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Dbacks Minor League Team Preview: AA Mobile Bay Bears

After falling in the championship series last year to break their string of Southern League titles at two, the Bay Bears embark on a new season.

Jake Lamb is one of the Dbacks' top prospects and headlines the Mobile offense.
Jake Lamb is one of the Dbacks' top prospects and headlines the Mobile offense.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This year's roster lacks some of the firepower of past seasons with the team's strength concentrated in the bullpen with several top prospects including Matt Stites and jake Barrett. Andrew Chafin gets another year in AA to take his game to the next level and rising prospect Jake Lamb gets his first crack at AA.

Starting Pitchers
Andrew Chafin - Chafin gets another go at AA after making major strides last year with his command and control. His walks were way down though his strikeouts were too. Now we get to see if he can maintain the control and get the swings and misses back up. He still has a bright future if he can do that.

Chase Anderson - Anderson goes back to AA after a less than stellar season in Reno where he pitched as both a starter and a reliever. Should begin the year in the rotation with an eye toward recapturing some of the prospect status he had going into last year.

Bradin Hagens - Repeating in Mobile as one of the team's starters last year where he was decent but not stellar. Doesn't have the big strikeout totals but does have a plus GO/AO ratio and usually keeps his team in games. This might be his ceiling.

Michael Lee - Former Boston and Atlanta farmhand who hasn't been able to rise above. Below average pitcher in the Southern League last year and for now looks to be a guy to fill out the rotation. Not seeing any real future prospect here but should be serviceable.

A.J. Schugel - Picked up in the Trumbo deal Schugel was pretty good in AA two years ago but fairly awful last year in AAA. Goes back to the AA level to try and regain his confidence, unfortunately he's going the wrong way.

Relief Pitchers
Matt Stites - Was tabbed as the Dbacks future closer when he was acquired for Ian Kennedy and his numbers to date mostly support that idea. But it's one thing to close in the minors, another to do so at the top. Team decides against exposing both him and Barrett to the rigors of the PCL.

Jake Barrett - Barrett was pretty darned good last year for Mobile and he goes back there to do more of the same. I expect both he and Stites to remain there until the big club comes calling. Only three walks last year in 24 innings versus 22 strikeouts.

Willy Paredes - They're probably done trying to make Paredes a starter as all his success has come from the bullpen. 1.00 ERA in 32 games for Mobile last year. He's actually probably not that far behind Stites and Barrett.

Blake Cooper - Was a fairly reliable arm out of the Mobile pen last year and gets to do it again this year. He won't get a lot of late inning action with Barrett and Stites around but he can be counted on to get outs and avoid the big inning.

Kaleb Fleck - Signed as an undrafted free agent a couple of years ago Fleck has been solid out of the pen for both South Bend and Visalia. Now he gets another promotion to see if he can keep going.

R.J. Hively - Hively has shown the ability to close effectively at three levels to date with good K rates and decent control. He just keeps climbing the ladder and while he certainly won't get to close much with Stites and Barrett around he adds yet one more quality arm to this deep Mobile bullpen.

Santos Rodriguez - Tall, lanky lefty has been at AAA a couple of times now and hasn't fared well. He has been able to perform at the AA level but this may be his ceiling. He should be an effective situational lefty but he's not going far beyond this.

Patrick Schuster - 23-year-old lefty was terrific for Visalia last year and gets the promotion off those 55 outings and 1.83 ERA. Still looking for his ceiling and adds yet more quality depth to this bullpen.

Bryan Woodall - Did quite well in Mobile last year repeating the level but when he got promoted to Reno he got lit up pretty good. That earned him a ticket back to Mobile and clearly going the wrong way.

Lars Davis - Spent seven years in the Rockies farm system without enough success to ever be considered a prospect. Probably just a backup to regular catcher Raywilly Gomez.

Raywilly Gomez - Switch-hitting catcher who hasn't shown anything electric yet. Organizational guy who knows a lot of these pitchers so he's worth having around as the regular catcher.

Jake Lamb - Time for Lamb to show he's the real deal. Lots of guys can hit in Visalia only to be stymied in Mobile. He's an above average fielder and possesses the ability to hit for both average and power. I've touted him as our third baseman of the future and this is a huge year in his development.

Sean Jamieson - Acquired for Stephen Drew in 2012 Jamieson had a terrific season in Visalia last year hitting .287 with 11 homers and an .832 OPS, all while flashing plus defense. If not for all the shortstop bodies ahead of him Jamieson might get more notice. He gets a chance to do it at the AA level now and start turning some heads.

Jon Griffin - Failed in his promotion to Mobile last year before being mercifully sent back to Visalia. Gets one more chance to show he can hit advanced pitching. Huge man with plenty of power, he'll need to control his Ks to get back onto any watch lists.

Gerson Montilla - He broke out some power tools last year with 19 home runs playing mostly second and third base. He's a Carlos Baerga type who can do a little of everything but lacks one dominant tool. Good all-around player will be fighting for playing time but should be the starting third baseman.

Mike Freeman - Organizational infielder who is likely at his ceiling, but makes for a nice backup. He can handle the bat a little and can play anywhere in the infield. I'm not seeing him challenge any of the regulars for playing time.

Garrett Webber - Regressed a little from Visalia in 2012 to Mobile in 2013. so he gets to repeat the level and may be destined for a backup job as opposed to regular at bats. Has a little pop and can probably play all four positions if need be.

Tom Belza - Solid outfielder who lacks any standout tools. Hit .300 with 10 homers and a .798 OPS. Decent numbers but less so for a corner outfield position. Will have to compete for Playing time.

Justin Greene - Speedy center fielder type who hit .308 last year for Mobile with 31 stolen bases. Has flashed a little power in the past too but only one home run last year. Should get some regular playing time in center field.

Jordan Parraz - 30 year-old career minor leaguer has yet to get a taste of the majors. It's not looking like he will get there. He's a solid AA outfielder who will help you win games, but he's not going anywhere.

David Peralta - Another snatched from the independent league who has performed well with a .904 OPS last year in Visalia. Was originally a pitcher before moving to the outfield in 2011. Has some ability so we'll see if he can keep going.