Before moving on to recent minor league performances, I wanted to bring up a great piece by John Sickels over at minorleagueball.com. In it, John breaks down his Arizona Diamondbacks Preseason Top 20 list and gives updates on each player. It’s definitely worth reading in its entirety, but here are some very quick notes.
- Archie Bradley: arguably top pitching prospect in the game
- David Holmberg: looks like a ground ball innings-eater
- Jake Barrett: potential high-leverage
- Stryker Trahan: hitting some, but defense is still a work in progress
- Chris Owings: always hits but plate discipline is a concern
- Matt Davidson: still has raw power, still has contact issues
- Tyler Skaggs: tough start in the majors but should grow and make adjustments
- Chase Anderson: hasn’t faired well in Reno thus far, but it is the PCL
- Keon Broxton: bat just hasn’t materialized for the gifted athlete
- Michael Perez: good defender but hasn’t figured out how to hit yet
While a few guys have struggled, most of the top prospects have held their own or improved their stock. Several guys have graduated to the majors leaving a lot of room for young guys to emerge. Look for several new names on this list come early spring. There will be lots of guys from the rookie leagues or short season who pop up, some of which you may find below.
Reno Aces (50-76)
Hitter of the Week: Tyler Bortnick, 2B
In case you don’t recall, Bortnick is the guy that we got in exchange for Ryan Roberts late last year when we sent Tat Man to the Rays. Although he’s a pretty fringy prospect, he’s been on fire as of late with 13 hits in his last nine games. Unfortunately, he’s a singles hitter but has stolen four bags over that span. He’s a big league utility man at best.
Also of Note: Ed Easley, C
Easley, a former sandwich round pick from 2007, is enjoying his best season as a pro. The question is whether he’s finally turned a corner or if he’s the just the latest hitter to benefit from the luxury of the PCL. He’s 14 for 32 with a double and seven RBI over his last week. He’s never shown much pop but could be a backup catcher down the road.
Pitcher of the Week: Charlie Brewer, RHP
On August 8th, Brewer threw a solid eight innings, scattering six hits and giving up two earned. It wasn’t as dominating of a win as one might think, however, as he only struck out one. He’s had some ups and downs this year and can be an effective pitcher but his lack of strikeouts really diminish his upside.
Also of Note: David Hernandez, RHP
More of a check-in, Hernandez threw two scoreless on the 13th, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two. He didn’t exactly dominate in his first minor league appearance since 2010. He recorded mostly fly ball outs, suggesting that he hasn’t ironed out the issues that got him in trouble in the first place. Stay tuned…
Mobile BayBears (67-53)
Hitter of the Week: Ender Inciarte, CF
The speedy centerfielder has been hot, going 12 for 27 in the last week. Although he’s not known for his pop, he hit his fourth homer of the season on the 13th and has stolen four bases, too. A contact hitter all the way, he doesn’t strike out much and if he could find a way to put a few more balls in the gaps and walk a little more often, he just may find his way to the majors. He’s 22 and needs to keep it up.
Pitcher of the Week: Team Effort
On the 14th, something rare took place in Hutsville. The BayBears, led by Archie Bradley (5 IP, 7K, 5BB) threw a no hitter but used five different pitchers to get the job done. Matt Goren, Derek Eitel, Willy Paredes and Jake Barret each threw a scoreless inning of relief. While it’s a great story, the walks by Bradley are a little concerning and highlight how his command still comes and goes from time to time. Also of note, Jake Barret notched his 25th save of the season and looks like a promising relief arm.
Visalia Rawhide (67-56)
Hitter of the Week: Jake Lamb, 3B
Fresh off his rehab assignement in the Arizona League, Lamb has wasted no time getting back to work in Visalia. He’s 11 for 28 in his last nine games, including two home runs. He’s also walking more than he’s striking out of late, showcasing an advanced approach at the plate. It’ll be interesting to see if he can make his way up to AA before the year is out.
Pitcher of the Week: Andrew Barbosa, LHP
Barbosa threw an absolute gem on the 9th when he threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout. He only walked one and struck out 14 in the effort. Yes, this is impressive, but he’s also almost 25 and playing in High-A. I’d love to see what he can do in AA before the end of the season, but he’s going to have cut down the walks if he wants to do that. Unless he really improves, I’m thinking relief arm long-term.
South Bend Silver Hawks (75-47)
Hitter of the Week: Brandon Drury, 3B
Drury’s prospect status has been up and down. He was great in the APPY League in 2011 but struggled in the SALLY League in 2012. Now in full season Single-A, he’s back on track, hitting for average and power while keeping his K/BB ratio at a manageable level. Can he keep it up in 2014? Let’s hope so, as he’s hit nearly .300 with two home runs and three doubles in his last ten games.
