Diamondbacks Minor Leaguers in Review: Mobile Pitchers

Evan Marshall signing autographs. - Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

In the last of our minor league reviews (we won't be doing AAA) we cover the Mobile pitching staff that led the team to its second consecutive Southern League title. It was a solid staff that sported Tyler Skaggs for the first half before his call-up to Reno and then the majors, Trevor Bauer for the first month, and even former Major Leaguer Brett Tomko for a couple of starts plus some playoff innings.

Chase Anderson and David Holmberg were the stars of the staff for the stretch run and the playoffs. But the team also had a couple of very solid starters in Derek Eitel and Michael Bolsinger who don't get a lot of notoriety. The bullpen was also very good with Eury De La Rosa, Evan Marshall and Matt Gorgen handling the back end.

LHP David Holmberg, 21, 3.32 ERA, 173 IP, 153 K, 37 BB
Plus Stat: 4.1 K/BB Minus Stat: .281 BAA in AA
Acquired: 2010 Trade with Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson
As a seemingly throw-in in the Edwin Jackson trade for Huddy, Holmberg is on an impressive path to becoming a Major League starter in the not-too-distant future. He started the season at High A Visalia where he was dominant before being promoted mid-season to Mobile. He wasn't nearly as dominant in Mobile but he was still very good. He found it harder to strike guys out in the Southern League and he gave up a lot more hits. But as the season wore on he got progressively better. He didn't turn 21 until July and was one of the youngest starters in the league. Holmberg has ridiculous control though he lacks any one dominant pitch. His fastball is not overwhelming but he can throw all his pitches for strikes. He has great size and bulk for a starter being 6-4, 220 and has the repertoire to become a solid middle-of-the-rotation innings eater. He may never be an elite starter but could be a very valuable member of the rotation in 2015.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Chase Anderson, 24, 104 IP, 2.86 ERA, 97 K, 25 BB
Plus Stat: .231 BAA Minus Stat: 104 IP
Acquired: 2009 Draft - 9th Round
There's no denying Anderson's talent. The bigger issue has always been his health and being able to put together a season's worth of innings. He missed all of 2011 to surgery and thus logged just 104 innings in 2012, right around 5 innings per start. He did pitch well in the Arizona Fall League so he seems on his way to putting the injury bug behind him. He was extremely productive for Mobile posting a solid ERA and a K/BB of just under 4.0, but he is 24 and his time is now. He'll likely be headed to Reno and is probably 2nd or 3rd in line for a Major League starting gig if the team has a rash of injuries. What we'll be looking for is his ability to go deeper into games and handle the professional hitters in the PCL in some of those hitting environments. His path is currently blocked and there are other prospects who are more highly regarded, but he'll get his chance to make it all the way before too long.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Michael Bolsinger, 23, 115 IP, 3.35 ERA, 113 K, 51 BB
Plus Stat: 9.0 K/9 Minus Stat: 0.91 GO/AO in AA
Acquired: 2010 Draft - 15th Round
Bolsinger has made a nice steady rise through the Dbacks system since being a mid-round pick in 2010. He started out as a reliever but has since transitioned into a starter and is more than holding his own. He was promoted to Mobile after dominating in Visalia for seven starts. He was not overwhelmed by the promotion and had a very solid season. He's just a notch below the likes of Holmberg, Anderson, Meo and Chafin, but not by all that much. He has a nice frame for pitching at 6-2, 209 and had been posting K/BB ratios above 3.0 until reaching AA where the number tapered off. He's dangerously close to becoming a more prominent prospect if he could only take that little extra step, which he'll be given the chance to do in 2013. Very worth watching.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Derek Eitel, 24, 150 IP, 4.37 ERA, 91K, 52 BB
Plus Stat: 150 IP Minus Stat: 17 HR
Acquired: 2010 Draft - 17th Round
Eitel was drafted in 2010 just two rounds after Bolsinger, but he hasn't fared as well. He continues to climb levels, but just barely, and is now being seen as a solid organizational starter who can eat up innings and keep his team competitive. But he's not really showing much beyond that. He's shown a tendency to give up the long ball and his K/BB ratios are not prospect worthy. He did put together perhaps his best season as a minor leaguer in Mobile last year, but it's still a tad short of garnering any notoriety that says he's headed to the Majors some day.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: AAA

