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Diamondbacks Minor Leaguers in Review: South Bend Relievers

This is the last of the lower level reviews and it's not too exciting being about the South Bend bullpen. The only really interesting name in this group is 2012 3rd Round Pick Jake Barrett from Arizona State. And not that Jake did all that much to get excited about.

Hogben continues to toil at the lower levels and has yet to do enough to expect a real future.
Hogben continues to toil at the lower levels and has yet to do enough to expect a real future.

South Bend just wasn't a very interesting team this year. It happens in every organization where one of the minor league squads just seems to represent a talent gap somewhere along the development chain. That should change next year where two good back-to-back drafts have a bevy of talent heading up the ladder. Let's let's take a closer look at this relief corps from Low A South Bend.

RHP Jake Barrett, 21, 24 IP, 5.84 ERA, 13 BB, 25 K
Plus Stat: 1.72 GO/AO Minus Stat: .283 BAA
Acquired: 2012 Draft - 3rd Round
A big, tall hard-throwing righty out of Arizona State, Barrett was supposed to come into the pros as a "ready" reliever and a possible fast riser. That really didn't come to pass as Barrett had some humbling outings. It was probably hoped he might "handle" South Bend and make his way to Visalia before the season was out. Barrett was just too erratic to make that happen. He'd have a great outing then a bad outing, a great one then a bad one. He basically did that all year. His strikeout numbers were good so there's that, but he walked too many and he got hit hard far too often. But it still wasn't a total disaster. He probably did enough that he'll still get promoted and have a full off-season to work on some things at Salt River Fields. I fully expect him to be a better pitcher in 2013.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: Major League

RHP Kable Hogben, 22, 68 IP, 3.93 ERA, 50 K, 19 BB
Plus Stat: .241 BAA Minus Stat: 0.89 GO/AO
Acquired: 2009 Australian Free Agent
Signed out of the Australian development program in 2009 Hogben has been hanging around the lower levels for the past four years. He's actually pitched pretty well throughout but in spite of posting what appear to be some good numbers for the past few years, Hogben still isn't shooting up the charts. I've never seen him pitch but I understand he's a side-armer and so I'm sure the funky delivery is pretty mysterious to the youngsters. He didn't perform as well this year as he did last year at the same level. So that's not a good sign. You never know about those side-armers though, sometimes they just "arrive" all of a sudden like so I can't write off Hogben completely yet. But taking backwards steps at Low A doesn't usually spell success. We'll keep watching for now but with less excitement than before.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: AAA

RHP Kaleb Fleck, 23, 29 IP, 2.73 ERAm 19 K, 16 BB
Plus Stat: 2.73 ERA Minus Stat: 1.18 K/BB
Acquired: 2012 Undrafted Free Agent
Fleck went undrafted and the Dbacks signed him not long afterwards and sent him to South Bend. Fleck certainly held his own out-pitching top draft pick Jake Barrett. He had his share of good breaks obviously though because the peripherals aren't all that exciting. A pretty bad K/BB of almost 1.00 is the most glaring number, plus a mediocre GO/AO that really should be much higher if he's not getting outs via strikeout. But for an undrafted guy, Fleck certainly earned himself a job next year whether it's in Visalia or South Bend. My guess is South Bend but it would hardly be a surprise if he makes the jump to Visalia.
2013 Projection: Low A South Bend
Ceiling: Double A

RHP Matt Sample, 24, 67 IP, 4.57 ERA, 64 K, 32 BB
Plus Stat: 0 HR Minus Stat: .285 BAA
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 28th Round
Sample had a very solid year in 2011 in Missoula and it was probably thought he might do better in 2012 than he actually did. Sample was one of the horses of the South Bend bullpen, leading them in IP, and he did post some peripherals to hang his hat on, such as 64 K in 67 innings, a respectable 1.48 GO/AO, and no home runs allowed. But he also had enough bad outings to keep him from being noticed much. He does have a great pitcher's body and he's still missing enough bats to keep watching. I think he gets promoted and searches for more consistency in 2013. Unfortunately, he's not showing enough yet to suggest he can go all the way.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: AA

RHP Alex Capaul, 23, 50 IP, 5.54 ERA, 27 K, 15 BB
Plus Stat: 1.60 GO/AO in SB Minus Stat: .305 BAA
Acquired: 2011 Draft - 43rd Round
Capaul is one of those guys that will simply take the ball whenever and wherever he's asked. He pitched in Yakima, he pitched in Reno, but mostly he pitched in South Bend. Unfortunately, he doesn't pitch very well, so he's simply a lower level arm that likes to pitch. He's not really going anywhere.
2013 Projection: Low A South Bend
Ceiling: High A

RHP Frank Santana, 23, 38 IP, 3.03 ERA, 36 K, 12 BB
Plus Stat: .245 BAA Minus Stat: 0.83 GO/AO
Acquired: 2008 Dominican Free Agent
Santana spent 3 seasons in the DSL where he eventually became a very reliable reliever. His first season in the U.S. wasn't so hot, but this year he was pretty good. The strikeout numbers are good, the K/BB is good at 3.00, his BAA is solid, though his ground ball rate is on the low side. Can he take another step forward next year to become a real prospect? That's probably a no, but not impossible yet. He has become a reliable bullpen arm though so they'll keep him around somewhere and let him keep his dream alive for now.
2013 Projection: High A Visalia
Ceiling: AA