Diamondbacks – Life On the Farm


We are a little more than a week into September call ups. The Diamondbacks have brought up mostly pitchers, as expected; however, this week they have started to shuttle some more fielders to the big club. As minor league teams finish their seasons, the Diamondbacks will have an opportunity to add more players to the big league roster. Whether they do or not remains to be seen. There is such a problem as having too many players.

In order to share scarce playing time with an increasing number of players, the Diamondbacks need to consider whether they are making a playoff run, the development of their established big leaguers, injuries, the minor league playoffs, service time, 40-man roster status, and whether or not being in the show would be a benefit for a player.

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To start with, the Diamondbacks have played 139 games (23 remaining). They are 14.5 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers and 14.5 games out of a wildcard spot. Their wild card elimination number sits at 10. This number shrinks each time the Diamondbacks lose or the second wild card team wins. When it hits zero, they are eliminated. In 23 games, it would take nothing short of a miracle for the team to make the playoffs.

Next, the Diamondbacks won’t bring up prospects they do not see competing in spring training for a spot. Enrique Burgos, Matt Stites, Keith Hessler, Zack Godley, and Brandon Drury were the first crop to come up. Each of them has a chance to make the roster next year and they have plenty of service time to use. Next they brought up Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Chafin, Jamie Romak, Allen Webster, and Peter O’Brien. Aside from Chafin and O’Brien, the rest of the second crop is up to see if they will be around next year and beyond. These guys are on an audition, not a development trip.

Despite all these names, the two biggest names are Drury and O’Brien. Both represent the future of the franchise. Maybe they play for the club next year, or they play for another club, but both are near big league ready and it’s time to move them up. The Diamondbacks have a lot of major league hitters. They need some more major league pitchers. The situation is ripe for some offseason trades.

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Reno Aces (AAA): 70-74, finished in 3rd place in division

No playoffs for the Aces. They had some issues on the mound, similar to the big club, all season. After the Diamondbacks called a significant portion of the Aces roster up this week, it leaves the triple-A affiliate with a good idea who will be on their roster to start next season. Aaron Blair and Archie Bradley are the two big names not called up, but playing at a triple-A or higher level.

Bradley may have started the season in the majors, but he struggled mightily when he wasn’t injured. Both will be options to pitch with the big club next season; however, don’t expect Blair to make it out of spring training unless he is just owning the competition.

Mobile BayBears (AA): 36-32, finished second half in 3rd place

The BayBears also missed the playoffs this season after making it each of the last five seasons. That is a testament to the Diamondbacks’ farm system and the talent they have been able to draft. Unfortunately, much of that talent has not lived up to the promise they showed in double-A.

This roster is filled with names to know for next season and beyond. Jake Barrett, Yoan Lopez, J.R. Bradley, Braden Shipley, Dominic Leone, Jack Reinheimer, Zach Borenstein, and Gabby Guerrero head the list could all be in the majors within 18 months.

Visalia Rawhide (A): 42-38, finished second half in 1st place

The Rawhide won both half season championships. This team was good from start to finish, now the playoffs start. All this goes to the midseason awards manager JR House and pitching coach Gil Heredia won. This is a solid club and the Diamondbacks have something to enjoy at high-A Visalia.

A few names pop out on this roster as outside shots to get spring training invites. Anthony Banda, Kevin Cron, and Daniel Palka have all made noise this season. Palka is being sent to the Arizona Fall League, which says the Diamondbacks like him and want him to develop faster. None of them are locks to see spring training time with the big club, but they may.

Lower Levels Prospect of the Week:

Last week I profiled Cody Reed. This week I will take a close look at former first round pick Stryker Trahan. As a prep draftee in 2012, Trahan had a .895 OPS in rookie ball after signing. In year two, he dealt with injuries and spent the year in rookie ball  showing a comparable hit took as the previous season, but with more power. His combined 2014 in single-A ball was not so good. in 125 games he hit 19 home runs with 169 strikeouts. Something was wrong in his development and the Diamondbacks noticed. This led to him spending all of 2015 in single-A as well.

This season he hit .193 with 17 home runs and 138 strikeouts. Not good results for a 21-year-old former first round prep catcher. His penchant for striking out was so much fun for me that I coined the term “strykering out.”

If he doesn’t find the stuff here pretty quick, he won’t be in professional baseball any longer. He is coming up on rule 5 eligibility. Once that comes and goes, if he isn’t selected by a team in either the major league or minor league portions of the rule 5 draft, he will essentially be looking for work. For a former first round prep catcher, he has effectively busted. It is unfortunate.