While the Arizona Diamondbacks are clinging to a one game lead over the Giants, many Diamondbacks' fans are also keeping a close eye on the games of the Mobile Bay Bears, because the Diamondbacks' AA club has the best starting rotation in the Minor Leagues right now. The starting staff for Mobile consists of Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, and Charles Brewer - the first three are all consensus Top 50 prospects in all of the Minors, while Corbin and Brewer are both highly regarded in a very deep farm system. Let's take a closer look at the Mobile staff, as welll as a look around baseball at other possible contenders for the title of Best Minor League Starting Rotation.
As expected, the Diamondbacks signed 1st Round pick (#7 Overall) Archie Bradley. What was a little surprising is that Bradley signed for only $5M, even less than the $5.25M that the Dodgers paid to Zach Lee last year. Like Lee, Bradley had a Divisin I college football scholarship to play QB, and like Lee, his contract is a "two-sport" contract, which allows the money to be split over 5 years. There are two main reasons for these two-sport deals:
1) It allows teams to spend more money, since the player has the additional leverage of a college football offer.
2) By spreading the money over 5 years, the player is less likely to quit baseball after one season (with all of the bonus money) and go back to football.
We discussed the great talents of Archie Bradley in a previous article - Draft Recap. Now that he has signed, how quickly can Diamondbacks' fans expect to see Bradley in the Majors? As we did with the Trevor Bauer signing last week, let's look at how quickly recent drafted high school pitchers have risen through the Minors.
Along with the thrill of the Diamondbacks moving into first place in the NL West this week, Diamondbacks' fans have another exciting development to follow right now - the progress of 1st Round pick Trevor Bauer. Bauer was the #3 overall selection in the June 2011 draft, was the first of the Top 9 picks to sign, and is still the only one of the Top 9 picks currently playing in the Minor Leagues. Bauer has now made three appearances for Class A Visalia in the California League, and his performance so far has fans wondering if a promotion to AA, or even to the Majors, is coming soon.
Here are Bauer's stats through his first three appearances in Visalia:
The Diamondbacks' farm system has made great strides over the past year, especially in the pitching department. The Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson trades brought in exciting prospects such as Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin and David Holmberg, while the recent June draft netted Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. All five of these players now rank among the organization's Top 10 prospects, and the system as a whole should be among the Top 10 in all of baseball.
At the All-Star Break, 36 players have played for the Diamondbacks in 2011. For the year to date, RF Justin Upton has been the best player, leading the team in AVG, OBP, SLG, and SB. Right behind him is CF Chris Young, who leads the club with 50 HR and is second in OPS at .817. Plus, Young has played very well in CF this year. Moving up from last month's rankings are David Hernandez and Kelly Johnson, while Ryan Roberts has the largest drop, going all the way from #1 down to #10. Still bringing up the rear is SP Armando Galarraga, who has continued to struggle in AAA after being dropped from the Major League roster.
As of July 2nd, the Diamondbacks sit at 44-39, three games behind the first place San Francisco Giants. Although the team has received excellent production from most positions, the offense from First Base has been lacking, .239/.310/.392 with 8 HR and 39 RBI in 83 Games. Juan Miranda's average has slipped to .214, while Xavier Nady has only a .660 OPS. Should the Diamondbacks be looking to make a move?
Over the last ten years, more and more players drafted early in the Major League Baseball June Draft have been commanding Major League contracts. The Diamondbacks selected two players in the first seven picks this year, UCLA RHP Trevor Bauer (3rd) and Oklahoma high school RHP Archie Bradley (7th) - is it likely that these two will demand Major League contracts? And what is the significance of signing such a deal? Read more below.