Evan Marshall could be in Arizona within the next six weeks. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen is averaging about three or four innings per night. The continuing failure of the starters in the rotation to go past five or six innings will inevitably cause a few members of the ‘pen to get fatigued by the time July hits. Long reliever options exist in the form of Randall Delgado and Trevor Cahill but history dictates that there will be a pitcher or two that goes on the disabled list or loses effectiveness. There are a few guys in the Minor League organization whom I feel will be at Chase Field right around the All Star Break. These relievers should be able to provide depth for manager Kirk Gibson as the dog days approach. Here are the candidates:
Evan Marshall: The fourth round pick of the 2011 draft might be the first guy up. Marshall has been terrific for Triple A Reno in 2014. He has allowed no runs in ten games covering 11 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who just turned 24, has given up only six hits and three walks while striking out 12. This is his second year with the Aces as he pitched in 54 games for them in 2013 and finished with a 4.34 ERA. Marshall has thrived at every level in the organization. His time is now.
Kevin Munson: He is the organization’s 20th-ranked prospect according to mlb.com. Munson was Arizona’s fourth round pick in the 2010 draft but was left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft because of control issues. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him but he was returned to the D’backs toward the end of Spring Training. The righty is having a decent season so far allowing two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings; however walks are still a problem as Munson has issued four of them with eight strikeouts. It’s now or never for him.
Derek Eitel: Here is another now or never guy. Eitel is 26 having been with the D’backs since 2010. He was a starter at the Minor League level for most of his career before 2013. At Double A Mobile that season, he appeared in 40 games as a reliever and fared well with a 3.42 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. Eitel has started off strong for Reno, allowing one earned run in seven games covering 11 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has walked only four while striking out 18.
Matt Stites: He came to the organization last July as part of the Ian Kennedy trade. The fire-balling Stites is listed as the team’s #9 prospect according to mlb.com. He is currently splitting closing duties with #10 prospect Jake Barrett at Double A Mobile. In nine games covering 9 1/3 innings, Stites has allowed three earned runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out eight. He has two saves and Barrett has three for the second place BayBears.
We will keep tabs on these four as well as all of the prospects in the D’backs’ farm system.