RHP Brett Lorin, 25, 102 IP, 6.40 ERA, 70 K, 35 BB
Plus Stat: 2.0 K/BB Minus Stat: .304 BAA
Acquired: 2012 Rule 5 Pick, Acquired from Pittsburgh for Robby Rowland
Following a fairly stellar 4-year minor league career, the Dbacks snagged Lorin in last year's Rule 5 draft and subsequently traded Robby Rowland to keep him. They assigned him to Mobile to start the season and suffice it to say he had a pretty rough season. That might explain Pittsburgh's willingness to part with him. Lorin was effective throwing strikes, but he wasn't very effective getting guys out. He allowed 127 hits in 101 innings including 12 home runs and by the end of the season had been relegated to the bullpen. He'll get another chance next year no doubt as they have something invested in him, but the shine is off for now and he'll need a dramatic turnaround to change that.
2013 Projection: AA Mobile
Ceiling: AA

LHP Eury De La Rosa, 22, 63 IP, 2.84 ERA, 68 K, 17 BB
Plus Stat: 4.0 K/BB Minus Stat: 0.62 GO/AO
Acquired: 2008 Dominican Free Agent
De La Rosa may be short of stature (5-9) but he's not short on production. The small lefty was one of Mobile's most reliable relievers and he was rewarded by being added to the team's 40-man roster so as not to be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Whether that suggests that De La Rosa can go all the way to the top remains to be seen, but he made the extremely difficult jump from South Bend in 2011 all the way to Mobile, skipping over Visalia. This is not often done successfully and he did it at the still relatively young age of 22. De La Rosa demonstrated excellent control with just 17 walks, and in spite of a very low GO/AO ratio of 0.62 allowed just three home runs. That ratio will need to reverse itself some if he wants to make it as it has persisted for two years now. But lefties are always worth their weight in gold so it is comforting to know we've got someone waiting in the wings making his way. One to watch.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Evan Marshall, 22, 48 IP, 3.51 ERA, 27 K, 16 BB
Plus Stat: 2 HR Minus Stat: 5.0 K/9
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 4th Round
Marshall has persistently been described as a fast-tracker to the Major League bullpen. While that still may be true the results from last year cast some doubt onto that in my opinion. While he did pitch in mostly high leverage situations and did acquit himself well with his results, it's the peripherals that have me concerned. A K/9 of just 5.0 does not sound like a back-of-the-bullpen kind of guy to me. True, he did get people out, and his GO/AO of 1.56 suggests he's somewhat of a groundball pitcher. But to me those are at best the numbers for a middle reliever or a back-of-the-rotation guy. I fear that if he gets exposed to advanced hitters he won't fare as well. We'll see. He does have excellent control and did fare well in the Arizona Fall League, so he can't be discounted by any means just yet.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Kevin Munson, 23, 53 IP, 6.28 ERA, 64 K, 27 BB
Plus Stat: 10.9 K/9 Minus Stat: 6.28 ERA
Acquired: 2010 Draft - 4th Round
Munson is the polar opposite of Evan Marshall. His results have been bad but his peripherals are really good. Munson is a classic case of why you can't just look at ERA in measuring a pitcher's worth. One would think with such a bad ERA that Munson was headed for the scrap heap, but that's not really the case. His high K/9 is very impressive and he keeps the ball in the ballpark, but he kept putting up the occasional really bad outing that ruined his stat line. He walks a few more than he should and he gives up a few more hits than he should, but he has a live arm and the team is not giving up on Munson just yet. Some consistent results would sure help his case and keep him from sliding further down the prospect list. He produced more of the same in the Arizona Fall League, so we'll be watching but time will start to run short on this hard-throwing righty.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Eric Smith, 23, 61 IP, 4.11 ERA, 39 K, 38 BB
Plus Stat: .247 BAA Minus Stat: 1.0 K/BB
Acquired: 2009 Draft - 2nd Round
A lot was expected from this 2nd round pick in 2009 and to date he's coming up a tad short of those expectations. He's been posting fairly middling results the last couple of years and the peripherals aren't much better. He was still sent to the Arizona Fall League where he did "okay" at best. His K/BB ratios are substandard and his only saving grace is a solid 1.88 GO/AO in 2012. The rubber is going to meet the road soon with this prospect and his future is dimming rapidly. Apparently the club still has some hope for Smith but he's going to need to show progression sooner than later.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: AAA

RHP Matt Gorgen, 25, 62 IP, 2.90, 71 K, 25 BB
Plus Stat: .234 BAA Minus Stat: 0.83 GO/AO
Acquired: 2011 Minor League Free Agent
After missing all of 2011 Gorgen was signed by the Diamondbacks and did a more than serviceable job in reestablishing his value as a future bullpen arm. He began the year in Mobile where he excelled and was subsequently promoted to Reno where he also pitched well. He's getting up there in age at 25 but he's shown enough that he could be on standby as an emergency bullpen arm if the team needed him. His progression probably made it easier for the team to part with Bryan Shaw. If he continues to improve he has a chance to be considered more than an emergency arm. Worth watching in 2013.
2013 Projection: AAA Reno
Ceiling: Major League

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