Baseball America just released their 2013 draft review and a number of Diamondback prospects were recognized. Overall, the BA editors rated the Diamondbacks with the second-best draft in all of baseball behind only the Pirates. Here are some of the other prospects recognized in their review.
3. Matt McPhearson - 4th round
3. Braden Shipley - 1st Round
Best High School Player Debut
2. Justin Williams - 2nd Round
Here's my take on the first professional season of all our draft picks.
1. Braden Shipley - RHP
Struggled initially at Low A Hillsboro with a 7.58 ERA in 8 starts and 30 hits allowed in 19 innings. Got promoted to South Bend anyway and pitched better with a 2.61 ERA in 4 starts and a couple of decent starts in the playoffs. But he was hardly impressive throughout his professional season and we will be expecting more next season, especially considering he was considered a steal for dropping to the 15th pick. Did post a decent 40/14 K/BB ratio in 39 innings but so far critics have a case for saying why he dropped.
1A. Aaron Blair, RHP
Pitched better than Shipley playing alongside him in both Hillsboro and South Bend, but also not anything dominating. Finished with overall stats similar to Shipley 41 Ks and 17 BBs in 48 innings. Will be interesting to see where he and Shipley get posted next year with the tough California League waiting. First pro season after a full college season is not always the best gauge of a pitcher's true talent. Did enough to be very interested in how he develops next year.
2. Justin Williams, OF
Terrific first season for 17-year old kid who many expected to struggle with advanced pitchers. Played well in the AZ Rookie League with a .345 average and an .843 OPS. Got promoted to Missoula and played even better hitting .412 with a .952 OPS in 11 games. Finally got promoted for a few games to South Bend, quite a journey for such a young player. Will likely start in South Bend next season. Did not flash any home run power yet as that was supposed to be his calling card but plenty of time for that to develop if he keeps putting the bat on the ball. He did have 18 doubles in 200 AB. A keeper at a position of organizational need.
3. Daniel Palka, 1B
Georgia Tech LH slugger who did very well splitting time between Missoula and Hillsboro. Debuted in Missoula hitting .302/.386/.502 in 56 games and then joined a struggling Hillsboro team to provide some offense and hit .348/.418/.574 in 11 games. Looks like the real deal with 9 home runs, 21 doubles and 48 RBI in 68 games. Fully expect to see him in Visalia next year on the same path as other top hitting prospects. Still just 21 and a move to the outfield might be on the horizon to give him a path to the majors.
4. Matt McPhearson, OF
Really struggled to make contact in the AZL though he got progressively better as the season wore on hitting .240 with a .356 OBP in August after hitting below the Mendoza line in June and July. Did flash his big speed stealing 15 bases while getting caught 3 times. Also had 6 outfield errors playing mostly center field. Still a baby but not the most impressive debut. Likely will be in Missoula next year and the pressure will be on to take a step forward.
5. Jamie Westbrook, SS/2B
Solid all-around play from the diminutive infielder from Gilbert High School as he earned a graduation from the AZL to Missoula mid-season. Played mostly 2B and finished with a combined .281/.356/.430 in 57 games with 11 doubles, 8 triples and 2 homers. His 16 errors were a little unsightly but not horrific for a new player. Might be ticketed for Missoula again to see if he can bump his numbers there to earn time in South Bend. If he can do that he'll get more cred as a real prospect as opposed to a ceiling-limited organizational infielder.
6. Colin Bray, OF
Intriguing prospect drafted out of junior college and posted in Missoula where he did enough to get our attention but not enough for us to say, "Wow." Hit .276/.341/.373 as the everyday center fielder at the age of 20. Very athletic and stole 15 bases with just 4 errors. Did enough to probably earn a starting spot in South Bend next year where he'll be given every opportunity to put his name on the map.
7. Daniel Gibson, LHP
Solid reliever out of Florida put together a very good season pitching as the setup man to closer Jimmy Sherfy in both Hillsboro and South Bend. Posted a 0.64 ERA between the two stop with 27 Ks in 28 innings. Impressive 1.80 GO/AO and a .223 BAA. Visalia is likely on the docket for next year where he'll get his true test to show whether he's got major league potential.
8. Brad Keller, RHP
Big high school right-hander didn't disappoint with a solid season in the AZL going 7-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 61 Ks in 56 innings. Got a cup of coffee in Missoula at the end of the year and will likely get posted there next season. Could get placed in Hillsboro instead as Misoula isn't exactly the friendliest place from which to launch a pitching career. The choice of destinations might be most telling about how the club feels about his future.
9. Grant Nelson, C
Decent college catcher couldn't hit a lick in Hillsboro so they backed him down to Missoula at the end of the year where he went 6 for 20 with a home run to regain some confidence. Seems destined to be an organizational catcher unless the first few months were an aberration. needs to pick it up early next year to get back on the map.
10. Jimmy Sherfy, RHP
Signed at the July 15 deadline for $100,000 after he and his agent tried to command more with a threat to return to college. Was electric once he signed at both Hillsboro and South Bend. In 18 games produced a 1.04 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 17 innings and converted 7 saves. Has a great fastball/slider combination ideal for closing and has a chance to make his way quickly to the top if he continues to command the slider. Potential future closer.
Others worth keeping an eye on who had interesting first years.
11. Jacob Cordero, SS
12. Dane McFarland, OF
19. Jake Mayers, 3B
24. Zach Esquerra, OF
26. George Roberts, 1B
28. Johnny Shuttlesworth, RHP
33. Alex Byo, RHP