Most organizations in Major League Baseball conclude play for the 2013 season next Sunday. The road to 2014 begins with the Arizona Fall League, now in its 21st year. The Arizona Diamondbacks are sending six players to the AFL for further play and evaluation with a possible seventh player announced at a later date. Here is a quick snapshot of the players that will be representing the D’backs when play begins on October 8th. All rankings are from mlb.com.
Jake Barrett-The D’backs #7 ranked prospect had a terrific 2013 between Single A Visalia and Double A Mobile. He completed the year with 29 saves and a 1.21 ERA over 52 innings in 52 games. Opposing batters hit .197 against him and he recorded 59 strikeouts and issued only 12 walks. Barrett could easily make the D’back bullpen out of Spring Training and seems to be on track to be the closer in 2015, if not earlier.
Andrew Chafin-Right behind Barrett on the list is Chafin, a left-handed starter who also split his time between Visalia and Mobile. He went 13-8 with a 3.20 ERA over 27 starts. When Moblie was down 2-0 in the Southern League Championship Series, Chafin tossed a complete game, six hit shutout to keep the BayBears alive before eventually losing the series in five games. Mlb.com believes that with his command he is better suited in a relief role.
Jake Lamb-The third baseman spent all but five games at Visalia. In 64 games, Lamb had 13 home runs and 47 RBI’s. He had an impressive .303/.424/.558 line and supposedly has an excellent arm at the hot corner. The organization’s 11th-ranked prospect will most likely begin 2014 at Mobile and is projected to reach the Majors in 2015. Matt Davidson is ahead of him at third so it will be interesting to see if either name comes up in trade talks this Winter.
Nick Ahmed-The shortstop came over to the Arizona system as part of the Justin Upton deal. At #13, Ahmed had a down year at the plate while spending all of 2013 at Mobile. However, he is an excellent defender in the field and his style of play fits the organization perfectly. With Aaron Hill under contract through 2016 and Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius both in the Bigs, there is a glut of middle infielders in the system, something GM Kevin Towers likes to have.
Matt Stites-Here is another guy that was acquired via trade, this one being the Ian Kennedy deal. Stites is listed at number 17, though he may make the big club out of Spring Training. He had 14 saves and a 2.08 ERA at Double A San Antonio but is pictured more as a setup guy. Stites has exceptional control; in 52 innings, he walked only 8 batters while striking out 51. Given the D’backs trouble in the bullpen, he is a guy that can contribute right away.
Mike Freeman-Another middle infielder in the D’backs’ system, Freeman was selected in the 11th round of the 201o draft out of Clemson. He spent all of 2013 at Mobile with an OBP of .345 and stole 29 bases. Though he doesn’t have outstanding power, he did drive in 40 runs in 454 at-bats. Freeman seems destined to spend 2014 at Triple A Reno and provide some organizational depth.
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