24 April 2012
The Diamondbacks have added to their organizational depth by acquiring 3B Josh Bell (assigned to AAA Reno) and OF Brent Clevlen (to AA Mobile). The recent injury to OF Chris Young and the slow start by 3B Ryan Roberts have highlighted the organization's lack of position player depth in the upper minors, and both newcomers could find themselves with opportunities at the Major League level if things break right for them.
Bell, age 25, was originally a 4th Round draft pick of the Dodgers in the 2005 draft. He went to the Orioles in 2009 as part of a trade for LHP George Sherrill, and then was traded to the Diamondbacks on April 21 after being designated for assignment by the Orioles. Bell had played parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons in Baltimore, compiling a career .200/.221/.264 batting line over 220 AB. Even worse, Bell has a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 78 to 6, which is the poorest of any Major Leaguer with over 200 plate appearances over the last two years.
Bell's Minor League numbers are a little better, as he actually posted decent walk and OBP numbers in 2008 and 2009 to go with some good power. But at the AAA level, the K/BB ratio deteriorated and the OBP dropped to an unacceptable level.
The Orioles Designated Bell For Assignment after Spring Training, giving the 3B position to a combination of Mark Reynolds, Wilson Betemit, and Rule 5 pick Ryan Flaherty, and the Diamondbacks acquired him for a player to be named later. He was assigned to AAA Reno, and has gotten off to a hot start, with 2 HR and 6 RBI in his first 10 ABs, plus one walk. With Ryan Roberts off to a slow start in the Majors (.170/.254/.264), Bell is battling with fellow AAA 3B Ryan Wheeler for an opportunity to play in the Majors. But even with Bell's hot start, he needs to show much better plate discipline before getting another shot at the Major League level.
Clevlen (age 28) has spent parts of four seasons in the Majors, with the Tigers and the Braves. Over 77 career Major League ABs, he has a line of .234/.280/.429, with 3 HR, 7 RBI, and an ugly 31/5 K/BB ratio. He's a good athlete who has power, can run, and can play decent outfield defense, but he's always had trouble with too many strikeouts and too low of a batting average.
Clevlen may still find a role as a 4th or 5th outfielder in the Majors. He has a strong arm, and has played plenty of CF (243 games) and RF (636 games) in the Minors. And Clevlen's power is always a good asset to have on the bench. If the Diamondbacks decide that they don't want a young player like A.J. Pollock sitting on the bench in the Majors, they may turn to a veteran like Clevlen for the reserve outfielder role.