The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
Obviously since the season is over and some teams have had two updates, some have only had one and the NL West teams have had zero coverage thus far, this project did not work out as I had planned on many levels. Undeterred I’m going to sally forth and finish off this round of updates and call it good. Next season if I attempt this again I’m going to have to make some major changes to the structure, plan and concept of this series.
Feel free to check out the category archive to read previous installments of the series.
Arizona Diamondbacks (S2S 2012 D-Backs Team Prospect List)
OF – Adam Eaton (23) – Diamondbacks 2010 19th Round Pick
Reasoning – Plus speed, ability to make contact and nearly as many walks as strikeouts made Eaton’s resume very attractive for the purposes of this list. As did the facts that he was a later round pick from a smaller program – Miami University of Ohio – and had little trouble with Pioneer, California, Southern or Arizona Fall League pitching during his first two seasons.
2011 – Visalia/Mobile: 0.318/.434/.463, 22 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 34 SB, 72 BB and 76 SO in 556 PA
2012 – Mobile: 0.300/.451/.325, 1 2B, 6 SB, 6 BB and 8 SO in 51 PA
2012 – Reno: 0.381/.456/.539, 46 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 38 SB, 53 BB and 68 SO in 562 PA
2012 – Arizona: 0.259/.382/.412, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 2 SB, 14 BB and 15 SO in 103 PA
Reno is far from the toughest hitting environment out there but that doesn’t detract from Eaton’s PCL performance as he put up one of the best Triple-A seasons of the year. At the highest level of the minors he once again walked nearly as often as he struck out and dropped his already excellent K rate to 12.1%.
Eaton made his major league debut on September 4th and was in the lineup every day thereafter until he broke his hand on the 29th. Even against big league pitching he walked as much as he struck out, kept his K rate at a strong 14.6% and showed off his ability to get on-base at a very high level. He also played slightly above average defense in CF to boot. At the end of the season Eaton was named the fastest baserunner in the PCL and also the circuit’s “most exciting” player. The notion that he’s a fourth outfielder should be all but extinguished after the season he turned in. Given that he’s consistently exceeded expectations and projection as both an amateur and professional I fully expect him to develop into a solid regular in the major leagues.
RHP – Evan Marshall (22) – Diamondbacks 2011 4th Round Pick
2011 – Yakima/Visalia/Mobile: 1.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 26 H, 7 BB and 31 SO in 31.0 IP
2012 – Mobile: 3.51 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 55 H, 16 BB and 27 SO in 48.2 IP
Spending the entire season in Mobile, Marshall found the Southern League to be a much stiffer challenge than the Northwest and California Leagues he breezed through in 2011. In the process his rates per nine all went in the wrong direction with the most concerning being his SO/9 which was cut almost in half (from 9.0 in 2011 to 5.0 in 2012). However, if we look at his monthly splits we realize that Marshall was performing better than his overall line would suggest until he hit a very rough patch from August on.
April-July: 1.86 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 in 38.2 IP
August-September: 7.43 ERA, 2.03 WHIP, 6.1 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in 13.1 IP
The lack of strikeouts is evident even in the early months of the year when he was pitching well, but the WHIP and walk rates were much more in line with his 2011 performance which is certainly a positive. The Diamondbacks sent him to the AFL where he’s found some success in the early going for the Salt River Rafters – 3 G, 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO. Marshall should open the 2013 season with Reno but could push his way into the Diamondbacks bullpen mix at some point during the season. He’s been used primarily as a closer thus far in the minors but his likely role in the majors figures to be as a set-up man or middle reliever.
1B – Yazy Arbelo (24) – Diamondbacks 2010 26th Round Pick
Reasoning – John Sickels wrote up profiles of over 1,200 minor league players in his 2012 Baseball Prospect Book. Arbelo was not one of the 38 Diamondbacks that were included. He was rated as the best power prospect in the Midwest League following the 2011 season according to Baseball America but he failed to crack their 2012 iteration of Arizona’s Top-30 as well. Despite being largely off the grid and despite the fact he was old for his level, 31 2B and 31 HR in A-ball merits keeping tabs on a player to see what they can do for an encore.
2011 – South Bend (A): 0.247/.361/.516, 31 2B, 31 HR, 73 BB and 161 SO in 549 PA
2012 – Visalia: 0.261/.329/.614, 8 2B, 1 3B, 21 HR, 20 BB and 57 SO in 231 PA
2012 – Mobile: 0.208/.295/.350, 8 2B, 6 HR, 22 BB and 67 SO in 210 PA
Arbelo came out of the gates making noise with his bat. He put together a 0.265/.432/.706 line with 4 HR in his first 11 games for Visalia. The Diamondbacks responded by pushing him to Double-A and Arbelo’s fortunes quickly changed. In his first nine games with Mobile he went 2-30 with 2 BB, 12 SO and nary an extra-base hit. He improved to compile a 0.266/.341/.494 slash line during the month of May but after that is performance tailed off badly and he was sent back to Visalia at the start of July. He would stay in the California League until the end of August when Arizona gave him another crack at the Southern League. Arbelo opened his second Double-A stint of the year going 0-9 but then went 5-11 with a HR in his next three games. He played his last game on September 13th, drawing an relatively uninspired encore season to a close.
With 27 HR in 441 PA, he continued to showcase his plus power but his doubles production fell off as did his walk rate which slipped from 13.3% with South Bend to 9.5% in his time with Visalia and Mobile. Obviously I was looking for him to take a step forward but he instead went in the other direction. As a result, Arbelo should return to the Bay Bears roster to open the 2013 season. The power alone will keep his name on the periphery of team prospect lists that go very deep (past the top-50) but he’s got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time – he turns 25 on April 7th – if he hopes to improve his stock much beyond that.
For more on the Arizona Diamondbacks, check out Venom Strikes!