Dbacks Minor Leaguers in Review: Mobile Offense

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Mobile won their second consecutive championship in spite of boasting an offense that was not as overpowering as the 2011 version. They actually got a last season playoff boost from a handful of kids from Visalia, but the heart of the order was solid throughout with Matt Davidson, Alfredo Marte and Chris Owings being the primary forces.

My apologies for the long delay in getting the AA and AA reviews done, I'm swamped with work at the moment. In any case, the Mobile lineup also boasted a handful of veterans who may or may not be back next season but were instrumental in the team's success. Here are the guys that are still in the organization as of this writing.

3B Matt Davidson, 21, 261/.367/.469
Plus Stat: 23 HR Minus Stat: 28 errors
Acquired: 2009 Draft - 1st Round
One of Arizona's top prospects Davidson had a solid season for Mobile displaying power and good on base skills while manning 3B full time and reportedly improving to the point where it's likely he'll be sticking there. He improved on most of his High A numbers from 2011 which is a great sign as the Southern League is one of the toughest leagues in all of minor league baseball to hit in. His steady growth projects to a possible 2014 arrival in Phoenix if he takes another solid step forward in 2013. Davidson has a chance to be special while possessing a floor that still projects him as a likely everyday Major League player.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

SS Chris Owings, 21, .290/.323/.452
Plus Stat: .452 SLG Minus Stat: .291 OBP in AA
Acquired: 2009 Draft - 1st Round
Taken just six picks after Davidson in 2009 Owings has developed into a legitimate prospect in his own right. He plays a premium defensive position at an acceptable level and the kid can hit and hit with some power for a SS. The big knock on Owings is he refuses to take walks which kills his OBP. At one time Owings was being called our SS of the future, and while that still may be true the team took out some insurance on that by acquiring Didi Gregorius to compete with. Now Didi is being called the team's SS of the future which clouds Owings' future. Outside of the poor OBP Owings had a solid year in which he killed High A pitching in the first half of the season then spent the second half in Mobile where he didn't have quite as much success. But as a 20-YO playing shortstop in the difficult Southern League he held his own. Maybe the Didi trade will light a fire under Owings to solve his on base problems. He could always move to 2B to eventually replace Hill but he's less valuable there unless his hitting spikes some more. He's a good hitter for a SS, he's probably an average hitter for a 2B.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: Major League

OF Alfredo Marte, 23, .294/.363/.523
Plus Stat: .523 SLG Minus Stat: None
Acquired: 2006 Dominican Free Agent
Marte is an interesting prospect who burst onto the scene in 2012 with a terrific season that included 20 home runs, an .886 OPS and good K and BB rates. He had been slowly working his way up the organizational ladder when he was suspended in 2011 for 50 games for PEDs. Apparently they worked as he produced the best power numbers of his career. He can't be discounted as a possible future Major League outfielder. It's hard to figure what the team thinks of him but he has a nice set of all-around skills. He's a pretty good defensive outfielder and has played his share of center field, though he won't be a Major League center fielder. He doesn't strike out a lot, and he has steadily improved his on base skills. If he takes another step forward in AAA in 2013 he'll be put on standby to fill a Major League spot if needed and has a chance to compete for a spot in 2014. Currently he has to be considered a one-year wonder until he produces another similar season then he can start being taken seriously as a prospect with a real future. He's getting close to that age where he can't afford any steps back so we'll be watching him closely in 2013.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

2B David Nick, 22, .249/.296/.341
Plus Stat: 30 XBH Minus Stat: .296 OBP
Acquired: 2009 Draft -4th Round
Nick has been moving up a level every year since being drafted out of high school in 2009, but 2012 was a step backwards in his development, dropping him considerably on the team's list of prospects. He had a nice season in 2011 in hitting-friendly Visalia, but he couldn't duplicate those numbers in Mobile. I no longer think that Nick will make it to the Majors even as a utility guy. He could have a bounce-back season and resurrect his chances, but typically when you post a sub .700 OPS as a 22-YO in AA it often signals you've reached your ceiling. There are some things to like about Nick's all-around game. He has a little pop, he can steal a few bases and he plays good defense. Interestingly his numbers weren't all that different than Owings' except Owings showed more power. The other difference is that Owings is two years younger. I shouldn't write off Nick completely just yet but he faces an uphill battle from here.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: AAA

C Rossmel Perez, 23, .270/.356/.308
Plus Stat: 6.3 % K-Rate Minus Stat: 0 HR
Acquired: 2006 Venezuelan Free Agent
Perez has been a solid organizational catcher and he shared the Mobile catching duties with Ed Easley. He handles the pitching staff well and he's not an "out-maker." But he isn't on anyone's radar as a future ML catcher. The main issue is he has absolutely zero power to speak of as he's strictly a contact hitter who doesn't strike out a lot. The problem is he doesn't hit the ball very far. He'll stick around for a few more years as a backup or platoon catcher in AA or AAA but that's as far as he's going.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: AAA

C Ed Easley, 26, .265/.356/.328
Plus Stat: 12.7% K-Rate Minus Stat: 2 HR
Acquired: 2007 Draft - 1st Round
Easley is the epitome of the organizational catcher. He's been catching for the Dbacks' AA and AAA teams for the past four years. The problem is he was drafted to be more than an organizational catcher in the first round of the 2007 draft. He shared the Mobile catching job with Rossmel Perez and did pretty much exactly the same thing. He didn't strike out a lot but he rarely hit the ball with authority either. He's a solid defender and is considered a "pitcher's catcher" which is what keeps him around. He'll get another couple of years doing more of the same and then he should head off to the coaching ranks.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: AAA

OF Evan Frey, 26, .252/.350/.313
Plus Stat: 34 SB Minus Stat: .313 SLG
Acquired: 2007 Draft - 10th Round
Give Frey credit for sticking around professional baseball for the past six years. He's a speedy outfielder with zero power and not enough on-base skills to to take advantage of his speed. He's done a nice job of working his way up the ladder but he's now hit the wall in his development with two consecutive sub-.700 OPS seasons. He might hang on for another couple of years as a useful 4th OF for Mobile or Reno but he's nearing the end of the line.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: AAA

3B/2B Dan Kaczrowski, 25, .224/.335/.269
Plus Stat: 1.6 BB/K Minus Stat: .260 SLG
Acquired: 2009 Draft - 26th Round
Kaz is one of those guys who is a great fit on a minor league roster because he can play a lot of positions, is a "heady" player and doesn't have any illusions about making it to the Show. His name will show up on the highlight list once in a while but he's strictly roster filler. He's gone as far as he can go.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: AAA

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