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 even though 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. Braden Shipley, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 2 weeks: 3 starts (1-2), 17.2 innings, 17 hits, 7 runs (all earned), 6 walks, 11 Ks.
Season (Mobile): 13 starts (3-6), 66 innings, 71 hits, 38 runs (35 earned), 4 HRs, 35 walks, 47 Ks, 4.77 ERA, 1.61 WHIP
*Notes: Shipley has had his ups and his downs this season and that consistency has made it look as if he has taken a step back in 2015 after a very solid 2014 in the organization. The biggest issue is the amount of hits he has given up with batters hitting .282 off of him in his 66 innings of work. He has managed to pitch a little deeper into games than he was earlier but of his 13 starts, he has pitched at least six innings in a game just four times. I am sure the former Nevada Wolfpack standout was looking forward to a homecoming to Reno this season in being called up to Triple-A but he will need to nail down some consistency in the Southern League first.
2. Aaron Blair, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 2 weeks: 2 starts (1-1), 13 innings, 15 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 11 Ks
Season (Mobile): 13 starts (6-3), 83.1 innings, 70 hits, 28 runs (25 earned), 8 HRs, 23 walks, 64 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
*Notes: Blair was named the organizations Minor League Pitcher of the month after a fantastic May which saw him go 3-1 with a 0.89 ERA in 40 innings pitched. Last season, if Shipley was the top performing starting pitcher in the system, Blair was 1a. But this season, Shipley has been a monster and is putting up Archie Bradley-esk numbers from two seasons ago in Mobile. And what really has you excited about his development is his lack of walks given up. Other than his one blow-up outing this season where he walked six and gave up five earned runs in five innings pitched on June 2nd, he has walked at most one batter in eight of his 13 starts. Check out Blair doing it with the bat as well with an RBI triple back on 5/28 to help his own cause:
3. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Last 2 Weeks: 2 starts (1-0), 12 innings, 12 hits, 9 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 7 Ks
Season (Kane County): 6 starts (1-2), 33 innings, 30 hits, 19 runs (16 earned), 4 HRs, 14 walks, 24 Ks, 4.36 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
*Notes: Instead of waiting around in the Arizona Rookie League waiting for the season to start in Missoula, the organization decided to get Touki’s season rolling in Kane County mid-way through May and now has six starts under his belt. At just 18 years of age still, the former D-Backs first rounder will have his growing pains getting used to life on the road but there have already been a lot of positive signs so far. Batters are hitting just .244 off of him and he has thrown six innings in four of those six starts. It will be exciting to see his growth over the course of the 2015 season once he gets more and more comfortable. Check out video of Toussaint getting himself out of some trouble with a big curveball for the K:
4. Yoan Lopez, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2016
Last 2 weeks: No starts, currently listed on Disable List
Season (Mobile): 6 appearances, 5 starts (1-2), 31.1 innings, 25 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 3 HRs, 13 walks, 23 Ks, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
*Notes: Lopez hasn’t pitched since May 19th and has been dealing with an annoying blood blister on his throwing hand. It’s a shame too because in his three starts before this blister became an issues, he had thrown a combined 17 innings giving up just two earned runs, with seven walks and 10 strikeouts. His most recent start was limited to just three innings before he was taken out early and sent back to the DL. Once he gets healthy, there could be the opportunity for a start at the big league level if starters like Robbie Ray and Allen Webster are not long term solutions in the rotation will Patrick Corbin is still working his way back.
5. Brandon Drury, 2B/3B, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2016
Last 10 games: .238 AVG, 10 hits, 4 runs, 1 double, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 walks, 9 Ks.
Season: 63 games, .276 AVG, 71 hits, 21 runs, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HRs, 33 RBI, 11 walks, 38 Ks, 2 stolen bases, .305 OBP, .667 OPS
*Notes: Drury’s numbers aren’t bad for an every day player in the organization but for him, they are definitely down from what we have seen over the last two seasons. He has been a doubles and RBI machine and had the ability to hit the long ball. His output in all of those phases as well as his on-base percentage is lower than usual. Exactly a year ago on June 17th, Drury was hitting .280 with 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 49 RBI. He was blazing hot out of the gates last year so it is hard to expect him to do it every year, but it is worth noting just how much of a dip those doubles, home runs and RBI’s have taken from one year to the next. He is still the most elite hitting prospect that this organization has to offer and depending on the situation in September for the D-Backs, he could get a look before season’s end.
