Diamondback Minor League Players in Review: AZL Pitchers

The AZL Dbacks were not exactly supplied with the organization's best young pitchers. The team's 2012 draft haul consisted primarily of hitters and a number of those draft picks started in the AZL Rookie League. The same cannot be said of the pitchers, though there were still a few noteworthy performances. However, most of those that were noteworthy were promoted and aren't covered here. But there's still a few names worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of years, especially Ben Eckels and Felipe Lopez.

As always we'll start with the best (at least in my humble opinion) and work down. As we work through most of the other leagues we'll likely separate the starters and relievers into separate reviews. But there's so little worth noting on this team that I'm combining them into one article to save me the trouble of producing two articles that will be of little interest to anyone.

RHP Ben Eckels, 18, 52 IP, 56 K, 23 BB, 4.13
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 11th Round
Eckels was taken with the first pick "after" the first 10 rounds where the signing bonuses are counted against the cap. There was a lot of contention that rounds 11, 12 and 13 included a lot of talent that was worthy of higher draft spots but the anomalies of the new draft system had them still on the board for various reasons. Eckels was ranked number 291 by Baseball America going into the draft and the word on him was that he was a talented though undersized right hander. Eckels threw a number of really good games for the Dbacks and I was almost surprised he never got moved up to get a few starts against higher competition. But be assured that he will next year. He has a good fastball, a really good change-up, and a developing curveball. The sky's still the limit for him.
2013 Projection: Low A South Bend
Ceiling: Major Leagues

RHP Felipe Lopez, 18
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
The prep RHP signed with the Dbacks for $400,000 just before he was to attend UCLA on a baseball scholarship. He did not appear in any games so we don;t know a lot about him yet.
2013 Projection: Rookie Missoula
Ceiling: Major Leagues

RHP Luis Hernandez, 20, 65 IP, 53, K, 28 BB, 4.71
Acquired: 2010 Dominican FA
Hernandez spent two seasons in the DSL without any spectacular results and he did pretty much the same during his first season in the U.S. Nothing special and no special future projected for him either. He was pretty good his last 4 starts with a 2.45 ERA and 20 Ks in 22 innings. He'll move up but looks like low level organization fodder for now.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: High A

RHP, Andrew Potter, 18, 54 IP, 43 K, 25 BB, 4.33
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 31st Round
Potter held his own throughout the year but rarely did anything that made you stop and take notice. He did enough to move up a level but that's about it.
2013 Projection: Rookie Missoula
Ceiling: High A

RHP, Geordy Parra, 19, 55 IP, 54 K, 19 BB, 5.17
Acquired: 2011 Venezuelan FA
Parra had a couple of short stints in the DSL before coming the America where he really hasn"t distinguished himself. The strikeout numbers are good so there's at least some hope, but he'll need to do more to be given a meaningful starting job somewhere above the AZL. My guess is he'll be a repeater first and spend a few years toiling at the lower levels.
2013 Projection: Rookie AZL
Ceiling: Low A

RHP Jonathan Pulley, 19, 37 IP, 42 K, 15 BB, 5.30
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 33rd Round
Pulley was much better as a starter than a reliever with a 2.25 ERA in 4 starts at the end of the season. This should give him some hope of initiating an upward path. The question is if they can find him a starting job somewhere because he certainly wasn't cutting it as a reliever.
2013 Projection: Rookie Missoula
Ceiling: High A

RHP Jeffrey Gibbs, 21, 22 IP, 20 K, 40 BB, 13.10
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 9th Round
Top 10 draft picks usually show a little more something than what Gibbs did. After a solid junior season at Maine Gibbs struggled as a senior and was even worse once he turned pro. he has great size at 6-4 and a fastball in the low 90s, but he just too wild right now. being a Top 10 picks I'm sure he'll get more time to try and figure things out, but his future looks bleak right now.
2013 Projection: Rookie AZL
Ceiling: Low A

RHP Donald Medlinger, 22, 23 IP, 25 K, 5 BB, 0.38
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
Medlinger was a pretty good college pitcher that bounced around various California schools after originally signing with Cal out of high school. The Dbacks signed him as an undrafted free agent and sent him to the AZL where he was named the team's pitcher of the month for July. He was outstanding in Arizona and eventually shipped out at the tail end of the season for a couple of relief appearances with Visalia. He was pretty old to be toiling in the AZL but he did dominate and he has likely earned an assignment significantly higher for next season. He should get his chance next year to show if he belongs on a progressive path.
2013 Projection: Low A South Bend
Ceiling: AAA

RHP Eric Meyerchick, 22, 23 IP, 23 K, 8 BB, 5.48 ERA
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
Meyerchick was St. Joseph's College's top pitcher and was not drafted. The Diamondbacks signed him in July and sent him to the AZL. He struggled at first but was pretty solid down the stretch. He might get a bullpen job outside of the AZL next year if he does well in ST. His K numbers were good but he's pretty old for the level. he's likely just lower level organization bullpen help.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: High A

RHP Tanner Hamilton, 23, 23 IP, 32 K, 11 BB, 6.26 ERA
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
Hamilton was a college pitcher the Dbacks signed in late June. I actually saw his professional debut in person and sat with his parents at that game. He had his moments and piled up the strikeouts, but he'd have two good outings then a bad one. He's quite old for the level and doesn't have a serious future. But he probably did enough to get another look in ST.
2013 projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: Low A

LHP Francisco Guzman, 23, 17 IP, 16 K, 7 BB, 5.09
Acquired: 2010 Dominican Free Agent
Spent two seasons in the DSL where he pitched well in 2011. Sent to the U.S. for 2012 and didn't impress. I'll be surprised if he's still around in 2013. But being 6-5 and left-handed, you never know.
2013 Projection: Released

LHP Harry Marino, 22, 17 IP, 19 K, 10 BB, 2.60
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
Williams College pitcher signed immediately after the 2012 draft and assigned to the AZL. Also pitched in the Cape Cod League in 2011. Held his own as a reliever but didn't get a ton of work. But he showed enough that he may earn a higher assignment next year.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: High A

LHP Elroy Urbina, 23, 25 IP, 16 K, 15 BB, 4.21
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 37th Round
Pitched in the AZL last year and again this year doing a little better than last year. No real future here.
2013 Projection: Released

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