETA: 2015

2014 Season (Mobile): 4 starts (1-2), 20 innings, 14 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 10 walks, 18 Ks, 3.60 ERA

2014 Season (Visalia): 10 starts (2-4), 60.1 innings, 57 hits, 32 runs (27 earned), 21 walks, 69 Ks, 4.03 ERA

2014 Season (South Bend): 8 starts (4-2), 45.2 innings, 46 hits, 22 runs (19 earned), 11 walks, 41 Ks, 3.74 ERA

*Preview from Mike Bell: Last year was his first full season and we had a plan and sometimes it works out. The ultimate goal was to get him to Double-A and get him one year away from being a big leaguer. We sent him to the Mid-West league, he did well. Sent him to the Cal League, he did well. And then we finally got him to Mobile and that’s the best he was all year. He came out this spring and pitched well, is pitching well now in Minor League camp. He needs some more innings, more time but it wouldn’t surprise me if he is on the radar to get called up at some point this year. But I don’t think his year should be judged on whether or not he is.

3. Jake Lamb, 3B, ETA: 2015

2014 Season (D-Backs): 37 games, .230 AVG, 29 hits, 15 runs, 4 doubles, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 walks, 37 Ks, .263 OBP

2014 Season (Reno): 5 games, .318 AVG, 9 hits, 3 runs, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 walks, 4 Ks, 2 stolen bases .571 OBP

Season (Mobile): 103 games, .318 AVG, 119 hits, 60 runs, 35 doubles, 5 triples, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 50 walks, 99 Ks, .399 OBP

*Preview from Mike Bell: Last year was really his first full season since we drafted him after playing in a short season after drafting him or because of injuries. He started out slow in the first month but then went on a tear and never looked back. He did the same thing with his stint in the big leagues last season where he started out slow but picked it up in the last month of the season. Same thing for this spring training where it took him a little while to get going and now he’s doing everything and I think Jake has showed he is a big league player.

4. Aaron Blair, RHP, ETA: 2015

2014 Season (Mobile): 8 starts (4-1), 46.1 innings, 30 hits, 11 runs (10 earned), 16 walks, 46 Ks, 1.94 ERA

2014 Season (Visalia): 13 starts (4-2), 72.1 innings, 70 hits, 37 runs (35 earned), 21 walks, 81 Ks, 4.35 ERA

2014 Season (South Bend): 6 starts (1-2), 35.2 innings, 25 hits, 19 runs (16 earned), 14 walks, 44 Ks, 4.04 ERA

*Preview from Mike Bell: Aaron came into camp this spring and had some really good games. He will be there in Mobile to start the season and could be one move away from something happening. Once the season starts, that’s when the real competition begins.

5. Touki Toussaint, RHP, ETA: 2018

2014 Season (Missoula): 4 starts (1-1), 10 innings, 18 hits, 17 runs (all earned), 5 walks, 12 Ks, 15.30 ERA

2014 Season (AZL-Dbacks): 9 appearances, 7 starts (2-2), 22.2 innings, 24 hits, 21 runs (17 earned), 15 walks, 24 Ks, 6.75 ERA

*Notes: We saw two different things last year. We saw Touki dominate some hitters and then we saw him struggle at times just like an 18 year old should. As we got him into the instructional league, each game he got better and better and finished on a real positive high note. He’s young, he needs a lot more minor league innings, and we are going to be patient with him. We will do what’s right here for him at the end of camp but I expect him to get out of Extended Spring Training and get to an extended full or short season team this season.

6. Yoan Lopez, RHP, ETA: 2015

First Season with Diamondbacks Organization coming from Cuba

*Preview from Mike Bell: Electric arm, powerful arm, he’s got all of the pitches. He is going to be a big leaguer it’s just a young kid from Cuba and allowing him to feel comfortable and not push him too hard. Once he gets comfortable with his surroundings and his teammates, I think he will take off.

7. Brandon Drury, 2B/3B, ETA: 2016

2014 Season (Mobile): 29 games, .295 AVG, 31 hits, 12 runs, 7 doubles, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 7 walks, 19 Ks. .345 OBP

2014 Season (Visalia): 107 games, .300 AVG, 129 hits, 73 runs, 35 doubles, 1 triple, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 41 walks, 76 Ks, 4 Stolen Bases, .366 OBP

*Notes: This spring playing second base, you wouldn’t think he hadn’t done it that much since we traded for him. He played excellent defense and you could make the argument that he was the best hitter on the team during spring training for the time he was there. He can hit 20-30 home runs and hit .300 and drive in 120. This guy is extremely talented. The way he uses the whole field, I think he is just scratching the surface. It’s a tough game and he knows that he still needs more experiences and the key is building his base so that when he hits the big leagues, he won’t have to look back.

8. Peter O’Brien, C/OF, ETA: 2015

Season (Mobile): 4 games, .385 AVG, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 walk, 5 Ks, .429 OBP

Season (Yankees Org): 102 games, .266 AVG, 103 hits, 23 doubles, 2 triples, 33 HR, 40 RBI, 20 walks, 106 Ks, .318 OBP

*Preview from Mike Bell: I don’t think we will ever limit him to just one position. There might be times when he plays one position more than another. He is just trying to get his mechanics under wraps but he is so advanced offensively, we want him to get his bat going and give him that avenue to get back to the big leagues in whatever position that is but I think initially, in the minor leagues he will play more left field.

9. Robbie Ray, LHP , ETA: 2015

2014 Season with Washington Organization: Minors- 20 games, 19 starts, 100.1 IP, 7-6, 75 Ks, 44 BB, 4.22 ERA/Majors- 9 games, 6 starts, 28.2 IP, 1-4, 19 Ks, 11 BB, 8.16 ERA

*Notes:Power arm from the left side and has some tremendous stuff. He showed this spring he can get big league hitters out. Chip [Hale] and the guys will just have to determine when the right time is for him. He is a starter though he might have to come out of the bullpen at first but he definitely has the ability to start.

10. Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS, ETA: 2018

2014 Season with Tigers Organization: 67 games, .323 AVG, 84 hits, 40 runs, 18 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 14 walks, 30 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .360 OBP

*Preview from Mike Bell: We acquired him from the Tigers and he is playing short for us here and has been outstanding. He tore up the Mid-West League last year and he has not stopped hitting since I don’t think. In spring training he was getting at least one or two hits every day, driving the ball out of the ball park, played great defense. He is a young middle infielder who is going to start in Visalia and who knows how quick he will move. He certainly does some things that make you think he is going to climb the ladder really quick.

A born and bred Arizonan, Jared has had great passion for the hometown teams all his life. He now channel's that passion into covering the pro, college and high school teams around the state as a Multimedia Reporter for Sports360AZ.