There's no question about Ahmed's defensive skills, and this season he won the Rawlings Gold Glove for the best minor-league shortstop: the question has always been, will he hit enough? The naysayers seemed to have proven their case after a miserable first two months at Mobile saw Ahmed with a line of .138/.213/.163 in 52 games. "I just wasn't myself, wasn't comfortable, and the results showed it," he said. But Ahmed then found his groove, hitting .284 the rest of the way, and a .729 OPS over those 83 games. Ahmed says he learned a lot from John McDonald his first time at D-backs camp, last year, and the play below, from September, shows similarly good handling.
Evans played both ends of the corner infield for Mobile, but was as much an outfielder during his major-league time with the New York Mets, appearing in 159 games for them between 2008-11 - he had three doubles in his debut, only the second player all-time to do so. This is a coming home of sorts for Nick, who was born in Glendale and was drafted in the fifth round by the Mets out of St. Mary's High School, the same one which produced Andre Ethier. Evans was named the Mobile Baybears MVP for the season, had 19 home-runs and 81 RBI, also leading the team in doubles, walks and total bases.
Freeman played with Evans at Mobile, and was the Baybears' everyday starting second baseman. He hit .247 with just the one home-run, but good plate-discipline led to enough walks to bring his OBP up to a solid .345, and he stole 29 bases in 39 attempts. Freeman then played in the Arizona Fall League, and the same facets were seen there, with a .354 OBP and a 5-0 record in stolen bases. It will be his ability to sustain those aspects of his game, which likely hold the key to Freeman's future success or failure. However, considering the depth we currently have on our middle infield, it won't be easy for him to break through.
Something of a controversial signing for us in 2012, Jacobs having just finished a 50-game suspension after testing positive for HGH. This is his second stint with us: he started off 2013 in the Mariners organization, then played in Mexico for a bit, before being re-signed by Arizona. Fun fact #1. Hit a three-run pinch-hit homer off the Nationals' Esteban Loaiza, in his first ever Major League at-bat. It came on the Mets' Jewish Heritage Day in 2005. Fun fact #2. The next season, on their Jewish Heritage Day, the Marlins gave out Mike Jacobs T-shirts. Fun fact #3. Jacobs isn't Jewish.
The High-A Visalia shortstop was originally a 17th-round pick by the Oakland Athletics, but came to Arizona in exchange for Stephen Drew in August 2012. Had good numbers for the Rawhide, hitting .287 with 11 home-runs and an .862 OPS, but was aged 24 for the entire season, which is old for that level. Still, it was enough to win the Ontario-born player the Randy Echlin Memorial Award, given to the top Canadian Minor League hitter. Hadn't heard of that? You're not the only one. “To be honest, I didn’t really know about it until my agent texted me,” Sean said. If he makes it to the majors, he'd be our second Canadian, the first being Danny Klassen.
Lamb has one less bone than he had at this point last year, having had a hamate in his hand removed, after breaking it on a swing. That injury cost him almost a month of playing time, but still had a very good season in Visalia. Jake hit .303 with thirteen HR and took 48 walks in 64 games, for an overall .421 on-base percentage this year. That was level with Ryan Court for the highest (min. 300 PAs) across the entire D-backs farm system in 2013. Earlier this winter, John said of the 23-year-old that he was the "best 3B in [our] system" if healthy, ranking him our #7 prospect, so important eyes will be on him this spring.
Not to be confused with outfielder Alfredo Marte, though both are Dominican. Andy is more of a veteran, being aged 30, and with six seasons of major-league experience, totaling 302 games, between the Braves and Indians. The last of these came at the end of 2010, and since then, Marte has been in the minor leagues with the Pirates and Angels. Was described by Craig Calcaterra as the most extreme Quad-A player he'd seen, with a major-league OPS close to 200 points worse than his minor-league number. Amazing to think, in 2006, Marte was seriously considered by Atlanta as a replacement for Chipper Jones.