Arizona Diamondbacks – players set to showcase talents in Fall League
By Mark Brown
Jared Miller, a left-hander in the organization of the Arizona Diamondbacks, could get a look in the Fall League as a reliever
If the Arizona Diamondbacks are stingy in bringing up minor league players after September 1, there still could be a glimpse into the future.
That’s because seven players were elevated to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. The league begins plays in mid-October.
Considered the “graduate school” for baseball prospects, the Fall League is regarded as a significant bridge between potential and appearing in The Show.
While there is no guarantee that participation in the Fall League is a ticket to the majors, about 60 percent of players from the league do end up on major league rosters, according to league president Steve Cobb.
Currently, there are 11 players on the roster of the Arizona Diamondbacks who played in the Fall League. For the 2016 season, the Diamondbacks are one of five major league franchises which make up the Salt River Rafters. Together with representatives of the Rockies, Braves, Brewers and Tigers, that’s the composition of this team.
Among those on the current Diamondbacks’ rosters, Jake Barrett, Archie Bradley, A. J. Pollock, Jake Lamb, Welington Castillo, Tuffy Gosewisch, Chris Owings, Robbie Ray, Jean Segura and Rickie Weeks all participated in the Fall League.
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Of the Diamondbacks representation, four are pitchers and three are infielders. Teams also have players designated for the taxi squad. That means these players can only participate in Wednesday and Saturday games.
Only one of the seven players reached as high as Triple-A Reno this season, and that was for a short period.
Heading the list of players is first baseman Kevin Cron, from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. Cron is the brother of Angels’ first baseman C. J. Cron and son of Arizona minor league hitting coach Chris Cron. In 121 games at Double-A Mobile, Cron, listed at 6-4 and 268 pounds, hit .277, but put up power numbers of 25 homers and drove in 86 runs.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are also interested in getting a look at 6-7 Jared Miller, a left-hander out of Vanderbilt University, one of the most prestigious college programs in the county. Of the seven participating in the Fall League, Miller was the only one to reach Triple-A Reno. Appearing in only five games with the Aces, he had a 0-0 mark and 6.00 ERA. In a combined 43 games between A-Kane County, Advanced-A Visalia, Mobile and Reno, the native of Avon, Ind. was 0-2 with a strong 2.24 ERA.
Given the merry-go-round which is the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, Miller could get a serious look. Drafted by Arizona on the 11th round in 2014, Miller, for his initial two years in the Diamondbacks organization, was a starter. For 2016, the left-hander was moved to the bullpen and met success. At Visalia, he appeared in 12 games, posted a 1.88 ERA and recorded a save. At Mobile, Miler went 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 appearances.
The Diamondbacks have a habit of promoting players from Double-A Mobile directly to the major leagues. Based on his success during the 2016 and how he performs in the Fall League, Miller could get a good look in spring training.
Others in the Fall League include infielder Dawel Lugo, who hit .313 with 17 homers and 60 RBIs in 121 games with Visalia and Mobile. Also named to the Rafters roster was infielder Jamie Westbrook, who hit .267 with 20 homers and 36 RBIs for Mobile. Westbrook is a local product and graduated from Basha High School in Gilbert.
Other pitchers include right-hander Jorge Despaigne (3-0) in the Arizona Rookie League, right-hander Joey Krehbiel, 1-1 and 2.85 RA for Mobile, and lefty Gabe Speier, who was 4-2 with a 2.41 ERA among four teams.
The Rafters will play out of the Diamondbacks spring training complex at Salt River. Play in the Arizona Fall League begins on Tuesday October 11. The league is divided between the East and West Divisions, and the championship game is slated for Saturday Nov. 19 at Scottsdale Stadium.