Photo by Jon Willey
By Greg Dillard
On April 10, 2007, outfielder Josh Hamilton and his former Cincinnati Reds club were taking on the D-backs at Chase Field. The now-Rangers slugger crushed his first-career home run that night. He then homered and drilled a double the very next night, as well.
By Greg Dillard
For the first time since 2009, the D-backs have not one, but two All-Star representatives at the Midsummer Classic.
Right fielder Justin Upton and catcher Miguel Montero were both selected as reserves on Bruce Bochy’s National League squad.
Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
The 2011 XM All-Star Futures game at Chase Field will feature a pair of D-backs top prospects. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Tyler Skaggs have been selected to participate in this year’s event.
The 13th annual Futures Game will take place on July 10 and showcases many of baseball’s elite prospects on two teams: U.S. and World. In this year’s contest, Goldschmidt and Skaggs will be teammates on the U.S squad.
After being drafted by the D-backs in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Amateur draft, Goldschmidt has torn through Minor League pitching. In nearly three seasons, the hard-hitting first baseman has crushed 75 home runs, 83 doubles, and 231 RBI.
He batted .334 and .314 in his first two seasons, respectively. In 2011, Goldschmidt keeps on hitting and is enjoying a standout season at Double-A Mobile. Through 70 games, he is hitting .328 with 22 homers and 61 RBI.
Despite his recent success, Goldschmidt only wants to get better as his season continues.
“I just try to do my best every day and keep improving,” Goldschmidt said in Spring Training. “Listen to what the coaches are saying and the other guys on the team. Your teammates can help you out so much.”
Goldschmidt recently participated in the Southern League All-Star Game, where he launched a two-run homer in the first inning.
“All you’ve got to do is look at his numbers and wow,” D-backs Director of Player Development Mike Bell said in Spring Training. “I think the way he does it makes it really impressive, too. He’s got a lot of power to right field and right centerfield. The majority of his home runs come that way, which is the sign of a guy that knows how to hit.”
Then there’s Skaggs, who was acquired last summer in the Dan Haren trade with the Angels. Skaggs was a first-round draft pick by Los Angeles in the 2009 draft. With an electric arsenal of pitches and smooth mechanics, the southpaw has immediately become one of Arizona’s top pitching prospects.
As a member of Single-A Visalia’s starting rotation, Skaggs has a 3.36 ERA and 4-5 record in 14 starts this season. Following last year’s trade, he made four starts for South Bend, where he went 1-1 with a sharp 1.69 ERA. In Skaggs’ 83 innings of work, he has tallied 102 strikeouts, which leads the entire California League.
After a slow start to the season, Skaggs has found his groove in recent weeks.
“I’m just attacking hitters,” Skaggs said, “using my fastball inside outside, my curveball, and then I really worked on my changeup. (It’s) just going out there thinking the best, and you can’t be hit. You’ve just got to go out there and go pitch by pitch.”
Skaggs was also a recent Minor League All-Star when he started for the California League in the Single-A All-Star game against the Carolina League on June 21.
Goldschmidt and Skaggs are the latest D-backs to suit up for the Futures Game. Shortstop Stephen Drew, pitcher Daniel Hudson, and outfielders Justin Upton and Chris Young were all participants in past Futures Games.
Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
In last week’s 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the D-backs made a splash with the selection of highly touted UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer.
The third overall pick got his first taste of life as a D-back on Tuesday, when he received the full Chase Field experience and attended the series-opening game against the rival Giants. Bauer was escorted on a tour of the ballpark and met D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson and the coaching staff, as well as several of the team’s current players.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the big leagues… never something that was an expectation or a reality until just recently,” Bauer said. “So getting to meet those guys and have a conversation is pretty spectacular.”
Bauer wasn’t alone during his D-backs journey. His father, Warren, was also in attendance throughout Tuesday’s events, while the entire Bauer clan made the trip to Phoenix this week.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Bauer said. “My family and I are really close. My mom and my sister are actually in town with me. They chose to go shopping right now, but they’ll be here for the game. They’ve been a huge part in my process, my development, and raising me obviously. It’s really good to share it with them.”
