Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm director Mike Bell called top catching prospect Stryker Trahan into his office about a month ago and asked him about possibly moving to the outfield. At the time, Trahan thought it was crazy but the more the two talked, the more it became something other than just a thought.
Before you know it, Trahan has converted from a coveted catching prospect in the organization to a new left fielder. Speaking to Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com, Trahan said he was on board, “I was on board with it from the beginning of the conversation, once I realized it was real — and that I had a great opportunity,” Trahan said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things that can come out of this.”
Ever since the D’backs tabbed him with their top pick in the 2012 Draft, the organization thought a move from behind the plate would be a possibility. The Snakes drafted him for his bat and they knew that because of his athleticism, a move to the OF wouldn’t be an issue. It could accelerate his development because his bat has always been ahead of his defense as Bell told Piecoro: “His hitting has always been ahead of the catching,” Bell said. “He was making some nice strides, but it was starting to hold him back.”
The 19-year old Trahan has been showing a lot progress at the plate. According to Piecoro, he had 167 at-bats in the Arizona League in 2012 and batted .281 with a .473 slugging percentage. Last season, with rookie-level Missoula, he hit just .254 but slammed 10 homers with a .462 slugging percentage. The D’backs faced a hard problem: do they send Trahan down to a lower affiliate because he isn’t ready defensively, or do they have him do extended Spring Training which could harm his development at the plate?
In the end, the organization was thinking big picture allowing Skyler to run in the outfield and just hit without having to worry about the problems he had behind the plate. While Trahan was disappointed, he understands why Arizona made the move telling Piecoro: “It’s a big change, but it’s a good different,” Trahan said. “Coming to the field every day, it’s a lot less pressure knowing all I have to do is just run the outfield and just hit.” Based on his athleticism, I think this move was a good one.