Pitcher of the Week: Brad Allen, RHP
Allen threw a no-hitter on the 10th, which seemed completely outside the realm of possibility when he was pitching in independent ball just a year ago. Even before his masterpiece last week, he’s been tough to hit, allowing only 89 hits in his 109 innings in 2013. His ERA seems inflated and he might just see a late season promotion.
Hillsboro Hops (22-37)
Hitter of the Week: Yogey Perez-Ramos, OF
With a name like “Yogey” this dude has to rake, right? Drafted in the 17th round of the 2012 draft, he’s hitting the ball well in Hillsboro. His contact-heavy approach produces little pop, but he’s got some speed with 12 steals in only 59 games. He’s a little old for his league, diminishing his 10 for 29 week, and 2014 will be very important for is prospect status.
Pitcher of the Week: Daniel Gibson, LHP
Gibson was a 7th rounder from this year’s draft out of UCF and threw 20 scoreless relief innings for Hillboro before getting called up to South Bend just the other day. He’s been Hillsboro’s “other” relief ace with Jimmy Sherfy getting the bulk of the attention. If Gibson stays in the ‘pen, he could also move fast as the lefty gets his share of grounders and strikeouts.
AZL Diamondbacks (23-21)
Hitter of the Week: BJ Lopez, C
I liked Lopez’ athleticism behind the dish when I saw him in person about two weeks ago. While the bat is a work in progress, his approach is inspiring as he’s walked more than he’s struck out over the last week. At only 5’9”, the pop may not come in bunches but Lopez has been a leader for the team as it’s seen a number of highly-touted rookies receive promotions.
Pitcher of the Week: Bud Jeter, RHP
Jeter was originally assigned to Missoula of the Pioneer League but was sent down after 18 innings. Since joining the AZL squad he’s been stingy, striking out eight in 6.2 innings over his last three outings without giving up a run. Jeter was a 25th round pick in 2013 and at 21, needs a good start to is 2014 campaign to gain traction.
DSL Diamondbacks (27-32)
Hitter of the Week: Gerson Jimenez, 1B
Jimenez has been hot of late, going 7 for 22 with a home run since August 4th. In that same span, he’s shown patience at the plate by taking his walks and limiting the strikeouts. With young guys that are only 18, this is very encouraging. The pop will hopefully continue to grow as his solid 6’1” 200-pound frame should only get stronger.
Pitcher of the Week: Luis Castillo, RHP
The 6’2” righty has been rock-solid in his last two starts, giving up only seven hits over 12 combined innings while striking out 18. That’s dominance. The strikeouts are trending upwards and he’s always kept the walks down while allowing an average number of hits. At just 18, he’s a name to watch and look for in 2014.
Also of Note: Anderson Placido, LHP
Placido follows Castillo in the DSL Diamondbacks’ rotation and has been nearly as dominant. Over his last two starts (11 IP), he’s struck out 13 while walking only two and giving up seven combined hits. The lefty is a year-and-a-half older than Castillo, but has been more dominant over the course of the season. Look for him to move to the States with his rotation partner for 2014.
Missoula Osprey (22-32)
Hitter of the Week: Tyler Palka, 1B
Palka is a big first baseman with some raw power and he’s proving he can put it to use. He’s gone 10 for 32 in the last week, including five doubles. With power usually comes concerns about contact and while he’s not striking out too often, it would be nice to see him cut down on the whiffs as he’ll only face better pitching throughout his career. He’s walking some, proving that he has an understanding of the strike zone and I’d expect to see him in full season Single-A next year.
Also of Note: Stryker Trahan, C
The Diamondbacks’ 2012 first round pick, Trahan was advertised as a raw defensive catcher who had offensive upside. In his last eight games he’s gone 13 for 34, including four doubles and two dingers. He’s only 19, but in his second year of pro ball I’d like to see a little more production given the pedigree. His stock is holding right now, but 2014 will be a big test as I’d expect him to play his first full pro season.
Pitcher of the Week: Geordy Parra, RHP
Parra’s been dominant in relief this year for Missoula. Over his last three outings, he’s pitched six innings, struck out six, walked two and given up only one hit. At 6’2” and 165-pounds, you can expect him to fill out and gain strength. Perhaps he’ll get a chance to start down the road and his K/BB ratio suggests he can handle it. He’s 19 now and should play a full season in 2014.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and feel free to drop us a comment! Be sure to bookmark Inside the ‘Zona and follow me and Ryan on twitter! We’ll have another minor league recap up soon. Go D’Backs!
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