When it Rains, it Pours, more injuries for the Dbacks
Diamondbacks option Edwin Uceta, Place Cooper Hummel and Kyle Nelson on Covid-IL
Prior to Wednesday's pitiful game against the Dodgers in which the Diamondbacks got swept by the Dodgers, the team announced a flurry of roster moves. This comes from the Dbacks.
The Diamondbacks optioned Edwin Uceta, an RHP reliever, a day after being called up from the taxi squad in an emergency. Uceta pitched in the 2nd game of Tuesday's doubleheader and struggled once again. Over the 3 innings he pitched, Uceta gave up 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, and struck out 2. He was optioned to Triple-AAA Reno, though has likely been put on the Taxi Squad like last time.
Replacing Uceta on the active roster is RHP Jacob Webb who the team acquired via waiver claim off the Braves a few weeks ago. He's a proven right-handed pitcher over his 3 years with the Braves but has struggled in Reno this year. Over his 4.1 innings and 5 games with Reno, Webb has given up 6 runs and walked 2 while striking out only 4.
For Webb's career, he's pitched 76.2 innings in the MLB with a 9-4 record, 2.47 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 21 ERs allowed, 31 walks, and 71 Ks. He's got a proven arm that can generate excellent swinging strike rates as his 15.6% last year was among the best in the MLB. Webb can be controlled through the 2026 season.
The versatile OBP-machine Cooper Hummel was placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons which generally means he has tested positive for Covid as has happened to prior players placed on the IL for that reason. Hummel has generated an impressive 15 walks in only 99 plate appearances as a DH/LF player. That has helped off-set his 30 Ks and rather weak batting average. He's hitting only .190/.313/.345 and has not yet tapped into that hitting potential he showcased in the minors.
He does have 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 HR with 8 RBI and 2 SBs which speak to the nice power-speed combo. The 27-year-old player should be back soon. In the meantime, he'll be replaced by INF Yonny Hernandez who was previously with the Dbacks earlier this year. Yonny can play third, second, or shortstop and will help provide coverage in case Ketel Marte has to miss any more games due to his sore left hand. He'll also help cover shortstop while Nick Ahmed is out.
Yonny struggled a lot in his first stint in the bigs this year with both his hitting and defense. In his 19 plate appearances, he had 2 walks, 2 Ks, and only 2 hits. He did steal two bases. In Reno, he hit a much better .273/.398/.364 with 18 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 8 RBI to go with 12 SBs. He also walked 14 times to 17 Ks.
The same that happened with Hummel has happened to LHP reliever Kyle Nelson. Presumably, he has tested positive for Covid as well. Nelson struggled his last two years with the then-Indians but has found a ton of success with the Dbacks so far. Strom has helped the waiver-claim pitcher rediscover his pitching stride.
Over Nelson's 15 games and 14.2 innings, he has given up 9 hits and 2 runs while walking only 2 and striking out 16. The lefty has a sterling 1.23 ERA and 1.51 FIP. He's already provided 0.6 WAR after accounting for -0.4 in the years prior. The lefty has upped his strikeout rate to an impressive 30.2% (up over 14% from 2021) while lowering his walk rate to an insane 3.8% (down almost 13% from 2021). Nelson is controlled through 2028.
Replacing Nelson for the time being on the active roster is Luis Frias who has been recalled from Triple-AAA Reno. Frias is ranked as the 17th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Frias throws an upper-90s fastball while pairing it with a vertical 12-6 curveball. He'll occasionally mix in a split-changeup as well.
Ultimately, Frias is likely to be a bullpen arm, though he has the potential to develop into a closer. He's made a cup of coffee appearances with the Dbacks over this year and last year. In total, he's pitched in 5 games and 5.2 innings with 9 walks, 5 Ks, and given up 6 runs. Control is a big concern for Luis. If he can get it under control, the potential is there.
The 24-year-old has pitched in 6 games in Reno, starting 3, throwing for 19.2 innings, and given up 19 hits, 12 runs, and walking 6. The exciting part is that he has struck out 31 batters. Frias has the arm and ability, just has to put it all together.
Welcome to the team, Jacob Webb! Welcome back to the bigs Yonny and Luis!