25 June 2012
The Diamondbacks are having an excellent month of June, going 14-7 for the month, and moving from 11.5 Games Behind the Dodgers on May 22 to within 5.5 Games on June 25. And things should get even more interesting this week, as the team is expected to add RHP Trevor Bauer and SS Stephen Drew over the next few days. Here is a quick recap of the roster shuffling happening at both the Major League and Minor League levels.
LHP Joe Saunders - Saunders has pitched very well for the Diamondbacks this year (4-5, 3.44 ERA, 4.00 FIP). But in his last scheduled start on Friday against the Cubs, Saunders experienced tightness in his shoulder and was unable to get loose. An MRI showed inflammation but no structural damage, and the Diamondbacks put him on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to his last appearance on June 17th. Saunders is hoping to return from the DL as soon as he is eligible, on July 2nd, which could mean that he would only miss one start. His start last Sunday was taken by Josh Collmenter, and his spot on the 25-Man Roster was taken by reliever Jonathan Albaladejo.
RHP Trevor Bauer - Bauer is expected to be called up on Thursday to make his Major League debut against the Braves. Bauer has some very impressive numbers in the Minors this year, with a combined record of 11-1 and a 2.23 ERA between AA Mobile and AAA Reno. He has struck out 116 batters in just 93 IP (11.2 K/9), and has only allowed 75 base hits. The only negative about Bauer's season has been the Bases on Balls, as he has walked 48 batters in 93 IP, for a rate of 4.6 BB/9. Bauer has claimed that many of his walks are not a problem, as he is often trying to nibble on the corners for a strikeout, or is just experimenting with secondary pitches. But the walks have certainly affected his pitch count numbers, and will certainly need to be minimized for success at the Major League level. Bauer was pulled from his last start for Reno on Sunday after 50 pitches, so that he will be ready to go (on just 3 days rest) in Saunders' slot on Thursday.
SS Stephen Drew - Drew's 20 day rehab assignment in the Minors will end this week, and Drew is expected to join the Diamondbacks in Atlanta on Wednesday. Drew went 9 for 36 in AAA Reno, with a 2B, 3B, and HR, along with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. He played for AA Mobile on Sunday, going 1-2 with 3 walks, and will play one more game there on Monday. Defensively, he handled 39 chances without an error, and participated in 7 double plays. Drew is not expected to start every day in the beginning, but he should get the majority of time at SS as the season progresses. Current shortstops Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald have both been taking grounders at 3B, and may see more playing time there once Drew returns.
RHP Josh Collmenter - Collmenter was the emergency starter when Saunders was unable to go last Friday, and turned in a solid performance with 4 IP and just 1 ER. Before that game, Collmenter had not pitched as a starter since April 24, and he is probably not ready to give the team the 6-7 innings it would like on Thursday. Plus, he has been very effective out of the bullpen this year, with a 1.83 ERA and a 18K/2BB ratio in 18.2 IP, compared to a 8.46 ERA as a starter.
RHP Jonathan Albaladejo - Albaladejo was called up to replace Saunders last Saturday. He has been effective for AAA Reno, with a 3-1 record, 13 Saves, a 2.64 ERA, and 33K/12BB in 30.2 IP. But his call-up is probably temporary, as he is the most likely player to be sent back down when Bauer is activated.
3B Josh Bell - Bell was given a chance to win the starting 3B position from Ryan Roberts, but has hit just .176/.236/.275 in 51 ABs, with 1 HR and 4 RBI. Bell has also struggled defensively, and is the most likely candidate to be demoted when Drew is activated on Wednesday.
3B Geoff Blum - Blum has also started a rehab assignment in AAA Reno, but has only had 3 hits in his first 22 ABs. The Diamondbacks have always wanted him to be a top pinch-hitter and spot starter. But even if he is healthy and productive, it's not clear that there is space for him on the Major League roster.
SS Chris Owings - Owings was promoted from Class A Visalia to AA Mobile last week. Still just 20 years old, Owings had a solid batting line of .324/.362/.544 in Visalia, with 29 extra-base hits in 59 Games. The concern with Owings is his K/BB ratio, as he has 63 strikeouts to go with just 13 walks. That is a small improvement from last year's 130K/15BB season, but still a major warning sign as he moves to higher levels. Gerson Montilla (Age 22, .293/.371/.449) was promoted from South Bend to Visalia to take Owings' roster spot.
OF Ender Inciarte - Inciarte was promoted from South Bend to Visalia after hitting .293/.375/.422 with 1 HR and 30 RBI. Inciarte has a nice 31K/31BB ratio, and has stolen 18 bases in 22 attempts.
C Stryker Trahan - 1st Round pick Stryker Trahan is off to a hot start in the Arizona Rookie League, going 7 for 13 in his first four games, with 2 HR 5 RBI, and 6 Walks. The entire Rookie League team is actually hitting very well, with 36 Runs in 4 Games to go with a .347/.423/.500 batting line.
RHP Karl Triana - 19 year old Colombian righthander Karl Triana has been moved up from the Arizona Rookie League to Missoula of the Pioneer League after just one start, where he struck out 10 batters while walking none in 5 IP.