6. Peter O’Brien, C/OF, Reno Aces (AAA), ETA: 2015
Last 10 games: .244 AVG, 11 hits, 5 runs, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 walk, 12 Ks
Season (Reno): 61 games, .314 AVG, 75 hits, 40 runs, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 12 walks, 57 Ks, 1 stolen base, .354 OBP, .927 OPS
*Notes: O’Brien’s story has been one of the most intriguing ones of the year to this point within the Diamondbacks organization. First it’s the spring training issues at catcher which forced him to move to outfield. Then the move back to catcher where he played 10 games in the first month or so. New (accidentally) was leaked that he had a meeting with Triple-A Manager Phil Nevin about how he just strictly wants to play outfield but the Diamondbacks quickly put the kibosh on that story. When Kevin Towers acquired O’Brien in the Prado deal, it was known that he could hit the cover off the ball put his fielding needed work. That has 100% been the case and the lack of trust in his ability defensively behind home plate has led to the big league club adding two catchers since spring training ended instead of calling him up. On the season, O’Brien has played 40 of his 61 games in the outfield with 11 behind the plate and some time at first base or DH sprinkled in. It’s a wonder if he will get the call up this season playing primarily the outfield and seeing the log jam of outfields already up with the big league club. Check out video of O’Brien belting a three-run bomb earlier this week:
7. Robbie Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), ETA: 2015
Last 2 weeks (D-Backs): 3 starts (1-1), 18.2 innings, 12 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 7 walks, 11 Ks
Season (D-Backs): 4 starts (2-1), 24.2 innings, 17 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 7 walks, 16 Ks, 1.09 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
Season (Reno): 9 starts (2-3), 41.2 innings, 44 hits, 21 runs (17 earned), 1 HR, 27 walks, 57 Ks, 3.67 ERA, 1.70 WHIP
*Notes:Ray looks to have cemented a role in the Diamondbacks rotation for the foreseeable future with Josh Collmenter being sent to the bullpen and Allen Webster taking his place. That means when Patrick Corbin returns, Webster and not Ray could be looking at being sent down. A lot of that is as a result of how Ray has pitched in his four starts with the big league club. He has actually pitched far better in the Majors than he has in the minors. Batters were hitting .280 off of him in the Pacific Coast League which is known as a hitters league and against him in the Majors, batters are hitting just .195. It’s just the the hitters though, it’s also his control. The walks have been considerably down in the big leagues. Ray was a key acquisition in the trade that sent Didi Gregorious to the Yankees. It was said that the Tigers opted to part with Ray of Shane Green as part of the three-team deal and so far this year, Greene has been demoted back to the minors after starting the year in the MLB and Ray is making it hard for the D-Backs to send him back down. So far so good on that deal for the D-Backs.
8. Domingo Leyba, 2B/SS, Visalia Rawhide (A+), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: .167 AVG, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 9 Ks, 1 stolen base
Season (Visalia): 58 games, .217 AVG, 52 hits, 26 runs, 6 doubles, 3 triples, 0 HR, 23 RBI, 9 walks, 41 Ks, 7 stolen bases, .244 OBP, .511 OPS
*Notes: Leyba just hasn’t been able to find the groove that was seen in spring training where he was tearing the cover off the ball. He has a very high ceiling with his ability to hit for average as to this point in 182 minor league games, he has a career .294 average and is a playmaker tallying 290 total bases and driving in 83 runs in that span. But his adjustment to the new organization has not yet come through. We will all just need to be patient until he gets back to being him. Here is nice video of Leyba showing off his range defensively at short:
9. Jake Barrett, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 2 weeks (all w/Mobile): 3 relief appearances, 5 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 Ks
Season (Reno): 22 relief appearances, 11 saves in 13 opportunities, 23 innings, 27 hits, 15 runs (13 earned), 1 HR, 12 walks, 21 Ks, 5.09 ERA, 1.70 WHIP
*Notes: Had been a lights out nine for nine in save chances to start the season and I was calling for him to get a shot up with big league. But then the wheels came off and it has led to him being demoted back down to Double-A Mobile. In his last four appearances with Reno, he gave up a combined seven runs in 3+ innings of work. Mobile was the place two years ago and for about half of last season where Barrett was as reliable a closer the organization had. The demotion without question is an opportunity for Barrett to get his confidence back. Adam Miller is still handling the closer duties for Mobile despite the return of Barrett to their bullpen. Miller is seven for nine in save chances on the year.