The 6-foot-2 Bauer is fresh off a dominating season as a member of the UCLA baseball team. In 16 starts, he posted a 13-2 record with a miniscule 1.25 ERA. Bauer’s 203 strikeouts led the entire NCAA. Of his 16 starts, 10 of them were complete games.
The right-hander’s success did not go unnoticed as he received plenty of national recognition. He claimed National Player of the Year honors from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball. Bauer was also awarded as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, and was a top-three semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
This week’s visit to the Valley of Sun wasn’t Bauer’s first trip to Arizona. Just three weeks ago, Bauer and his Bruins came to Tempe for a three-game series against Arizona State. Bauer dominated in his May 28th start, unleashing a complete-game shutout over the Sun Devils.
“That was a fun night,” Bauer said. “I beat ASU my freshman year, and they got me in a bad way last year. So I was happy to go out there and pitch well.”
Of course, all those accolades and performances came as a collegiate player. Bauer now faces the tall task of translating his talent to the professional level.
“When I’d miss spots in college at 93, 94 mph, guys still had trouble squaring it up,” Bauer said. “Even if they did get a good pass on it, maybe it was a fly out to the track. But you miss spots in professional baseball, it’s a double off the wall. It’s a home run. (I’m) probably just going to have to be finer with my control.”
Bauer’s professional debut has yet to be determined. He has not signed with the D-backs, and is unsure of when those negotiations will be hammered out. All that matters to him is that it’s sometime in the near future.
“I want to get back out there on the field,” Bauer said. “I’m starting to miss it already.”
Whenever Bauer does sign, he will embark on what he hopes to be a rapid ascension through the minor league ranks. Despite being just 20 years old, Bauer hopes to be on the Chase Field mound in the near future.
“I hope to be up by next year at some point,” Bauer said. “I’m fully confident in my abilities, and that I can compete and give my team a chance to win at the big league level. That being said, it’s not entirely my decision. It depends on how I do obviously in the minor leagues and as the season gets going and (things) like that.”
Whether or not Bauer reaches the Major Leagues next season remains to be seen. However, the talented right-hander holds high expectations for his future.
“I’m a winner,” Bauer said. “That’s my goal, to go out there and win.”
One more sign that baseball season is coming: the turf is being put in at Chase Field today.
This will give the sod and grass just over four weeks to set in before the D-backs play their first game on the field against the Chicago Cubs for the final two exhibition games on April 2 and 3 (those tickets go on sale Saturday, more on that below).
As of the time of this blog post, we are just 33 days away (793 1/2 hours if you want to break it down further) from the first pitch of the regular season against the Padres at Chase Field.
Regular Season Tickets On Sale Saturday
The D-backs will begin offering tickets to all 81 regular season games — including Opening Day — plus the two aforementioned games against the Cubs at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 6.
In addition to purchasing tickets at Chase Field, you can call 602.514.8400 or 1.800.777.4664 if you’re outside the Phoenix area. Additionally, you can visit dbacks.com or go to any one of the 36 Ticketmaster Retail Outlets in Arizona, including 28 Fry’s Food Stores or Fry’s Marketplace locations.
The majority of tickets will range from $8-60 and schedule highlights include Opening Day, a weekend series against the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies April 23-25, a three-game interleague series against the World Series champion New York Yankees June 21-23, a Fourth of July weekend series against the Dodgers July 2-4 and a three-game set with the Cubs July 5-7.
If you want to lock in your seats before tickets go on sale Saturday, fans can buy various packages including the 6-Pack or 10-Pack Plus. The 10-Pack Plus includes tickets to any combination of 10 games, $10 in D-backs to purchase merchandise at Team Shop locations or food at any concession stand inside Chase Field, and a $5 gift card from Circle-K. Fans interested in purchasing mini-plans can go to dbacks.com/6pack or dbacks.com/10pack.