By Josh Greene
Blessed with one of the deepest farm systems in the Minors, especially on the mound, the D-backs will get their first look at one piece of their potential future Tuesday with the debut of pitcher Jarrod Parker. Continue reading
Jarrod Parker – Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
Last season, Barry Enright made a name for himself in Arizona after his promotion to the Major Leagues in June.
In 2011, Enright finds himself battling for a spot in the D-backs rotation and the right-hander certainly started Spring Training with a strong performance.
Enright made his Spring debut in the third inning of the D-backs’ 6-5 loss to the Rockies on Monday afternoon at Salt River Fields, and did not disappoint.
In his first inning of work, Enright swiftly retired Dexter Fowler on a pop out to the catcher. Enright then showed off his glove work as he scrambled to haul in a ground ball off the bat of Jonathan Herrera for the second out of the inning.
Enright capped off the 1-2-3 inning by inducing Charlie Blackmon into an inning ending ground out.
In the top of the fourth inning, Enright returned to the mound and promptly retired Troy Tulowitzi on a line out and Todd Helton on a fly out to the shortstop.
Chris Nelson stepped to the plate and smacked a double off the left field wall, but Enright rebounded by striking out Cole Garner to end the inning.
While Enright fell behind a few hitters, he was able to fight back and avoid walking anyone.
“I struggled actually getting ahead,” Enright said. “So that was kind of frustrating. But (I was) able to get some balls down in the zone, get a few ground outs, which helped. It was good to only give up one hit, but to get behind in the count like that, I can hurt myself. Just got to work on getting ahead.”
In the end, Enright posted an impressive final line of two innings, one strikeout and only one hit allowed.
Like for many of his fellow pitchers, Enright enjoyed returning to competition.
“It’s good to get back out there,” Enright said. “Had to wait till Monday to do it and was kind of anxious. Good to get back on the bump and get a few pitches under my belt.”
Following Enright, it was Jarrod Parker’s turn to make his 2011 debut.
After missing all of last season due to an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery, Parker and the D-backs have long awaited his return to the mound.
On Monday afternoon, the return finally arrived.
“I was excited,” Parker said. “Just tried to stay within myself and be as calm as I can. The adrenaline was pumping and I was excited facing the Rockies, a pretty good lineup in today.”
In the top of the fifth, Parker retired the leadoff batter Matt Pagnozi via the strikeout. Parker did get in some trouble, issuing three walks in the inning. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Parker responded by getting Troy Tulowitzki to fly out to right field to end the threat.
That would be Parker’s lone inning on the afternoon as he finished with three walks, one strikeout, and no runs allowed.
“It’s good to get the inning under my belt and get some outs and battle a little bit,” Parker said. “It was fun.”
Monday afternoon photos by D-backs photographer Jordan Megehardt:
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Salvatore
If you’ve been yearning to get a look at D-backs pitching prospect Jarrod Parker in action, today is your day.
The young righty will pitch against the Colorado Rockies. Obviously, pitchers aren’t firing with 100 percent of their velocity this early in the spring, but you’ll be able to watch Parker in his first professional game since July 2009, at least his first outside of instructional league.
It will also be our first glimpse of Barry Enright so far this spring.
After a terrific big league debut in 2010, he’s fighting for a rotation spot alongside veterans Zach Duke, Aaron Heilman and Armando Galarraga. Coincidentally, Monday is our first look at Galarraga in a D-backs uniform as well.
Here’s a look at who will be taking the mound for the next three days (* – indicates first Spring Training outing):
Monday vs. Rockies at Salt River Fields:
Armando Galarraga *
Barry Enright *
Jarrod Parker *
Backups: Matt Gorgen, Leyson Septimo, Micah Owings
Tuesday vs. Rockies at Salt River Fields:
Matt Gorgen *
Wednesday, split squad:
vs Mariners at Salt River Fields
Leyson Septimo *
vs. Giants at Scottsdale Stadium
Follow me on Twitter (Insider_Writer) for in-game updates.
CLAY ZAVADA — Photography: Rick Scuteri
Every year, teams have somewhere between 10-20 non-roster invitees at Spring Training, guys who aren’t on the team’s 40-man roster. It’s always a mix of prospects and veteran players who didn’t sign Major League contracts in the offseason. But every year, there are a handful of potential gems on the non-roster list.
Here’s the D-backs’ list of non-roster players that you’ll be watching in Spring Training (their names are clickable for statistics):
Some thoughts on a few of these guys:
Matt Gorgen — Gorgen was the player Arizona acquired from Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Chad Qualls there late last year. I’m interested in seeing Gorgen pitch and I’m really curious as to why the Rays made him available, especially when the team lost so many relief pitchers to free agency this year. He’s got pretty excellent minor league numbers and according to Jerry DiPoto, as Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro mentioned back in September, Gorgen has good stuff as well. If you’re looking to find an interesting sleeper to emerge out of the non-roster invitee group, Gorgen could definitely be your guy.