10. Sergio Alcantara, SS, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: Sent back to Scottsdale to compete in extended spring training
Season (Kane County): 20 games, 8 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 17 Ks, .113 AVG, .169 OBP, .296 OPS
*Notes: The Diamondbacks are doing a great job in their handling of Sergio so far this season. The 18 year old got off to a rough start in A ball hitting just .169 and struggling to make contact piling up 17 Ks in 71 at bats. The team decided to send the young and promising star back to play in extended spring training games for the time being to get his rhythm back. Alcantara is said to almost be big league ready with his glove but adjusting at the plate to the pro level will be his biggest hurdle. But he has plenty of time as he just became legal in America this past July.
11. Jeferson Mejia, RHP, Kane County Cougars (A), ETA: 2018
Last 2 weeks: No appearances
Season: 6 starts, 4 relief appearance (0-2), 34.1 innings, 38 hits, 29 runs (24 earned), 1 HR, 31 walks, 17 Ks, 6.29 ERA, 2.01 WHIP
*Notes: Mejia was brought to the Diamondbacks organization in the Miguel Montero trade with the Cubs and so far the adjustment to the new team has been a struggle. After seeing him in ten appearences in which he put up a horrendous K:BB ratio, Mejia has been sidelined and has not appeared in a game in June with his last relief outing coming on May 27th where in two innings of work, he gave up six earned runs on four hits and five walks. The D-Backs will look to get the 20 year old back to basics as it will be very tough for him to get passed A ball with these sort of struggles.
12. Marcus Wilson, OF, AZL-Dbacks (Arizona Rookie League), ETA: 2018
Season (Mobile): Arizona Rookie League Begins on June 18th and will have more on him on the next edition of Dbacks on Deck. He has been participating in extended Spring Training.
*Notes: The Diamondbacks needed to add outfield depth last season in their system and part of their way of doing so was drafting Wilson 69th overall in the 2014 draft. He played 39 games in the Arizona Rookie League last season which is where he will start this year. He is a long player standing 6-3 with long arms and actually had contact troubles last season because of his long swing. He has put on some bulk this offseason and looks to display some more power than we saw in 2014.
13. Stryker Trahan, C, Visalia Rawhide (A+) ETA: 2018
Last 10 games: 6 since being called up to Visalia: .167 AVG, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 HRs, 3 RBI, 1 walk, 9 Ks
Season (Kane County): 50 games, 45 hits, 27 runs, 14 doubles, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 11 walks, 56 Ks, .254 AVG, .296 OBP, .827 OPS
*Notes: Trahan was playing as good of baseball as he has played in the Diamondbacks organization since being selected in the first round in 2012 in his first 50 games with Kane County which led him to getting called up to Visalia. The high strikeout rate is still there but the 45 hits in 177 at-bats in those 50 games is as good as we’ve seen and the power displayed in that span is reflective of a top 15 prospect. Now can he gave it translate to the next level of play? He hit a solo blast in his first game up with the Rawhide but other than that, is on a four for 24 stretch in his first six games. In true Stryker fashion, two of those four hits are home runs. He is still just 21 years old and this season hoped to be a big bounce back season for him after struggling for much of 2014. He has been back at catcher full time as well this season after spending most his time in the outfield. Check out Trahan smacking a two-run double in what was his second to last game in Kane County before getting called up:
14. Socrates Brito, OF, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2017
Last 10 games: .162 AVG, 6 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 0 RBI, 4 walks, 7 Ks, 3 stolen bases
Season (Mobile): 61 games, 62 hits, 29 runs, 10 doubles, 6 triples, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 9 walks, 40 Ks, 7 stolen bases, .265 AVG, .290 OBP, .662 OPS
*Notes: Brito hit over .280 in April and May to pick up where he left off after a great 2014 campaign but looks to have cooled off considerably in June to this point with just nine hits in 49 at-bats over a 13 game stretch. Hitting lefties is an area of needed improvement for the left hander. In 32 at-bats vs southpaw pitchers he is hitting just .156 with one extra base hit. June was his hot month a year ago which saw him hit .320 in 22 games. Hopefully he can turn this month around in the last two weeks of the month.
15. Jimmy Sherfy, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA), ETA: 2015
Last 2 weeks: 4 relief appearances, 4.1 innings, 3 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 2 Ks,
Season: 23 relief appearances (0-3), 1 save in 4 opportunities, 25.2 innings, 26 hits, 15 runs (14 earned), 1 HR, 10 walks, 24 Ks, 4.91 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
*Notes: It has been closer by committee for Mobile to start the year and Sherfy got the nod to get the first save but blew it. Mobile gave the rock to Enrique Burgos until he was called up to the Bigs straight from Double-A before getting injured and then the ball was given to Adam Miller for the most part since. But Sherfy has been given the opportunity a couple times over the last couple weeks. The first opportunity saw him get his first save of the year in a perfect ninth. The second was a trainwrek in which he gave up four earned runs and walked two in 0.1 innings. It continues to be the story with Sherfy as he will have a fantastic stretch of innings in relief but then will have a few blow ups which balloon his stats and overshadow the good work he has done. Now with Jake Barrett in the mix in the bullpen too in Mobile, save chances might be hard to come by but for Sherfy, it’s still all about consistency and what needs to be pointed out is that his walks are way down which could help tremendously.
