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Diamondbacks Bullpen - Any Help on the Farm? | April
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The Diamondbacks' bullpen continued to struggle, giving up 14 runs in a three game series against the Padres, while the starters only allowed 2 runs.  Of the six pitchers currently in the bullpen, none have pitched that well, but overwork may be a contributing factor. Closer Chad Qualls and set-up man Juan Gutierrez will continue to be important pitchers, and it is likely that Aaron Heilman and Blaine Boyer will continue to have jobs. Leo Rosales has the lowest ERA among the relievers, and should stay in the long-relief role, despite some control concerns. But the rest of the staff may be in trouble. Jordan Norberto will likely be sent back to the minor after 6 BB in 3 IP, and Esmerling Vasquez has already been sent back to AAA. Bob Howry has pitched so poorly (3 HR in 4.1 IP) that he is unlikely to see meaningful innings. But who is available for the back end of the bullpen? In AAA, a few pitchers are off to decent starts, specifically Daniel Stange, Jason Urquidez, and T.J. Beam.
AAA - Reno G IP H ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
T.J. Beam 4 5.1 5 0 0 1 2 0.00 1.13
Jason Urquidez 5 7.1 8 1 0 2 9 1.23 1.36
Daniel Stange 5 6.2 2 1 0 0 7 1.35 0.30
Josh Ellis 4 5.1 11 4 0 2 5 6.75 2.44
Jose Marte 4 4.2 5 4 1 4 4 7.71 1.71
Zack Kroenke 4 6.1 11 8 1 4 2 11.37 2.37
Billy Spottiswood 2 4.1 9 9 0 5 2 18.69 3.23
Clay Zavada 1 0.1 1 3 0 2 0 81.00 9.00
Stange (24) has the advantage of already being on the 40-Man roster, but has only pitched 12 career innings in AAA. He has a solid career strikeout rate of 9.7K/9 IP, and a career K/BB ratio of 3.17. He generally avoids the HR ball (0.7 HR/9 IP), and might be an option for the major league club. At age 27, Urquidez is no longer really a prospect, but he has gotten off to a good start in AAA. He also keeps the ball in the park, but has usually walked a few too many batters to be trusted. T.J. Beam (29) spent five years in the Yankees organization before passing through the Pittsburgh and Toronto systems and finally ending up near his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. The 6'-7" righthander has worked as both a starter and a reliever in his career, and has not allowed a run in AAA this year. Lefthanders Clay Zavada and Zach Kroenke have not impressed in AAA so far - Kroenke has been consistently ineffective, while Zavada gave up 3 ER in one-third of an inning before going on the 7-Day Disabled List. There are a few pitchers at the AA level who are worth considering - Kyler Newby, Roque Mercedes, and Leyton Septimo.
AA - Mobile G IP H ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP
Bryan Henry 2 5 1 0 0 3 4 0.00 0.80
Reid Mahon 3 4.2 5 0 0 0 1 0.00 1.07
Leyton Septimo 4 4.2 1 0 0 3 8 0.00 0.86
Kyler Newby 3 6.1 8 1 0 2 7 1.42 1.58
Roque Mercedes 4 6 7 2 1 2 8 3.00 1.50
Abe Woody 4 5.1 8 3 0 2 3 5.06 1.88
Jeff Dietz 3 5 8 5 1 3 4 9.00 2.20
Newby (25) is repeating the AA level after a mediocre 2009 season for Mobile. Newby has a career strikeout rate of 10.7K/9 IP, but that rate dipped to only 6.6/9 IP last year. Mercedes (23) is viewed as a future power-arm in the bullpen, and he impressed in Spring Training this year. Septimo was only converted to pitching in 2008, but is the hardest throwing lefthander in the organization. He's walked almost a batter per inning in his short career, and he's probably not quite ready yet. Both Mercedes and Septimo are already on the 40-Man roster. Summary - The Diamondbacks have few options in the Minor Leagues. Daniel Stange, currently in AAA, might be a possibility for a call-up, but does not have much experience. Urquidez and Beam have pitched decently, but don't offer much upside.  At the AA level, Mercedes and Septimo look promising, but may not be ready for the majors yet. Unfortunately, there are no good left-handed options available, with only Zavada, Kroenke, and Septimo available at the upper levels. But if Norberto is sent down, the Diamondbacks may decide to bring Zavada back when he is healthy.