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Diamondbacks Minor League in Review: Yakima Infielders

Yakima got considerably more production out of its infielders and catchers than its outfield. But that doesn't mean there's a whole lot of special talent being developed there. Yakima was a team dominated by a strong pitching staff that carried them to the playoffs, with the hitters doing just enough to win a bunch of close games.

There's at most a couple of guys who played in Yakima who have even a remote chance of going all the way. I'm not really predicting that any of them will but one always has to be careful about writing off everyone who is playing in their first professional season. INF Kevin Medrano and C Ronnie Freeman are the names who will jump out the most on this list. And they might be the only ones who truly earned a promotion from their performances this year.

2B/SS Kevin Medrano, 22, .341/.374/.402
Plus Stat: .341 BA Minus Stat: 0 HR
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 18th Round
Medrano was a singles-hitting machine for Yakima this year which helped him post a gaudy .341 BA, and he only struck out 30 times in 288 PAs. So what's the problem you say? He has almost no pop. In 90 hits he managed only 12 XBH, and zero homers. He played both SS and 2B so if he proves to be a competent SS he can maybe get away with no pop if he keeps getting on base like that. He also bats left-handed, another plus for an infielder. He certainly earns a promotion with his season, so we'll see if he can at least start compiling more doubles to go with his great contact and decent speed. Worth watching going forward.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: AAA

C Ronnie Freeman, 21, .273/.341/.333
Plus Stat: 14.3% K-Rate Minus Stat: 0 HR
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 5th Round
Freeman was another draft pick this year to help beef up the organization's catching depth. Freeman was a solid college catcher and he had a fairly solid year for Yakima. The big concern as with Medrano is he showed no power potential. You really would like your catcher to have some power. But he did show good plate discipline and was particularly tough against lefties. He'll move up a level but the catching depth is suddenly so great that it's going to be harder to find full-time gigs for all the deserving players. Freeman is a solid catcher who the team hopes will keep moving up the ladder year by year., and they'll definitely spend some time with him this off-season and see if they can find some power in his stroke. We'll be watching him closely next season.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: Major League

1B Jacob House, 23, .281/.327/.396
Plus Stat: .722 OPS Minus Stat: 25.8% K-Rate
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 20th Round
House had a solid season but didn't show anything special. He missed some time in July with an injury and regressed in August. He was a solid college hitter and did pretty much the same in his first pro year, but at best he's got a couple more levels in him and that will be about it. It's 50/50 whether he gets to go to full-season ball or has to repeat in Hillsboro. I'm predicting Hillsboro.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: High A

SS Josh Parr, 23, .218/.290/.323
Plus Stat: 6 HR Minus Stat: .189 BA in South Bend
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 12th Round
Parr had a solid season in 2011 for Missoula and they tried to promote him to South Bend in 2012, but he couldn't handle the advanced pitching there and was sent back to Yakima after 6 weeks. He did okay in Yakima and actually went on a little power surge down the stretch in some big games during their playoff run. He may get another chance at South Bend next year but he'll be on a short leash after failing there once already. A .680 OPS in your second pro season in short season A ball doesn't scream prospect. Parr will probably continue for a couple more years as a depth middle infielder guy before hanging up the spikes. I think he'll get sent to South Bend but probably not with a starting job in hand.
2013 Projection: Low A South Bend
Ceiling: High A

1B Wagner Mateo, 19, .205/.275/.263
Plus Stat: Uh... Minus Stat: 42.2% K-Rate
Acquired: 2010 Dominican Free Agent
A lot more was expected of Mateo than we've seen so far. Mateo if you recall was the guy who signed for a million plus bonus with the Cardinals only to have the contract voided due to Mateo failing his physical with a vision problem. The Dbacks signed him for a couple hundred thousand and started him out in the DSL in 2010. He has gotten progressively worse each year and now only plays 1B. He started out 2012 in Visalia but couldn't get regular at bats so they sent him to Yakima to play every day. He had a horrible season striking out 42% of the time. He's still only 19 so I guess there's time but 2013 better be a step forward or he'll be seeing the end of the line. He's looking like a bonus baby miss right now.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: AA

C Steven Rodriguez, 22, .242/.300/.343
Plus Stat: 14 RBI in 99 AB Minus Stat: .643 OPS
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 15th Round
Rodriguez was drafted out of UCLA in 2011 where he caught Bauer for a couple of years. He hasn't hit enough since being drafted to earn many at bats. And that will only get worse with the influx of catching talent. He'll be a part of some team's deep bench for another year or two at best. He's not a serious prospect.
2013 Projection: Short Season Hillsboro
Ceiling: Low A

3B Jimmy Comerota, 25, .201/.289/.245
Plus Stat: None Minus Stat: All
Acquired: 2010 Draft - 18th Round
Comerota is probably at the end of the line. He couldn't hold the 3B job in his third consecutive season at the same level. I anticipate him getting released in the off-season.
2013 Projection: Released
Ceiling: None

3B Mark Ginther, 22, .195/.260/.312
Plus Stat: 16/42 XBH Minus Stat: .260 OBP
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 24th Round
Ginther battled with Comerota over who could play worse at 3B over the course of the year. The only reason Comerota gets a lower rating is because he's 3 years older than Ginther. Ginther will probably repeat and see if he can do more than earn a final season of pro ball. Not looking good for him.
2013 Projection: Short Season A Hillsboro
Ceiling: Low A