16. Cody Reed, LHP, Missoula Osprey (Rook), ETA: 2018
Season: Missoula Begins 2015 season on June 18th and is currently throwing extended Spring Training games.
*Notes: Reed was the second starting taken by the Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft. He was a little over shadowed by their first round pick Toussaint but really performed well on the diamond in his 14 appearances after being drafted in the second round. He has a mid to low 90s fastball and a sharp slider which made Alabama High School players nuts last year. The left has been known as an innings eater while being scouted and they are hoping that translates in his first full year as a pro.
17. Jose Herrera, C, Missoula Osprey (Rook), ETA: 2018
Season: Missoula Begins 2015 season on June 18th and is currently throwing extended Spring Training games.
*Notes: Herrera was ranked the number one ranked international catching prospect when the Diamondbacks signed him in 2013. 2014 was his first year of American baseball coming from the Dominican Republic and he did not disappoint. He is known for his defense and ability to call a game while throwing out 35% of base stealers. His hitting just needs to catch up. Catching depth is no longer an issues around the big league level and upper minor leagues. This is the catcher of the future if players like O’Brien and Hernandez don’t pan out.
18. Dansby Swanson, SS
Season: Selected by the Diamondbacks 1st overall in the first round. Currently still playing for Vanderbilt in the 2015 College World Series.
*Notes: There is a lot of excitement as the Diamondbacks drafted a player who has absolutely torn up the college baseball landscape this season and is the leader for a Vanderbilt team who is looking to repeat as national champs. During the Commodores 2014 run, Swanson was named the Most Outstanding Player as he hit .323 playing second base. He was moved to shortstop this season and was named first-team all-SEC at Short hitting for average once again and also power which raised his draft stock like crazy. The Diamondbacks are high on their current shortstop in Nick Ahmed and have good young depth at the position but they still went after Dasnby who could rush up the farm system. Once officially signed with the team, Swanson will be considered a top ten prospect in the organization.
19. Alex Young, LHP
Season: Selected by the Diamondbacks in the second round, 43rd overall in the 2015 MLB Draft.
*Notes: The Diamondbacks passed on pitcher first overall and went with a fielder and despite doing so, still made out very well with the pitcher they selected in the second round. On Tuesday, Alex Young faced off against his future teammate Dansby Swanson and Vanderbilt and pitched incredible. He took a no hitter into the seventh inning before giving up his first hit and TCU ultimately lost their winners bracket game after beating LSU in the opening game of the College World Series. Young is a power throwing southpaw who has rocked 91 strikeouts in 89.2 innings pitched for TCU this season to go with a 2.31 ERA. There are many who believe that he could initially be best suited as a reliever which he did in his first two years with the Horned Frogs. That might put him on a faster track to the Bigs. But he still has proved this season he can get it done starting. He too will be in the middle of the top 20 prospects once signed with the team and places somewhere in the organization once his college season is over.
20. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mobile BayBears (AA)
Last 10 games: .333 AVG, 12 hits, 5 runs, 3 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 walks, 8 Ks, 1 stolen base
Season: 52 games, 42 hits, 23 runs, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 15 walks, 31 Ks, .284 AVG, .347 OBP, .732
*Notes: Catcher Oscar Hernandez and pitcher Jose Martinez are technically ranked ahead of Haniger on the list of top D-Backs prospects according to mlb.com but in an effort to add the top two prospects and seeing as both prospects have not played in a game yet this season due to injury, I have chosen to spotlight the great work the 24 year old Haniger is doing in Mobile this season. After a slow start in April, Haniger hit .297 in May and has followed that up by hitting .317 in June in the middle of the BayBears order. He does a little of everything for them could see a call up to Reno if he keeps this up.
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical hitting leaders:
-Hits: Marty Herum (3B, Kane County) – 78
-Home runs: Stewart Ijames (OF, Visalia) – 14
-Runs batted in: Nick Evans (1B, Reno) – 56
Diamondbacks full minor league statistical pitching leaders:
-Strikeouts: Zack Godley (RHP, Visalia) – 76
-Earned Run Average: Zack Godley (RHP, Visalia) – 2.21
-WHIP: Zack Godley (RHP, Visalia) – 1.08