Although the Arizona Diamondbacks have made a flurry of moves in the last week, they have made very few moves among the prospect pipeline. Archie Bradley returned from injury and was optioned to Triple-A Reno. That was pretty much a given even before his last DL stint due to his control problems. They also optioned Zack Godley to Double-A Mobile. Godley had pitched his way in the hearts of Diamondbacks’ fans this season. Given that few knew who he was, to have been in the Majors as long as he was is an accomplishment. He has definitely put himself on the radar for next season.
The Diamondbacks did call up a couple of pieces that may help them in their pursuit of respectability: Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Reynolds. Neither would be considered a prospect, but at one time, each of them were considered solid pitchers. Maybe they can play themselves into future plans like Godley did. This week we focus on barriers to certain prospects getting called up.
Reno Aces (AAA): 62-68, 3rd place
The big moment for the Aces last week was Global Force Wrestling’s Grand Slam Tour making an appearance after the game August 22. If you have yet to hear of Global Force Wrestling, then shame on you. They actually employ a few stars (maybe stars should be used loosely). “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Jeff Jarrett, Jim Cornette, Scott Steiner, and the British Bulldog’s kid Davey Boy Smith, Jr head the list.
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Wrestling nostalgia lesson aside, the Aces have not had much success on the mound this season, but their hitting prospects have been making waves all year. Given that Brandon Drury is on the 40-man roster, it’s almost a given that his .304 average and .756 OPS will get him a September call up. As for calling up Peter O’Brien, there is a slight hitch. Even after placing Tuffy Gosewisch and Philip Gosselin on the 60-day DL, the Diamondbacks have a full 40-man roster. It is possible that they will make a move to get him up, but no guarantee. Same goes for Aaron Blair.
This off-season, the Diamondbacks will have some space to add O’Brien, which is a good thing since he is in his fourth year in professional baseball and was drafted after the age of 19. You know what that means: Rule 5 draft eligible.
Mobile BayBears (AA): 30-26, 3rd place
Although the BayBears did not win the first half and are not leading in the division now, they still have a chance at the playoffs. Right now they are only 1.5 games out of first place and the first half winning Biloxi Shuckers are 2 games behind. If Mobile wins the division, they are in. If Biloxi wins and Mobile has the second best overall record, they are also in. There is a catch, though. In the second scenario, the BayBears would only get one home game, game three, out of the best of five series.
As for call up status and 40-man roster scenarios, the only players who may come up, without opening up a new spot on the 40-man roster, are Godley, Dominic Leone (still on the 7-day DL), Will Locante, and Socrates Brito. I only see Godley coming back up if he is starting, no bullpen for him. I don’t see Leone coming up after his injury and earlier struggles in the Majors. Locante and Brito most likely will come up though.
Locante has not pitched well in Double-A this year, but the Diamondbacks will need to see how he does against Major League hitters to determine if he will stay on the 40-man or if they are willing to expose him to waivers. Brito on the other hand has seen his stock rise this season and with a crowded outfield, the Diamondbacks could put him in the Show in preparation for some trading of outfielders in the off-season.
Visalia Rawhide (A+): 36-22, 1st place
The Rawhide are in the playoffs because they won the first half. If they win the second half, they would face the winner of the wildcard game between the next two best overall records. Even if they don’t win the second half, they would still get a bye in the first round. They have played well, which is why their manager and pitching coach won coach of the year awards.
This is where the September call up watch dissipates to nothingness. There are no 40-man players on the Rawhide right now. That means there is next to zero chance of anyone getting called up. With that said, out of the players who have been on the radar lately, none need to be places on the 40-man this off-season. Anthony Banda is close, but he was drafted before age 19, so he gets five years before rule 5 eligibility is an issue. He is in his fourth year in professional baseball.
You don’t need to worry much about these teams right now. There are no prospects close to the 40-man roster and other than Kane County (who is leading their division at 38-19), the other teams play well into the fall. Starting next week and until the end of the season, I will prospect a player from the lower levels who I believe will be invited to spring training and may have an outside shot to get some traction toward the majors next season.