With the Arizona Diamondbacks matching a franchise worst 2-8 record to open the 2014 season, many fans are beginning to already throw in the towel. I am pretty sure that is jumping the gun a bit but it is not too early to speculate on which Minor League prospect could be making his way to Chase Field. For some of the D’backs’ affiliates, play began right around the time the Major League season opened. Let’s check in to see if the Minor League squads are faring better than the parent club.
The Triple A Reno Aces began the season with an eight game homestand. While the record is a subpar 2-4, the big story is how well the Aces’ staff has pitched. In the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, the team has surrendered more than four runs only once. Archie Bradley threw five shutout innings in his start Sunday and Michael Bolsinger tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings two days earlier. Bo Schultz took the loss Monday, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 frames. Keep an eye on Evan Marshall. He has thrown 4 2/3 innings out of the bullpen and has allowed three hits and no walks while striking out five. If Arizona’s bullpen continues to pour gasoline on the fire, Marshall could be the first guy up. The offense, outside of a 9-1 victory on Sunday, has been almost non-existent. The stars have been first baseman Mike Jacobs hitting .400, outfielder Alfredo Marte hitting .333 and Didi Gregorius also at .333. Incidentally, Gregorius has been mostly playing second base with Nick Ahmed at shortstop. Those two are expected to flip flop the positions all season.
There is no place like home for the Double A Mobile BayBears. After five games in Mississippi to open the season where they went 3-2, Mobile will play 15 out of the 19 games left in April at Hank Aaron Stadium. Outfielder David Peralta has already accumulated 12 total bases in five games, a line of .350/.381/.600. As at Reno, pitching has been the name of the game for the BayBears. No starting pitcher has allowed more than two earned runs, led by right-hander Chase Anderson‘s dominant Opening Day performance. He tossed six shutout frames allowing only one hit, walking none and striking out six. Fellow righty A.J. Schugel struck out nine in five innings of work in his victory on Saturday.
Unlike the rest of the organization, the bats are alive for the High Class A Visalia Rawhide. They have scored a total of 26 runs over the last three games, winning each contest. Third baseman Brandon Drury already has three home runs with 19 total bases in six games, for a sizzling slugging percentage of .760. Shortstop Raul Navarro is batting a robust .563 in 16 at-bats with four runs scored and three RBI’s. On the mound, Andrew Barbosa has already started two games going 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings pitched. Top prospect Jimmie Sherfy has five strikeouts in two innings of work picking up one save. The Rawhide are 4-2 on the year and will be making their first road trip after today’s game.
The Class A South Bend Silver Hawks opened their season by splitting their first four games on the road. Top catching prospect Michael Perez has been the hitting star to date with a slash line of .357/.48/.500. Former first round pick Stryker Trahan has transitioned from behind the plate to the outfield. So far, his bat hasn’t quite caught up yet as he currently sports a line of .211/.238/.421. Highly-ranked pitching prospects Aaron Blair and Daniel Gibson have had rough starts throwing a combined 8 1/3 innings and giving up seven earned runs. Adam Miller had a solid debut on Saturday throwing 5 2/3 shutout innings while allowing only three hits, no walks and fanning seven.
Be sure to check back here often for updates on all the prospects of the Diamondbacks.