Jarrod Parker — Like pretty much everybody else, I’m anxious to see how Parker looks in Spring Training. When last we saw him pitch, he was fresh off throwing some really impressive heat in the 2009 Futures Game, but an elbow injury shut him down for the 2010 season. He gave updates on Twitter throughout the year on his conditioning. When Parker is on, he’s darn-near unhittable but the organization is going to be patient with him after major surgery.
Clay Zavada — Elbow surgery also cost Clay Zavada his 2010 season, so one of the bright spots of the 2009 D-backs is going to work toward getting back in the big leagues this year. You won’t meet many ballplayers that are nicer than Zavada, so I would imagine there are going to be a lot of fans pulling for him to succeed this spring.
Chris Owings — Of the D-backs’ highly picked high school draftees in 2009 (Bobby Borchering, Matt Davidson, Chris Owings), this shortstop out of South Carolina has been the most consistent both at the plate and in the field. A foot injury robbed Owings of about two-thirds of his season last year, but he was playing quite well before he went down. Considering the depth the team added this year with Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Willie Bloomquist, there are a lot of infielders in camp. There aren’t that many Spring Training at bats to go around, so Owings’ stay on the big league side might not last very long.
Marc Krauss — Along with teammate Paul Goldschmidt, Marc Krauss absolutely killed the ball in the High-A California League with Visalia last year. Krauss was then one of the few players below Double-A that get a chance to play in the Arizona Fall League. Playing for the 2010 champion Scottsdale Scorpions, Krauss was great, batting .298 with a .404 on-base percentage, with four home runs in 22 games. The guy can really hit, and I’m anxious to see what he can do against some big league pitching.
Wily Mo Pena — I’m mostly just excited to watch Wily Mo Pena take batting practice. He has massive raw power (link: check out this stunning home run he hit at Toronto’s Rogers Centre back in 2007), always has, and hit pretty well in limited duty for the Padres’ Triple-A Affiliate last year.
A.J. Pollock — With really advanced fundamental skills coming out of college, A.J. Pollock looked like he was on the fast track until he hurt his elbow going after a ball in the outfield in Spring Training last year and lost a whole season because of it. He also played in the Fall League and hit quite well for average — batted .313 with six doubles in 16 games — and hopefully his power comes along with health.
Brandon Webb, Jarrod Parker and Tyler Skaggs could not be further apart along a spectrum of experience in pitching, but the three of them took the mound of the first innings of the D-backs Instructional League game against the Rockies squad at Chase Field Thursday.
The three all pitched under somewhat different circumstances, but all felt good about their performances.
Brandon Webb threw the first two innings, as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder surgery that cost him the entire 2010 season and all but one start in 2009; the last time he pitched at Chase Field was against the Rockies’ big league team on Opening Day of 2009. Webb said the start felt the way they always do, with the exception of the team’s location — the D-backs team was in the first base dugout, rather than their customary spot in the third base dugout.
“It felt good,” Webb said. “It was a little bit different warming up in the visitor’s bullpen, but other than that it felt good. It kind of went the way that it has been in bullpens and sim games and stuff like that. In the second inning, I ended up feeling better, even though I gave up a couple of runs. It felt like I was a little tired, but it was good.
“The best part about it was just being out there and being back on the mound competing.”
Parker followed with two innings of his own, including blowing away the first batter he faced with a strikeout. He lost his 2010 season to Tommy John Surgery, replacing a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. His fastball velocity was mid-90s and his delivery looked strong.
“I feel like I’m close to being back,” Parker said. “My delivery is a little cleaner now and the ball feels good coming out. I’m more consistent with my off-speed than I have been in the past.
“I’m finishing (the mechanics) a little bit more, getting a little more out of my body and shoulder, taking some stress off of my elbow.”
The game was the first at Chase Field in Parker’s career. It was also the first time since surgery he’s pitched to anyone that wasn’t wearing a D-backs uniform.
“It was fun,” he said. “Once they told me (about the game at Chase Field) I was really anxious. I just had to keep it under control. I had a blast getting out there and facing the Rockies.”
Chase Field is a realistic destination for Parker in 2011, assuming rehabilitation continues to go well. He’ll finish out his throwing program which is almost over, then head home to Indiana for the holidays. After that, he’ll report back to D-backs camp prepared to start the season.
He pitched 78 innings at Double-A Mobile in 2009, so there’s a chance he could start at either Mobile or Triple-A Reno to begin the year.
Skaggs isn’t rehabbing from an injury, but he is new to the organization since arriving as the Player to be Named Later in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This was a first look at Skaggs for some people with the D-backs. The tall lefty allowed a baserunner, but then quickly induced a double play to end his inning.
“Everything felt good. Curveball, changeup felt good,” Skaggs said. “Everything felt pretty fluid. My fastball and curveball are good but I really need to work on pitching instead of just throwing.”
It was the first time Skaggs had ever pitched in a big league stadium, and while he is considerably farther away from the Major Leagues than Parker, he also was able to use it as motivation to make it back to Phoenix.
“It was pretty exciting. It’s a very big stadium, my first time pitching in a big league stadium. It felt really good.”
I hope to have some video to post tomorrow for the three pitchers working. Check back here for more.
