The BayBears have been a force to be reckoned with in the Southern League since 2011. They’ve won two league titles and made the playoff consistently since that time, and with this roster, they’re definitely looking like heavy favorites to take the crown again. How long this core of players remains together is unknown, but they’re loaded with elite talent. Just as Visalia was stacked last year, Mobile is thick with marquee names in 2015.
Promotions will happen, however, and the names that are here won’t be here all year long. And that’s good news for Diamondbacks fans who’s like to see guys like Blair and Drury in the big leagues sooner than later. If anyone is going to see the majors in 2015, those two may be the odds on favorites. But we’ll get to that conversation in a little bit. First, have a look at some of the names on the Mobile roster:
*Four-star prospects represent players with clear major league upside, three-star prospects are players who have tools but indefinite major league upside, two-star prospects are players with intriguing talents but are questionable to reach the big league level
What to Look For
Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair are frontline talents. Everyone knows that. Shipley as great raw stuff but is still working on harnessing it fully and consistently. Blair has seen his stuff take a step forward and presumably a little more advanced. Both should see major league time in 2016, if not sooner. Brandon Drury join this group, creating an exciting trifecta. He will look to build off of a solid and inspiring spring. He should see the vast majority of his reps at second base where he could get some opportunities late in 2015 if everything clicks.
Yoan Lopez had an up-and-down spring and will look to adjust to American ball. With four pitches, he has the stuff to become a solid mid-rotation arm and he’ll face plenty of quality hitters in the Souther League. Enrique Burgos and Jimmie Sherfy have shutdown stuff out of the bullpen. Burgos throws hard and has a nasty slider to pair with his upper 90’s heat. Sherfy is funky and throws hard, too. If he can start to limit the walks, he’ll move quickly. Socrates Brito will be challenged but has some serious tools. AA pitching will be a strong test for him and how he adapts will say a lot about his ultimate upside.
Will Locate is a major league caliber reliever from the left side. He could see AAA sooner than later and will likely see the majors at some point in 2015. Mitch Haniger was netted in the Gerardo Parra trade from last season and still has some tools although his stock has dropped some. Alex Glenn has hit at every stop of the way but has never garnered much attention. A strong season from him could put him on the map. With power and average, he needs a good showing in the Southern League to prove that his 2014 wasn’t just a result of playing in Visalia.
This is a deep roster, loaded with future big leaguers. For most Diamondbacks fans, this will be the team to watch as several players should arrive in Phoenix in the next year or two. Not everyone will work out, but there’s enough talent here for several players to pass through even with the usual attrition rate built in. A trio of starters in Shipley, Blair and Lopez should result in plenty of quality starts while Burgos, Sherfy and Locante appear capable of slamming the door. Drury will lead the way at the plate but is surrounded by other quality hitting prospects in Brito and Glenn. This team is going to be a blast to watch!
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