Southern League Update: Pitching Galore

Teammates Holmberg and Chafin Dominate

The Mobile Bay Bears clinched the Southern League South Division first-half title this week, and pitching prospects David Holmberg and Andrew Chafin were among the biggest contributors to the title. Both pitchers had excellent first halves, posting sub 3 ERA’s and giving their team a chance to win nearly every time out. Their teammate Archie Bradley receives most of the hype, and it is well-deserved, but Chafin and Holmberg don’t get as much attention as they might in a different farm system. Both have mid-rotation potential, and are impressively progressing their way through the minors. The two southpaws added exclamation points to the first half of their seasons by throwing complete games this week. On June 17th, David Holmberg had his best start of the season, going the distance while only allowing one hit, walking just one, and ringing up eight batters. It took Holmberg only 94 pitches to complete the game, as he was extremely efficient. The 11-1 victory secured the first-half title for the Bay Bears, and showcased how effective Holmberg can be. On the year, Holmberg sports a 2.66 ERA, and has put up a quality start in 7 of his last 9 appearances.

Not to be outdone, Andrew Chafin threw a complete game of his own on Friday, just four days after Holmberg’s. Chafin also allowed just one run in the outing, and came out with the victory, his 4th on the season for Mobile. He scattered seven hits on the night, and added eight strikeouts. Chafin was a compensation round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2011, 43rd overall. He had a disappointing 4.65 ERA in 2012, but struck out 150 in just 122.1 innings. He started the year in the California League, and after six starts in High-A Visalia, was promoted to Double A. He has been spectacular so far in Double A, posting a 2.56 ERA in nine starts. Chafin will have a tough path to the big leagues, not because of his talent, but mainly because of the pitching talent ahead of him. The Diamondbacks have Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Daniel Hudson, Patrick Corbin, Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, and Tyler Skaggs all under team control through 2015, putting Chafin in a tough position in trying to win a rotation spot. He may end up as trade bait, but he has the talent and potential to become a strong mid rotation starter for a major league team.

DeSclafani Strong in Double A Debut

In the huge Jays-Marlins trade this off season, Anthony DeSclafani was traded from Toronto to South Beach. He was arguably the smallest piece of the deal, but is developing nicely this season, and has posted great stats to go along with it. After 12 great starts with the Marlins Florida State League affiliate, DeSclafani was promoted to Double A Jacksonville. He debuted on Thursday and was as good as advertised. DeSclafani threw six scoreless innings, walking none and only allowing two hits. He also tacked on five strikeouts. DeSclafani posted a sub-2 ERA in the FSL, and definitely started on the right foot in Double A. He is an underrated prospect, and may be able to become a nice back-end starter in the future.

Stripling Continues Great Season

The Dodgers 5th Round selection of Ross Stripling in 2012 is proving to be a very nice pick. Stripling has been dominant everywhere he’s pitched thus far in his minor league career, posting a sub 3 ERA on every team he’s pitched for. Stripling started off 2013 in the California League, pitching for the Dodgers affiliate The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He posted a 2.94 ERA in High-A, with a 34/11 K/BB ratio over 33.2 innings. He has continued to a very similar tune in Double A, striking out 43 over 42 innings, while only issuing 6 free passes. Stripling has shown exceptional control on the season, along with very impressive strikeout numbers, always a nice combination. He pitched twice this week, starting on Monday, and taking the mound today. He pitched 12 combined innings, allowing just 2 earned runs and striking out 12. Stripling won both outings, and now sports a 4-1 record in Double A. Stripling looks like he will move quickly through the Dodgers system, and will likely be up sometime next year, with an outside shot at a September call up this year.

The biggest news out of the Southern League this week was the promotion of Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker. After Walker’s twelve strikeout, zero walk performance Thursday, he was rewarded with a promotion to Triple A Tacoma. To read more about Walker’s step closer to the big leagues, click here.

Tags: Andrew Chafin Anthony DeSclafani Arizona Diamondbacks David Holmberg Los Angeles Dodgers Miami Marlins Ross Stripling Seattle Mariners Southern League Taijuan Walker

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