In what I intend to make a weekly series, I will take a look today at the top prospects and performers in the Dbacks organization. Because of the All-Star breaks in AA and AAA last week and because there are no other posts to overlap with at this point, I’m going to monitor July stats and performances.
Matt Davidson. Baseball America’s #4 prospect in the organization this preseason is the top prospect in AAA right now, and he has come on strong in the happy hitters’ haven of Reno. In 299 April-June at bats, Davidson launched 10 homers; in July, he’s stepped up his homer-hitting ways with 5 HR in 61 at bats (and that doesn’t count the rocket from the Futures Game). He has also really racheted up the walks so far in July (14BB in 75 PA, versus 23BB in 322 PA April-June). It is hard to tell, of course, what is a mirage here — the PCL inflates offensive numbers off the board, and while Davidson’s home numbers this season are inspiring (.323/.380/.550, 8 HR in 189 AB), one wonders if the road statistics are more telling (.257/.338/.450, 7 HR in 171 AB). Reports on his defense remain favorable.
Season totals: 360 AB, 105 H, 37 BB, 15 HR, 43 XBH — .292/.360/.503
July through the 22nd: 61 AB, 18 H, 14 BB, 5 HR, 9 XBH — .295/.427/.623
Chris Owings. Not far behind Davidson in ranking, age or development, Owings came into the season ranked #7 by BA in the Dbacks organization. Although Didi Gregorius is firmly entrenched at short for the big club, Didi has come back to earth at the plate since mid-May, and Owings could see an opportunity in event of injury. If Didi got hurt, Owings would play; if Aaron Hill got hurt again, the hole could possibly get filled at second by Owings (he has 10 games there with Reno so far this season) — unless Davidson was called up to man third (with Martin Prado shifting back over to second as he did earlier this season). Still just 21 years old, Owings has been strong all season, keeping up the pace in July and hitting just as much on the road (.351) as at home (.351). The only knock on his offense has been his unwillingness to walk all season.
Season totals: 438 AB, 154 H, 16 BB, 11 HR, 40 XBH — .352/.376/.505
July through the 22nd: 75 AB, 25 H, 5 BB, 4 HR, 8 XBH — .333/.375/.573
Archie Bradley. As recently discussed in this space, Bradley has shot up sport-wide prospect lists of late. Bradley burned the High A California League to the ground in April, allowing a mere 4 ER in 28.2 IP (1.26 ERA) and getting 43 whiffs (a ridiculous 13.50 K/9IP). Since his callup to the AA Southern League at the beginning of May, Bradley has posted a 2.20 ERA in 14 starts, averaging under 6 IP per start as the Dbacks sought to monitor his innings for the season. After reaching 136 IP as a 19-year-old in Low A last season, we can expect the Dbacks to cap Bradley in the 160-170 IP range, especially with his control showing some signs of fatigue. With 110.2 innings logged at this point, Bradley is unlikely to get shut down before the end of the AA season, as there’s really only time for 9 more starts. The innings total does mean that Bradley is unlikely to start 9 more games and then pitch for the big club, unless, say, he comes to Phoenix to pitch in relief in early August…
Season totals (HiA and AA): 1.95 ERA, 8-4, 123 K, 46 BB in 110.2 IP (10.00K/9, 3.74BB/9, 2.67K/BB)
July through the 22nd: 2.93 ERA, 0-1, 13 K, 7 BB in 15.1 IP (7.63K/9, 4.11BB/99, 1.86K/BB)
David Holmberg. BA’s #6 for the Dbacks this preseason has spent more than a year with the BayBears now, and while he hasn’t been lights-out, there probably isn’t much more for Holmberg to learn at the level. Since last year, Holmberg has walked batters at a slightly higher rate, but it seems to be part of a plan, as he also has been hit significantly less often. Holmberg’s ceiling is probably that of a #3 starter, with a #4 role more likely. Holmberg could also be a candidate for a relief cameo, although with Holmberg built up to 173.1 IP last year, an innings cap is unlikely to come into play. Holmberg hit a bump in the road last week (the 14th) in the form of the Miami Marlins’ AA affiliate, but his overall numbers still look good.
Season totals: 2.97 ERA, 5-5, 84 K, 33 BB in 118.1 IP (6.39K/9, 2.51BB/9, 2.55 K/BB)
July through the 22nd: 6.32 ERA, 1-1, 12 K, 7 BB in 15.2 IP (6.89K/9, 4.02BB/9, 1.71 K/BB)
Andrew Chafin. 2011 college draftee Andrew Chafin entered the season ranked 9th in the organization by both BA and ESPN’s Keith Law. Thought by some to be destined for a relief role, Chafin has been no worse than Holmberg this season since reaching AA in May. In fact, Chafin has performed better as the season has progressed, landing in AA softly with a 3.30 ERA in May and improving to 2.78 in June and 2.63 so far in July.
Season totals (HiA and AA): 3.36 ERA, 10-6, 92 K, 46 BB in 130.2 IP (6.02K/9, 3.21BB/9, 2.00 K/BB)
July through the 22nd: 2.63 ERA, 3-0, 16 K, 5 BB in 24 IP (6.00K/9, 1.88BB/9, 3.20 K/BB)
Brandon Drury. Drury’s status has risen in the eyes of many scouts this year, on the back of a monster season at Low A South Bend, amassing 52 base hits in 379 at-bats. Part of the Justin Upton trade with Atlanta in the off season, Drury struggled mightily at the same level last year in the Braves organization. Drury has earned raves for his work ethic, as this Baseball America piece by Brian Lester details, and while his plate discipline is no concern currently, the Dbacks’ internal evaluations will probably draw heavily from whether it improves. It could be that Drury ends up a slow mover, needing time to adjust to each minor league level; due to turn 21 next month, the third baseman is unlikely to reach the majors before 2016 (if at all). Nonetheless, that progression tracks well with the Martin Prado contract, and he could be Prado’s heir apparent if Matt Davidson is moved via trade.
Season totals: 379 AB, 120 H, 24 BB, 12 HR, 52 XBH — .317/.358/.528
July through the 22nd: 82 AB, 29 H, 5 BB, 1 HR, 9 XBH — .354/.398/.500
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