Feb 26, 2014; Salt River Pima-Maricopa, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings (16) rounds third base and scores during the eighth inning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the game 4-1Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Prospects on the Verge: Chris Owings

Although it’s still March 26, it’s looking as if the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings has won the race to be the every day shortstop over Didi Gregorius.

Owings played in both games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia as the season opened for the Diamondbacks and contributed with the bat, going one for four with a walk while Gregorius went 0-4, also playing in both games. Owings, the consensus #3 prospect for the Diamondbacks (although the race is close), has been, along with Archie Bradley, the talk of Diamondbacks prospect watchers this winter.

Coming into 2014, Gregorius was considered the incumbent but a very strong season in Triple-A for Owings that saw him hit .330 with 12 home runs put him into the conversation for the every day job. Two years younger than Gregorius (at 22), Owings offers more with the bat but is less flashy with the glove. Teammate Aaron Hill raved about the youngster’s power with the bat, commenting on his power to all fields, saying that Owings “makes it fly to all sides of the field,” which interim manager Alan Trammell says takes “some kind of strength there.”

With as many as 17 home runs in a season in the minors (although 11 of those came in the hitter-friendly California League), Owings has consistently put up very good slugging percentages and offers far more upside with the bat than Gregorius does. There have been rumors that Gregorius’s name has come up frequently in trade talks, particularly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It certainly appears as if Owings is going to break through to the majors in 2014 after a 2013 season that saw him collect a great deal of hardware, including a Topps Triple-A All-Star and the Topps PCL Player of the Year award, the PCL Rookie of the Year award, the PCL MVP award and a PCL Post-Season All-Star award. With talks of Gregorius being shopped and raves from his teammates and coaches, it looks like he’s arrived and will start the season as the D-backs’ shorstop.

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks

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