Nine months after D-backs prospect Jarrod Parker was shut down with an elbow injury and seven months after surgery, the right-hander is scheduled throw a bullpen session Monday.
“I’m going to be on the mound Monday for my first bullpen session,” Parker said. “(Friday) I’ll finish up my long toss and be ready to go Monday on the mound.”
Parker was at Chase Field Thursday to watch the D-backs take on the Giants and pitcher Tim Lincecum.
Parker had Tommy John surgery performed on Oct. 28 by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Last year, he went a combined 5-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 97 1/3 innings over 20 starts at Single-A Advanced Visalia and Double-A Mobile. In the 16 starts at Double-A, he posted a 3.68 ERA.
He went on the disabled list from June 14-24 with a right wrist contusion, and then on Aug. 17 for the remainder of the season with inflammation of his right elbow. Parker said his recovery has been going well.
“I have no complaints,” he said. “Our medical staff has done everything right.”
These days, Parker is living in Tucson to work out with the medical staff and trainers at the D-backs’ minor league complex.
“I got the rehab protocol laid out,” he said. “Right now it’s kind of day-to-day with how I feel on the mound, but I’m going to bust my butt to be back as quickly as I can. That’s just how I am. But they’re going to want to be slow, with the surgery and the types of things that can happen.”
At this point — especially before Parker pitches in a bullpen session — it’s difficult to put any sort of specific timetable out for his return. However, a full return to health prior to Spring Training is certainly likely, barring any significant setbacks. A return for the Arizona Fall League in October is is something he’d like to try for, at least, but obviously less likely.
“(October) is a realistic goal for this year, but 110 percent in Spring Training is the for-real goal,” Parker said. “But I would love to pitch in the Fall League.”
This is the first real injury Parker has ever had in baseball, so his perspective has been strange. Never before has he had to watch baseball on TV without the opportunity to go play.
“That’s the worst thing, watching games on TV every night,” Parker said. “I go to rehab in the morning and get done at 11 or noon and then I’m watching games every night. I want to be out there. I want to pitch, I want to play. I’m just itching.
“(Rehabilitation) taught me some patience and being more mature. It’s tough but I’m in the best shape of my life, putting on some real solid weight and getting in good shape. It kind of makes you look at the game a different way.”
(Photo: Ken Weisenberger)
For prospect-info nerds like me, today is like a second Christmas.
Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus released the Top 11 Prospects (because that’s better than 10) for the D-backs today. Here’s the link: http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9958 (subscription required).
Goldstein does a fantastic job with these lists — one for every organization. He’s very thorough with his research.
The promotion of prospects to the Major Leagues over the last four years (Drew, Upton, Reynolds, etc.) and trades — Dan Haren, for example — left the D-backs’ system a little thinner than it had been earlier in the decade. That’s not necessarily a bad problem to have, since it generally a sign of rapid big league promotion among your young players.
So in that vein, you’re going to see a lot of new names. A stunning eight of the top 11 were drafted in 2009.
Anyway, on to Goldstein’s list.
1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
2. Brandon Allen, 1B
3. Bobby Borchering, 3B
4. Chris Owings, SS
5. A.J. Pollock, OF
6. Keon Broxton, OF
7. Marc Krauss, OF
8. Matthew Davidson, 3B
9. Mike Belfiore, LHP
10. Ryan Wheeler, 1B
11. Leyson Septimo, LHP
A few thoughts:
— Goldstein sees Parker as an elite prospect, which is good to see. He noted in the comments section that Parker surely would have been a five-star prospect — and probably a top 25 overall prospect — if not for the arm injury that will sideline him in 2010. However, his rehab is going well, so while it may cost him a year of development, it may not actually cost him any of that excellent ability that made him a top prospect to begin with.
Goldstein note on Parker:
Perfect World Projection: If he comes back 100 percent, he’s an All-Star.
— Goldstein is still high on Brandon Allen, which is great. Allen took some flak for struggling at the plate in the Arizona Fall League, but the D-backs still believe in him long-term. There shouldn’t be any rush on Allen — he’s due for a full year at Triple-A anyway — so the signing of Adam LaRoche takes the pressure off, and hopefully leads to Allen raking for a year at Reno.
Goldstein Note on Allen:
The Good: Allen has a solid approach and enough bat to profile as an everyday first baseman in the majors, combining plus power with a surprisingly solid contact rate, leaving scouts to project him as a .280+ hitter with 20-25 home runs annually.
— It’s great to see Ryan Wheeler on this list. The fifth-round pick last year stunned a lot of prospect watchers with his huge professional debut. Wheeler is definitely a guy to keep your eye on this year.
— Right in the middle of this list is Keon Broxton. Keep your eye on him, too. And be patient. Even at the time of the draft, it was clear that he was a total upside pick. He’s got some work to do to, but he’s a pretty spectacular athlete (he played wide receiver at Florida International University).
We can’t reprint everything here, so you’ll have to head over to BP to check it out.
If you don’t have a Baseball Prospectus subscription, they aren’t that expensive, and definitely worth it.
In related news, Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects over at ESPN is due to be released on Jan. 28. We’ll check back in then to see what we’ve got for a D-backs presence on that list.